17 Dec 2007

Biggest palm oil company in PNG and Solomons to float on London stock exchange

11:55 am on 17 December 2007

The biggest palm oil company in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands plans to float on the London Stock Exchange tomorrow.

New Britain Palm Oil wants to raise at least a-hundred and twenty million US dollars, to double the size of its plantations within eight years.

Ben Lowings reports from London:

"Demand for palm oil has risen with prices nearly doubling in the year to date. New Britain wants to cash in on the growing appetite for palm oil in large markets, particularly China, India and the European Union. The firm hopes that by issuing these new shares in London, it will double its forty-thousand hectare plantations in West New Britain Province in PNG. The company produces genetically-modified seeds at a research station in Dami. Environmental campaigners blame the palm oil industry for destroying rainforests and degrading soils. But New Britain says its planting programme is

sustainable."

The company says building up its business will put it into a position to buy up other palm oil firms in PNG.

In London, this is Ben Lowings.