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$35m from chip mill

Serafina Silaitoga
Friday, April 13, 2012

THE Wairiki chipping mill is expected to rake in $30 million to $35 million in gross earnings annually.

This however, will depend on the market, says Tropik Wood Products Limited chief executive officer Faiz Khan.

"The market demand fluctuates so our revenue earnings will be dependent on that," Mr Khan said in an interview yesterday.

The Bua mill can produce 1200 tonnes of chips in 12 hours compared to the 24 hours the Lautoka mill needs to produce the same tonnage.

He said the Wairiki chip mill, under the banner of Tropik Wood Products Fiji Limited, was a highly efficient mill.

"The set-up and design of the mill is what enables such high productivity within 12 hours compared to the mill in Drasa," Mr Khan said.

"Our biggest challenge was getting the chips to the tower for loading on the vessel so we did a task of 'chip to ship' which helped us through," he said.

"We have come a long way and what we have done over the last year was not easy but it was no magic either.

"I am not any engineer and all I have done is ensured that contracts were entered into that were fair and described the rights and responsibilities between parties as clearly as possible, and ensured ongoing due diligence exercises over the various procurements of this project," he added.

Mr Khan said the guidance of contractors such as Skookum Technology from New Zealand, including other personnel who provided mechanical and electrical advice helped the company get through the project.

He also assured of increased lease rental payments to Fiji Pine landowners.

"In our long-term business plan, starting this year we will pay 'true dividends' to you every year on a consistent basis.

"I used the words 'true dividends' because over the past 25 years, Fiji Pine has only declared dividend once, that too through borrowed money," Mr Khan said.





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