There will be no Redundancy of SDPL Takeover

 ‘’With reference to the recent news on the transition of Sime Darby Plantation Liberia (SDPL) to a new owner, MANO Palm Oil Industries (MPOI), Sime Darby Plantation Berhad (SDP) would like to confirm that we are divesting our 100% equity stake in SDPL to MPOI. Both parties have finalised the terms and conditions of this divestment exercise via a Sale & Purchase Agreement (SPA), and are targeting the legal completion of this transaction in the first quarter of 2020. The approval from the Government of Liberia (GOL) for the divestment to proceed as such has also been obtained.

SDP would like to clarify that this take-over exercise will not involve any redundancy of SDPL’s current employees. The new buyer will honour its commitment for continued employment of all SDPL’s employees and as such, questions on severance payment do not arise. SDP believes the new owner acknowledges the importance of maintaining existing well trained workforce. The new owner has also given its commitment to honour all contractual commitments made with the local communities in our Memorandum of Understanding, Memorandum of Agreement and Concession Agreement.

As part of SDP’s commitment to a smooth transition of ownership, there will be a 12-month period of transition for a proper transfer of knowledge to the new owner. SDP will assign our existing expatriates with operational expertise and experience to ensure that the new owner will be able to continue running the operations and managing relationship with existing stakeholders with minimal disruption. MPOI technical competencies will be reviewed progressively and existing local talents will be strengthened. Out-grower expertise will also be deployed to expedite the out-growers and community oil palm scheme.

SDP has left an indelible legacy here in Liberia, not just in the development of palm oil operations but also in making a positive socio-economic impact to local communities.

SDP is proud of our legacy in developing 10,401 hectares of oil palm plantation and the human resources capabilities (including estate managers, engineers, executives and staff) to enable the new owner  to continue running the operations and offer continued employment for communities surrounding SDPL’s estates.

SDPL operates one mill with the current capacity of 35MT/hr located in Grand Cape Mount. The average age profile of the trees is 6 – 8 years old, with the oldest being 8 years old and latest planting activity took place in March 2019. Currently, the estates are producing an average yield of 2 MT/ha of oil and FFB volume of 10 MT/ha.

SDP has also developed fundamental facilities such as schools, houses, roads, clinics and important amenities like hand pumps and latrines that will continue to benefit and be used by SDPL employees and surrounding local communities.

We believe the new owner MPOI is excited to continue the journey where SDP has left off and it would be in their interest, as well as the interest of this country and Liberians to ensure the success of this venture moving forward.

MPOI, a company that is majority-owned by Mano Manufacturing Company (MANCO)  has been a very proud business partner and a primary buyer of SDPL’s Crude Palm Oil (CPO) since 2016. In addition, MANCO is a local Liberian company with more than 50 years of experience, which gives them the leverage of operating in the region.

The new owner, MPOI in their testimony is committed to upholding the sustainability agenda by remaining in full compliance to the RSPO principles and reactivating the Out growers’ Programme for the community and forest conservation.

SDP would like to reiterate our commitment towards a Responsible Exit from Liberia. SDP and new owner are committed to a responsible transfer of ownership. All current businesses will continue “as-is-basis” with only SDPL’s ownership changing hands to MPOI.

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About Cholo Brooks 12532 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.