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Published on April 7th, 2009 | by ebalkan

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Westward Ho! Hong Kong Tycoon to Invest in Africa-based Biofuels


Hong Kong magnate Stanley Ho is at it again. Not formulating a “Ho Plan” for Hong Kong energy security that centers around wind power, as the growing similarities between him and T. Boone Pickens might suggest. Stanley Ho’s investment du jour, while on par with his recently established eco-trend, will not be in Asia. Rather, the biofuel play will be located off of the Western coast of Africa.

Geocapital, a Macau-based investment holding company started in 2007 and comprised of partner investors Stanley Ho and Jorge Ferro Ribeiro, is in negotiations with the Government of Cape Verde to install a biofuels research and development center on the African archipelago, Portugal’s Lusa news agency recently reported.

The pair hopes to take advantage of Cape Verde’s experience producing biofuels from jatropha, a crop that yields ten times the output of corn plants. Jatropha-based biofuel is considered one of the best candidates for future biofuel production, and has already been successfully tested as a substitute for jet fuel in commercial airplanes. The poisonous seed has a long history as a fuel source: in the early 1900s, it was exported to France and Portugal for use in streetlamps.

Ho and Ribeiro plan to plant jatropha in Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique, where they also own biofuel production facilities, later this year, and start producing the biofuels within two or three years.

Ho hopes to become one of the world’s top investors in biofuels, pledging nearly US$40 billion over the next ten years in biofuel production throughout Portugese-speaking countries. According to his firm’s estimates, Geocapital’s production is expected to reach 14 million tons per year within 10 to 15 years, roughly one-tenth worldwide production.

As long as oil prices remain at their current levels, however, Ho’s biofuel play alone will not soon restore him from his current ranking of #703 on the Forbes billionaires list, to within the top 150, where he previously reigned. Perhaps he should consider drafting a “Ho Plan” for Hong Kong, or China, just to be safe.

Photo Credit: MyPhotoIg via Flickr



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3 Responses to Westward Ho! Hong Kong Tycoon to Invest in Africa-based Biofuels

  1. leafman says:

    For political reason Mr. Stanley Ho will become China’s agent to manipulate World Biofuel production. For instance, Li Ka Shing demonstrated as China’s agent for worldwide harbour management via Hutchison Whampoa Ltd.

  2. chumroen Bnechavitvilai says:

    This is a great surprise that the heavy weight invester like Ho group will be entering into the Jatropha plantation project.

    Currently there are still many unknown factors for the captive managed plantation of this eenrgy crop.

    None can provide the hard fact with testimonial support of the real productivity secured yield of this plant.
    Only any speculation and estimation without the academic study
    Accrding to the current situation and technology in jatropha plantation.It is imposisble to be econimical viable in comemrcial scale.

    The high labor intensive for this crop without any possible mechanical equipments especially the manual hand pick in harvesting.

    There is not doubt that Jatropha will be able to yield the Crude Vegetable Oil which is best among all other candidtaes for energy purpose.
    The question is the cost to have the CJO from Jatropha will be econmical viable or not due to the relatively very low yoeld (now) and the high labor cost involved in teh cultivation.

    I am wonder how Mr Stanley Ho would enter into this ebergy crop without the areness of these key issues.

  3. Komba Sumana says:

    I want to be a partner to Westward Ho to invest in Biofuel in Sierra Leone as will convince my government to see the need for such business.

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