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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.


Saturday, September 30, 2006

Fiji Visitors Bureau urged to go North

The Fiji Visitors Bureau should consider directing 15% of its promotional work on Vanua Levu, the National Economic Summit heard yesterday in Suva.

A group discussing international trade and services called on Government to treat as urgent the need to facilitate tourism development on Vanua Levu. The group discussed among other things, the need to encourage the culture and heritage aspect of tourism, the level of leakage of earnings from the sector, the quality of food and consistency in supply of local vegetables and fruits and the need for local municipalities to develop cultural centres in small towns and develop archeological sites.

One comment that was made by another attendee at the Summit was that the Summit had failed in that it had not addressed the size of the civil service on matters dealing with civil service reforms.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Foster's records slump in profits

Foster's Group Pacific Limited says its operating profit after tax fell 13.9% from F$10.3 million to F$8.9 million in the year ended 30 June 2006. Earnings before interest and tax dropped 10.1% from F$16.7 million to F$15 million while return on equity also fell from 20.1% to 15.6% in the same period.

The company said one year on from the completion of the Carlton Brewery Fiji and South Pacific Distilleries merger, Foster's Group Pacific was a fundamentally different company - a fully integrated alcohol beverage company.

The company said it was a year of change and consolidation. Sales revenue increase by 6.3% during the year from F$37.6 million to F$40.0 million.

The increase in sales was attributed to increased sales revenues from beer, packaged spirits and ready-to-drink products.

Note from GV : Individuals and groups that need investment advice can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Food eats tourist dollar

Only 40% of the tourism dollar stays in Fiji, according to the Ministry for Tourism.

Speaking at the press conference to commemorate World Tourism Day yesterday, he said 60% of Fiji's tourism earnings was lost in leakage because a lot of the hotels were still sourcing their food supplies from overseas.

Hotel operators said that the quality and consistency of local food supply was not up to par.

The Minister, however, thought otherwise. While he felt there was no problem with the quality of Fiji's vegetables, there was some problem with the consistency of supply.

Note : This is something that the Agriculture Ministry is now working on to encourage more local farmers to plant vegetables and flowers for supply to the Fiji hotel industry.

Sugar reform project approved

Cabinet has endorsed a strategy that involves a F$350 million reform project aimed at reviving the sugar industry and helping departing farmers start non-sugar activities.

The National Adaptation Strategy will serve as the road map for strengthening the sugar industry for the next 8 years with implementation to begin next year.

The project was expected to improve cane yield and production to world class standards and practices. It also focussed on cane replanting, research and rural infrastructure. Renewable energy, social development and poverty reduction, and economic diversification were included in the program.

The project covers sugar, non-sugar and social welfare aspects of the industry's reform.

By the end of 2013, the project is expected to achieve outputs like a diversified and sustainable sugar industry in Fiji, a well established research and extension service and an increase of 15% of cane replanted.

Other objectives include an increase of 10% cultivated sugarcane land and sugar production cost per tonne to be reduced from F$35 to F$20 over five years.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Savusavu airport to be upgraded

Upgrading works at Savusavu airport on Vanua Levu is expected to start by the end of next month and flight services will be suspended for at least six weeks. Airports Fiji Limited will increase its services at Labasa Airport on the other side of the island of Vanua Levu to cater for extra flights to the North.

Savusavu is fast developing as a tourist area with new boutique hotels sprouting up around the area to take advantage of the relatively unspoilt and pristine area.

The other side of Vanua Levu has not caught up with the developments at Savusavu but is also coming up as a result of the Government's 'Look North Policy' aimed at developing the entire Vanua Levu area.

Note from GV : Foreign investors that need assistance to establish a business or to invest in Fiji can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to secure all necessary permits, approvals and licences and as a sounding board with knowledge of the local business environment. Local entrepreneurs can use our skills and contacts base to establish businesses and financing for their business. Our contacts are by e-mail on gilbert@connect.com.fj or by telephone on +679 3396427 or +679 9921427.

Delegation in China to seek investment assistance

A delegation from the ruling SDL party is in China on the invitation of the Communist Party.

The 10-member group was invited by the Chinese Communist Party and are there to seek investment assistance for Fijians. They will also be discussing other issues with the Chinese Communist Party members.

This is the second time a delegation from the Party has visited China with the first visit in 2004.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Swedish NGO to help revive cocoa industry

Moves are underway to revive the cocoa industry in Tailevu with the aid of a Swedish non-government organisation.

The province has embarked on an exchange project with Cocoa Bello, a Swedish NGO, to help farmers in the province cultivate cocoa.

The Tailevu Province Cocoa Growers and Producers Cooperative Association said the exchange project was aimed at increasing exports in the industry which has been in decline since the early 90s.

The exchange project aims to create a greater understanding of the need for sustainable cocoa cultivation and fair trade within the cocoa industry.

As part of the exchange project, people from the Swedish NGO would spend two weeks with farmers in Tailevu to develop technology. Farmers will also go to Sweden with the cocoa used by Sweden to make chocolate.

Note from GV : Small and medium business owners can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to prepare business plans and to facilitate business loans for them. We can also facilitate all necessary licences, permits and approvals required for setting up. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Telecom Bill to cut cost of business

A proposed Telecommunications Bill is expected to reduce the cost of doing business in Fiji and boost telecommunications services to rural dwellers, according to the Minister for Information and Communications.

The Telecommunications Authority of Fiji and a Telecoms Appeal Tribunal will be established if the Telecommunications Bill 2006 is passed.

The Minister said the Bill was designed to take the nation into mainstream telecommunications development. Once competition set in after the enactment of the Bill, the Authority and the Commerce Commission will then regulate the industry and its markets.

The Authority will licence operations and regulate technical matters while the Commerce Commission will regulate pricing and telecommunications access and interconnection.

Note from GV : Foreign investors that wish to establish operations in this industry or apply for appropriate licences and permits can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to facilitate all necessary licences, permits and approvals required for setting up. We provide other business advisory services as well. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

China to supply Fiji TV programs

Fiji Television has signed an agreement with China Central Television for supply of TV programs. In a statement, Fiji TV said an agreement was signed for the supply of CCTV4, Chinese language programming and CCTV9, the English language programming as a package.

This was a result of many months of negotiations even though we were given the approval to carry CCTV4 and CCTV9 on Sky Pacific earlier this year.

Fiji TV has also signed a supply agreement with Gencom Technology Limited of New Zealand for the supply of an outside broadcast (OB) truck, also after months of negotiations.

The OB truck will be able to facilitate a 4 to 8 camera OB coverage and will have state-of-the-art digital production facilities.

Note from GV : Fiji TV is a company listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange. Individuals and groups that need investment advice can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Port reforms to continue

Efforts to privatise the stevedoring functions of the Ports Terminal Limited would significantly contribute to efficiency and productivity of the ports leading to improved turnaround of vessels, according to the Minister for Public Enterprises.

The Minister said that Cabinet has approved a submission made to proceed with the next phase of port reforms.

The changes will allow private sector companies to enter the industry and instill some competitive pressure on service providers at the ports to ensure that customers get the best service. This is expected to have positive implications on the cost of doing business at Fiji ports.

Note from GV : Fiji lies at the centre of shipping routes that go through the Pacific region. If reforms of the ports industry is done well, the country will stand to gain from more use of our ports to transmit cargo destined for other countries in Asia, Central and Northern America and other Pacific island countries. Foreign investors that require assistance to set up business or invest in Fiji, can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited to assist them to acquire all the necessary permits, licences and approvals required. Our principal has very good contacts in key places and is an invaluable source. To contact us, you can e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or call +679 3396427 or +679 9921427.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Fijian Holdings flies high

The Fijian Holdings Group says it has recorded its highest operating result to date for the year ended 30 June, 2006.

The company recorded a net profit after tax of F$5.8 million compared to F$4.8 million for the 2005 financial year.

The Group said its record performance was driven by growth in revenue, which increased by 26% in 2006 with significant contribution from Fiji Industries Limited (FIL) and Basic Industries Limited. The performance was reflective of the buoyant construction sector.

The Group added that Merchant Finance and Investment Limited posted a record result and exceeded most finance industry benchmarks as well.

It said its challenge for the future was to sustain current performance as the Group's portfolio was very sensitive to economic changes.

It said it would aggressively look at new sources of investments such as acquisitions to drive value in the future.

Note from GV : Individuals and groups that need investment advice can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Financial institutions needed, says PM

Financial institutions are indispensable to a nations' economy and community, says the Prime Minister. The comment was made while the PM was speaking at the 105th anniversary celebration of Westpac Banking Corporation in Fiji last Friday.

The PM said that banks provide credit that made an economy work. "They offer financial services to assist people in their daily lives and to achieve their hopes and dreams, and they provide a safe haven for personal savings", the PM said.

The PM said since the bank's arrival in Fiji in a small way as the Bank of New South Wales in 1901, Westpac had over the long term built consistently and patiently on its original investment.
"Fiji, today, has a sound banking and financial system. Westpac is one of its strong pillars."

The PM said that as the longest serving bank in Fiji, Westpac's confidence in the country had never wavered. He expressed gratitude to the many outstanding men and women from Australia and Fiji who had served the bank and Fiji through it.

Note from GV : Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited's principal, Gilbert Veisamasama Jr, is a licensed investment adviser and has over 18 years experience in the financial sector in Fiji. To contact us for financial, business or investment advice, you can e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or call +679 3396427.

Survivor series set for Fiji location

A new season of Survivor, a popular television reality game show, is being planned for a location in the Northern Division.

While it has not been made official, insiders have confirmed that a television crew is at Labasa to do the groundwork for the show. The Fiji Audio Visual Commission and the show's crew have refused to reveal details but some participants have confirmed their plans.

An insider said members who were in Fiji did not have the right to talk to the media or reveal any details.

The show takes participants through challenges at remote locations. The winner is awarded $1 million. The series has been shot at more than 10 different locations around the world.

Participants are divided into teams or tribes and undergo challenges. Every third day the losing group or tribe must trek to the tribal council to vote out one of their own.

The game shifts to individual competition half way through when the tribes merge.

Note from GV : Foreign investors wishing to invest in Fiji can take advantage of a number of incentives that are offered for various sectors selected for development by the Fiji Government. Our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, can assist foreign investors that wish to invest or set up business in Fiji. To contact us, you can e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or call +679 3396427.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Digicel sees Fiji as Pacific hub

International telecommunications operator, Digicel, says it wants to make Fiji the Pacific hub for its operations.

The company's chairman said the company was confident of launching Digicel in Fiji in the coming months. "We have great confidence in the Government of Fiji. We fully intend Fiji to be the Pacific hub for Digicel operations", the Chairman said.

Digicel has been awarded a GSM licence from the governments Samoa and Papua New Guinea. Digicel Pacific Limited also announced its acquisition of Telecom Samoa by Digicel (Samoa) Limited. Digicel purchased Telecom Samoa from Telecom New Zealand. The company said Digicel Samoa would launch a GSM network in October 2006 representing Digicel Pacific's flagship operation and providing at least 80% population coverage in Samoa.

The company said its aim was to place the entire pan-Pacific region at the cutting edge of wireless technology and being passionate about providing the best mobile phone service to customers.

Digicel was granted a licence in principle from the Fiji Government in April 2006 as well as an experimental licence in the Solomon Islands.

Note : For those coming to Suva, a two bedroom home can be viewed and booked with links at the right hand side of this blog or call direct +679 3396427; e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Taiwan exhibition a success

An exhibition of Taiwan's fine products in Suva was a success. The 2006 fine products exhibition included telecommunications, electronics and information technology products.

Speaking at the exhibition in Suva on Thursday, Fiji's Vice President said the partnership between Taiwan's government and the private sector was a beneficial one. "Neither can one over look the entrepreneurial spirit and industry of the people. If there are any lessons to be learned, it is in the readiness of the Government to facilitate private initiatives", the Vice President said.

Note from GV : Foreign investors wishing to set up business or invest in Fiji can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to facilitate all necessary licences, permits and approvals required for setting up. We provide other business advisory services as well. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Fiji issues first bond on the international markets

Taken from a release by the Ministry of Finance & National Planning.

The Fiji Government has issued its first bond on the international markets for a total size of USD$150 million and a tenure of 5 years. The issue raised significant interest amongst international investors in Europe and Asia.

The bonds were rated Ba2 by Moodys and BB by Standard & Poors (both with a stable outlook).

At the time the bonds were launched, a price guidance of 7% was announced to potential investors, however as the order book was almost 10 times oversubscribed, with orders amounting to around US$1.4 billion, further savings on price were possible.

The bonds were finally priced with a coupon of 6.875% to yield 7%, a spread of 225 basis points above 5-year US Treasuries. At the time books were closed, the order book was over 7 times oversubcribed with over US$1 billion in orders.

Fiji accessed the international bond market to meet the Fiji Government's 2007 Budget deficit requirements, and in particular to finance its capital projects. Recent monetary policy action by the Reserve Bank had resulted in tighter domestic liquidity and higher interest rates. As a result of this, and in order to also avoid crowding out private sector demand for domestic finance, it was a prudent solution to borrow abroad. The offshore offering will also facilitate Fiji's future access to the international capital markets and will enable Fiji to diversify its investor base.

Domestic interest rates on 5-year Government bonds are currently 9.65%.

Note from GV : Small and medium business owners can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to prepare business plans and to facilitate business loans for them. We can also facilitate all necessary licences, permits and approvals required for setting up. Our principal is also an Investment Adviser licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority (of Fiji) and can provide investment advice to individuals or groups. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Fiji is tops in the Pacific

Fiji's economy is among the most developed in the Pacific in terms of the construction boom and the tourism sector, according to the Prime Minister. The comments were made at a Fiji Trade and Investment seminar at Melbourne recently.

The Prime Minister said the finding was taken from a recent survey by the Commonwealth Business Council. The PM added that such finding indicated that Fiji was moving in the right direction and that investor confidence had risen to a reasonable level.

Fiji's trade commissioner in Sydney said the seminars were well attended by investors representing the textile, clothing and footwear sector, the food industry, tourism/hotel and property development services and many more.

The Commissioner said they would actively follow up with investors who had shown interest so that their interests would be translated into investment projects.

Note from GV : Foreign investors wishing to set up business or invest in Fiji can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to facilitate all necessary licences, permits and approvals required for setting up. We provide other business advisory services as well. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Sports tourism is big : Fiji Visitors Bureau

Sports tourism is developing to be a key segment in travel according to the Fiji Visitors Bureau.

The comments were made after a statement by the Ministry of Tourism that sports tourism was becoming the subject of both industry and government interest.

The Fiji Visitors Bureau is working to attract sporting events from abroad and encouraged local bodies to be part of such events. It said that this was a growing segment and was very lucrative. The Bureau said the biggest challenge was the quality and standard of sporting facilities.

It was a necessity that Fiji looked at maintaining good quality sporting facilities to be able to target this segment of the travel market.

Note from GV : Many international and local sporting events are hosted in Suva given that most of the sporting facilities are located at the National Sporting Complex at Laucala Bay, Suva. When attending any sporting events in Suva. For accommodation in Suva, check out links at the right hand side of this blog. The rental home has a Personal Computer and High Speed Internet access provided complimentary for guests' use. Our contacts are gilbert@connect.com.fj or telephone +679 3396427.

ATH, State talk over licence

Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Limited (ATH) and the Fiji Government had already started negotiations over the ATH's 13-year exclusive licence.

Government said it had considered this and had held discussions with the company over its exclusive licence. The comment was made after Telecom Fiji Limited (TFL) queried the future of ATH's exclusive licence.

ATH had two years ago valued its exclusive licence to be worth some F$300 million.

The Finance Minister had indicated earlier that Government had been contemplating buying the exclusive licence from ATH in order to deregulate the industry.

In the meantime, a telecommunications authority is to be established and the Commerce Commission boosted when the Telecommunication Bill and Commerce Act goes through Parliament.

The Telecommunications Bill will separate policy-making and the regulation of the telecommunications industry between the Telecommunications Authority and the Commerce Commission.

The set up of the Telecommunications Authority would ensure the successful restructure of the telecommunications sector and ensure balance between market liberalisation, competition and demand for access equity.

The Commerce Bill will provide the legal framework for the Commission to specify its role in relation to the regulation of competition, market power, access arrangements and interconnection within the telecommunications industry.

Note : Business travellers to Suva can view photos, details and book, a two bedroom home in Suva for short term rental through links at the right hand side of this blog. Our contacts are : gilbert@connect.com.fj or telephone +679 3396427.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Free Investing Seminar

A "Getting Started in Share Investments" seminar will be held on 16 September 2006 at the Tanoa Plaza, Suva. Enhance your skills in understanding :

  • the basic features of share investments;
  • the benefits and risks of investing in shares;
  • how the share market in Fiji operates;
  • some simple analytical tools for selecting shares.

When? Saturday, 16 September 2006, 9am to 12.30pm.

Where? Tanoa Plaza, Corner of Gordon and Malcolm Streets, Suva.

Fee : Free.

Register early with the Capital Markets Development Authority, telephone +679 3304944, fax +679 3312021 or e-mail info@cmda.com.fj.

Participants will receive a free CMDA educational pack, including the CMDA Personal Wealth Calculator CD-Rom.

Savings exceed F$1 million

A savings outreach program has been successful after the absorption of the Government's National Micro Finance Unit into the National Centre for Small and Micro-Enterprises Development.

As noted in the Centre's Annual Report for 2004, savings increased by 122% in value and 111% in the number of savings accounts.

This was primarily a result of the policy instituted which required clients to save for three months before they could qualify for micro-finance loans. Clients' savings exceeded F$1 million before the end of the year.

Note from GV : Small and medium business owners can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to prepare business plans and to facilitate business loans for them. We can also facilitate all necessary licences, permits and approvals required for setting up. Our principal is also an Investment Adviser licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority (of Fiji) and can provide investment advice to individuals or groups. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Sugar exports to increase

Fiji's sugar exports to the United States of America is expected to increase to more than F$10 million, to meet a shortfall there after hurricanes damaged crops at Lousiana and Florida.

The Fiji Sugar Marketing Company Limited said Fiji's total sugar exports to the US this year would be 13,400 tonnes through the tariff rate-quota agreement. Fiji's minimum allocation under the TRQ was about 9,000 tonnes or 0.9% of the US global allocation.

The tariff-rate quota that Fiji sugar benefited from was an import policy that allows countries to ship specified quantities of a product to the US at relatively low tariff.

The US can only increase its TRQ quota allocation if local production dropped or if some countries could meet their quotas.

Note from GV : Foreign investors wishing to set up business or invest in Fiji can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to facilitate all necessary licences, permits and approvals required for setting up. We provide other business advisory services as well. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Autogas to rise by 8 cents per litre

The cost of Autogas will go up by 8 cents per litre this month. And an increase in the price of gas used for cooking, heating and other purposes is expected to follow at a later date.

The increase has prompted calls for the Government to chop its tariffs and taxation on all fuel, because it adds up to more than 50% of fuel costs in some cases.

The increase follows a request earlier by the Fiji Taxi Union to raise taxi fares due to the rise in fuel costs in recent months.

Note from GV : A two bedroom rental home with seaviews in Suva is currently available for the duration of the Melanesian Arts & Cultural Festival to be held from 2 to 11 October 2006. For photos and details and amenities, click on links at the right hand side of this blog. The home has a Personal Computer and High Speed Internet provided complimentary for guests' use. Otherwise, you can contact us directly by e-mailing gilbert@connect.com.fj or calling +679 3396427.

Rise in power charge halted

A 30% increase in the cost of electricity due to come into effect next Friday has been suspended for at least 10 days to allow public submissions on the issue. The surcharge has been proposed by the Fiji Electricity Authority and recently approved by the Commerce Commission.

The Commission said he decided to put the surcharge on hold after overwhelming public criticism.

The surcharge would have seen consumers charged an extra six cents per unit on their bills.

In the meantime, the Authority said it had no choice but to abide by what the Commission had ordered and would only make a substantive comment when the issue was settled.

Friday, September 08, 2006

ATH pays out F$25.3 million dividend

Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Limited (ATH), a company listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange, has bounced back from a slump in its 2005 financial year to post a F$25.3 million dividend payment for its 2006 financial year.

The dividend payment, which was made yesterday, was made on the back of a F$34.9 million net profit, which ATH recorded this year.

This was compared to the F$24.6 million it made in 2005.

The better performance in 2006 was a result of ATH taking steps to minimise the adverse impact caused by the Commerce Commission's decision to reduce telecommunications prices last year.

Note from GV : Individuals and groups that need investment advice can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Airline feel fuel squeeze

Airlines are able to keep up with the growth of Fiji's tourism industry but the cost of fuel is their biggest challenge.

Qantas Airways Limited said Fiji's tourism industry would not be limited by lack of aircraft seats and the situation was not that simple. He said Air Pacific, which is code-shares flights with to some destinations, had the aircraft and flight schedules to cope with the Fiji Visitors Bureau's target of 550,000 tourists this year and 600,000 in 2007.

However, he added that the impact of terrorism, surging fuel prices, the rise of low-cost carriers and the changing needs to customers were the industry's biggest challenges. Fuel costs for Qantas have doubled in the last two years.

Qantas said that in an era of high fuel prices, a short-haul destination like Fiji had potentially even greater appeal.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fiji ranks 31 in World Bank report

Fiji has dropped back two rankings to 31 on the 2007 World Bank's Doing Business Report after being ranked 29 this year.

The drop in ranking comes amid concerns from the Bank about some aspects of doing business in Fiji even though it has improved a lot from its previous ranking in previous years.

The Bank's report which states the cost and timeliness of doing business in 157 countries around the world showed that Fiji is ranked 31 - the highest ranking for any Pacific Island country apart from Australia which is ranked 8th and New Zealand which is the second to the best country to do business in the world - Singapore.

This year's report is based on many issues like the time frame it takes to establish a business in any country, how long it takes to obtain licences, how much it would cost investors to establish their businesses and how long it would take to close the business venture down.

World Bank officials were concerned that the cost of importing a container to Fiji was F$1,170.00 while it costs only F$418.00 to export containers out of Fiji.

The Bank said while the Fiji economy would be putting up with this as it tried to develop an export strategy, it said it could work otherwise as most of the imported stuff do end up being re-exported out of the country.

Apart from this, Fiji is considered one of the best places in East Asia and the Pacific region to do business in as its considered a good place for investors to establish their businesses.

Note from GV : Foreign investors wishing to set up business or invest in Fiji can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to facilitate all necessary licences, permits and approvals required for setting up. We provide other business advisory services as well. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Property attracts local investors

Fijian Holdings Property Trust has already sold 70% of the more than 11 million units it has offered for its Ra Marama House property.

Probably one of the first financiers who had opted to seek investment in properties, Fijian Holdings Property Trust is looking to close its first offer for the Ra Marama property on 15 September.

The Trust said response from investors had been encouraging and they had already found a ready market for property investments. It said that most of the investors who had already bought units for the Ra Marama property were local business conglomerate and individual investors.

Property investment is a medium risk and medium return investment when compared to bonds, promissory notes and share investments.

Under the new concept, all unit holders would be entitled to capital gains apart from the normal dividend payouts.

The Trust said the advantage for property investors was that capital gains from property values would always increase the value of their units.

Note from GV : Small and medium business owners can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, to prepare business plans and to facilitate business loans for them. We can also facilitate all necessary licences, permits and approvals required for setting up. Our principal is also an Investment Adviser licensed by the Capital Markets Development Authority (of Fiji) and can provide investment advice to individuals or groups. Our contacts are : telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Determining Cost of Capital Seminar

A Determining Cost of Capital Workshop will be held on 25 September 2006 at the Southern Cross Hotel, Suva. The course presenter is Professor Jerry Bowman, University of Auckland, New Zealand. Enhance your skills in understanding :
  • Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) approaches;
  • Estimating CAPM parameters;
  • Premium for start-ups;
  • Impact of illiquidity and control on Cost of Capital (COC);
  • Developing COC model for a developing country;
  • Alternative approaches to estimating discount rates;
  • via case studies and open discussions.
Who should attend? Finance Managers, Chartered Accountants, Academics, Financial Controllers, Analysts, Bankers, Securities Brokers, Investment Advisers, and other licensed intermediaries operating either in the public or private sector.

When? 25 September 2006, 9am to 5pm.

Where? Southern Cross Hotel, Suva.

Fee : F$200.00 (VIP) per person, includes lunch and refreshments.

Places are limited. Register early with Pravinesh Singh, Capital Markets Development Authority, telephone +679 3304944, fax +679 3312021 or e-mail info@cmda.com.fj.

Mergers & Acquisitions Seminar

A Mergers & Acquisitions Seminar will be held on 26 September 2006 at the Southern Cross Hotel, Suva. The course presenter is Professor Jerry Bowman, University of Auckland, New Zealand. Enhance your skills in understanding :
  • What makes a successful firm?
  • Sources of Sustainable Competitive Advantage;
  • Strategies for further success;
  • Role of diversification;
  • Using Mergers to create value;
  • History;
  • Motivations;
  • Success factors;
  • via case studies and open discussions.
Who should attend? Directors, Chief Executives, General Managers, Directors, Strategic Shareholders, Financial Controllers, Experienced Accountants, Analysts, Bankers, Brokers, Investment Advisers, Chartered Accountants operating either in the public or private sector.

When? 26 September 2006, 9am to 5pm.

Where? Southern Cross Hotel, Suva.

Fee : F$200.00 (VIP) per person, includes lunch and refreshments.

Places are limited. Register early with Pravinesh Singh, Capital Markets Development Authority, telephone +679 3304944, fax +679 3312021 or e-mail info@cmda.com.fj.

Note from GV : Anyone interested in buying an existing business can use our company's services to value that business. Our contacts are Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, telephone +679 3396427 or e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Honey target goes higher

More technical support is being directed to bee keeping research and training to help the industry produce 250 tonnes of honey this year.

This target, which is 50 tonnes more than what was produced last year, is still 50 tonnes short of satisfying the local demand, according to the Agriculture Ministry.

The Ministry said a manufacturing centre had been implemented by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the National Centre for Micro-Enterprises Development at the Nasau Youth Training Centre at Sigatoka.

The Ministry for Agriculture will be providing technical support in bee keeping research, training and related advisory services. It said the Ministry planned to boost the industry through hive development programs and was pleased that people have shown interest in honey farming.

Honey production level was 45 tonnes when the program started. Honey farming is done in areas including Sigatoka and in the Ra Province.

A women's group engaged in honey production sells honey for F$6.00 per kg to retailers whereas another women's group sells it for F$12.00 for every 750 ml bottled. Manufacturers had an advantage in that the Ministry arranged markets for bee farmers.

Currently, Fiji only has 7,000 hives whereas its potential is 50,000, according to the Ministry. The plan is to increase hives by 1,000 every year.

Of all bee keepers, only 20% are full commercial keepers, 30% semi-commercial keepers and the remaining 50% being hobbyists.

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Foreign Affairs Minister keen on trade with French Polynesia

There is tremendous scope to increase Fiji's market share in French Polynesia given that its major foreign exchange is tourism, according to Fiji's Foreign Affairs Minister.

The Minister said the French territory's on-going construction of new hotels, warehousing facilities and residential homes provided opportunities for manufacturers in Fiji's building industry. French Polynesia sources its building materials from France, New Zealand and Australia.

The Minister said French Polynesia had raised the need to establish direct air links and jointly promote the two countries as a tourist destination.

He said this was likely to be discussed further during bilateral talks in October when French Polynesia's President will attend the Pacific Leaders forum meeting in Fiji.

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Fiji TV makes a profit for latest financial year

Fiji Television Limited, a company listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange, made a net profit of F$3.6 million for its financial year ended 30 June, 2006.

The company said the profit figure exceeded the company's expectations and forecasts. Fiji TV said it had anticipated a lower profit for the 2005/2006 financial year because of the impact of its investment in Sky Pacific in 2005, when it projected losses for the initial years of the direct-to-home satellite delivered service.

The group said it recorded a record year in revenue with F$21.7 million made for the 2006 financial year compared to F$16.9 million made in the previous year. The record result was brought about by the contribution of Fiji TV's Papua New Guinea subsidiary, Media Niugini Limited, an increase in advertising revenue and pay television subscriptions for both Sky Fiji and Sky Pacific.

The company said higher than expected subscriptions was a result of strong programming during the year, particularly for sporting events such as the Super 14 series, the Soccer World Cup, the Tri-Nations Rugby Championships, the Commonwealth Games, and the International Rugby Board Sevens Rugby series.

The company employs 145 staff in Fiji and 67 in Papua New Guinea.

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No plans yet for civil service cuts

The civil service will have to be reduced but how it is done is yet to be determined by the Public Service Commission.

The comment was made by the Public Service Commission as it consolidated its three reform programs into one. The programs, which started into 2003, were criticised by the World Bank for lack of coordination. The Commission said reforms needed to be slowed down and integrated into a single roadmap.

The World Bank had recommended an immediate reduction in the size of the civil service. Civil servants number 18,000 established workers and 2,000 unestablished or casual workers at the moment.

The Commission has not identified as yet which areas to reduce first but was working on that.

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Reserve Bank of Fiji decides not to raise interest rates

The Reserve Bank of Fiji has decided to leave interest rates unchanged. The decision was made at the Reserve Bank's Board meeting last Thursday.

The Governor of the Reserve Bank and chairman of the Board said "the impact of the increase in rates this year and the rise in the statutory deposits of commercial banks is still working itself out in the financial market and the Bank is monitoring these developments closely". The Reserve Bank raised interest rates by 2% this year.

Reacting to the decision, the Fiji Labour Party said interest rates in the first place was not the prescription for an ailing economy. "Raising interest rates is not the way to deal with an economy in trouble. The likely effect would be to dampen growth and further exacerbate recessionary trends."

The Leader of Opposition welcomed the Bank's decision saying the increase in interest rates was a burden on the people. The Leader of Opposition said he recently had been receiving complaints from members of the public regarding interest rates charged by the commercial banks because it was hard for them to pay for their mortgage and loans.

The Fiji Visitors Bureau said the industry welcomed the move and that investments in the country should grow.

The Finance Ministry has come in saying that it welcomed the move by the Reserve Bank to leave interest rates unchanged and said the decision would help the economy.

The Association of Banks in Fiji said the move would lift the level of investment and help improve growth rates. The Association added that increases in interest rates had compelled banks to raise their lending rates, which impacted on borrowers' ability to service their housing and other commitments. "The decision to keep the rates at the present level for the time being will provide stability in loan servicing".

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Train for tourism

Hoteliers should be given incentives to allow tourism students on-the-job training, says the Fiji Islands Hotel and Tourism Association (FIHTA).

The Association said University of the South Pacific tourism students should be encouraged to undertake some form of work experience during their semester breaks. The Association was commenting on the number of USP students who graduated but lacked work experience.

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Yaqara urged to broaden scope

The Yaqara Pastoral Company, one of the companies listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange, could do more by venturing into vegetable farming to facilitate the expected growth in demand, according to the Agriculture Minister. The Minister said this could be done when the studio city at Yaqara was up and running.

The Minister said the current demand for fresh vegetables was high and that most hotels were importing theirs from overseas. He said this was mainly due to the shortage of quality vegetables.

The Minister said YPCL had potential that needed to be realised. "Yaqara has proven this the last few years by diversifying into pawpaw and mango (farming) and both were very successful in their own rights.

The Minister said YPCL was one of the most promising of all State-owned companies.

Pacific Green sales are up

Pacific Green, one of the companies listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange, reported a 15% increase in sales to end August 2006.

The company said that sales to August 2006 was F$6.2 million compared F$5.4 million in August 2005. It said that while this was a pleasing result, it was below the 50% budget target increase that management set in November 2005, exactly one year after a fire destroyed the company's major manufacturing plant at Sigatoka.

The company said one of the prime reasons for the lower than targeted growth had been the slowness and cost experienced in bringing the palmwood building and architectural materials to market.

The company said that while its products were developed, market penetration, however, was slow. Management concluded that to gain acceptance in the international market place, "we not only have to design the products but we need to show them in working situations".

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Bus, taxi operators seek rate rise

Two public transport bodies are lobbying for an increase in fares. The Fiji Taxi Union and the Fiji Bus Operators Association were seeking a rise in fares to be able to counter the continued rise in global price of oil and fuel.