From: Reuters
Published December 12, 2007 05:23 AM

Papua New Guinea biofuel firm plans London listing

LONDON (Reuters) - Papua New Guinea's largest palm oil producer, New Britain Palm Oil, said on Wednesday it plans to list in London and raise 88.9 million pounds ($182 million).

The firm hopes to benefit from a near doubling in the price of palm oil in the last year, driven by demand for biofuels and economic growth in China and India. Palm oil is also used for cooking and in products such as soap and ice cream.

The share placing, which is being underwritten and is the first float of the UK Capital Markets division of broker Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander, will value New Britain Palm Oil (NBPOL) around 362 million pounds.

The company, which has 40,000 hectares of palm oil plantations and a refinery, will use the proceeds to accelerate its planting and build infrastructure.

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Palm-oil based biofuels have caused controversy as critics say they have encouraged the destruction of large parts of rain forest to create new agricultural land, potentially also releasing carbon dioxide from the peat contained in the soil.

NBPOL said it is focused on sustainable plantations.

Palm oil producer association the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil is working to improve the industry's green credentials by defining and certifying "sustainable" palm oil operations.

NBPOL has the potential to double its entire current plantation area within seven to eight years, it said.

The shares are expected to start trading on December 17 under the market code.

(Reporting by Chris Wills; Editing by Quentin Bryar)

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