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This blog is brought to you by Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, a financial advisory services and consulting company based in Suva, Fiji.
To contact the authors of this blog, please call telephones (679) 3342719, (679) 3544897 or e-mail info@gilbert.com.fj.


Monday, February 27, 2006

New law for forests soon

Taken from an article in the Fiji Times.

A strategy to realise certified forests and wood products in Fiji after Cabinet endorsement in January, will involve developing forest management standards along accepted global guidelines and the chosen forest certification scheme.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Forests said the standards "will eventually become law in Fiji and all forest operations will be upgraded accordingly". All foreign management and downstream processing companies are free to pursue certification at their own cost.

The National Forest Certification Steering Committee has been established and is advisor to the Forestry Board. The Steering Committee has been tasked with :
  • selecting a global forest certificate scheme to adopt;
  • facilitating the development of national standards based on a globally accepted scheme;
  • submitting the agreed national standards to the selected certification scheme for accreditation.

Investment applications up

Investment registration applications received by the Fiji Islands Trade and Investment Bureau increased by 27% last year. Out of 580 applications, 520 were granted the foreign investment registration certificates. In 2004, 400 of the 458 applications were given certificates.

The Bureau said the value of these registered projects were worth F$1.17 billion compared to F$1.1 billion in 2004.

"The present political and economic stability experienced by the economy and the investment approvals reforms pursued by the government since 2003 have resulted in the growth of investor confidence", according to the Bureau.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Corporation to fund projects

Taken from an article in the Fiji Times.

Fiji Investment Corporation Limited will provide joint-venture capital to viable projects, in selected industries that may have difficulty raising funds from traditional financial sources. The industries they chose to invest in are in alignment with Government's policies and the Government's Strategic Development Plan. As such the Corporation will consider investments in the forestry sector as well as under Government's "Look North Policy".

Fiji Investment Corporation Limited will undertake a catalyst role in venture capital investments through seed capital for start-up ventures; development capital for existing ventures.

Capital will be provides in the form of equity or debt, or both, depending on the best option that minimises investment risk and maximises the returns to the Corporation, and one that allows a clear strategy.

Fiji, Brazil seal ties

Fiji has signed a joint communique with Brazil establishing full diplomatic relations between the two countries. At a ceremony in New York, on Thursday, 16 February, Fiji's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, signed the pact with Brazilian Permanent Representative.

In a statement are the ceremony, the Fiji Permanent Representative said the signing of the joint communique would see to the building of partnerships relating to transfer of technology to helping our flegling biofuels industry, advances in the conservation of forests, cooperation in ocean matters, improve the understanding of tourism, security concerns and the exchange of information in a transparent manner.

Brazil is a leading economic power in South America.

Note from GV : The opening up of diplomatic relations between Fiji and Brazil should see more interest in investment into Fiji from that country. For foreign investors needing assistance on investing or setting up business in Fiji, please contact our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, on e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or telephone +679 3396427.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Dividend

Amalgamated Telecom Holdings has paid an interim dividend of F$12.6 million or three cents per share. The company's 924 shareholders were expected to start receiving their share of the dividend from yesterday.

Its two largest shareholders, The Fiji National Provident Fund and Government, received F$7.3 million and F$4.3 million respectively.

The interim dividend was declared by ATH's board of directors early this month and was based on the company's performance for the six months ending September 30.

Note from GV : Anyone needing investment advice can contact our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, on e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or telephone +679 3396427. One of our principals is an Investment Adviser licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority in Fiji.

Big expansion for resort

Taken from an article in the Fiji Times.

Warwick International has announced a major extension of its Warwick Resort on the Coral Coast. The construction of 40 unique deluxe villas will begin in May with completion expected to be in the later half of 2007. Fifteen of the villas will share a private swimming pool while the other twenty-five will have individual dipping pools. The Warwick has already renovated 100 of its 250 rooms. It has also introduced a new expanded spa that is three times larger then its existing one. The announcement came on the eve of the opening of extensions to its sister resort, The Naviti.

Warwick International has a network of 40 hotels worldwide.

Note from GV : Foreign investors needing assistance to set up business or invest in Fiji can contact our firm, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, on e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or telephone +679 3396427.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Public-Private Partnership Bill passed

The Lower House passed the Public Private Partnership Bill yesterday. Public Private Partnership is a contractual arrangement under which the private sector agree (with Government or a public agency) to finance, construct and operate an infrastructure for an agreed period of time and transfer it to Government or the public agency concerned on expiry of the agreed period.

The contractual arrangement may be entered into the basis of BOT (build, operate and transfer), BOO (build, operate and own) or ROT (rehabilitate, operate and transfer), etc.

The Government has decided to move towards PPP to free up more of its funds normally spent on infrastructure.

As Public Enterprises Minister said, there was growing perception that the private sector had certain strengths and advantages in identified circumstances the public sector could not match.

In addition, state infrastructure had become too difficult to control and sustain when compared to what the private sector could offer.

Provisions in the Bill contain the Government's authority to undertake the PPP arrangement and laying down a statutory framework and procedures for formalising the participation of the private sector in building infrastructure in the country.

A highlight of the Bill is the makeup of an independent tenders board which has up to six members including the chairperson of the Major Tenders Board of his nominee. The Bill has provisions that state that while Cabinet could accept or reject recommendations of the Board, in cannot amend or award the contract to another tenderer.

Note from GV : Foreign companies wishing to discuss projects eligible for PPP arrangements with Government can use our company as their agents for discussions, on e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or telephone +679 3396427.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Tax benefit for listing on the South Pacific Stock Exchange

Getting the right advice is crucial for a successful stock exchange listing, the South Pacific Stock Exchange said. Services of investment bankers, accountants, tax experts and underwriters were necessary. These adviser would help one structure the appropriate listing entity, value the securities, write the offer document and underwrite the offer to ensure that it is a success.

To help companies overcome this hurdle, a tax incentive has been granted by the Government to companies that list on the South Pacific Stock Exchange since 2004. Companies are now eligible to claim, as a tax deductible expense, one and a half times (150%) the amount of costs associated with the preparations for listing on the exchange.

The following costs have been classified as those associated with listing on the South Pacific Stock Exchange for which the 150% deduction can be claimed :
  • investment advisory fees including advice on eligibility for listing; business establishment, business reorganisation and restructuring; overall management of the public offer and listing process; due diligence; securities valuation; preparation of offer documents; and road show costs;
  • legal fees involving costs associated with vetting of offer documents and general advice during restructure, offer and listing on the stock exchange;
  • accounting fees for services relating to preparation of independent accountants' reports and financial statements summaries;
  • company administration and management costs including : stamp duties; printing costs relating to the prospectus; marketing costs; stock exchange application fee; first year listing fee; costs associated with business establishment, business reorganisation and restructuring;
  • underwriting fees: brokers fees for public or private placement of the securities; or costs of any other special reports required for listing the company on the stock exchange.

Note from GV : For assistance on this, please contact us on gilbert@connect.com.fj or telephone +679 3396427.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Fiji Electricity Authority targets renewable energy

Taken from an article in the Fiji Times.

The Fiji Electricity Authority wants to be powered a 100% by renewable energy by 2011 says the Minister for Works. The comment was made at the opening of a regional workshop on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency at Nadave, Tailevu.

The Minister said that with the continued global rise in crude oil prices, it was critical for governments worldwide to use nuclear and other forms of energy.

In Fiji, Government has put in place strategies through its Strategic Development Plan on this and part of that is an ambitious goal of becoming a 100% renewable energy power utility by 2011.

The electricity authority had commissioned two new hydroelectric systems since 2004 and was working on a wind farm at Sigatoka. It was also discussing major investments in hydropower, wind energy and bio fuels with leading agencies, including the Asian Development Bank.

The Asian Development Bank had developed four proposals for Fiji's renewable energy efficiency program. These included a hydropower development in Namosi Province for village electrification and electricity sales to FEA, biofuel development using coconut oil as a diesel replacement on Rotuma, development of an "Energy Efficiency Service Company" concept and geothermal resource investigation for Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.

The week long workshop is attended by delegates from Pacific Island energy offices and power utilities.

Note from GV : The Fiji Government is encouraging businesses to be set up offering renewable energy and has special concessions/tax advantages in place for them. Foreign investors wanting assistance to set up businesses or invest in this area can contact us on gilbert@connect.com.fj or telephone +679 3396427.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Cannery opens in the capital

Taken from an article in the Fiji Times.

Investor confidence is on a high because of government support. This comment was made by the Prime Minister at a dinner to mark the official opening of Tosa Bussan (Fiji) Limited's new office and fish processing factory on Saturday.

The company is part of an expanding group of foreign investors discovering the exciting business potential of Fiji with the economy having developed strongly in the past four years.

The Tosa Bussan factory and office at Rokobili Subdivision, Walu Bay, Suva was opened by the Vice President of Fiji on Saturday.

The factory exports tuna tataki, yellow fin tuna, albacore and bigeye tuna loins for steak or sashimi which is sold to supermarkets and restaurants in Japan.

Note from GV : Foreign investors needing assistance to set up business or invest in Fiji can contact us by e-mail on gilbert@connect.com.fj or telephone +679 3396427.

F$15 million Naviti Resort Extension

Taken from an article in the Fiji Times.

Naviti Resort has completed its $15 million to its facilities and amenities. The extension sees two accommodation blocks consisting of 30 rooms and three suites, 12 deluxe one and two bedroom bungalows, a "Joy" Beauty Spa and a 1.1 million litre swimming pool with a pool bar referred to by staff as a mini-lake.

The resort said that the $15 million investment was part of its ongoing commitment to Fiji's tourism industry.

The resort also recently opened its Bamboo Terrace Chinese Restaurant. It has also updated its infrastructure with new water treatment plant, new sewage treatment plant, hot water and air-conditioning systems.

Warwick International vice-president Pacific region, Jamal Serhan, said that the new extensions were just the beginning. The resort is planning an 18 hole golf course, upgrading the resort's offshore islands and lagoon, and a total renovation of the original 140 rooms and the public areas. Plans have also been finalised for the construction of a conference centre, shopping centre, fitness centre and an additional eight rooms and four bungalows.

Mr Serhan said that "Fiji is an excellent destination that we believe will continue to grow not only tourism but the economy as a whole".

Note from GV : Foreign investors needing assistance to set up business or invest in Fiji can contact us by e-mail on gilbert@connect.com.fj or by telephone +679 3396427.

Delegation heads to NZ

Taken from an article in the Fiji Times.

A business delegation of senior Fiji Trade and Investment Board officials and representatives of five garment manufacturers will be in New Zealand this week. The mission is aimed at promoting Fiji as an alternative production base for small volume orders.

New Zealand was, at one stage, Fiji's biggest market for textiles exports. However, now New Zealand is no longer a garment manufacturing country and has shifted its focus to fashion design.

One of the mission's aims is to provide an opportunity for Fiji's garment manufacturers to reexplore the prospects of increasing textile/garment exports by meeting with wholesalers and fashion designers in New Zealand.

Foreign Investors urged to comply with laws

Taken from an article in the Fiji Times.

Investors who are not complying with the Foreign Investment Act could be penalised if the Inter-Agency Monitoring Task Force on Foreign Investment finds them at fault. The Task Force will monitor the compliance by foreign investors and investigate incidence of non-compliance by businesses.

Non-compliance with any of the legislations by a foreign investor would lead to the cancellation of the foreign investor's registration certificate, or their prosecution.

The Task Force is made up of staff from the Fiji Trade and Investment Board, Ministry of Home Affairs and National Disaster Management, the Reserve Bank of Fiji, Fiji Islands Revenue and Customs Authority, Fiji National Provident Fund and the Registrar of Companies.

Note from GV : Foreign investors needing assistance on setting up business or investing in Fiji can contact us on e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or telephone +679 3396427.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Singapore Tax Deal Good for Investment

Taken from an article in the Fiji Times.

Fiji's new taxation agreement with Singapore is expected to help attract investors from that country. Under the double taxation agreement, investors from Singapore would not be taxed in Fiji.

The Fiji Chamber of Commerce said that the new taxation agreement would create better opportunities for local investors as well as encourage more Singaporeans to set up business in Fiji.

Fiji has similar agreements with Japan, Australia, the UK, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia and Korea, to avoid international double taxation.

A similar deal may soon be reaching with India. With the recent interest by Indian investors in the audio visual, information communication technology and agricultural sectors, trade flow with India is expected to increase in future.

The agreement will be an inducement for investors in India to choose Fiji as a destination to set up business.

Note from GV : For foreign investors wishing to set up business or invest in Fiji, our company can help you with apply for and obtain all the necessary permits, licences and approval. Please e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj for further details or call +679 3396427.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Unit Trusts Attract Investors

Taken from an article in the Fiji Times.

Unit trust investments were popular with local investors, the Capital Markets Development Authority (CMDA) said. The Authority said that funds under management for all three local unit trusts grew strongly over the years.

The compound annualised growth rate (CAGR) for each of the funds exceeded 22% over the last 5 years. At the end of December 2005, local unit trust managers had a pool of investment funds totalling $162.08 million, an increase of approximately 13% compared to the previous year. This growth is quite significant when you consider that in 1996, funds are management were only $18 million.

The number of people investing in the unit trusts market has also grown considerably. By the end of December 2005, there were 12,092 unit holders. This is an increase of approximately 14% when compared to the 10,619 unit holders in the previous year.

This is a strong signal that investors are increasingly becoming aware of the benefits of investing in pooled or managed funds and presents an attractive alternative to term deposits.

Units are easy to buy and sell and are a convenient investment vehicle for investors who have limited time, money and investment expertise as the unit trust managers manage funds on their behalf. Investors can also reduce their risk as the unit trusts hold a diversified portfolio of investments.

As at the end of September, total annual returns for Unit Trust of Fiji was 13.68% made up of a dividend return of 4.67% and a growth return of 9.01%. At end December, the total return for Colonial First State International Fund was 13.13% made up of a dividend return of 4.97% and a growth return of 12.28%. For Fijian Holdings Unit Trust there was a total return of 10.51% made up of 4.61% dividend return and 5.9% growth return.

Unit Trust of Fiji, the market leader in funds under management holds around 55% of the total market share, followed by Colonial First State Managed Funds (28%) and Fijian Holdings Unit Trust (17%).

Note from GV : For assistance on investing in the local capital markets, please contact us at gilbert@connect.com.fj or call +679 3396427.

Monday, February 13, 2006

South Pacific Stock Exchange Returns Strong

Taken from an article in the Fiji Times.

Investors on the South Pacific Stock Exchange continued to earn strong returns in 2005. The top performer was Fosters Group Pacific Limited, posting a total return of more than 80% followed by nine other listed companies that recorded double digit returns for the year to December 2005.

While most of the companies demonstrated strong performance, five of the sixteen listed companies recorded negative total returns ranging from -0.96% to -5.68%, driven by capital losses in those companies' shares.

Investors in the Fosters Group were rewarded with a total return of 84.17%, significantly attributed to the improvement in FGP share price rather than dividend yields.

Flour Mills of Fiji Limited continued on its impressive performance for the second year running, with a total return of 79.4% (2004 : 92.57%).

RB Patel Group Limited followed with a total return of 33.96%. Other companies recording strong performances in the year were the Rice Company of Fiji, with a total return of 25.92%, Fiji Television Limited with a total return of 24.97% and Communications Fiji Limited with a total return of 24.22%.

The Chief Executive of the Capital Markets Development Authority (CMDA) said that 2005 was an eventful year for the equity and stock markets in Fiji. Some of the highlights during the year included listing of Yaqara Group Limited, the Carlton Brewery share split, the merger of the Carlton Brewery Group and South Pacific Distilleries, the Flour Mills of Fiji share split and the Vishal Bhartiya Holdings Limited rights issue. Stock market capitalisation surpassed F$1 billion for the first time in December.

CMDA said that it was pleasing to note that more businesses and investors were now exploring the opportunities that the local stock market has to offer.

Note, however, that past performance is not an indicator of future performance. Investors must always carefully monitor and assess the performance of the individual companies they invest in and seek aadvice from licensed financial advisers on the future earnings potential of their investments.

For investment advice, please e-mail our principal, who is an Investment Adviser licensed by the CMDA, at gilbert@connect.com.fj or call +679 3396427.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Increase in Remittances - Our Company's Target Market

Remittances, which comprises funds that Fiji residents or former Fiji residents send back to Fiji from working/living from abroad, has risen sharply over the last 6 years from 2000. From F$93.4m in 2000, remittances rose to F$212.6m in 2002 and stood at F$297.1m in 2005. The forecasted figure for 2006 is slightly lower at F$230.6m. However, based on past trends, one would expect this to be higher or be around the same level as in 2005.

Where are these funds are invested, if they are, is anyone's guess. If the funds were invested in unit trusts (one of the safest investments in the capital markets), the annual return to investors would have been around 5%, or F$14.9m, annually. We can only suggest that holders of these funds not hold them in bank accounts and invest them in the capital markets/stock exchange. Bank accounts earn very little interest these days and if one was to factor in our economy's inflation rate, a person investing his/her funds in a bank account would be earning negative interest. This basically means that you actually lose money putting your funds in a bank account than what you had left there.

These funds can also be used to fund small businesses for the senders/receivers of those funds. Equity requirement for small business assistance with some of the large institutions is around 20%. If one contributes around F$10,000 to start a business, they could obtain around $50,000 financing to help with their business.

Our company is targeting these funds and we aim to provide exceptional investment and business advice to those that bring in or are in receipt of these funds. We provide investment advice for investment in the stock exchange/capital markets in Fiji. We also can help register a business, prepare business plans and arrange financing for clients. Our resident legal partner handles all legal work.

If you require any such assistance, please contact us at the following address : Gilbert Veisamasama Jr, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, PO Box 14844, Suva, FIJI. Our telephone and e-mail contact is +679 3396427 and gilbert@connect.com.fj.

[Figures quoted in the writeup were obtained from the Reserve Bank of Fiji.]

Friday, February 03, 2006

What we offer?

We are newly formed company which specialises in banking, finance, financial sector, central bank licensing and regulation issues as well as all attendant legal matters.

One of our principals is licensed as an investment advisor by the Capital Markets Development Authority, Fiji's capital markets regulator.

If you are a foreigner wishing to invest in Fiji or a Fiji resident working in Fiji/abroad, we can help you set up a business in Fiji and arrange financing for you. We can also find investments of the type and risk profile you are interested in.

In addition, we also offer the following services:
  • a one-stop shop for foreign investors seeking to establish a business in Fiji including incorporation and registration of business entities;
  • assistance to local investors on how to set up their business and all their finance and legal needs;
  • advisory assistance to landowners and other citizens with wealth on how to increase the value of their wealth;
  • consultancy and advisory services in all areas of banking, finance, financial sector and central bank regulatory issues for institutional and individual clients;
  • setting up compliance frameworks for businesses;
  • assistance with change programs, strategic planning and corporate planning for institutional and individual clients;
  • consultancy to central banks, banks and other finance companies in the Pacific Islands region on licensing and prudential supervision issues;
  • facilitate workshops/seminars and mediate in discussions;
  • all related legal services.

Our principals are well qualified and have between them over 20 years experience in the banking, financial sector and legal sectors in Fiji.

If you are interested in any particular service, we will be glad to be of assistance. Our e-mail address is gilbert@connect.com.fj or telephone number +679 3396427. Our postal address is : Gilbert Veisamasama, Jr, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, PO Box 14844, Suva, FIJI.