UAE-based leading food packaging manufacturer, Hotpack Global is all set to make a $95.29 million (AED350 million) investment in Malaysia over the next decade to build ten biodegradable packaging plants.
Hotpack Global will partner with Free The Seed Sdn Bhd, a Malaysian manufacturer of biodegradable products from rice straw, facilitated by the Malaysian Bioeconomy Development Corporation, for this project.
Work on the first plant, the first-ever Hotpack manufacturing unit in Malaysia and Southeast Asia has already underway with a groundbreaking ceremony in Gurun, Kedah, led by YB Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee, Malaysian Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI).
The new plant will produce 70 million units of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) packaging products per year.
The commitment made by Hotpack is a major outcome of the bilateral trade enhancement programs which were initiated by the Malaysian Investment Authority at the Expo 2020 Dubai. The Hotpack-Free the Seed association was facilitated by a business matching initiative by the Malaysian Government at Expo 2020.
The engagement was initiated during the MAFI’s sustainable agriculture week at the Malaysia pavilion in the presence of Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
“We are pleased that the efforts and commitment made during the Expo 2020 Dubai have fostered this significant global cooperation, which will potentially transform Malaysia into a leading biodegradable hub in Southeast Asia. This project is in collaboration with Hotpack is creating massive opportunities for sustainable development including 1,200 jobs for people over a period of 10 years and transform Malaysia into a leading biodegradable hub in the Southeast Asia.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Abdul Jebbar PB, Group Managing Director of Hotpack Global, remarked that, “We are glad to venture into Malaysian manufacturing sector by partnering with Free The Seed by investing AED 350 million in this project. We have also struck a deal with local Malaysian farmers to ensure a steady supply of agricultural raw materials. With this project, we will manufacture and provide a new line of biodegradable products for its global markets, including Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.”
“This project, a result of our engagement with Malaysian pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, will establish our presence in Southeast Asia with our first factory in Malaysia as part of our 2025 strategy. We expect this would position us as one of the world’s top five producers of disposable food packaging products leading sustainable packaging solutions in the next three years. We have been awarded bio-based accelerator status that enabled us to enjoy various incentives from the Government of Malaysia,” Hotpack Group MD further added.
For his part, Mr. Anvar PB, Technical Director of Hotpack stated that, “The project will leverage Free the Seed’s innovative technology solutions for biodegradable products, helping Hotpack implement them in their sustainable packaging solutions model. The factory will produce biodegradable food packaging products by recycling diverse agricultural waste like rice straw, pineapple leaves, bagasse (pulpy fibrous material that remains after crushing sugarcane) and other agro-biomass materials.”
The Hotpack Technical Director further added that, “We will augment our customer’s pursuit for effective ESG (environmental, social, and governance) and sustainability initiatives with these new factories. We are committed to meet our Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by helping others do the same.”
Construction of the first 3,200 sq m production plant in Gurun, Kedah will begin in May and is slated to complete in August this year. This plant itself will create 300 job opportunities among the skilled and semi-skilled workforce.
Through the partnership, Free The Seed becomes a technology and operational partner for Hotpack, providing raw materials, expertise, workforce, and technical capabilities. The initiative will facilitate produce biodegradable packaging using more diverse agricultural wastes like pineapple leaves and other agro-biomass materials.