In Fiji:

March 4, 2024, 12:10 pm
Business, Fiji News

Collapsing mills, low production, $400m debt: FSC offers 1000 acres of prime real estate for development

Fiji TV Team
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The Fiji Sugar Corporation  needs a massive injection of capital “to get out of its financial mega mess of collapsing mills and low production,” says board chairperson Nitya Reddy.

He says the miller has suffered from nearly two decades of crippling uninterrupted losses with debts of  $400 million.

Mr Reddy says the FSC Board, following consultations with Sugar Industry Minister Charan Jeath Singh, today announced plans for the commercial utilisation of nearly 1000 acres of land at all four of its mill areas.

He says the 30 properties identified are located at Lautoka City, Waqadra, Navo, and Malolo in Nadi, Momi Bay, Cuvu in Sigatoka, Ba, Tavua, RakiRaki, and Labasa and nearly all of them are freehold.

Mr Reddy says Expressions of Interest ( EOI ) have been called for both joint venture participation and also some outright sale of properties that are surplus to its requirements and not considered necessary for FSC’s long-term strategic development.

He says they are some of the finest and most sought-after pieces of real estate in the country, with unlimited potential for development, particularly for the hospitality, medical, retirement, and light commercial sectors. Except for Waqadra, they are all non-agricultural and will help mitigate the current critical shortage of 5000 rooms in the tourism sector and usher in a new wave of revenue, employment, and dividends.

Each location holds strategic value in the heart of Fiji’s most vibrant growth hubs, combining natural appeal in our finest flora and fauna, commanding ocean views, proximity to key tourist destinations, international airport, and seaport.

The plan is being advertised locally and internationally through newspapers, social media, foreign embassies, and trade investment outlets and is targeted to specific high-net-worth businesses and individuals.

Mr Reddy says FSC  needs a massive injection of additional capital to get out of its financial mega mess of collapsing mills and low production. It has suffered from nearly two decades of crippling uninterrupted losses with debts of  $400 million. The spectre of losses will continue for another decade unless we resource it properly and urgently.

He stressed that the joint venture model would look at all options, ensuring that FSC retains strategic ownership and control of its assets while at the same time harnessing much-needed seed capital from prospective investors.

“This is the largest single divestment in the history of Fiji, and we will ensure that the entire process is conducted with the highest levels of transparency, accountability, and probity,” Mr Reddy said.

“We will not allow the process to be ambushed by unethical jackals who are driven solely by their own profit interests. We have seen the litany of abuses surrounding the grant of valuable public assets, parks, land, etc., to private profiteers in the past. We will not have a repeat of that abuse.

“Government, as the sole owner, will make the final decisions. It  will ensure that the test of public benefit remains paramount and fully demonstrable.

“All these lands have been bequeathed to the pioneers of the industry in recognition of their historical contributions to the development of the industry in the last 140 years. We have a sacred duty to honour their legacy and history and ensure that the benefits of this accrues to the industry and the nation.”