30 November, 2018, 9:33 am
THE Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) has increased its value chain in the tourism and hospitality industry after acquiring full ownership of Suva’s iconic Grand Pacific Hotel (GPH).
The fund yesterday confirmed that it had acquired the remaining 75 per cent shares of the “Grand Old Lady” from Papua New Guinea partners — National Superannuation Fund (NASFUND) and CGA Properties Ltd.
NASFUND earlier this year had confirmed the deal on offsetting its 50 per cent shareholding in the Grand Old Lady, with FNPF and CGA Properties holding 25 per cent of shareholding.
But the FNPF had expressed interest in taking up a 100 per cent ownership of GPH, something that its chief executive officer Jaoji Koroi said was part of the fund’s active growth investment strategy.
FNPF’s local investment portfolio closed strongly at $1.3 billion at the end of the financial year 2018, an increase of 26.4 per cent when compared with the 2017 portfolio of $1.0b.
The increase was driven by acquisition of the Mariott Denarau tourism assets which included the Sheraton Fiji Resort, the Westin Fiji Resort & Spa and the Denarau Golf & Racquet Club for about $157.8m through the holding company Farleigh Ltd.
Mr Koroi added that the GPH share buyback was factored into the initial shareholder agreement and he thanked the outgoing shareholders, NASFUND and CGA Properties, for their instrumental role in rebuilding one of Fiji’s iconic landmark and successful operation to date.
GPH has built a strong and premium brand for the Suva market and has accommodated key dignitaries, most recently including British Royals, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Mr Koroi also assured stakeholders that the hotel will operate as is under its current management structure.
The fund has also confirmed that it would go through a robust process to assess the long-term management of the hotel.
The acquisition of GPH adds to FNPF’s existing impressive fully owned hotel assets that include the recently acquired Marriott Denarau properties, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay, the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa and Holiday Inn. GPH was originally built in 1914 and continued to operate before its closure in early 1990s.
In 2014, FNPF partnered with NASFUND and CGA Properties to re-develop the hotel, as part of its investment rehabilitation under the fund’s reform. The hotel now boasts 113 rooms including 10 suites and is one of Suva’s leading choice for accommodation and hosting of events.