NEWS

Trailblazing Business Leader Sundip Patel Dies In Suva

The trailblazing managing director of the C. J. Patel Group, Sundip Patel, 52, died after a massive heart attack yesterday morning. A who’s who of Fiji’s business community soon gathered
29 Dec 2014 10:30
Trailblazing Business Leader Sundip Patel Dies In Suva
The late Sundip Patel on holiday with his children.

The trailblazing managing director of the C. J. Patel Group, Sundip Patel, 52, died after a massive heart attack yesterday morning. A who’s who of Fiji’s business community soon gathered at the Patel family’s home in Waimanu Road, Suva, as word spread.

Mr Patel, one of Fiji’s leading businessmen but never one to want self-publicity, collapsed at the family home.

He was reportedly exercising on a treadmill. He was rushed to the Suva Private Hospital.

Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

Mr Patel is mourned across the Patel family, including his wife Shveta, daughters Alisha and Sonia and son Jay, and by managers and staff across the C.J. Patel Group.

Mr Patel had been groomed by his own remarkable parents to run and develop the family-owned company, C.J. Patel.

He built on the strong foundations laid by them. He continued to grow the company’s base in Fiji, found and supported quality managers, promoted best business practices and took the growing group international.

C.J. Patel now also operates across the Pacific Islands region, in Australia and New Zealand, and increasingly in major Asian markets.

But always the headquarters and the heart of the business remained in Fiji, with the group and Mr Patel’s main office based at Wailekutu, on the Queens Road, just past Lami.

The commitment of Mr Patel and his parents to Fiji has been unstinting.

A good example was the acquisition of the previously troubled national dairy company now known as Fiji Dairy Limited and based at Nabua, Suva.

Mr Patel invested in Fiji Dairy because he believed strongly that he could make a contribution to Fiji by helping build the local dairy industry.

He wanted to reduce Fiji’s growing dependence on imported milk.

As part of this chilling stations are being established around the country to help grow dairy farming nationally.

A new company, CJ Farms, was launched to develop, so far two, dairy farms. These are intended to be not just contributors to the national dairy factory but also examples of best practice in the industry.

Within Fiji, C.J. Patel now employs many hundreds of people. These work across businesses as diverse as C.J Patel (Pacific) Limited at Wailekutu, its trading arm with distribution rights for international brands in Fiji, and most of the Pacific, to Viti Foods, at Laucala Beach Estate. Viti Foods manufactures canned fish for local and export markets.

Here too a major investment is underway to further broaden export markets.

The Fiji Sun, your national newspaper, is part of this growing multi-company development of the group. Again Mr Patel supported developing the paper and major investment in a new press centre. A new press and computerised technology brought unprecedented colour printing capacity to Fijian newspapering.

Group manufacturing operations and investment in Fiji are not just Suva based.

At Ba, SC Foods has been developed to achieve international ISO 22000 accreditation. Such is the quality of its work it has been commissioned by both Nestle and Sanitarium Australia.

Another award winner developed amongst the companies in the group is Pacific Batteries Limited, the only automotive battery manufacturing company in the South Pacific.

This Lami-based company caters for both the local market and exports across the region and internationally.

Mr Patel’s expertise was increasingly sought outside the group as well. Most recently he was appointed to a revamped board of national airline Fiji Airways.

 

FUNERAL DETAILS

Mr Patel’s funeral details are still to be finalised. Patel family members are currently flying in from around the world for the funeral gathering.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 

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