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Wilmar International Limited: A Leading Agri-Business Across Asia

As a leading agribusiness group across Asia, Wilmar International Limited’s span of the industry is vast and diverse. Working across the entire supply chain of the agricultural commodity business, it deals with the cultivation of oil palm, oil seed crushing, edible oils refining, sugar milling, sugar refining, and the manufacturing of consumer products. Wilmar’s business operations span from cultivation and milling, all the way to the branding, processing, and distribution of food products to international markets. Consequently, as a leading agri-business, the company has positioned itself to facilitate a range of markets, whilst it develops the company through key investments and acquisitions across the industry.  

Headquartered in Singapore, Wilmar operates 500 manufacturing plants across its extensive distribution network spanning China, India, Indonesia, and some 50 other countries and regions. Having implemented a key strategic agribusiness model that encompasses the entire value chain of the agricultural commodity business, Wilmar oversees every aspect of the supply chain’s operations. The first stage of the model involves the cultivation and milling of palm oil and sugar cane which is then processed by Wilmar into feed and industrial products. Then the model includes the processing, merchandising and distribution of animal feeds, non-edible palm and lauric products, agricultural commodities, oleochemicals, gas oil and biodiesel. The next stage of Wilmar’s business model takes processed products and delivers them toward trading markets through merchandising and distribution. This process includes processing, branding, and distributing a range of edible food products – for example, vegetable oils from palm and oil seeds, sugar, flour, rice, noodles, speciality fats, snacks, bakery, and dairy products. These products are sold in either consumer, medium or bulk packaging options depending on the requirements of the consumer.  

The final step in Wilmar’s all-encompassing operation is logistics to deliver its products to customers. To facilitate the logistical movement of its products, Wilmar owns a fleet of liquid bulk and dry bulk carriers which provide greater flexibility and efficiency of its logistical operations, along with help from a third-party shipping company. Wilmar operations span 38 liquid bulk vessels, 16 dry bulk vessels, 9 ports in Indonesia, 7 ports in China and 1 port in Myanmar. Consequently, as of the end of 2022, Wilmar owned and operated tankers and dry bulk vessels with a combined total tonnage of roughly 2.6 million metric tonnes (MT). As Wilmar’s vertically integrated business model outlines, it has strategically built the company into a leading business across the agriculture commodity sector, by working throughout every aspect of its value chain to ensure that not only are the highest standards and regulations followed, but it can maintain a close but diverse network across the agri-business industry.  

Consequently, in July we saw Wilmar refiguring its stakes across the sector, which saw them sell their 30% minority interest in Consumar, a Moroccan sugar processor, to be purchased by investors in Morocco. The sale is set to cost Dh5.9 billion ($600 million) and the deal is set to close in the fourth quarter of 2023. Furthermore, in the same press release, Wilmar announced that they are engaged in talks with a Moroccan production and processing business of vegetable fats and by-products. This deal is set to cost Dh85 million and would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Wilmar International if the sale is to go through. The sale would coincide with Wilmar taking a 43.3% interest in Durah Advanced Development by taking Consumar’s stake in the company. Wilmar already owned 5% of Durah Advanced Development, whilst the final 51.7% is held by Investors in Saudia Arabia. Whilst these deals are not expected to be finalised until the end of September, they exemplify the strategic positioning of Wilmar across the industry as it buys and sells shares to expand its global reach.  

These potential sales come a month after Wilmar announced its syndicated loan facility which it initially announced in April totalling USD 1,200 million. However, due to strong interest from lenders during syndication, the facility has been upsized to totalling USD 1,700 million to partially accommodate the oversubscription. The facility will comprise of a 5-year revolving credit facility of USD 702.5 million and a 5-year term loan facility of USD 997.5 million. Supported by a total of 37 lenders including all 6 original mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners (OMLAB) and 31 participating lenders. The facility was granted to Wii Ptd Ltd, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wilmar.  

In 2022 Wilmar saw great achievements with a record of USD 2.40 billion in net profit – a 27.1% increase from the previous financial year – which Wilmar credits to the combined ability to do well by placing sustainability at the core of its business. For Wilmar, sustainable operations are crucial to creating shared value for its customers, shareholders, and stakeholders. Therefore, it is striving towards a palm oil supply chain that is responsible, sustainable and provides livelihood opportunities for rural communities. Wilmar, therefore, has a strict no deforestation, no peat, and no exploitation policy throughout all its operations internationally. Furthermore, as announced in Wilmar’s 2022 sustainability report, 81% of its plantation areas are responsibly certified and produced 1,654,399 MT of RSPO-certified palm oil and kernels last year. In 2022, Wilmar reported that 89.9% of palm oil and lauric product volumes to its supply chain are from suppliers that have group-level commitments and action plans that address no deforestation. Consequently, throughout its operations, Wilmar is ensuring that every division and subdivision of its operations are working towards a combined goal of sustainable development.  

Overall, Wilmar has created expansive networks across the agri-business industry which sees it facilitate every aspect of its supply chains to ensure quality and sustainability measures are maintained throughout. However, through strategic investments and acquisitions, Wilmar has established itself over the years as a clear global leader, which supported by its 100,00 multi-national workforce, focuses on embracing sustainability in its global operations, supply chain and communities across the industry.