Touchwood enters the next phase of growth

Thursday, 27 September 2012 03:22 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Touchwood has often been hailed as South East Asia’s most prolific agro-forestry investment company. Over the past 13 years, Touchwood has been sharpening its skills and experience in agro-forestry and forestry investments. It has earned itself a reputation, not only as a successful commercial enterprise, but also more importantly as a sustainable business that is built on the precepts of people, planet and profit.

Founded in 1999 as a “seedling”, Touchwood has grown to become a pioneer in managed forestry investment in the Asia Pacific region.

The Touchwood story harkens back to Sri Lankan entrepreneur Roscoe Maloney who was inspired to act creatively to what he considered to be a growing global need; the conundrum of increasing demand for timber despite diminishing forestry cover. His inspired action saw Touchwood foray into the lucrative and yet sustainable business of agro forestry and forestry investment by growing trees with a high commercial value while preserving old-growth forests. Over the years, Touchwood grew rapidly to become an international group of companies with 43 plantations comprising of 4,500 acres of high-value trees spread throughout two countries.

Latterly, Touchwood as a group secured a further 28,000 acres of harvest-ready plantations in Cambodia. Touchwood Investments PLC located in Sri Lanka – has been awarded the contract to establish oversee and maintain the entirety of the plantation acreage. Whilst 22,000 acres will be replanted with high-value trees, Touchwood Group will stay true to its philosophy of sustainable business by maintaining 5,800 acres as an ecological preservation for flora and fauna.

Replanting is also expected to greatly enhance carbon sequestration from the plantation.

In the face of these successes, Touchwood now looks to a new phase of growth. “Touchwood is on the brink of greater successes. I am proud to announce that Flooring factory is commissioned. We are now able to fully focus on agro forestry and plantation management, and intensify our down-streaming strategies for value addition,” said Maloney.

In late May 2012, Touchwood commissioned a wooden flooring factory and is presently undertaking preliminary sales. With an intention to establish a showroom network in Sri Lanka, Touchwood is also encouraged by the tremendous demand prevalent, globally, for biodegradable flooring. Initially, the product is to be marketed internationally via Touchwood’s existing sales infrastructure in Thailand.

It is not only commercial performance that is perpetuated by Touchwood’s strategy of value addition. “Indeed, we firmly believe that through value-addition we can further optimise on opportunities to do business sustainably. Our flooring product, for example, is 100% biodegradable and therefore essentially a sustainable product. We are hopeful that will inspire consumers to think green and opt for green flooring and building alternatives. As a renewable product, it also holds great promise in the international flooring market,” notes Maloney.

In addition, the Group is also engaged in the construction of a production facility in Thailand for the processing of Agar wood. Valued in many cultures for its distinctive fragrance, Agar wood is used for incense and perfumes and yields high returns due to the relative rarity of Agar wood and depletion of the wild resource. In pursuing this strategy of diversification, Touchwood is in discussions with firms with large land holding in Bangladesh and Vietnam, with a view to offer plantation management and consultancy services.

“These new developments, specifically our down-stream production, position us in great strength. We are extremely confident of our ability to create great wealth for all of our stakeholders,” states Maloney, concluding, “Indeed, we have been well rooted for exceptional growth.”