By LEE KIAN SEONGThe Star It wants to expand beyond current operation in Liberia KUALA LUMPUR: Sime Darby Plantation Sdn Bhd is exploring opportunities in other African countries besides Liberia for its palm oil business expansion. “We believe that Africa is a large frontier and things can only get better there,” managing director Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid told StarBiz yesterday. Its parent company Sime Darby Bhd had, in May, signed an US$800mil concession agreement with the Liberian government to restore and expand the country’s rubber plantation and help develop its palm oil industry. The concession agreement allows Sime Darby Plantation to develop 220,000ha of land, with the company allocating an initial investment of RM70mil. “The RM70mil investment is a start and the investment will come in every year as this is a long-term business,” Azhar told a press conference on a mangrove replanting project with KPMG Malaysia. On the projection for crude palm oil (CPO) prices in December, he said they might range from RM2,000 to RM2,300 per tonne. “We are happy as long as the price stays above RM2,000 and the challenge for us is to manage our productivity as well as costs,” he said. He added that the demand would remain strong, driven by the growing global population. On El Nino, Azhar said better water management and good practices would help the company minimise the impact. “Certainly, there will be an impact from El Nino and our job is to minimise the impact and be more creative in managing the situation,” he said.