Michelin, which previously held 49% shares, has bought a further 51% of the capital of Royal Lestari Utama (RLU), a joint venture with Barito Pacific Group, thus becoming the sole owner of RLU. The project, which was launched in 2015, aims at creating the right conditions for the production of sustainable natural rubber over a wide area of 70,000 hectares in Sumatra, in the Jambi province, and 18,000 hectares in Borneo, in the East Kalimantan province. These territories suffered great damage and deforestation before Michelin and its Indonesian partner got involved.
With the takeover, the Group reasserts its trust in the project and the long-term vision it requires. The substantial work carried out since 2015, which has been widely documented, has led to a number of social and environmental improvements.
For nearly six years, after significant preparation work, rubber trees were planted over more than 23,000 hectares, and 39,000 hectares were preserved notably to develop agroforestry activities and subsistence agriculture. The project also includes a social dimension, consistently aiming at improving living standards for 50,000 inhabitants, by creating approximately 4,000 jobs, training farmers to rubber tree growing and diversifying crops.