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Thai firm mulls whisky factory in Cambodia

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Cambodian ambassador to Thailand Ouk Sorphorn (third from left) visits KTIS Group to learn about its production line of sugar and ethanol refined from sugarcane. Photo supplied

Thai firm mulls whisky factory in Cambodia

Thailand’s largest agro-industrial company, Kaset Thai International Sugar Corp Pcl (KTIS Group), is interested in investing in a whisky distillery in Cambodia, according to Cambodian Ambassador to Thailand Ouk Sorphorn.

The company expressed its interest during a visit by Sorphorn last week. He was visiting to learn about KTIS Group’s production line of sugar and ethanol refined from sugarcane.

He said during the visit he urged company representatives to expand business operations in Cambodia to take advantage of its special economic zones and the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which will be signed this year.

“In response, KTIS representatives expressed interest in investing in the establishment of a factory in Cambodia to produce spirits,” Sorphorn said.

Chan Davy, the founder of Far East Import Export Co Ltd, a local brewery and whisky exporter incorporated on April 30, 2018, told The Post on Tuesday that such a development would not affect the local market. She said the project would help create job opportunities.

“To my understanding, investing in setting up a distillery in Cambodia will not affect the local alcohol market. We’ll boast more products and better market competition,” she said.

Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation spokesman Oum Sotha told The Post in April that the government is attracting local and foreign investors and encouraging investment in all kinds of food and beverage processing plants to curb imports.

“Of course, whisky is not a necessary product, but as long as the demand in the domestic and export markets is there and we’re able to foster a competitive marketplace, Cambodia should allow the establishment of this type of factory as a practical investment,” he said.

The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) has approved two brewery projects this year.

In June, it approved Vattanac Brewery Co Ltd’s $87 million brewery project in Prek Eng commune’s Roboh Angkanh village in Phnom Penh’s southeastern Chbar Ampov district, which the CDC said would provide 899 jobs.

In April, it approved Hanuman Beverages Co Ltd’s $160.6 million brewery and beverage factory project in Chhak Chhoeu Neang commune’s Trapaing Veng village in Kandal province’s western Ang Snuol district, which the CDC said would create 1,545 jobs.

There were 10 breweries and beverage factories registered with the industry ministry, it reported earlier in April.

They include Ana Water and Smiler Beverage Co Ltd, Asian Sunrise Co Ltd, Cambodia Brewery Ltd (CBL), Cambrew Ltd, Daun Penh Food & Beverage Co Ltd, Khmer Beverage Co Ltd, Far East Import Export Co Ltd, Kingdom Breweries (Cambodia) Limited, Media GB Enterprise Co Ltd and Phnom Penh Beer Co Ltd.

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