Thursday, December 13, 2007

[PBN] PNG palm oil firm eyes expansion


LONDON (Reuters) - Papua New Guinea's largest palm oil producer, New
Britain Palm Oil, said on Wednesday it plans to list in London and raise
88.9 million pounds ($182 million).

The firm hopes to benefit from a near doubling in the price of palm oil
in the last year, driven by demand for biofuels and economic growth in
China and India. Palm oil is also used for cooking and in products such
as soap and ice cream.

The share placing, which is being underwritten and is the first float of
the UK Capital Markets division of broker Kaupthing Singer &
Friedlander, will value New Britain Palm Oil (NBPOL) around 362 million

The company, which has 40,000 hectares of palm oil plantations and a
refinery, will use the proceeds to accelerate its planting and build

Palm-oil based biofuels have caused controversy as critics say they have
encouraged the destruction of large parts of rain forest to create new
agricultural land, potentially also releasing carbon dioxide from the
peat contained in the soil.

NBPOL said it is focused on sustainable plantations.

Palm oil producer association the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil is
working to improve the industry's green credentials by defining and
certifying "sustainable" palm oil operations.

NBPOL has the potential to double its entire current plantation area
within seven to eight years, it said.

The shares are expected to start trading on December 17 under the market

(Reporting by Chris Wills; Editing by Quentin Bryar)

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