SUNBIZ

Free Bird Institute listed on SPSE

Free Bird Institute Limited (FBL) is the first institute in the education sector to be listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange. It is also the first small and foreign
03 Feb 2017 11:00
Free Bird Institute listed on SPSE
​From left: Chief Operating Officer Free Bird Institute Limited Mereseini Baleilevuka, Chief Executive Officer/Founder/Chairman of Free Bird Institute Limited Hiroshi Taniguchi, Chairperson South Pacific Stock Exchange Nur Bano Ali, South Pacific Free Bird Investor Mitsuo Sakashita, and the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji Barry Whiteside during the listing of the company as “FBL” at the Intercontinental Fiji Golf resort and Spa in Natadola yesterday. Photo: LITIA TIKOMAILEPANONI

Free Bird Institute Limited (FBL) is the first institute in the education sector to be listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange.

It is also the first small and foreign business to be listed.

During the listing ceremony at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa in Natadola yesterday, the Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor, Barry Whiteside, said the launch  was crucial to the growth of the Fijian economy.

He said it was crucial to the growth of continued confidence in the financial system between foreign and local investors.

“The promotion of such collaboration is at the top of our list of national priorities as we seek to improve Fiji’s standing in the ease of doing business assessment, and attract new foreign investment into our country,” Mr Whiteside said.

“I feel this reflects the increasing acknowledgement of the benefits to be derived from participating in our small but developing stock.”

He added the launch sent a favourable message to potential foreign-owned entities wishing to consider Fiji as an investment destination.

Mr Whiteside congratulated the founding shareholder of FBL, Hiroshi Taniguchi, for achieving his dream to see his company listed on the Stock Exchange.

“Free Bird Institute Limited is a company with its own unique business intentions and a true visionary in Mr Taniguchi at the helm.

“So, on that visit in 2013 I came to know that the institute is an English language school catering to non-English speaking foreigners, who travel to Fiji, spend a little time with us and learn the language.”

Many of these students will use their new skills acquired in Fiji to assist them in achieving their education and employment dreams across the globe.

Mr Taniguchi said: “From my company, it became our company and from our company it has now become public company.”

The 45-year-old, who had to risk his dreams to go abroad for his cancer treatment, is proud his achievement.

He acknowledged those who stood by him, including a former teacher of Ratu Navula Secondary in Nadi where the FBL began from.

The chairperson of South Pacific Stock Exchange, Dr Nur Bano Ali, said the listing was historic and other small businesses could follow.

Joining the celebration was FBL’s investor, 80-year-old Mitsuo Sakashita from Japan.

The Institute began in 2004 with three students.

By 2015, more than 15,000 students from 29 different countries had graduated not only with their newfound English-speaking prowess.

The key student source market over the years has been Japan.

In 2016 the total enrolment across the two campuses in Namaka and Lautoka was a little under 1500.

It also has a smaller institute in Ba.

The average length of stay is 10 weeks, with the programmes varying from two to 50 weeks.

The Institute was established with the approval of the Ministry of Education in Fiji and its, mainly local, teaching staff are licensed by the Ministry.

The listing is the second at the SPSE in less than a year after Vision Group.

Feedback: arishma.narayan@fijisun.com.fj

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