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Refocusing, Removal Of Exclusivity Key To FINTEL Turnaround

Refocusing, restrategising, and removing exclusivity has now seen a big turnaround in FINTEL’s performance. The 100 per cent Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH) subsidiary has made remarkable headway in just a
23 Jul 2016 10:00
Refocusing, Removal Of Exclusivity Key To FINTEL Turnaround

Refocusing, restrategising, and removing exclusivity has now seen a big turnaround in FINTEL’s performance.

The 100 per cent Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH) subsidiary has made remarkable headway in just a matter of a few years with the right leadership and direction.

Tough decisions were made – offering staff members redundancy packages to decrease headcount as well as shift from Mercury House in Suva to the landing site in Vatuwaqa.

In addition, there was a wage freeze introduced for all remaining staff members.

From over a 100 something staff members, FINTEL now sits with only a team of 39 yet it continues to report improved financials.

For the financial year ended March 31, FINTEL reported Profit Before Tax of $9.5 million, an increase of $2.3 million against the figures of 2015 which stood at $7.2 million.

It is still a bigger improvement considering a loss of over $6 million was posted in 2013.

At the helm of it all is FINTEL chief executive, George Samisoni, who brings with him over 30 years of experience at FINTEL.

When asked how this has been achieved, Mr Samisoni said: “What we have done is refocused ourselves. We were all about exclusivity before.

“People were in the comfort zone but when it came to competition, open market, it is a different ballgame.

“So the attitude to change was a major problem from leadership perspective.

“So what we did we aligned our people, their skillsets against the business strategy. We lost market to VOIP carriers now going directly overseas.”

Thus, the decision to restrategise and refocusing came about.

FINTEL decided to maintain its core business but move focus to the region as well.

So while it now wholesales its products to our national carriers – products including internet and data – it also wholesales the same to other regional countries.

These include Vanuatu, Tonga and Samoa with discussions on a few others already ongoing.

“We have refocused and aligned our strategy, our people and made tough decisions,” Mr Samisoni said.

“We had a wage freeze, but now we have gone past that, we have done our job evaluation by PwC and people are right on par with that in terms of market rates.”

In 2012, ATH decided to buy the 49 per cent shares in FINTEL from Cable & Wireless Communications PLC.

The rest of the 51 per cent at that time was owned by the Fijian Government but managed by ATH.

Then later in 2013, ATH also bought the 51 per cent shares from Government to become 100 per cent shareholders of FINTEL.

Of course this indirectly means that currently, every Fiji National Provident Fund member has shares in FINTEL given ATH is owned by FNPF.

So the success of FINTEL is very critical for the benefit of FNPF members.

And Mr Samisoni attests that things are really improving in FINTEL after the changes from 2012 and 2013 onwards.

“Even though there is competition within (with sister companies such as Vodafone Fiji and Telecom Fiji), we got our own KPIs and business to run,” he said.

Being 100 per cent owned by ATH has meant easier decision-making process, however, the global contacts which FINTEL could previously tap into was lost.

However, Mr Samisoni stressed ATH is now making headway in this aspect and thus the expansion plans for FINTEL in regional countries.

 

Importance of FINTEL

One may wonder – what is so important about FINTEL.

In this day and age of modern technology, the importance and significance of FINTEL should not be underestimated.

After all FINTEL is our international gateway.

Doesn’t sound so flash? All your international calls, data, internet – incoming our outgoing – is done through FINTEL.

So without the infrastructure and services from FINTEL, our fast and efficient internet connection and telecommunications, may not entirely be as efficient.

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