Belgium eyes Malaysia for Manufacturing, R&D and Distribution

The visit by a 300-strong Belgian economic delegation to Malaysia from November 22-26 is geared towards exploring opportunities for establishing manufacturing, research and development (R&D), and distribution operations in the country. The economic delegation is being led by Belgium's Princess Astrid.
Jeroen Direkx, managing director (derivatives) of Oleon NV, a leading Belgian company told Bernama that his organisation had been operating in Malaysia for a long time. The company converts vegetable oils into fatty acids and then into ethers. Its biggest market is the lubricant sector.
"We are also active in oil-field chemicals and collaborate with Petronas. Oleon is also active in other applications such as the beauty industry and food additives," he added.
He said Oleon was taking its Malaysian presence to the next level by setting up a R&D centre with an investment of between 4.5 million to five million euros (RM18.8-21 million).
"We are keen to peg down our costs by setting up a R&D centre in Malaysia where it is cost-efficient. Asia is also a fast-growing market, particularly in the applications sector. The cosmetics industry, for example, varies from country to country, depending on consumer tastes. Many of our Asian customers can be served from our Malaysian and Asean operations," explained Direkx, who is also headed for Malaysia. 
The proposed R&D centre is projected to be a 'satellite' to the company's Novance Innovation Centre in France, which assumes a crucial role for the French Group Sofiprotel, that owns Oleon.
Another company in the delegation is Lhoist, which was given a manufacturing licence by Malaysia in 2007 to produce calcium carbonate quicklime, slaked lime and hydrated lime.
Lhoist was also given approval in 2013 to set up a laboratory, a regional lime-application development centre in Perak. A toxic-waste purification plant is also planned in the Klang Valley.
Belgium is also looking at cooperation in the halal food industry and will seek partnerships with Malaysian companies. Belgium has developed a halal industry to cater to the needs of its Muslim population. Belgian companies are reportedly interested in collaborating with the Halal Development Corporation for this purpose.
Besides the corporate representatives, the delegation includes Didier Reynders, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, as well as Pieter De Crem, Belgium's Secretary of State for Foreign Trade. – Bernama, November 16, 2014.
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