There can be no doubt that Gardenia Bakeries (K.L.) Sdn. Bhd. (“Gardenia - So Good You Can Even Eat It On Its Own”) has arrived at its pre-eminent pole position in the bread supply industry in Malaysia, through sheer hard work and fair competition, a hallmark and cornerstone of free markets and democracy.
Growing consumer awareness called for better bread formulation, choice and manufacturing, storage, distribution and storage hygiene standards. It's no accident Gardenia bread does not go mouldy easily or quickly. New and modern factories had to be built brick by brick from scratch. New industry standards and systems had to be set up and staff recruited and trained for ISO and Halal certification. True entrepreneurship and free market competition, like genius, is all about 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration!
The profits derived from such dominance were bound to invite new players hoping to chip away at Gardenia’s market share, even with the daunting entry barrier of upwards of RM100 million for a start-up brand new bakery production plant and factory. Factor in the cost of setting up a national distribution system which puts fresh bread on the shelves of hypermarkets, supermarkets and mini marts daily, and you will begin to understand that this is no game for rank amateurs, small boys or those hoping to make a quick buck and run.
- Gardenia is 70% owned by QAF Ltd. which is publicly listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. The remaining 30% shareholding was sold to BERNAS at a premium in 2001, in line with MITI’s conditions for granting Gardenia a manufacturing licence. This was long, long before Syed Mokhtar took control of BERNAS via Tradewinds in 2009 and Rosmah was anywhere within sight of Putrajaya!
- Since 1986 when Gardenia set up operations in Malaysia, it has invested over RM800 million in 5 (fully halal compliant) plant and manufacturing facilities, all in Shah Alam in the Kelang Valley.
- Currently, Gardenia employs about 2,500 personnel, 2,200 of whom comprise Malaysians. The CEO of the company and top managers and staff are all also Malaysians. The company does not employ Singaporeans or any other nationals, other than 300 foreign workers engaged in the production, packaging and distribution lines.
- Although, in view of its 30% shareholdings,
Bernas has board of directors representation in Gardenia, it has NEVER interfered in Gardenia’s
operations or management, nor ever forced it to buy flour from Syed
Mokhtar-controlled companies. In fact, in over 25 years of production, Gardenia has not bought a single gram of flour from any flour mill owned by Bernas, Syed Mokhtar Bukhari or UMNO.
- Four out of seven directors on the board of directors of Gardenia (including 2 from Bernas) are Malaysians. A quick check at the Companies Commission of Malaysia will confirm this for a fact.
- Gardenia has not bought any flour from Federal Flour Mills (FFM) owned by the Robert Kuok Group, for over 10 years!!! Therefore, the vicious and deliberately falsified and concocted information circulated in November 2011 that Bernas or Syed Mokhtar Bukhari or Rosmah or UMNO had suddenly instructed Gardenia to terminate business with FFM has absolutely no basis whatsoever!
- Every bread company has its own secret flour formulations and ingredients for its range of products - white bread, wholemeal, bun, waffle etc. Gardenia decided to part ways with FFM shortly after 1998 when FFM took to also supplying formulated flour to Gardenia’s new competitor. Gardenia then shifted its orders to other flour millers as they felt there was a conflict of interest issue with FFM which could not be resolved.
- Clearly, Gardenia’s move to turn to other local flour millers as far back as 1998 was a commercial and business decision, to protect its trade secrets. The question of race had no bearing whatsoever on its strategic directions then, or even now.
- In any event, Gardenia had got wind of FFM’s intentions to launch its own brand of bread before they actually did in 2011. Only a fool would allow his competitors to prosper at his own expense!
Was Rober Kuok arm-twisted? Made an offer he could not refuse? Possibly. But he did get paid market price for his shares, if that's any consolation. It would also be pertinent to point out that our government has been subsidising flour, oil and sugar for the last 50 years, to the tune of billions of ringgit every year. Guess whose businesses have been some of the happy beneficiaries of these taxpayer-funded largesse?
These racists are also doing a great disservice to themselves and insulting ALL Malaysians by posting UK 'dead rat in bread' pictures on the Internet and Facebook, implying recklessly falsely that Gardenia bread is unhygienic and poisonous. How low can they get!
The milking of racist sentiments to corner profits is a hallmark of typical Malaysian fraudtrepreneurs and their croneys who cannot go to the toilet without demanding an all-risks free government-guaranteed handout. In that respect, Gardenia comes out smelling of sweet roses with full marks for entrepreneurship, competitive spirit, corporate social responsibility and a truly successful company.