November 16, 2018 / 12:25 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Singapore's Wilmar may invest in soybean production in Russia

(Adds Wilmar comment)

MOSCOW, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Singapore-listed commodity trader Wilmar International Ltd may invest in soybean production and processing and transhipment of soybean concentrates in Russia’s Far East, a regional ministry said on Thursday.

Wilmar’s long-term investment programme in the Far East has been developed with Russian support, the ministry for the development of the Far East said in a statement, summing up meetings between officials and potential investors on the sidelines of a regional conference in Singapore, which President Vladimir Putin attended this week.

The ministry said the potential long-term investment as part of the programme could reach $732 million, but so far the investor was ready for the first stage of the project, which requires only 680 million roubles ($10 million) to start soybean production on 10,000 hectares.

The longer-term project includes production of soybeans on ​​600,000 hectares in the far eastern region of Primorsk, the construction of two plants for soybean processing with a capacity of 500,000 tonnes-600,000 tonnes a year and the construction of elevators and a port terminal for transhipment of soybean concentrates and oil, the Russian ministry said.

“We are very interested in investing in the Russian Far East as there is plenty of good land and it is close to China where there is a big demand for soybeans,” Wilmar said in an email to Reuters. It said it planned to start the project with 10,000 hectares.

“If the project is successful and we are given more land, the investment will grow to involve building processing plants, storage and port facilities,” it said, adding that it will work with both Russian and Chinese partners.

Wilmar did not specify how much it would invest and said there was no timeline to the project.

The ministry declined to comment on the possible timetable for the project and whether Wilmar would be a single investor in the project.

$1 = 66.6207 roubles Reporting by Olga Popova in Moscow; additional reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore; writing by Polina Devitt; Editing by David Evans and Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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