Fiji Business Briefs: McDonald’s expansion, hotel room demand, reporting season

(PHOTO: Supplied)

McDonald’s Fiji expands back-end operations

Vuvale Restaurants (Fiji) Ltd, the parent company of McDonald’s Fiji, has announced a $25 million investment of a new retail and supermarket complex in Nadi.

Managing Director Marc McElrath says the complex, which is due for completion at the end of 2024, is just one of several projects, including the opening of new McDonald’s outlets in Nakasi and Lami, and a new distribution centre in Lautoka.

“We are very confident with Fiji at the moment, there are a lot of construction currently underway in the country.”

“We are hoping to bring in more new jobs and investments into the country that will hopefully translate into better standards for restaurants and food facilities in the country,” he added.

Fiji needs more hotel rooms: ANZ Economists

ANZ economists Kishti Sen and Tom Kenny say Fiji can double its peak season arrivals to 1.2 million visitors by 2033.  In ANZ’s most recent ‘Pacific Insight’ report, they say this would represent an 8.1% growth in in-bound demand each year. However the economists believe the 2200 extra hotel rooms scheduled for completion at by 2028 are still insufficient to meet demand and estimate a further 4500 rooms over the next ten years are required.

Datec and the Asco Foundation partner to promote cybersecurity education

Datec and the Asco Foundation have partnered to introduce a pioneering cybersecurity awareness programme aimed at educating children. Launched at the Asco Motors headquarters, the initiative underscores the importance of equipping children with essential digital literacy skills. With children’s exposure to online platforms increasing, the programme aims to instil knowledge, tools, and strategies to navigate the digital landscape safely through interactive workshops.

(L-R) Asco Motors CEO Ronald Kumar and Datec (Fiji) Pte Ltd CEO Vinit Nand (Photo: Asco Motors)

Pleass Global reports financial growth in 2023

Pleass Global Limited has revealed a 141% surge in pre-tax profits and a 27% uptick in operating revenue in its 20123 financials. Its robust performance has seen net assets increase by 39% while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) rose by 73%. The company’s dividend yield surged by 44%, reflecting increased shareholder value. Export sales played a pivotal role in driving this growth, marking a 32% increase. Chairman Warwick Pleass commended the team for their dedication, attributing the success to their efforts and strategic plans.

 Kinetic Growth Fund reports Positive NAV growth

Kinetic Growth Fund Ltd. (KGF) has revealed a 5.1% rise in its net asset backing per share, reaching 1.03 cents as of February 29, 2024. This increase follows fluctuations in the share prices of key holdings, including a substantial uptick in Pleass Global Ltd. (PBP) shares. Despite fluctuations in market prices, KGF has remained stable at $1.17 on the South Pacific Stock Exchange (SPX), underscoring investor confidence in the fund’s performance.

FSC reveals land utilisation plan and manual harvesting program

The Fiji Sugar Corporation Limited (FSC) has revealed its plan for the commercial utilisation of approximately 1000 acres of land across its four mills. Chairman Nitya Reddy highlighted the initiative’s aim to address the corporation’s financial challenges while unlocking the potential of prime real estate for development in various sectors. Expressions of Interest have been invited for joint venture participation and outright sale, with an emphasis on maintaining strategic control. Reddy has promised the process will be transparent. The move seeks to inject much-needed capital into FSC and drive economic growth. 

Westpac announces women and girls’ education support

Westpac has revealed its annual Women and Girls Education Grant for 2024, offering financial support across primary, secondary, and tertiary education levels. With themes focusing on supporting female success and accelerating progress through education, the grant aims to empower Fijian women and girls. 

BSP Financial Group names acting company secretary

BSP Financial Group Limited has announced Pamela Potane as its Acting Company Secretary following Jamie-Lee Loh’s resignation. Potane, a law graduate from the University of Papua New Guinea with prior experience at Corrs Chambers Westgarth, will oversee communication with ASX and PNGX. 

India denies FSC loan conversion request

India has declined Fiji Sugar Corporation’s request to convert its Exim Bank loan into a grant, according to Sugar Industry Minister Charan Jeath Singh. The decision, conveyed during Singh’s recent visit to India, cites existing arrangements with African countries as a precedent. While efforts were made to renegotiate the loan terms, India proposed nullifying interest charges and extending the repayment period. Negotiations continue towards repaying the principal amount within 15 years.

Tourism Fiji partners with ATTA

Tourism Fiji has partnered with the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) to host the AdventureNEXT Fiji Summit in November 2024. The summit aims at promoting Fiji as an adventure tourism destination and targets international stakeholders and the media to showcase Fiji’s natural and cultural offerings. With an expected contribution of over $1 million to Fiji’s visitor economy, AdventureNEXT Fiji aligns with Tourism Fiji’s strategy to enrich tourism experiences and tap into the growing adventure travel market.

FSC supports growers

The Fiji Sugar Corporation has disbursed payments to 8,336 growers participating in the manual cane harvesting programme from Lautoka, Rarawai, Labasa, and Penang. CEO Bhan Pratap Singh has acknowledged the initiative’s significance in alleviating financial burdens amid labour challenges. Payments demonstrate FSC’s commitment to supporting growers and sustaining the sugar industry’s vital role in Fiji’s economy.