Sep 21, 2019 Last Updated 3:13 AM, Sep 21, 2019

Fiji's superyacht marina, Port Denarau Marina Ltd (PDM) today listed its shares on the Suva-based South Pacific Stock Exchange (SPX) following an oversubscribed Initial Public Offer (IPO) that saw it sell down over 11 million shares, three million more than its initial intention of 8 million. 

This has brought 600 new shareholders to the company after Day One of trading. 

Data released by SPX today saw a total of 11,640,943 PDM shares with a total value of F$14.95 million changing hands.

That included a special trade of six million shares facilitated at a discounted price of F$1.26 per share and brokers confirmed this was from an institutional investor.

PDM shares opened at its IPO price of F$1.31 and gained 9 cents to end the day at F$1.40 per share. 

Griffon Emose, managing director of Kontiki Capital Ltd, parent company of lead broker Kontiki Stockbroking, described the take up as "really good", helped in a big way by the company's already established reputation.

"Just to be clear, this wasn't a capital raising exercise.  It was actually a sell down of shares.  PDM before this only had one shareholder, from New Zealand, but in order to list on SPX, you have to meet certain criteria.  One criteria is you have to have at least 20 per cent of your shares held by the public and you have to have a minimum of 50 shareholders.  PDM didn't need the funds as the company is already well funded. So they had to sell down the shares in order to meet the criteria of listing on SPX," Emose said. 

He said while most buyers – about 95 percent – were from Fiji, overseas investors also came on board, from New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the United States of America. 

"The minimum was for F$500 worth of shares and we had some that came in with several millions of dollars. Some institutional investors also came in." Emose said.

He said SPX's ability to directly approve foreign investors to buy and sell shares on the stock exchange has made it easier for foreign investors to participate in Fiji's share market. 

"SPX is open to everybody and the good thing is the government has delegated to the stock exchange the ability to allow foreign investors to come into the market.  Normally, foreign investors would need to obtain foreign investors approval, so that has been delegated to SPX but only for trading in listed companies," said Emose.  

PDM director Nigel Skeggs described the day as a special one for the company, which has been in his family for 20 years and under his stewardship since  2006.

 "There were several reasons for us choosing to be on the stock exchange but the primary one is that the marina being such an important tourism infrastructure for Fiji, we felt that after 20 years of us developing it, we needed to look at some Fiji ownership.  So we really want the public of Fiji to get involved, it was a way of giving back to Fiji and we had a lot of support. And of course, obviously there are the incentives that come with listing on the stock exchange, in particular the 10 percent company tax," Skeggs told IB Online. 

PDM is now the first tourism related company to list on SPX and there are hopes that this would be followed by more listings from the sector.

Note: this story was updated at 8.36pm Fiji time.

Fiji’s award winning marina, Port Denarau Marina Ltd (PDML) has launched an Initial Public Offer (IPO) in Fiji, with intention to raise over F$10 million and to list on the South Pacific Stock Exchange (SPX) following the offer’s scheduled closing on the first week of next month. 

According to its offer document, available online on SPX, 8 million PDML ordinary shares are now on offer at F$1.31 per share, bringing the proposed total capital to be raised to F$10.48 million.

The 8 million shares on offer represent 20 percent of the company’s issued shares. 

Apart from broadening the company’s shareholder base from its current single shareholder, the offer also aims to raise capital to help finance future expansion plans and current developments, some of which are outlined in the prospectus, such as “a new Marina reception, amenities and office block as well as dredging to expand the superyacht marina, both of which are due for completion in the second half of 2019.”

“Since the purchase of the marina assets by Skeggs Group Limited in 1999, PDML has been at the forefront of Fiji’s largest industry, tourism. In its most recent financial year, PDML’s marina on Denarau Island saw some 495,000 tourists, representing over 54% of Fiji’s annual tourist numbers, transiting through our facility,” said David Skeggs, chairman of Skeggs Group Ltd, the sole owner of PDML.

“In addition, the Marina had 23 foreign cruise ships visit and welcomed over 400 yachts and 54 Superyachts to our facilities. These numbers have grown steadily over the years and are set to continue on this trend, reflecting the strength of Fiji tourism as well as the importance of Denarau Island, and the Marina in particular, as the ‘gateway’ for marine tourism.” Skeggs added.

He said over the years, the company has invested significant capital to bring the Marina facilities up to world class standards in their design, ambience, efficiency and safety and every effort is put into ensuring that the Marina’s operations work in harmony with its marine environment.

Recent developments include the reclamation of the foreshore creating over half an acre of additional space for the installation of an architecturally-designed tent structure to extend the main passenger terminal and check-in facilities.

This is in addition to current work underway on the new Marina reception, amenities and office block.

“We are excited to highlight additional developments in the pipeline including the Denarau Marina Mall and Apartments development. All this is part of PDML’s vision of developing a world-class tourism destination designed around the Marina, which acts as an important hub for Denarau Island and Fiji,” said Skeggs.

PDML’s after tax profit during its financial year ended July 31 2018 was $2.89 million, while in the six months ended January 31, 2019, it posted F$1.11million in after tax profits. 

The offer period is from July 9 to August 6, 2019 and listing is expected to take place in mid August.

Anyone interested in buying shares is advised to contact a licensed stockbroker.

Tourism toilet gaffe

By Samisoni Pareti

Tourism Fiji, the marketing agency of Fiji as a tourist destination has been forced to issue a public apology following an embarrassing langugage blunder on one of its social media postings overnight.

In a video about everyday Fijian terms posted on its Facebook and Instagram pages, Tourism Fiji used the Fijian word for church – valenilotu – as the meaning of the word ‘toilet.’

The mistake went viral on social media overnight before Tourism Fiji pulled the post and upload an apology in its place before lunch time today.

“Sincere apologies everyone,” states the online apology. “Content fact-checking was clearly inaccurate and the post has since been removed. Apologies for any offence this may have caused,” adds Tourism Fiji.

When IB Online followed this up with a request for an explanation from the office of the Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Fiji, Matthew Stoeckel, his office issued this statement to all the media networks.

“Tourism Fiji would like to apologise for an incorrect translation of an iTaukei word which was posted within a video on our social media accounts that was attempting to showcase every-day Fijian words to our international visitors,” says the TF statement.

“The mistake was due to a mismatch of graphic design and failure of our quality assurance process. The post was removed this morning by Tourism Fiji’s social media team shortly after the organisation became aware of the mistake.

“Tourism Fiji takes full responsibility for the error and sincerely regrets any offence this post may have caused our fellow Fijians. We take this situation very seriously and are reviewing our internal processes to ensure this does not happen again.”

A fully-funded agency of the Fijian Government, Tourism Fiji operates on an annual grant of between $30 to $40  (US$14.5m - US$19.4m) million. It is headquartered in Nadi, close to Nadi International Airport on the west coast of Fiji’s main island.

FIJI is still the number one tourist destination in the Pacific region attracting a little over 840,000 visitors last year with a total estimated earnings of US$4.3 billion from all countries in the region. And authorities are projecting a 2.2 million tourist arrivals to the region by 2020.

The provisional tourist arrivals for the 18 member countries of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation is 2.13million for 2017.

Fiji’s visitor arrivals increased by 6.4 per cent last year due to strong growth in tourist arrivals from New Zealand, the United States of America and Australia.

Cumulative to February, visitor arrivals rose by 2.4per cent led by increased arrivals from New Zealand, US, Continental Europe and China.

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Killing the golden goose

High taxes threaten tourism

HIGH taxes and service charges have pushed Fiji’s major revenue generator into the more expensive destinations for tourists. With VAT increasing from 5 to 10 per cent and Service Turnover Tax reducing from 10 to six per cent and Departure Taxes at $200 per passenger, what was once a popular choice for New Zealanders and Australians may soon be out of reach for families.

And families are the key to the success of tourism in Fiji. Hoteliers have been forced to find creative ways to sell their destination and product in a very competitive market where technology has had a major impact on how companies reaching out to their customers.

The Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association has lobbied government not to tax the only industry that it claims actively and positively addresses environmental issues through pro-active self-funded programs. During a media workshop organized by the association in Suva last month, participants discussed the need to reduce the tax levied on the industry. Instead, tourism operators want the same taxes spread across industries which impacted the environment. These taxes would be collected and used to fund environment protection programs.

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