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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 13): Ekovest Bhd's 30.44%-owned associate PLS Plantations Bhd said today its durian business returns can "easily overtake" its oil palm plantation earnings as PLS embarks on its upstream durian cultivation expansion.

PLS executive director Lee Hun Kheng said the company, which derives the bulk of its earnings from oil palm plantation, foresees its durian business becoming its main revenue driver in the next six to seven years.

Returns from the durian business can “easily overtake the palm oil business,” he told reporters after PLS' extraordinary general meeting here today.

Lee said the durian segment currently contributes some 26% of PLS' total earnings. He said the 26% contribution is only from the downstream segment, which involves trading of processed durian products.

In terms of capital expenditure, Lee said the company had spent some RM80 million for its downstream durian business, while about RM90 million will be earmarked for its upstream durian plantation operations.

Currently, PLS has some 32,000ha (80,000 acres) of plantation land, of which about 480ha (1,200 acres) is planted with durians.

Lee said PLS is looking to buy some 80ha (200 acres) of existing durian plantation land within the next two years to expand the company's upstream durian business.

At Bursa Malaysia today, PLS shares were traded unchanged at 71 sen at 3:18pm, valuing the company at RM249 million. PLS saw 57,100 shares traded.

http://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/ekovest-associate-pls-says-durian-returns-can-easily-overtake-oil-palm-earnings
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