Wilmar International

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Wilmar International Limited
Traded asSGX: F34
IndustryFood processing
Key people
Kuok Khoon Hong, chairman
ProductsPalm oil, protein meal, consumer pack edible oils, sugar, specialty chemicals and biodiesel
RevenueIncrease US$43.09 billion (2014)
Increase US$1.16 billion (2014)
Total assetsIncrease US$43.56 billion (2014)
Total equityIncrease US$30.31 billion (March 2010)
Number of employees

Wilmar International Limited[1] founded in 1991, is Asia’s leading agribusiness group. It ranks amongst the largest listed companies by market capitalisation on the Singapore Exchange, being the second largest as of September 2010.[2] It is a Singaporean investment holding company that provides management services to its 400+ subsidiary companies.[3] It is also ranked 252nd in the Fortune Global 500 list in 2015.[4]

Wilmar International business activities include oil palm cultivation, edible oils refining, oilseeds crushing, consumer pack edible oils processing and merchandising, specialty fats, oleochemicals, and biodiesel manufacturing, and grains processing and merchandising. It has over 450 manufacturing plants and an extensive distribution network covering China, India, Indonesia and some 50 other countries. The Group is backed by a multinational workforce of over 92,000 people.

Wilmar's merchandising and processing segment encompasses merchandising of palm oil and laurics-related products, operations of palm oil processing and refinery plants and crushing, further processing and refining of a range of edible oils, oilseeds, grains and soybean. Its consumer products segment has an oil-bottling business in the People's Republic of China, Vietnam and Indonesia. Its plantation and palm oil mills segment engages in oil palm cultivation and milling. Other segments include manufacturing and distribution of fertiliser and ship-chartering services.

Business profile[edit]

Unilever is one of the main customers of Wilmar. Unilever and Wilmar are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) which brings together retailers, producers and NGOs like Oxfam and WWF.[5]

The founder of Wilmar International was Martua Sitorus from Indonesia. The chairman is Kuok Khoon Hong. Forbes named Kuok the third richest person in Singapore in 2009. Martua Sitorus was the 2nd richest person in Indonesia in 2009.[6][7] Official figures, such as Yeo Yeng Tang, a former ambassador of Singapore to the European Union, sit on its board of directors. [8]

Palm oil[edit]

Palm oil, extracted from palm fruit pulp, is Wilmar's main product. Palm oil is the most widely used edible oil, and there is 42 million acres under cultivation worldwide. Commercial production has helped many communities in Africa and South-east Asia tackle local poverty. However, environmentalists have been concerned that such widespread cultivation has led to deforestation and air pollution, and is a threat to endangered species. In 2013, Wilmar changed its approach and endorsed sustainability principles, and now encourages their suppliers and customers to do likewise[citation needed].


Wilmar commenced operations as a palm oil trading company in 1991. In 2003, it established the first compound fertiliser manufacturing plant with a production capacity of 120,000 tonnes per year, and in 2004 opened the first oleochemicals plant in Shanghai.


  • Acquired a controlling interest in Jakarta Stock Exchange listed PT Cahaya Kalbar Tbk, a producer of specialty oils and fats for the chocolate, cocoa confectionery industry, bakery and cakes ingredient industry, and beverage and food industry


  • Renamed Wilmar International Limited on 14 July 2006 upon completion of the reverse takeover of Ezyhealth Asia Pacific Ltd.[9]


  • Completed the merger with Kuok Group’s palm plantation, edible oils, grains and related businesses in a deal worth US$2.7 billion, as well as a restructuring exercise to acquire the edible oils, oilseeds, grains and related businesses of Wilmar Holdings Pte Ltd (WHPL), including interests held by Archer Daniels Midland Asia Pacific (ADM) and its subsidiaries in these businesses, for US$1.6 billion;
  • Formed a joint venture (JV) with Olam International Ltd and SIFCA Group, one of Africa’s largest agro-industrial groups with significant interests across palm oil, cotton seed oil, natural rubber and sugar sectors in Africa. The JV was aimed at developing a regional leadership position in palm oil, natural rubber, sugar and potentially in other agricultural plantation crops in Africa;
  • Entry into the Philippines with the setting-up of two coconut oil mills and refineries in Roxas, Zamboanga del Norte and Gingoog, Misamis Oriental


  • Formed a joint venture with Nizhny Novgorod Fats & Oils Group and Delta Exports Pte Ltd to spearhead expansion in Russia and the CIS countries


  • Expanded into the sugar business through the acquisition of Sucrogen Limited, the largest raw sugar producer and refiner in Australia, and PT Jawamanis Rafinasi, a leading sugar refinery in Indonesia
  • Acquired Natural Oleochemicals, a leading oleochemicals producer with significant market share in Europe and Asia and a growing presence in the US


  • Further expanded into the sugar business through the acquisition of PT Duta Sugar International in Indonesia and Proserpine Mill in Australia
  • Expanded its African footprint to Ghana through the acquisition of Benso Oil Palm Plantations Limited, a company listed on Ghana Stock Exchange


  • Acquired approximately 30,000 hectares of land in Nigeria for expansion of oil palm plantations;
  • Established a 50:50 joint venture company, Yihai Kerry Kellogg Foods (Shanghai) Company Ltd, with Kellogg Company for the manufacture, sale and distribution of breakfast cereals and savoury snacks in China;
  • Formed a 50:50 Joint Venture with Clariant Ltd for production and sales of amines and selected amines derivatives;
  • Formed strategic partnership with Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) in tropical oils refining in Europe, global fertiliser purchasing and distribution, and global ocean freight operations. Launched Olenex CV. headquartered in Rolle, Switzerland to handle the sales and marketing of refined vegetable oils and fats to European Area and Switzerland
  • Completed four palm oil milling plants with an aggregate hourly capacity of 200 MT
  • In 2012, Wilmar was named the world's least environmentally friendly company by US news magazine Newsweek.[10]



Ethical issues[edit]

In 2004, Friends of the Earth Netherlands performed a review of Wilmar's palm oil operations in Sumatra Riau as undertaken by PT Jatim Jaya Perkasa. Wilmar had 20,800 hectares of land there and the operation was financed by the Dutch Rabobank and the International Finance Corporation. Satellite photos proved that in 2004 the plantations were on sea shore peat rain forests, the depth of the peat being four meters, whereas such land is actually protected under Indonesian law. Nevertheless, in 1997 Wilmar received permission to plant there despite it being peat land. According to locals, the plantation endangers the Sumatran tiger population that inhabits the area, and this became a point of conflict with Wilmar in 2004. Soon after, Wilmar sold PT Jatim Jaya Perkasaand and joined the WWF Palm Oil Association (WWF for World Wide Fund for Nature).

According to Friends of the Earth Netherlands, Wilmar International starts forest fires and violates the rights of local populations.[13] In July 2007 Friends of the Earth and two local environmental organizations criticized Wilmar's illegal forest felling in Kalimantan, in Indonesia.[5] As a result of this campaign against Wilmar's projects in Sambas, West Kalimantan, the company agreed to implement a number of new measures and policies.[14]

In July 2013, a report published by the WWF which documented that Wilmar (as well as the Indonesian company Asian Agri) were purchasing palm oil fruit which was grown illegally in Tesso Nilo National Park, Sumatra.[15] According to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, both Wilmar and Asian Agri took immediate action to stop this illegal sourcing.[16]

In October 2015, Wilmar and Sinarmas, reportedly involved with the case of forest fires in Indonesia that led to the island of Sumatra and Kalimantan burn and cause catastrophic smog[17]

In 2018, a Greenpeace International report asserted that Wilmar International is "the biggest and dirtiest palm oil trader in the world."[18]


According to Friends of the Earth, Wilmar and Bidco Africa through Bidco Uganda, have been involved in long running dispute over land with local communities.[19]

According to The Guardian in March, 2015, the land grab issue has plagued the community of Kalangala for a number of years. In July, 2011 residents awoke to "find yellow machines churning up her land and razing the crops she had grown in a bid to make way for palm oil plantations."[20] Bidco Africa and Wilmar have made no recorded statement on these matters. Again according to Friends of the Earth International, the projects implications include: Forced displacement, poor labour standards, deforestation, and insecurity amongst other.[21] The community have now taken the conglomerate to court.[19][22]

In February, 2016 The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) received a petition from the Bugala Farmers Association in Uganda related to UNDP’s association with Bidco Africa Ltd.[23] A complaint was also received by the UNDP’s Stakeholder Response Mechanism (SRM) and Social and Environmental Compliance Unit (SECU).[24] In May, 2016, UNDP visited Kalangala to further investigate the issues surrounding the matter.[25] In November, 2016 The UNDP faulted a decision inviting Bidco Ltd into partnership with the United Nations Development Programme's – Business Call to Action – in Uganda.[26]

Human right violations in 2016[edit]

On 30 November 2016 Amnesty International published a report into working conditions on the Wilmar International plantations and refineries in Indonesia. It alleged human rights abuses, including "forced labour, low pay, exposure to toxic chemicals and discrimination against women".[27] According to Amnesty International Wilmar International profited from 8 to 14 year old child labor and forced labor. Some workers were extorted, threatened or not paid for work. Some workers suffered severe injuries from toxic banned chemical. Wilmar customers include FAMSA, ADM, Colgate-Palmolive, Elevance, Kellogg’s, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser and Unilever. Wilmar palm oil may be used in popular products like Magnum ice-cream, Colgate toothpaste, Dove cosmetics, Knorr soup, KitKat, Pantene shampoo, Ariel, and Pot Noodle.[28]

Wilmar Initiatives[edit]

On 5 December 2013, Wilmar committed to a No Deforestation, No Peat & No Exploitation Policy for both its own operations and third party suppliers.[29] It promised to stop buying from suppliers who cleared forest, drained peat land, or exploited locals.[30] This was lauded as a transformational step towards responsible and sustainable palm oil development.[31] Preliminary analysis estimates that Wilmar’s commitment will eliminate more than 1.5Gt CO2 emissions in total between now and 2020.[32]

In 2015, Wilmar won the Special Recognition Award at the Singapore Apex CSR Awards 2015 organised by the Global Compact Network Singapore, Singapore Business Federation and The Business Times. It was hailed for being the first major palm oil player to step up to ensure its supply chain is de-linked from any forest destruction and human rights abuse.[33]


  1. ^ "WILMAR INTERNATIONAL LTD (WIL:Singapore Exchange): Company Description - Businessweek". investing.businessweek.com. Archived from the original on 2012-10-06. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  2. ^ "Wilmar's Harvest". Forbes.com. 9 August 2010.
  3. ^ http://www.wilmar-international.com/investor/annualreports/2009/Wilmar_International_Limited_2009_Annual_Report.pdf
  4. ^ "Wilmar International (WLMIY) Stock Price, Financials and News | Global 500". fortune.com. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  5. ^ a b Losing land to palm oil in Kalimantan bbc 3.8.2007
  6. ^ Kuok Khoon Hong on Singapore's 40 Richest (2009) Forbes 9.9.2009
  7. ^ Martua Sitorus on Indonesia's 40 Richest (2009) Forbes 2.12.2009
  8. ^ Helena Varkkey, The Haze Problem in Southeast Asia (Abingdon: Routledge, 2015), p. 90
  9. ^ "palmnewsdetail". palmnews.mpob.gov.my. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  10. ^ [Green Rankings 2012: Global Companies http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/10/22/newsweek-green-rankings-2012-global-500-list.html]
  11. ^ "Aftenposten: Oljefondet kvittet seg med "verdens verste selskap" (in Norwegian)". aftenposten.no. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  12. ^ Sindre Heyerdahl. "Sindre Heyerdahl, E24. "OLJEFONDETS GIGANTTAP PÅ AKTIV FORVALTNING: Mener Gjedrem bløffer om investeringene" (in Norwegian)". e24.no. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  13. ^ "World's biggest palm oil trader shamed | Friends of the Earth Europe | Company involved in forest fires, deforestation and illegal activities". foeeurope.org. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  14. ^ "Communities force Wilmar to address bad practices". Down To Earth. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  15. ^ "REPORT: Palming off a National Park: Tracking Illegal Palm Oil Fruit in Riau, Sumatra". World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  17. ^ "Perusahaan Grup Wilmar dan Sinar Mas Paling Banyak Menyumbang Titik Api". Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  18. ^ "Oreo maker linked to destruction of orangutan habitat for palm oil in Indonesia". Greenpeace.org. November 13, 2018. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  19. ^ a b FOEI (19 February 2015). "Ugandan oil palm conglomerate taken to court over land-grab claims". Foei.org (FOEI). Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  20. ^ Mwesigwa, Alon (3 March 2015). "Ugandan farmers take on palm oil giants over land grab claims". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  21. ^ FOEI. "Palm oil landgrab in Uganda: Wilmar International's violations in Kalangala Island" (PDF). Libcloud.s3.amazonaws.com. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  22. ^ The Land Grab – Uganda’s farmers battle with palm oil producers. YouTube. July 12, 2015.
  23. ^ "Statement concerning UNDP, Business Call to Action and Bidco Africa Ltd".
  24. ^ "Social and Environmental Compliance Unit - Case Registry".
  25. ^ NBS TV Uganda (May 29, 2016). "UNDP to Investigate Rights Violations at BIDCO" – via YouTube.
  26. ^ "Bidco is not fi t to join UNDP's project – UN".
  27. ^ "Human rights abuses in your shopping basket". www.amnesty.org.
  29. ^ "TFT and Climate Advisers Welcome Wilmar’s Transformative Policies to Protect Forests and People | Climate Advisers". climateadvisers.com. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  30. ^ "48 hours that changed the future of rainforests | Grist". grist.org. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  31. ^ "Wilmar's 'no deforestation' commitment could revolutionise the way food is grown | Guardian Sustainable Business | The Guardian". theguardian.com. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  32. ^ "The Climate Impact of Wilmar’s “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation” Policy | Climate Advisers". climateadvisers.com. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  33. ^ "Singapore businesses mark 10 years of CSR push | News | Eco-Business | Asia Pacific". eco-business.com. Retrieved 30 May 2016.

External links[edit]