FIJI RETIREMENT FUND FACING LOSS ON RESORT

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Government could recover half of investment

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, August 25, 2009) – Hours after a historical auction ended on the partially complete Momi Bay Resort project, parties representing the Fiji National Provident Fund and the highest bidder are still engaged in intense negotiations, after bidders failed to make the reserve price.

The FNPF had engaged the services of property professionals Bayleys Real Estate to handle the marketing and final auctioning, after the pension fund took over the project in June to avoid further losses when its New Zealand investment partner ran into financial difficulties.

"We are still holding negotiations and it looks like this will drag on. It might take a few hours or even a few days… I can’t say for sure when negotiations will end," said Philip Toogood, manager at Bayleys Fiji.

FNPF had spent over $80 million [US$40 million] in the project and was hoping it would recover much of that through the auction, but despite interest from over 120 investors all over the world, it had to contend with a highest bid of a VAT-inclusive F$41 million [US$20 million].

Toogood had earlier told FijiLive that they were going into negotiations with the bidder to try to settle at a higher sale price.

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