Sime Darby to sell Liberia plantation to local manufacturer
Reuters | 6 December 2019

Sime Darby to sell Liberia plantation to local manufacturer
FREETOWN/KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia’s Sime Darby Plantation Bhd, the world’s largest oil palm planter by land size, said on Friday it would sell its underperforming palm oil concession in Liberia to a local company.
A Liberian government minister first announced the Sime Darby deal with Mano Manufacturing Company (MANCO), the west African country’s largest manufacturer of household health and cleaning products.
A Sime Darby statement did not give a value for the deal.
It signed a 63-year concession in 2009 for the 220,000 hectares in northwestern Liberia, which made up a fifth of its global land holdings.
But it said in August that it intended to divest from Liberia by the end of the year in the face of tighter environmental rules and resistance to its expansion from green groups, who push for “no deforestation” rules.
“This decision is part of Sime Darby’s current asset monetization exercise, which includes the divestment of underperforming assets or assets that have achieved its full value potential for disposal,” the company said in the statement.
Sime Darby said it was working with MANCO unit Mano Palm Oil Industries to sign the terms and conditions of the deal by the end of 2019. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020, Sime Darby said.
Sime Darby has spent more than $200 million on its Liberian operations and filed a 111.8 million ringgit ($26.81 million) impairment on those for its financial year that ended in June 2018.
On Thursday, Liberian Information Minister Eugene Nagbe told a business conference in London that the government was confident the deal would go through. Mano Palm has been a principal buyer of Sime Darby’s palm oil since 2015.
MANCO did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Besides uncertainties related to environmental rules, Sime Darby’s business suffered from the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak that killed thousands of people in Liberia.
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Source: Reuters