Mersey palm oil refinery reports revenues of £284.5m

A palm oil refinery located on the banks of the River Mersey is reporting a surge in annual revenues to £284.5m with pre-tax profits almost trebling. Tony McDonough reports

SD Guthrie
SD Guthrie International palm oil refinery in Liverpool


A palm oil refinery in Liverpool’s northern docklands is reporting an almost 10% rise in annual revenues to £284.5m.

SD Guthrie International, which until earlier this year was known as Sime Darby Oils, also saw profits for the year to December 31, 2023, almost triple to £20.5m. The company has just filed its annual accounts on Companies House.

Located on Regent Road, close to Huskisson Dock, the refinery was first set up as New Britain Palm Oils on the site in 2010. It was claimed to be Europe’s first dedicated palm oil refinery and saw initial investment of £40m.

In 2015, the facility was acquired by Malaysia-based Sime Darby Plantation for just over £1bn. In May this year Sime Darby changed its name to SD Guthrie International. It operates across Europe, Asia and Africa.

Palm oil is a type of vegetable oil and is a key ingredient in countless consumer food and personal care products. They include cakes, biscuits and chocolate as well as shampoo and detergents. It is the most widely-used vegetable oil in the world.

However, over the years it has been associated with deforestation and threats to wildlife and a contributor to climate change in countries such as Borneo and Sumatra. Species such as orangutans and rare birds have been threatened by the destruction of their habitats.

In a bid to clean up its act the industry has moved towards a more sustainable model. A number of producers are now members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). This is a voluntary scheme and members commit to the lowest environmental impact possible.


Habitats of animals such as the orangutan are threatened by deforestation


SD Guthrie International is a fully signed up member of RSPO and so its plantations are regularly audited to ensure it meets the appropriate standards.

As well as supplying oil directly to food producers and personal care product manufacturers, the Liverpool refinery also produces its own branded range of frying oils and bakery ingredients.

In the year covered by the latest accounts the refinery saw employee numbers rise from 81 in 2022 to just over 100 in 2023.

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A number of capital projects were started at the Liverpool site in 2023. These included an increase in refined oil storage capacity, which was completed in early 2024. The business is also set to expand its processing facilities and storage.

In the report, the directors said: “Considering the volatile commodity trading conditions during the year under review, the directors consider the performance of the business to be commendable.”

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