Intermalt in Vietnam for the long run

10:00 | 29/07/2019 Companies

(VEN) - “Vietnam’s food and beverage market is growing, offering many opportunities for malt producers and suppliers,” says Robert Wicks, General Manager, Intermalt Vietnam Ltd.

intermalt in vietnam for the long run
Robert Wicks (middle) receives BSA award in Poland

Wicks who has over 33 year of experience working in the malting industry from Australia, expects his company will increase its capacity and market share in the years to come.

Intermalt is the first and only malting plant in Southeast Asia run by Interflour. The US$75 million factory is located at the Interflour owned deep water port at Cai Mep in Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province. Since commencing operations in May 2017 the Plant is now operating at capacity of approximately 100,000 tonnes per year, supplying around 20 percent of the market in Vietnam.

Wicks says that despite early success, Intermalt Vietnam is well aware they are operating in a highly competitive market and will need to continue to improve if they are to grow as a business. Explaining why Intermalt is doing, and will do well in Vietnam, he says: “To develop a sustainable malting business in Vietnam, Interflour sought advice from industry experts such as Buhler, to create a purpose built plant, employing the latest European designed technology to ensure strict quality control throughout the process, from cleaning, steeping, germinating and kilning. Being adjacent to the Interflour bulk terminal provides Intermalt and its customers unrivalled supply chain control when importing barley. Only top quality malting barley is sourced from Australia, Argentina and Europe and having choice of origin largely eliminates the risk of drought or other seasonal factors impacting quality”.

As well as acquiring state of the art equipment, Intermalt has set about training a young and enthusiastic workforce who are mentored by Master Maltster and Operations Manager, Matthias Benz, who himself has over 25 years in the industry. He also enumerates factors that led to the choice of Vietnam for building the first malt making factory of the group.

“Vietnam is a stable country to invest in and do business. Vietnam’s beer market has had a long history of solid growth, providing Intermalt with many opportunities to provide premium malt directly to most of big beer producing companies in the country. Besides the domestic market, Intermalt is well positioned to export malt from the Cai Mep container terminal and ships about 10 percent of production to nearby markets in Southeast Asia.

Wicks believes that Intermalt will continue to do well in Vietnam.

“If the market keeps on the current growth trajectory, Intermalt should accomplish its target of expanding our factory to double capacity from 110,000 to 220,000 tonnes, which will make for an even more efficient operation.”

Recently, Intermalt Vietnam won a bronze medal at the Brewing Supply Awards 2019 (BSA) in Poland. The prestigious award recognizes outstanding businesses and innovators & technology leaders in the brewing business. The jury mentioned the plant itself as a great technical innovation. The concept of providing Vietnam’s brewers with access to freshly made malt and eliminating the need for container shipping and port clearance in a manner that most brewers in the western world have always enjoyed, was considered a supply chain innovation.

My Phung