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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.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

South Pacific Stock Exchange exceeds F$1 billion mark

The South Pacific Stock Exchange (SPSE) has exceeded the F$1 billion mark during the financial period ending 30 June 2006, thus creating history.

A total of 3.8 million shares exchanged hands on the trading floor during the year, an increase of 65.8% compared to the same period last year. Consideration for shares traded totalled F$9.4 million, almost double the F$4.9 million consideration last year.

To compete with lower interest rates being offered during the most part of the financial period to June 2006, a lot of businesses opted for debt options to finance their expansion projects rather than equity.

However, with the situation on interest rates reversed now with these rising, a number of businesses will now seriously consider raising funds through the equity market.

Over the year, the total return from companies listed on the SPSE averaged 24.2% with a dividend yield of 3% and capital growth of 21.2%. 13, out of 16 companies listed, declared and paid dividends with a total of F$40.8 million distributed to shareholders during the period.

Institutional investors will continue to have a major impact on the level of activity in the market and the increase in private equity and venture capital projects by some of these institutions will promote listing in years to come as these institutions look for exit strategies or objective valuations of their investments.

Note from GV : For those considering listing on the SPSE, our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, can assist with preparing your listing application and all submissions required to the regulatory authority, the Capital Markets Development Authority. To contact us, e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or call telephone +679 3396427.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

FTIB sets investment record

About F$235 million worth of projects have been established this year, the Fiji Islands Trade and Investment Bureau (FTIB) said. The figure represents the net value of the 182 new businesses that have been set up.

This is a record achievement for FTIB given that its 2006 target was only F$200 million worth of projects. The Bureau has, however, exceeded this year’s target in less than 9 months.

The projects have reportedly created 4,470 new jobs.

Furthermore, FTIB has approved a total of 317 investment applications which is indicative of the level of interest in Fiji as an investment destination. If all the applications are implemented, it could bring another F$767.4 million into the country.

The Bureau said that the primary focus on investment was in the tourism sector but overseas companies had also invested in agriculture and fishing.

FTIB has attributed part of the success to a major improvement in turnaround time for processing investment applications which has been part of Government’s efforts to inject more efficiency into the investment approvals process.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Corporation invests F$8.2 million

Fiji Investment Corporation Limited has invested F$8.2 million in its five joint ventures with private sector companies in the tourism, agriculture and fisheries industries.

The corporation said it achieved a return of about 33% on its portfolio of investments in 2005. These were in the form of dividends, interest, income and capital gains.

The capital gain arose mainly as a result of the sale of the Grand Pacific Hotel property amounting to over F$3 million.

In line with Government's Look North Policy, the Corporation has invested into a joint venture with Kilowen (Fiji) Limited and Kontiki Growth Fund, to construct the Savusavu Harbourside complex's first stage. The stage involves the construction of a two storey complex which would house 14 luxury split level apartments on the top level, with professional offices and retail shops on the ground floor.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Breadfruit exports hit a high

Breadfruit exports increased by 21% last year compared to 2004 and exporters anticipate further increases given the high demand. The Ministry of Agriculture said 17 tonnes of breadfruit was exported last year compared to 14 tonnes in 2004.

The Ministry said there was a big demand for breadfruit in Australia and New Zealand. It said that at present breadfruit was not grown in organised plantations and the ministry's long term project was to have a breadfruit plantation.

National Exports Limited, a company exporting breadfruit, said there was a big demand for breadfruit overseas. He said his company exported "uto dina" (a type of breadfruit) to New Zealand and the United States at F$2.80 to F$3.00 a kilogram. "Uto dina" is preferred because of its taste.

Note from GV : Foreign investors that wish to set up business or invest in Fiji can contact our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, for assistance. For further information, send us an e-mail on gilbert@connect.com.fj or call telephone +679 3396427.

Fiji/NZ Work scheme by April

New Zealand authorities say a seasonal work scheme that will be open to workers from Fiji and other island countries, is expected to be activated by April 2007. The New Zealand Department of Labour said the scheme is yet to be finalised and may take some time.

Interested candidates for the temporary work permits to work on New Zealand's horticulture and viticulture industries will have to wait till next year to apply.

The New Zealand authorities are still fleshing out the details and will need to talk with employers there about how the scheme will work.

The scheme will enable workers from countries such as Vanuatu, Fiji and Samoa to work for about four months on fruit orchards and vineyards in New Zealand.

Note from GV : Check out our two bedroom rental home in Suva through links at the right hand side of this blog. The home has seaviews and is equipped with a Personal Computer and Broadband Internet access for guests' use. To contact us, you can e-mail gilbert@connect.com.fj or call telephone +679 3396427.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Suva Chamber of Commerce & Industry : 2007 Budget Discussion

The Suva Chamber of Commerce is organising a discussion on the 2007 National Budget on Thursday, 9 November 2006, 6.30pm to 8.30pm at the Lali Room, Holiday Inn, Suva. The discussion will include cocktails. Entry fees are : F$30.00 for members and F$50.00 for non-members. Limited seating. Contact Ms Bibiana Marama on telephone +679 3314044 for details.

What's in the 2007 National Budget for Foreign Investors

Government has announced its Budget for 2007. The Budget has some features which might be of assistance to foreign investors who wish to invest or set up business in Fiji. One of the major features have been an increase in Value Added Tax (except on essential food items) to 15% from the current 12.5%. We will be reviewing and summarising those features and putting it up on this blog. For any particular queries, you can e-mail us on gilbert@connect.com.fj.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Fiji TV expands to Tokelau

Fiji TV will be providing Sky Pacific services to Tokelau in a two-year deal signed with Teletok Corporation. This would bring to 6 the number of licensed Sky Pacific distributors in the Pacific region.

Teletok Corporation, Tokelau's governmental telecommunications company, is the sole provider of telecommunications on the island nation.

Sky Pacific will provide for the first time, 100% television coverage to Tokelau.

Note from GV : Check out our two bedroom rental home in Suva through links at the right hand side of this blog.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Leaders to discuss and resolve land issue in 2007

The Prime Minister and the Leader of the Labour Party will discuss and resolve the land issue early 2007.

The PM said that Government would form a tripartite forum to discuss the land issue. He added that the chances for land issues to be resolved were good as they had been having discussions with the Fijian Affairs Board and the Native Land Trust Board while discussions with the Labour Party have also been good.

One of the main sticking points in trying to resolve the issue is whether to use the Agriculture and Landlord Tenants Act (ALTA) or the Native Lands Trust Act (NLTA) as the main law to govern land use and tenure. About 84% of the land in Fiji is owned by indigenous Fijians and cannot be alienated. The lands are administered on behalf of village groups by the Native Land Trust Board.

PM calls for smaller civil service

The Prime Minister has called for a reorganised and cost effective civil service in order to achieve a stronger economy, more employment and to reduce poverty. The comment was made at the annual civil service awards function at the FMF Dome on Friday night, 3 November 2006.

The PM said the civil service consumed far too much of government funding in its operating expenditure but that this would now be controlled to allow for an increase in Government's capital investment expenditure.

This, the PM said, would permit Government to spend more money on education, health, agriculture, rural development, and law and order.

The PM said there was also a need to stop laxity and abuse in spending public funds, considering the instances of corruption that continued to surface.

In the meantime, the Chairman of the Public Service Commission had to ward off criticism of providing annual civil service awards in a service which is still not productive and efficient enough.

The Chairman said that major improvements in the service will not take place until the reform process begins, adding that they have been given 2 years to do that.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Shell Fiji's operations bought by french company

Shell Fiji's operations have been bought by a french based company. Now known as Total Fiji, Shell Fiji's operations was bought by the french company together with operations in Samoa and Tonga. Shell's operations at New Caledonia, Vanuatu and French Polynesia have been bought by Albert Moux and Partners.

The takeover completes months of negotiations between all companies.

Fijian Holdings Limited sets record profit

Fijian Holdings Limited (FHL) has recorded its highest profit after tax of F$16.9 million for its financial year ended 30 June 2006. This compares with F$12.4 million made for the 2005 financial year.

The result this year was driven by revenue growth of 26% which was mainly attributed to good performance by Fiji Industries Limited and Basic Industries Limited - two subsidiaries of FHL which operate in the booming construction sector.

Basic Industries was the key performer for the group and contributed its highest profit after tax to date of F$5.5 million.

Fiji Industries Limited enjoyed its first full year of operation under a new production process which helped the company achieve a 12% growth in cement production.

The group's investment portfolio also grew (by 114%).

Fijian Holdings shares are traded on the South Pacific Stock Exchange.