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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.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Foster’s Group makes a profit

Foster’s Group Pacific Limited, a listed company on the South Pacific Stock Exchange in Suva, Fiji has recorded a net profit after tax of over F$10.4 million for the period ending 30 June 2008.

The result was higher than that recorded in the same period in 2007.

The Company Director Mr. Shaw said that the operating revenue increased marginally by 2.90% last year driven by product price increases, favorable sales mix and New Product Development growth.

Foster’s Group Pacific Ltd share price as at 27 August, 2008 was F$13.50.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Extraordinary General Meeting for Yaqara Limited

An Extraordinary General Meeting for Yaqara Group Limited, a company deregistered from the South Pacific Stock Exchange, is scheduled for Friday, 26 September 2008, 4pm at the Tanoa Plaza Hotel, Suva.

Yaqara Group Limited had recorded a net profit after tax of over F$1.1million for the financial year ending 31 March, 2008.

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New Zealand soften remittances for Pacific islanders

The New Zealand Government is to make it easier for Pacific islanders in New Zealand to send money home.

Currently the charges for sending money to the region can be up to 25.00% of the amount involved.

Regulatory changes, which may be in force by the end September 2008, could bring charges down to about 7.00%.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Pacific Islands Affairs says sending money to the Pacific is almost five times more expensive than to other regions.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

ANZ Interest Rates (updated 22.08.08)

Schedule of interest rates released by ANZ Fiji are as follows:
  • Business Index Rate - 10.25%;
  • Residential Property Loan : Standard Variable Rate - 9.75%, 1 Year Fixed Rate - 7.75%;
  • Investment Loan : Standard Variable Rate - 9.75%, 1 Year Fixed Rate - 7.75%;
  • Personal Loans : Secured - 11.50%, Unsecured - 14.20%;
  • Small Loans : Unsecured - 19.00%;
  • Retail Term Deposits: 9 months to 1 year - 1.25%, 1 to 2 Years - 1.75%, 2 Years to 3 Years - 1.75%.

Interest rates are on a per annum basis and may be varied by ANZ without prior notice.

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Westpac Interest Rates (updated 22.08.08)

Schedule of interest rates released by Westpac Fiji are as follows:
  • Business Lending Rate - 9.99%;
  • Residential Property Loan : Variable Rate – 9.75%, 1 year Fixed Rate – 8.00%;
  • Investment Loan : Variable Rate - 9.50%, 1 year Fixed Rate - 7.50%;
  • Retail Term Deposits: 6 to less than 9 months - 1.25%, 9 months to less than 1 year - 1.75%, 1 year to less than 1.5 Years - 1.75%, 1.5 years to less than 2 Years - 1.75%, 2 years to less than 3 Years - 1.75%.

Interest rates are on a per annum basis and may be varied by the bank without prior notice.

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ANZ reduces interest rates on loans effective 01.09.08

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) has announced a 0.25 % reduction in interest rate for its variable residential property loans. The new standard variable rate will be 9.50 % per annum.

The new fixed rates for residential property loans effective from 1 September, 2008 are:

  • 1 Year - 7.50% per annum
  • 2 Year - 8.00% per annum
  • 3 Year - 8.50% per annum.

For more information, pls call the ANZ Bank branch near you.

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Colonial National Bank Interest Rate

Schedule of interest rates released by Colonial National Bank are as follows:

  • Business Banking Base Rate – 9.45%
  • Residential Property Loan : Variable Rate – 9.75%, 1 Year Fixed Rate – 7.75%;
  • Investment Loan : Variable Rate – 9.75%, 1 Year Fixed Rate – 7.75%;
  • Retail Term Deposits: 9 months - 2.00%, 1 year - 2.00%, 1.5 Years - 2.00%, 2 Years - 2.00%, 3 Years - 2.00%.

Interest rates are on a per annum basis and may be varied by the bank without prior notice.

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Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Limited (ATH) Board Chairman bows out.

In yesterday’s ATH annual general meeting in Suva, Mr. Kanti Tappoo (ATH), Board Chairman, announced that he has step down and opt out of re- election after his term of contract expires this year.

Mr. Tappoo has been ATH chairman for the last 10 years and has opted out; to focus on his family business.

Mr. Taito Waqa, Chairman of Fiji National Provident Fund Board, has been appointed a new director as a government nominee.

ATH, a listed company on the South Pacific Stock Exchange, has been growing continuously and consistently. The Group recorded an operating profit after tax of F$46.1 million for its financial year ended 31 March 2008.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Reserve Bank of Fiji amends policy on remittances

The Reserve Bank of Fiji has amended its policy guidelines for former Fiji residents to boost remittance and investment. Under the revise Exchange Control Act, former Fiji residents issued with permanent resident visas will be considered Fiji residents.

The new policy amendments in effect are:

· for the issue and transfer of securities, former Fiji residents will no longer require approval for issue of shares, either new or additional, or transfer of shares; and offshore settlement will not be applicable;

· in the case of local borrowing by an individual, approval will not be required for the purchase of property to be fully funded from offshore;

· where shares are held by former Fiji residents, it will now form part of the local ownership since they are now considered Fiji residents; and borrowing will not require RBF approval if residents hold majority shares;

· on the issue of dividends and profit remittance, they will be encouraged to retain funds in Fiji as they are now considered Fiji residents;

· for former Fiji residents accounts held with the commercial banks, they may be allowed to hold external and or foreign currency account which are funded from external sources; and

· former Fiji residents will be allowed to repatriate their investment initially contributed from offshore on a condition that funds are sourced from income earned in Fiji.

This will encourage former Fiji residents and Fiji citizens abroad in investing back home or just by sending money back home to their families, friends and or loved ones, in return, it will improve the island nation’s remittances and offset loses from “brain drain.”

For advice on investment in Fiji, pls email info@gilbert.com.fj or call telephone (679) 3342719.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fiji Petrol prices falls

The Interim Cabinet has approved a three months temporary reduction in fuel prices in effect from Friday, 15 August 2008, based on a submission by Interim Finance and National Planning Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry.

The new fuel prices approved by the Interim Cabinet are:

  • Motor spirit, F$2.34 per litre (from $2.44);
  • Diesel, F$2.30 per litre (from $2.39);
  • Kerosene, F$2.03 per litre (no change);
  • Premix outboard fuel, F$2.28 per litre (from $2.38).

Rising fuel costs have added to the high import bill for the economy and business costs on a micro level for businesses in Fiji.

These changes will be reviewed again in the 2009 National Budget, as fuel prices are expected to fall during the latter part of the year.

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Fiji National Provident Fund declares six per cent interest rate payout

The Fiji National Provident Fund has confirmed six per cent interest rate pay-out, amounting to F$131.12 million to its members for the financial year ending 30 June 2008. This will be credited to its 261,970 members’ accounts.

Furthermore FNPF Board also approved an increase in the Special Death Benefit (SDB) cover by F$500.00, from F$8,000.00 in 2007 to F$8,500.00 for 2008.

Correspondingly, the premium increases by F$5.00 from the previous F$30.00 to F$35.00.

For advice on investment in Fiji, pls email: info@gilbert.com.fj

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Monday, August 11, 2008

RB Patel earns profit of F$4.28million

RB Patel group, one of the largest successful supermarket chains in Fiji and a company listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange, has recorded an operating profit after tax of F$4.28 million for its financial year ending March 31, 2008.

This growth represents an increase of 15.41 per cent from the F$3.7 million recorded over the preceding year.

RB Patel Group also reported that it will pay out 14 cents per share in dividends later this year.
For more advice on investing in shares, pls email: info@gilbert.com.fj.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Solar Energy - A Saviour for our increasing Oil Import Bill?

I keep wondering why the electricity officials do not allow us to start using solar panels in our homes to supplement or even fully supply our home/office energy needs.

In recent years, our import bill has risen with one of the biggest components being oil imports.

Recent governments have tried to provide incentives for businesses that operate in the area of alternative energy production, however, not much effort has been done to fully encourage businesses to enter or operate in the area.

Local research into alternative fuels, including solar energy, is relatively non-existent with not much emphasis given by education planners to encourage anyone or firm to conduct research in the area.

Yet, we keep hearing of the local electricity supplier, the Fiji Electricity Authority, continuing to increase electrical energy costs by increasing fuel surcharges. We keep hearing as well of the Monasavu Hydro not sufficient to supply our country's energy needs.

It is time that we develop critical thinking to encourage research, planning and development of alternative energy sources of supply in Fiji. One free form of energy, solar energy, is something we could start with.

Read below an article taken from Forbes.com on Denmark's experience with making itself fuel independent.


"The Answer To The Energy Problem" by William Pentland

Before John McCain and Barack Obama say another word about America's energy future, maybe they should go to Denmark.

Denmark has done what other countries only dream of doing: achieved energy independence. While Europe's overall energy imports rose 2.4% in 2006, Denmark's energy imports fell to -8%. In fact, the European Union as a whole scores 54% on the scale of energy dependency. Denmark scores -37%.

"Denmark is the model that the United States should be following," said Steve Pullins, executive director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Modern Grid Initiative.

How'd they do it? Distributed energy.

Unlike traditional "centralized" systems, distributed energy relies on small power-generating technologies like solar panels or ultra-efficient natural-gas turbines built near the point of energy consumption to supplement or displace grid-distributed electricity.

Consumers can not only draw power from the grid, but can feed power into it as well. For instance, homes equipped with solar-power panels could feed unused electricity back into the grid, adding to the total available supply.

Other related technologies like demand response, consumer-side controls and energy storage are expected to play an equally important role in distributed-energy networks. The key feature of a distributed system is so-called "smart metering," which allows power to flow in both directions.

It's far more efficient than most national electricity grids, which rely on large central power stations to send electricity exclusively in one direction from the power stations to the final customer. Only a third of the fuel energy burnt in power plants ends up as electricity. Roughly half is lost as heat and nearly 10% more is lost during transmission.

In addition, 20% of generating capacity exists purely to meet peak demand, so it operates only 5% of the time and provides a mere 1% of supply. The grid has growing congestion problems because it channels electricity through a few key nodes. The glut exacerbates the inefficiency by forcing the utilities to rely on dirtier and less efficient sources of power to meet peak demand rather than simply redirecting surplus power from low demand to high-demand markets.

In 2005, Denmark's distributed-energy networks generated nearly half the country's electricity while cutting carbon emissions by nearly half from 1990 levels. In July, Denmark announced plans to deploy the world's most extensive smart-grid infrastructure, which could make distributed energy the country's primary source of electricity before long.

The change has taken Denmark nearly two decades to implement, but the most critical step was the introduction of smart- or net-metering, which required utilities to buy back electricity from consumers at 85% of the price. Denmark's success has convinced a growing number of policymakers and energy executives to follow suit.

In the U.S., the movement faces constraints from a familiar place: power companies. Distributed energy aims to decouple profits and consumption so that power companies have a greater incentive to invest in energy-efficiency technologies that drive distributed-energy networks. Changing that relationship is even more critical than technological innovation.

"Very little can happen without having the utilities involved in the process," said Ron Pernick, a founder of clean-technology consulting firm Clean Edge. "Regulators need to give utilities the tools they need to get involved, which basically means decoupling."

Like most businesses, power companies have a duty to shareholders to make investments that yield a reasonable return in a reasonable time frame. Distributed-energy systems are developed piecemeal over a long period of time and often require investments that take a long time to yield meaningful returns.

In many parts of the country, regulators have relied on various tax rebates and credits to make it possible for power companies to invest in low-yielding technologies without destroying their bottom lines.

At the Federal level, the 2005 Energy Act requires all federal buildings to be equipped with two-way metering and energy-management systems by 2012. But at least so far, the results have been mixed.

Power companies in Western U.S. states have begun listing energy-efficiency as a central part of their long-term resource portfolio strategies. In the state of Washington, PG&E (nyse: PCG - news - people ) plans to meet half its future energy needs by investing in energy-efficiency technologies that enhance distributed-energy systems.

Other power companies are pursuing ambitious plans to ratchet up decentralized generating sources. Southern California Edison (amex: SCE.PR.B - news - people ) plans to install a whopping 250-megawatts worth of solar panels on rooftops in southern California by 2013.

Meanwhile, many companies and consumers have taken the initiative themselves. In the past decade, the number of small businesses and consumers substantially reducing their reliance on grid-based electricity has risen over 33% annually.

In Mountain View, Calif., Google (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ) meets 30% of its peak power needs with electricity generated by the 1.6 megawatt solar panel installation on its campus. There are compelling reasons to suspect other Silicon Valley companies will follow suit.

Blackouts are expensive, especially for Silicon Valley's high-tech companies. A blackout would cost Sun Microsystems (nasdaq: JAVA - news - people ) an estimated $1 million each minute, according to Larry Owens of Silicon Valley Power. Hewlett-Packard (nyse: HPQ - news - people ) has estimated a 20-minute power outage at a circuit-fabrication plant would cost $30 million.

But it isn't just high-tech firms in the computer capitol of the world that are taking advantage.
Last year, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers installed more than 1,000 solar-powered street lights in Fallujah, a predominantly Sunni city in central Iraq that was the scene of a brutal battle between insurgents and U.S. soldiers in 2004.

During the day, the lamps store energy from the intense desert sunlight in batteries large enough to keep them lit from dusk to dawn. Now, the streets are lit every night--in a country which, in the last five years, has probably spent more hours without electricity than with it."

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Fiji petrol prices rise again

Petrol prices have risen again with effect from today, Wednesday, 6 August 2008. This follows continued increases in world fuel prices. The prices that have been approved by the Prices & Income Board are:
Motor spirit, F$2.44 per litre (from $2.16);
Diesel, F$2.39 per litre (from $2.05);
Kerosene, F$2.03 per litre (from $1.77);
Premix outboard fuel, F$2.38 per litre (from $2.16).
The increase will challenge businesses as it contributes to increased business costs.

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

ANZ Interest Rates (Updated 1.8.08)

Schedule of interest rates released by ANZ Fiji are as follows :
  • Business Index Rate - 10.25%;
  • Residential Property Loan : Standard Variable Rate - 9.75%, 1 Year Fixed Rate - 7.75%;
  • Investment Loan : Standard Variable Rate - 9.75%, 1 Year Fixed Rate - 7.75%;
  • Personal Loans : Secured - 11.50%, Unsecured - 14.20%;
  • Small Loans : Unsecured - 19.00%;
  • Retail Term Deposits : 9 months to 1 year - 1.25%, 1 to 2 Years - 1.75%, 2 Years to 3 Years - 1.75%.

Interest rates are on a per annum basis and may be varied by ANZ without prior notice.

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Annual General Meeting for Amalgamated TElecom Holdings Limited

The Annual General Meeting for Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Limited (ATH), a company listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange, is scheduled for Thursday, 21 August 2008, 9.30am, at the Lali Room, Holiday Inn, Suva.

ATH made a net profit of over F$46 million for its latest financial year ending 31 March 2008.

With the entry of Digicel into the mobile telephony market this year, some pressure is expected on ATH's margins and profits over the coming years.

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Westpac Interest Rates (Updated 1.8.08)

Schedule of interest rates released by Westpac Fiji are as follows :
  • Business Lending Rate - 9.99%;
  • Residential Property Loan : Variable Rate - 9.50%, 1 year Fixed Rate - 7.50%;
  • Investment Loan : Variable Rate - 9.50%, 1 year Fixed Rate - 7.50%;
  • Retail Term Deposits : 6 to less than 9 months - 1.25%, 9 months to less than 1 year - 1.75%, 1 year to less than 1.5 Years - 1.75%, 1.5 years to less than 2 Years - 1.75%, 2 years to less than 3 Years - 1.75%.

Interest rates are on a per annum basis and may be varied by the bank without prior notice.

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