Sime Darby Launches Innovation Centre Europe

State-of-the-art facility includes R&D application kitchen, high tech laboratories and new food grade oil processing pilot plant to provide food industrywith shorter lead times and reduced complexity

Zwijndrecht, 6 October, 2010 – Sime Darby, the world’s largest listed plantation company, launched Sime Darby Innovation Centre Europe (ICE) in Zwijndrecht, the Netherlands, underlining the Malaysian company’s commitment to innovation and technology. Located within the premises of its European unit Sime Darby Unimills BV, ICE was launched jointly by Neelie Kroes, the Vice-President of the European Commission, and Dato’ Mohd Bakke Salleh, Sime Darby's Acting President & Group Chief Executive.

“This is a proud day for Sime Darby Unimills and the rest of the Sime Darby Group as we have always believed that innovation is a critical element to our success,” says Dato’ Bakke.

Sime Darby has two other Innovation Centres: Innovation Centre Africa in Boksburg, South Africa and Innovation Centre Asia in Johor, Malaysia. The Group has committed between 2% and 3% of its annual turnover to innovation.

“Our new Innovation Centre in the Netherlands not only proves that we seek to understand what drives our customers, it also shows Sime Darby’s long term commitment to sustainable innovation here in Europe,” adds Dato’ Bakke.

Today’s consumers are increasingly conscious of their diets. They want tasty food products that are healthy and safe, based on responsibly produced natural ingredients. With the rapid change of constant consumer demands, Sime Darby aims to anticipate these changes through its global expansion of innovative efforts. The new Innovation Centre features state-of-the-art laboratories and analytical equipment, R&D application kitchen and a unique oil processing pilot plant.

ICE is part of a bigger investment programme to improve the quality and expand capacity which also includes a new loading hall for trucks delivering the products to customers. The new loading hall is equipped with state-of-the-art computerized telescopic bottom loading technology which helps maximize quality and shelf-life of the products.

Sime Darby’s Head of Innovation Centres, Gerhard de Ruiter, says ICE is an important part of the company’s business strategy going forward in Europe.

“ICE reflects today and tomorrow’s operating environment. It is an important next step in the execution of our global strategy to serve our customers for whom integrated partnerships for better and quicker product innovation at the lowest cost are paramount,” says de Ruiter.

He notes that Sime Darby’s approach to innovation stood out positively against the competition, in that it is transparent.

“The company is convinced that the best way to develop new products that feed into customers’ needs is to develop them in close cooperation with the customers. Our innovation team has eradicated the complexity that is often linked to innovative processes. Our expertise in vegetable oil sciences and processing techniques complements our approach. The result is the best vegetable oil-based ingredient that meets the specifications of the customer, and the cooperation means it gets done faster,” adds de Ruiter.

Alexander van der Klauw, Managing Director of Sime Darby Unimills, adds that this unique innovation model is attractive to the industry.

“Our clients have always chosen us for our open and customer focused innovation process, and our ability to provide them with a sophisticated network of expertise, stretching from our trees to their tables,” says van der Klauw.

Sime Darby’s global team of scientists operates as one. They combine a heritage of best practices in agriculture with centuries of expertise in vegetable oil processing and functionality.

For more information on Sime Darby Unimills, click here to visit the website.
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