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Fiji Time: 6:20 AM on Sunday 20 April

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$3.5m bill and timber shortage

Felix Chaudhary
Saturday, January 26, 2013

TIMBER shortage and infrastructure damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Evan are among some of the biggest issues facing the Fiji Pine Group of Companies.

Executive chairman Faiz Khan said in light of this a recovery strategy was in place to ensure the swift return to business for the Fiji Pine Group — including Tropik Wood Industries — from the $3.5million devastation caused by Evan in December last year.

Group executive chairman Faiz Khan said repairs were expected to be completed by April this year and disruption to business would be kept to a bare minimum.

"We have managed to come up with an accelerated repairs solution with liquidated damages for construction delays. We expect the infrastructure to be restored before the end of April this year or within three months. This, together with other measures undertaken on temporary basis, will minimise disturbances to our operations," he said.

"Our aim is to supply timber to the country at our maximum capacity. The country is facing a shortage due to higher demand after TC Evan. Today, we would have completed two weeks of production for this year and sold about $600,000 of timber from our Drasa mill. This is despite expected teething issues faced in the mill after we had a shorter maintenance period due to TC Evan disruptions."

Mr Khan also revealed that plywood production should be boosted with the installation of new equipment at the Fiji Forest Industries factory on Vanua Levu.

"We have also just installed a new hot press at our FFI factory in Labasa. We are hoping to start production within a week using this newer press."