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Link PNG Reapplying to Buy Minority Stake in PNG Air
by PNG Business News - April 29, 2021
Link PNG and PNG Air have reported that they have reapplied to the ICCC for Link PNG to buy a minority stake in PNG Air.
PNG Air and Link PNG also agree that ICCC acceptance would help Papua New Guineans and visitors.
The planned joint venture between Link PNG and MRDC is focused on PNG Air being an independent airline, setting its own airfares and selling its own tickets separately from Air Niugini, according to Link PNG chairman Sir Kostas Constantinou and PNG Air chairman Augustine Mano.
In a joint statement, both chairmen emphasized the importance of PNG continuing to have two separate carriers, PNG Air and Air Niugini, as well as a competitive domestic market.
They mentioned that COVID-19 has lasted much longer than anyone predicted and is continuing to have a negative impact on both airlines; thus, while it is vital that we continue to work independently on a commercial basis, it is also critical that the airlines take advantage of this ability to reduce costs.
“World aviation has been badly damaged by COVID-19, including in our region where the Fijian government has had to issue loan guarantees for K788 million to support Fiji Airways, whilst elsewhere governments have had to pay billions of Kina to keep their airlines alive.
“We believe this move if approved, will ensure PNG’s airline industry is profitable, sustainable and competitive without having to rely on Government support.
“Both airlines are ultimately owned by the people of PNG, either the taxpayer, contributors to superannuation or as a landowner so it is critical both airlines are viable.”
The plan is focused on Link PNG maintaining a minority share status and all commercial roles being distinct and autonomous, according to the chairmen.
- the selling of all PNG Air airline tickets, including all pricing and yield control, as well as all personnel involved in these functions;
- PNG Air's publicity, which includes existing sales offices as well as a separate website;
- PNG Air's board and management will be independent;
- all cabin crew, sales personnel, and check-in staff will wear PNG Air uniforms; and
- all of PNG Air's aircraft will be painted in PNG Air livery.
Back office activities that can be handled more effectively between the two carriers, as well as more efficient fleet use, will be the main integration advantages.
“We believe there is a compelling case for creating a stronger independent PNG Air, across a wider network, as well as ensuring job security,” they stated. “We will also ensure the savings created will be passed back onto our customers through more affordable airfares; with the lower prices resulting from economies of scale and through the considerable cost efficiencies that are available.”
The idea, according to Sir Kostas and Mano, would favour airline passengers as well as ensure job protection for both airlines and the continuation of the PNG Air brand in our skies. They also stated that “With the savings, we will generate, we will be able to pass this back onto our customers through more affordable airfares.”
Before the joint venture can be finalized, both Link PNG and PNG Air will need both regulatory and shareholder approvals, including from ICCC.
PNG Business News - May 03, 2021
Mano: PNG Air Employees will be Kept
According to the company's board member, all PNG Air employees will be retained after the acquisition by Link PNG. The key goal of the acquisition, according to PNG Air chairman Augustine Mano, is to achieve a viable airline industry in order to secure PNG Air's future, creditors, and personnel said a letter from the board to management and staff of PNG Air. He said the board had reviewed and considered all practicable alternatives for reforming the company to resolve the continuing effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on domestic and foreign travel when it decided to endorse the 40 per cent shareholding to Link PNG. He stated that this agreement needs ICCC approval and that an application to that effect has been filed, with shareholder approval expected shortly. Mr Mano stated that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in January 2021, as well as the recommendations submitted and staff questions, have all been resolved. He also said that all employees would be kept. PNG Air will continue to operate as a standalone carrier with its own board of directors and management. This is done while maintaining the identity, with the exception of areas where resource maximisation is needed to allow shareholder returns. He promised that rivalry with Air Niugini will continue until cost-cutting measures are identified and introduced. He went on to say that the benefits from this joint venture would help all core stakeholders, including employees and the general public, who will benefit from lower airfares.
PNG Business News - June 01, 2021
PNG Assets Have Potential To Earn, Says Bekker
PNG Power Managing Director Flagon Bekker said the company's assets have a lot of potential for generating income and maximizing their use to help the country distribute energy more efficiently. PNG Power has the capability and assets to provide that opportunity and needs to look at the best solutions to accomplish this sort of outcome, he said. Electricity markets have altered worldwide and in the region to produce better benefit for the economies of those nations, he said. “Reform is inevitable for the power sector in PNG as it has been and continues to be across the globe. PNG is not unique,” Bekker said. “Reform will consist of a measured, step by step approach by PPL and the other market participants. It will mean lower power prices for the people of PNG through transparent, competitive investment and operating processes in generation, transmission and distribution and retail business units. Reform is about change. Change for a better stronger and more sustainable sector.” He highlighted that, after the recent passage of enabling legislation, the National Energy Authority (NEA) will take over regulatory tasks from PNG Power and the ICCC. He stressed that PNG Power could not be both a regulator and a participant in the business at the same time, that it could not be both the referee and the player, as well as the third umpire. “It must now behave in a more commercial manner to implement the programs necessary to achieve the government’s electrification agenda. PNG Power would become a competitive participant in the market in the future, with a single buyer responsible for power demand throughout the country's electrical infrastructures. “I want all PNG Power staff to understand the vision that we have for the organisation and its important role in achieving the goals of the government; this requires that we must act in a commercial manner, especially in dealing with donors and investment parties. “We should not be afraid of change; we must all embrace it,” Mr Bekker said when responding to the media criticism by the Energy Workers Union about the changes and the reforms initiated at PNG Power.” Reference: Post-Courier (31 May 2021). “Bekker: PNG Power Is Able To Make Money.”
PNG Business News - March 31, 2021
PNG Ports Explains Their Decision to Deal with Covid-19
COVID-19 had a major impact on Papua New Guinea's exports and port movement, but the PNG Ports Corporation had taken political decisions to handle the situation. In recent months, the world has seen and continues to see a significant shift in everyday lives, which has had significant implications for industry, commerce, and transportation. The pandemic's emergence altered both economic and trade forecasts for 2020. New predictions have reduced forecasts to negative 4.9 per cent, down from an estimate of 3.6 per cent increase in container trade worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 2.5 per cent in January 2020. PNG Ports chairman Kepas Wali clarified that the company's earnings were the result of tight cost-cutting steps and prudent decisions taken by management. Last year, he said, the closing of borders and prohibitions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic struck PNG Ports hard, which is dependent on trade. Despite COVID-19, PNG Ports has continued to operate all of its ports. “When COVID-19 hit the country and the world, the management of PNG Ports worked quickly and instituted certain protocols and prevention measures just so we can maintain our ports operations,” he said. “The management’s quick response to the situation has made it possible for all ports to operate during the hit by the pandemic through until now.” He said the pandemic's consequences on the company were expensive, but PNG Ports is happy with the positive results obtained by their management's swift reaction and aims to continue this going forward.
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PNG Business News - June 15, 2021
PNG Vanilla Company Partners Expo2020 Team
Dr. Nancy Irwin (left) with the Deputy Commissioner General for Expo2020 and Head of the PNG Expo2020 Secretariat, Mrs. Jacinta Warakai-Manua began the partnership to tell the PNG Vanilla story in Dubai, by exchanging ideas in Port Moresby last week. A vanilla production and export company is partnering with the PNG Expo2020 Team to promote their products in the Dubai World Exposition that starts in October this year. KAMAPIM, a company working with landowners in the Madang and Morobe Provinces produces top quality vanilla beans and is already exporting to the EU market. The Managing Director of the company Dr. Nancy Irwin, met with the PNG Commissioner General to Expo2020 Ambassador Joshua Kalinoe and his Deputy Mrs. Jacinta Warakai-Manua in Port Moresby last week to firm up the arrangements. Dr. Irwin said Kamapim (pidgin for develop and to improve) concentrates its efforts in producing the best quality bean for the international market through quality assurance production methods. “PNG farmers can grow anything, they have instinctive ability to grow well any crops. When I first started the project, the quality of the beans were poor, full of fungus due to lack of processing knowledge. We saw huge potential of the organically grown beans and started working with landowners through a cooperative production and marketing structure to improve quality” “The company provide extension services to farmers and buy the beans directly, ensuring farmers are paid a fair price for their efforts”, she said. Dr Irwin said the beans are tested internationally and are consistently classed as the top-quality A grade level. “While PNG has a good perception of growing environment friendly organic vanilla beans, the challenge is for the relevant Government authorities to work with farmers to improve quality. I believe the cooperative production methods applied by our company, Kamapim, could be used nationally as one of the models to improve quality for the export market as well as to maximize revenue gain for farmers”, Dr. Irwin said. She said the company is looking forward to partnering with the PNG Expo2020 Team to tell the PNG story and to connect with niche importers in Dubai and the Arab world in general. Dr. Irwin said the company would promote its products in specially branded PNG Expo2020 containers to create visibility for the country as well as to preserve quality at the company’s cost.
PNG Business News - June 15, 2021
PNGEITI Praises Open Dialogue to Reopen Porgera Mine
The PNG Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PNGEITI) has praised the open stakeholder dialogue culminating in reaching consensus to re-open the Pogera Mine in Enga. Parties in April this year sanctioned a “Framework Agreement for the New Pogera Project” which spells out the roadmap to reopen the mine. Mark Bristow, CEO and President of Barrick Gold last week explained key elements of “Framework Agreement for the New Pogera Project” at a public forum at the Piam Oval in Pogera witnessed by PNG Prime Minister James Marape, landowners and other leaders. In the new agreement, PNG stakeholders will together own a 51 % equity stake in the mine while Barrick Niguini Limited (BNL), a joint venture company in which Barrick and Zijin Mining Group each own 50% will hold 49 %. BNL will remain the mine operator. At the end of the first ten year period, the PNG stakeholders will have the option to purchase BNL’s 49 % PNGEITI Head of Secretariat Lucas Alkan remarked that the open discussion throughout the negotiation process on the part of the mine operating lead, Government and landowners has culminated in this agreement signed happily by all parties. “We at the PNGEITI congratulate the Government and the project lead Barrick Gold and other stakeholders for reaching a consensus decision to reopen the mine. “Pogera has been an economic powerhouse for many years and people in the country have been waiting for the outcome. “We commend the Prime Minister, the President and CEO of Barrick Gold Mr. Mark Bristow for the leadership in ensuring that the negotiations were done in the transparent and open manner. “PNG Extractive Industries Transparency highly encourages such openness in the negotiating process for resources benefits and importantly the responsibilities that each stakeholder must take on to ensure smooth flow of proceeds. “We look forward to working with the Government and the project operator in the areas of transparency and accountability to help derive best value for all stakeholders. PNGEITI commitment to reporting on developments in the mining and petroleum space is becoming stronger with new reporting dimensions taking shape as we making progress in promoting transparency and accountability in the PNG mining and petroleum industry” Mr. Alkan said.
PNG Business News - June 14, 2021
BPNG Goes For Review
Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey has revealed the terms of reference for a review of the Bank of PNG, as well as the members of the review panel. Former Chief Secretary Robert Igara will lead the study, which was planned in the Supplementary Budget for 2020. Former central bank governor Sir Wilson Kamit and Australian professor Dr Stephen Howes are the two members. “These very eminent people, all of whom have detailed experience of the PNG financial system and reform, will be working to a term of reference approved recently by the NEC,” Ling-Stuckey said. “It is the first review of the central bank and the Central Banking Act 2002 since Sir Mekere Morauta’s financial system reforms when he was prime minister from 1999 to 2002. “Much has changed since then, and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, along with substantial technological advances, have made the need for a review even more urgent. “The aim is to modernise the bank and the legislation in line with international developments, and make it more responsive to prevailing circumstances while preserving its independence.” The study is scheduled to be finished in time for Parliament's November session. “An independent advisory group was also established by the late Sir Mekere when looking at the changes that led to the Central Banking Act 2000,” he said. “Igara, currently the University of Papua New Guinea chancellor, was chief secretary at the time, and Sir Wilson was the governor of the Central Bank. “Prof Howes, head of the Development Policy Centre at the Australian National University, has long been involved in PNG research and advice and consultation, particularly in relation to national development.” Reference: The National (8 June 2021). “BPNG going for review”.