Fiji Business Briefs: RBF on Fiji’s outlook, Aviation school to expand

Fiji Airways Aviation Academy

RBF says inflation, job vacancies up

The Reserve Bank of Fiji says indications are Fiji’s economy will grow in 2024. In a recent statement, RBF Governor, Ariff Ali said while consumption spending was positive—due to tourism, high remittance inflows and a rise in disposable income levels—investment has been relative slow.

Ali notes the number of job vacancies has significantly increased, with the labour market pool affected by higher emigration. He says there is a need to replenish the workforce lost.

Meanwhile, headline inflation was 4.6% in February, an increase of 1% over January, and was driven by higher food and (non-alcoholic) beverage prices. Ali says year-end inflation is forecast to moderate to 3%.

The RBF notes that the “resource-based sectors continued to be largely dismal”, with woodchip, sawn timber and mineral water production noting significant contractions. However with the start of production at the Tuvatu gold mine, gold output expanded by 41.4% in the same period.

Pacific Green makes $400K profit

Palmwood furniture manufacturer, Pacific Green Industries has reported a turnover of $4.38million for the year ended December 31, 2023, and a gross profit margin of 45%, despite rising raw material costs and a persistent labour shortage.

“A persistent labour shortage has led to an increase in labour costs. We have also faced rising global prices for materials and freight, adding to the upward cost pressures,” the company has reported.

Fiji Airways Academy to expand

Fiji Airways Aviation Academy is undergoing a multi-million-dollar expansion which will see it build a fourth #simulation bay, a three-story safety and service training building for cabin crew, and an apartment-style accommodation block, relays Investment Fiji.  The expansions are due for completion in 2026.

FHL Tower progresses; Ratu Sukuna House renovation concludes

Fijian Holdings Limited (FHL) has a new Chairman, Rokoseru Nabalarua. He replaces Sakiusa Raivoce, who remains on the Board and is also assuming the role of chair of FHL Properties. One of Raivoce’s key tasks will be to oversee the completion of the delayed FHL Tower project in downtown Suva. FHL says 75% of that project is complete, with 90% of the building’s exterior installed. Meanwhile it says internal renovations of Ratu Sukuna House are complete, and FHL is now working to get the property fully tenanted.

And FHL has increased its investment in the tourism sector, acquiring a 27.5% equity stake in Port Denarau Marina Limited (PDML) from Skeggs Group Ltd. Even with the sale, Skeggs continues to hold a majority stake on PDML at 43%. 

Port Denarau Marina grows in 2023

Meanwhile Port Denarau Marina Limited has announced its unaudited half-year results as of January 31, 2024, with a 12% increase in revenue compared to the previous year. It has reported a net profit before tax of $2,390,459. 

CFL welcomes a new director

Communications Fiji Ltd (CFL) has appointed Prastika Payal to its board, replacing Maciu Lumelume. The company has also extended its financial reporting deadline for three weeks (to April 22) to enable it to comply with international financial reporting standards and to enable a detailed review of its Papua New Guinea based assets.

 VB Holdings reports a decrease in 2023 profit

VB Holdings Limited has announced a decline in net profit for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2023. The company reported a net profit after tax of $599,935, down from $901,748 in the previous year. The company says administrative expenses and income tax weighed on the bottom line. The directors also highlighted the impact of revised income tax rates and a strategic investment in Sun Insurance Company Limited.

FNPF opens a pension centre in Nadi

The Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) opens its new pension centre at the My FNPF Centre in Nadi on April 2, 2024. This expansion consolidates pension services alongside member services, offering greater convenience to retirees and members. 

FSC announces third cane payment for the 2023 season crop

The Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) issued the third payment of $23.14 per tonne of cane supplied for the 2023 season crop last week. With this payment, the total payment for the season is $79.33 per tonne. FSC Chairman Nitya Reddy affirmed that this decision, in accordance with the Master Award, aims to alleviate financial strain for over 11,000 farmers and related industries. FSC is also disbursing a historic production incentive of $1.1 million to 4924 farmers who increased their production in the 2023 season.  CEO Bhan Pratap Singh lauded the programme’s success, highlighting its role in enhancing productivity and incentivising best farming practices.  

FSC Board Chairman Nitya Reddy

Conservation International launches phase 2 for tuna sustainability

Conservation International has launched a new stage of an initiative aimed at enhancing tuna fisheries sustainability in Fiji, New Caledonia, and Samoa. Supported by the Walmart Foundation, the phase builds on efforts to improve environmental and economic practices in South Pacific tuna fleets.

Marking the occasion, Susana Tuisese, Vice President for Conservation International Pacific Region, said, “Our commitment is to support our Pacific countries in protecting 30% of their exclusive economic zones by 2030.”

Toyota initiates service campaign for Landcruiser 300 models

Toyota Motor Corporation Japan has identified a need for transmission ECU reprogramming for certain Toyota Landcruiser 300 models due to a design issue in the brake clutch disc. The special service campaign aims to rectify potential safety concerns related to vehicle movement when shifted into neutral. Asco Motors will oversee the campaign’s implementation, offering free reprogramming for affected models and has urged customers to schedule appointments promptly.

 All amounts are stated in Fijian dollars.