Malt business strengthens foothold in Asia after taking over Thai factory
PUBLISHED: 11:23 03 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:23 03 April 2019
2016 ANAN AMNUK
A Suffolk malt firm has taken over full ownership of a £12m plant it helped develop out in Thailand to serve its Asian soft drinks market.
Stowmarket-based Muntons said the buyout was an “exciting move”. It agreed a 50/50 joint venture with south east Asia ingredients distribution firm Jebsen & Jessen back in 2014 to build a new plant.
The malted ingredients vacuum band drying factory at Chonburi, about 120km south-east of Bangkok, turns liquid malt extract made at Stowmarket into products for south-east Asia’s large and growing malted drinks market through further processing.
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After it was built, around 3,000 tonnes of malt extract were shipped every year from Muntons in Stowmarket, increasing demand for East Anglian malting barley by nearly 5,000 tonnes.
Muntons, which completed the full purchase on March 22, 2019, to make it wholly owned by Muntons plc, said the facility, previously known as JJ-Muntons (Thailand) Ltd, would now be called Muntons Ingredients (Thailand) Limited.
“The purchase cements our position as a global manufacturer and supplier of malted ingredients,” it said. “Malt-based vacuum band dried products made in this state-of-the-art plant, provide the ideal base for malted milk drinks, confectionery and bakery applications.”
Products from the plant, which was officially opened in April 2016, are sold around the world, using the base of malt extract made and supplied from the Stowmarket facility.
“The South East Asia market offers a wealth of opportunity for Muntons, through its combination of high population density and local consumers with a strong affinity for the taste of malt,” the company said. “In Asia, malted beverages are often consumed as cold, refreshing drinks, rather than the more usual relaxing bedtime tipple we know in the UK, as the blend of complex sugars, naturally present in malted milk drinks, provide a useful slow energy release.”
Muntons said it has a locally-based new product development team which is helping ot shape products made in the newly-acquired plant to meet the exacting needs of the local market. Its aim is to ensure the Asian-made products have world-wide appeal, strengthening the company’s global reach.
Muntons boss Mark Tyldesley said: “This is an exciting move for us and marks the beginning of a new chapter for our Thailand factory.”