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Divestment of shares progress

Manasa Kalouniviti
Saturday, June 17, 2017

THE partial divestment of Government shares from the Fiji Electricity Authority is progressing with the process going through rigorous vetting and negotiations.

Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum highlighted this to this newspaper yesterday after announcing the proposed $20million dividend and $1.5m bonus payment of FEA staff

"The progress is such that as you know we've advertised, we've appointed some investment advisers who have a global footprint; we also not going to restrict ourselves to this part of the world and we want to be able to seek far and wide and get good partners," he said.

"That is the current progress; there's a lot of vetting going on; a lot of discussions and negotiations in respect of the potential investors in Fiji."

The privatisation of FEA is part of a restructure announced by Mr Sayed-Khaiyum in 2010, which will result in some form of partial privatisation, including divestment of government shares in FEA.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also clarified some misconceptions between the process of partial privatisation and divestment of FEA shares.

"When you say privatisation, it generally means that you are completely selling it off to private hands. As we said right from the beginning, the Government's position is that we don't want to do that; we're doing what is called divestment, a partial divestment of shares," he said.

"The Government will still hold on to 51 per cent of the shares in FEA."

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Fiji had the ability to get deeper into renewable energy and it was good for FEA to get in with strategic partners who already had access to that level and type of technology.

"So this is the basis for which we are seeking a partial divestment of shares and getting strategic partners and opening opportunities for other investment companies within Fiji or outside Fiji in particular a company that has level of access in this technology," Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

He said Government wanted to hold a certain percentage of shares in FEA for individual account holders because the idea was to eventually list the company.

"So all account holders at FEA will be entitled to a particular level of shares and you suddenly become a shareholder in FEA. With you as shareholder you are now participating in the share market. That's what we want; we want people to have a buy in."

He said it was a mixture of partial divestment and also accessibility for ordinary Fijians to be able to participate.

"That's the plan, but prior to that it's good to be able to get in some good institutional partners," he said.

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