SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Singapore-based Interflour Group (Interflour), one of the producers of the finest flour in the world, commenced on Tuesday the construction of its Philippine mill in Freeport as part of its expansion program to meet the flour needs in South-East Asia .
The ground-breaking ceremony was attended by Interflour managing director and chief executive Greg Harvey, Subic Bay Gateway Park president Jeff Lin, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia, Interflour Group COO Jack Joseph Cwach, Mabuhay Interflour Mill Inc. (MIMI) president Angel Umali, MIMI general manager Vicente Magbanua, SBMA Deputy Administrator for Investment Ronnie Yambao, and SBMA COO Joven Reyes.
“The entry of Interflour in Subic Freeport is a big sign of the vibrancy of the Freeport today,” said SBMA Chairman Garcia, adding that Subic has increased its revenue collection by 15 percent this year.
Further, Garcia said that the flour mill facility will help realize the vision for Subic to become an international hub in Asia.
He noted that with the flour mill now in Subic, time and expenses incurred in hauling and transporting flour from Metro Manila to parts of Central and Northern Luzon would be reduced to as much as 50 percent.
In June 2014, Interflour signed a 50-year lease contract with SBMA, paving the way for the construction of the flour mill under the business name Mabuhay Interflour Mill Incorporated (MIMI), at a committed investment of US$30 million.
This will also mean additional revenue for SBMA, estimated to reach P5.5 million a year, for the use of ports for transport ships (usually Panamax vessels) coming from wheat-growing countries, primarily Australia, United States, and Canada, as well as Europe and the Black Sea countries.
Harvey explained that Interflour will engage in milling wheat into food flour for sale direct to consumers, distributors, and retailers in the country and for exports.
The Philippines is essential to the development of the flour industry and is one of the biggest flour markets in Asia.
The new mill in Subic, he said, is capable of producing 500 metric tons a day of the finest flour intended for the local market, particularly in Central and Northern Luzon.
“We hope to bring to the country affordable but high quality flour to help local bakeshop entrepreneurs,” Harvey said.
He added that the milling facility to be constructed in a 5.2-hectare lot inside the Subic Bay Gateway Park Phase II is expected to be completed in early 2017.
During construction period, more than 500 workers will be employed, while during commercial operation, the flour mill will need more 100 personnel, Harvey said.
Interflour Group is one of the biggest flour milling companies in the world with nine flour mills located in Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Turkey with a combined wheat milling capacity of around 6,400 tons per day, which is equivalent to 1.6 million tons of flour produced each year.
It holds international certifications, manifesting its world-class technology, including Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Halal Certification. It also has ISO 22000:2005/HACCP and ISO 9001:2008 for constantly providing its customers with optimum and consistent quality products and know-how.