NATION

Editorial:Take Note. Koreans Are Showing Faith Investing Here

While the Chinese foreign investments continue putting a question mark in Fiji, the same cannot be said about the Korean foreign investments. Two Korean investors in particular have demonstrated their
03 Oct 2016 10:47
Editorial:Take Note.  Koreans Are Showing Faith Investing Here

While the Chinese foreign investments continue putting a question mark in Fiji, the same cannot be said about the Korean foreign investments.

Two Korean investors in particular have demonstrated their commitment with exemplary projects continues leading the way for foreign investors.

The first of course is Grace Roads Group – a Korean Church-based company which came here for rice cultivation.

In just a matter of a few years, the company has  grown and diversified opening popular restaurants/shops in Suva, Nadi, Lautoka, Nausori, Lami and now Nakasi.

No doubt setting up a mill in Navua and investing in more rice farms has seen them pour in millions into our economy.

The other one is the investors for the 12 Mega Watts biomass power plant project in Nabou (easily visible along Queens Highway before Nadi when travelling from Suva).

The project is being undertaken by Nabou Green Energy Limited (NGEL) which is a joint venture between a consortium of investors from Korea who have partnered with Tropik Wood Industries.

The shareholders of NGEL are GIMCO (a Korean biomass company), GS Power (another Korean energy company), Mirae Asset (of Daewood Securities) and Tropik Wood Industries (25 per cent shareholder).

The progress of construction can be seen from the main highway after the Natadola junction and many people travelling may have wondered what the big works is all about.

This project is the first independent power project (IPP) in Fiji. IPP true meaning is not linked to any other business but on its own.

The plant will convert wood fibre and other waste to produce steam for power generation.

This US$45 million (F$92.41m) project is now 75 per cent complete and is scheduled for commercial operations by April next year.

Once operational, this will allow Fiji to save money in diesel imports bill for electricity generation assisting in Government’s vision of going 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

The four shareholders bring their respective strengths to ensure the project progresses and meets their targets.

GIMCO and GS Power bring both construction and operating expertise in this energy sector. Tropik has the local know-how. And Mirae Asset has capacity on project financing and investment.

The project did start off with its fair share of challenges – the first being the local banks’ reluctance to fund the project.

As a result, the entire funding for the project was brought in from off-shore.

Perhaps the local banks reluctance to lend was because this is the first such project which is quite understandable.

Tropik, as we know, has not had a very good experience with its power generation for supplying power to its Drasa factory and exporting the excess to the grid.

But the Koreans bring their expertise, experience and investment capacity.

This project would no doubt set a benchmark for IPPs in Fiji and we can hope to see investments in this sector coming in.

And indeed, more genuine Korean foreign investors coming through which will assist in bigger economic growth for us.

 

 



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