Tradewinds Plantation sows seeds for regional success
Tradewinds Plantation has become one of the largest plantation companies in Malaysia in a short period of time. Starting out with a land bank of 126,000 hectares in 2006, the company is using its more than 141,000 hectares spread across Sarawak, Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia for oil palm and rubber estates.
"We are a little aggressive for a young company, but I can say that we have delivered results that are beyond expectations," says CEO Chan Seng Fatt.
This confidence is backed by pioneering expertise in peat planting, which veteran planters once deemed virtually unviable. Tradewinds Plantation discovered many advantages of peat, and this has led to a significant increase in the number of trees that can be grown and a steady water supply even during drought. "We have proven that peat is actually very workable for oil palm cultivation," Chan says.
As a leading producer of crude palm oil, Tradewinds Plantation caters to Malaysia's major local oil refineries, with which it has formed friendly relations based on mutual respect. Having grown deep roots into the upstream production process, the company sees downstream activities such as biomass processing as the next natural phase in its development.
Nurturing growth through its crop diversification programme, the company has branched out into rubber tree planting. As one of the foremost producers of block rubber and latex in the world, Tradewinds Plantation supplies top tyre manufacturers such as Goodyear, Continental, Hankook Tire, Kumho and Michelin.
The company has singled out the mainland as an important market, where it exports 31 per cent of its production. "We would like to see some of the Chinese tyre makers start buying premium-quality raw materials from us," says chief financial officer Razidan Ghazalli.
Tradewinds Plantation acquired long-time rubber processing, trading and downstream rubber products manufacturing company Mardec as part of its expansion into rubber production. The company looks forward to forming smart partnerships with established companies, particularly ones with an extensive global distribution network. Tradewinds Plantation is also looking to acquire more land, both greenfield and brownfield. It evaluated almost 25 properties in Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia and as far away as Gabon and Sierra Leone in the past year alone. These efforts reflect Tradewinds Plantation's plans to sow the seeds of success overseas to become a key industry player within the next five years.