On 15th January, Thai Hoa Production and Trading Co. Ltd., Vietnam’s leading coffee producer, signed a Euro 10 million agreement with GEA Niro for the supply of equipment for the uninterrupted processing of agglomerated instant coffee from Arabica green beans.

The ceremony was held at the Conference Centre in Hanoi and attended by approximately 80 guests including Mr. Ho Xuan Hung the Deputy Minister for Rural and Agricultural Development and Mr. Erik Ovesen the Commercial Consul of the Danish Embassy in Hanoi.

The plant is already under construction near the city of De Lat in Lam Dong province. In his speech Mr. Nguyen Van An, Thai Hoa’s owner, said that the plant was the first coffee processing plant in Vietnam to be located within a plantation helping to provide a regular income for the local farmers that is not so susceptible to the fluctuations in the market price for green beans seen in recent years.

In an interview immediately after the ceremony Mr. An was very clear about the reasons for choosing GEA Niro as a partner for this important project. He explained that his company had considerable experience in the coffee business and understood what was needed for good quality. The company had made a very careful study of the available equipment suppliers in Germany, Italy and Denmark before deciding upon GEA Niro as the preferred partner. “We know that GEA Niro is a famous company that supplies equipment in many countries in Vietnam and elsewhere in Asia,” he said. An important factor in Mr. An’s decision was the successful GEA Niro plant installed 8 years ago for the Vinacafe Bien Hoa Joint Stock Co in Dong Nai Province in Vietnam. “By using GEA Niro we know that we will have good quality equipment, good technology and a good quality product for future export.”

Mr. Erik Ovesen said that Vietnam is becoming more prosperous and trade between Denmark and Vietnam is therefore growing by about 50% a year. “I believed to be the largest ever contract between Denmark and Vietnam in the agricultural sector and confirms Thai Hoa’s movement into the instant coffee market,” he said.

The plant will be in production at the end of 2009, will produce 300kg an hour of agglomerated instant coffee and will employ 250 local people in both skilled and unskilled roles.