GLG Life Tech Corporation (GLG) has started operations at two new stevia processing facilities in China. The facilities are located in the cities of Mingguang, Anhui Province and Dongtai, Jiangsu Province, China. The new plants increase the company’s total raw leaf processing capacity from an existing 5,000 metric tons to 41,000 metric tons, an increase of 720%. Original capacity estimation for the Phase 1 construction was 10,000 metric tons of capacity at each location.
After two weeks of production line testing in December 2008, GLG anticipates achieving annual throughput of an estimated 18,000 metric tons of raw leaf processing capacity at each new facility, nearly doubling projections. The higher than planned capacity increases can be attributed to conservative planning assumptions and the successful large scale testing of new and innovative technology from the company’s R&D team, which was not factored into the original capacity expectations. The improvements include significant reductions in both water usage and actual processing time.
Further, company management met with government leaders in China during the past month who expressed long-term support for GLG and its new facilities as well as its protected growing areas. These capacity developments and facilities, together with the company’s introduction of its new stevia leaf strain, increased planting for 2009 (to 2.5 billion stevia seedlings) and government support, position the company to meet the anticipated increase in market demand as a result of the recent announcement of No Objection from the FDA for the use of stevia as a general purpose sweetener in the US.
GLG chairman and chief executive officer, Luke Zhang stated, “As a pioneer in making stevia possible as an everyday all natural, zero-calorie sweetener, we are pleased that our two new facilities greatly exceed our projections. As the two largest stevia leaf processing centers in the world, we expect very positive results for GLG as we continue to grow our capacity, revenue and profitability in 2009. In addition, we are proud to work with the governments in the top stevia growing regions in the world today, the Anhui and Jiangsu provinces in China, who have expressed their continual support for our operations. GLG will continue to build its business as a world leader in the supply of high quality stevia.”