Betagro expands to Cambodia and Laos

12-12-2008 | |

Betagro, one of Thailand’s leading integrated agro-industry businesses, is for the first time setting up integrated farm systems outside Thailand.

The first initiative is to build a 160-milion baht (€3.4 million) pig farm in
both Cambodia and Laos, with a production capacity of 2,000 parent
pigs.

Further in Cambodia Betagro is to set up a feed plant to supply
72,000 tons of feed per year to serve its local livestock
industry.

Narongchai Srisantisaeng, Betagro’s SVP regional and feed
business, said that that these are the “first foreign investments” for the
41-year- old agro-industry group.

Foreign
subsidiaries

He said that the company’s feed business has expanded
into Cambodia in the past three years, with distribution handled by local
agents.

The fast growth led the group to decide to set up a company named
Betagro (Cambodia) to cover sales and marketing for a new brand call Bio, while
existing brands will remain with local agents.

Betagro exports 2,000
tonnes a month of animal feed products to the Cambodia market. As that figure is
set to grow to 4,000 tonnes, Betagro will build a plant in the country with
production capacity of 6,000 tonnes.

“However, we will start a 2,000-pig
breeding farm in Cambodia next year before beginning the factory construction,”
Narongchai said.

He said the company would start a breeding farm, also
with 2,000 pigs, in Laos at the same time. But it has no plans to build a plant
because Laos has a smaller population than Cambodia and lower
consumption.

New feed plant in Thailand
The company is also
considering investing around Bt1 billion (€21.4 million) for a new animal-feed
plant in Phetchaburi province within three years if the global economy picks up,
said Narongchai Srisantisaeng, senior vice president for regional and feed
business.

The plant would have a capacity of 30,000 tonnes per
month.

Betagro Group currently operates eight animal-feed production
plants nationwide. The ratio of production for internal use to commercial
production is 60:40.

New feed brands
As part of the company’s
more aggressive marketing strategy for next year, Narongchai said the company
had allocated a budget of Bt100 million to launch three new commercial feed
products for pets, both livestock and aquatic animals. These include Okane for
fish, Primo for dogs, and Rambo for fighting cocks.

The group believes
the pet-feed market has high potential for growth.

The new products will
serve the high end of the market and will appear on shelves next month.
First-year annual sales are expected to top Bt140 million (€3
million).

Narongchai said Betagro had a 20% share in Thailand’s
commercial animal-feed market, representing about 65,000 tonnes per
month.

This year the sales of commercial feed products is expected to post Bt11 billion
(€236 million), up by 10% from last year. He expects another 10%
increase for next year.

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