FHL Storm Looms

A political storm is brewing within Fijian Holdings Ltd threatening its future. It overshadowed the company’s unprecedented achievement yesterday of reaching its highest share price of $4.30. At the rate
20 Jan 2016 15:06
FHL Storm Looms
Fijian Holdings Limited

A political storm is brewing within Fijian Holdings Ltd threatening its future.

It overshadowed the company’s unprecedented achievement yesterday of reaching its highest share price of $4.30.

At the rate it’s going the share price is likely to hit the $5 mark soon. That’s great news for FHL.

But any celebration is dampened by the political tug-of-war that is raging in FHL’s board of directors and stifling progress.

Elements within the board are understood to have politicised issues. Some proposed sound business projects are said to have been opposed to satisfy political objectives. Conversely, some in the board have pushed for some projects that have no business viability but fit their political ideologies.

That has got Government worried and concerned.

It is understood that there will be a board shakeup soon which will see some new members coming in. The current board members are: Iowane Naiveli (chairman), Rear-Admiral Viliame Naupoto (deputy chairman), Sakiusa Raivoce, Isikeli Tuituku, Ilai Taoi, Viliame Cegumalua, Ratu Waisea Waka Vosailagi and John O’Oconnor.

The fallout could drastically affect FHL’s future performance. FHL cannot guarantee the same return for its investments that has been paid to shareholders in the form of dividends.

It has been suggested in some quarters that maybe there should be a harvest where funds are offloaded to a new fund to be set up to give shareholders a guaranteed return with no high-risk investment.

Concerns have also been expressed whether the dividends paid out annually are filteringdown to the grassroot iTaukei. Since 1987, $97 million have been paid out as dividends to 1120 shareholders, $44 million alone to the iTaukei Trust Fund and the iTaukei Affairs Board.

Founded in 1984 as a response by the Chiefs and people to accelerate iTaukei participation in the economy, Fijian Holdings today is a successful and profitable Fijian Enterprise which has become a major player in Fiji’s corporate sector. Its shareholders include provincial councils, the iTaukei Land Trust Board, the iTaukei Affairs Board, iTaukei Trust Fund, tikina and village groups, iTaukei co-operatives, individual iTaukei and family companies.

Its investments are designed to give iTaukei significant shareholding in major companies thus helping to achieve the national objective of bringing iTaukei fully into the mainstream of the country’s economic life.

But there has been no comprehensive audit to ascertain whether the money has benefitted the grassroots people. Since it came to power, the FijiFirst Government has put in place systems to hold those in authority accountable in provincial councils and iTaukei ministry and institutions.

FHL has investments in 22 companies in Fiji and PNG. Of those, 10 are subsidiary companies with over 50 per cent shareholding.

FHL has investments in almost all sectors of the Fiji economy, including tourism, manufacturing, building & construction, property, media & communication, finance and Retailing.

The subsidiaries of FHL in the different sectors are:

Building And Construction
Basic Industries Limited (51.1 per cent)
Fiji Industries Ltd (50.1 per cent)
Asian Paints Limited (9.0 per cent)
South Sea Cruises Limited (100 per cent)
FHL Properties Limited (100 per cent)
Fijian Holdings Property Trust Fund (79.5 per cent)
Merchant Finance and Investment Co. Ltd (80 per cent)
FHL Stockbrokers Ltd (100 per cent)
Fijian Holdings Trust Management Ltd (100 per cent)
Fijian Holdings Unit Trust (13 per cent)
Fiji Television Limited (56.87 per cent)
Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Limited (0.2 per cent)
RB Patel Group Limited (50.2 per cent)
New World Limited (15 per cent)
Marsh Limited (25 per cent)
FHL Logistics Limited (100 per cent)


Edited by Naisa Koroi

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