Indonesia: Sinar Mas says it is 'victimized' in recent forest fires

Khoirul Amin, thejakartapost.com 1 Mar 16;

Diversified conglomerate Sinar Mas has claimed it was a victim in the recent forest fires that affected not only the nation, but also neighboring countries Singapore and Malaysia.

Sinar Mas managing director G. Sulistiyanto said on Tuesday that rival companies had put the blame on his firm as they were worried its soon-to-be launched pulp and tissue mills would make market competition stiffer.

“How could we burn an industrial forest that we built ourselves?” he said during a meeting with Industry Minister Saleh Husin at the PT OKI Pulp and Paper Mills industrial complex in Ogan Komering Ilir regency, South Sumatra.

OKI is Sinar Mas' largest pulp business arm and is set to start operating what it claims will be one of the largest pulp mills in Asia in October this year.

The pulp mill will produce 2 million tons of pulp annually, with some 80 percent expected to be exported.

The company also targets to start the construction of a tissue plant, with the capacity to produce 500,000 tons of tissues a year.

The two plants will occupy 1,700 hectares land, with total investment of US$3 billion. The two plants are forecast to have a combined export value of $1.5 billion.

A number of Singaporean retailers previously withdrew their paper and tissue products from Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), another subsidiary of Sinar Mas Group, because of the company’s alleged involvement in Indonesia's recent forest fires. (bbn)

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