SOLOMONS RETIREMENT FUND ACQUIRES SASAPE

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MARINA
Ship repair facility in Central province

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Feb. 2, 2011) – The Solomon Islands National Provident Fund (SINPF) board has formally acquired all the properties and assets of Sasape Marina Limited (SML) located at Tulagi, in the Central Islands Province on Monday.

[PIR editor’s note: Sasape Marina Limited is a slipway that provides repair and maintenance services for boats in Solomon Islands.]

The balance of the purchase price was delivered to the Minister of Finance, Mr. Gordon Darcy Lilo, his Permanent Secretary, Mr. Shadrach Fanega and the Chairman of SML, Mr. Michael Ahikau, on behalf of the shareholder of Sasape Marina Limited, and the company.

Over the past 8 weeks after paying the 10 percent deposit for the properties, SINPF and Silent World management team had inspected and verified all the assets and properties offered by the company for sale before making the settlement.

In accepting the payment, minister Lilo remarked and expressed his satisfaction that a process that started in 2007 to sell the assets of SML was finally successfully concluded.

The Chairman of SML, Mr. Ahikau also expressed his satisfaction that though the assets had been sold to a new owner.

He was pleased that the conditions of the sale will be honored by the new owner and operators. "That the slipway must continue to exist and serve all our local ships and an apprentice for slipway engineers must be established by the new operators," he said.

Present also at the settlement was David Holder, the Managing Director of SilentWorld Limited (SWL).

The SilentWorld Limited participated with National Provident Fund Board as a joint bid for the tendered properties.

SWL will own 75 percent shares in a new company, currently being incorporated and will be called Sasape International Shipyard Limited (SISL).

The remaining 25 percent will be owned by the SINPF Board.

Mr. Holder expects that after 18 months once the slipway is up and running, up to 200 jobs will be created.

Immediately, the new company SISL will lease the base 2 slipway, while the SINPF board refurbish and upgrade the slipway to accommodate ships up to 730 tons, using technical expertise provided by the new company.

It is expected that the refurbishment and upgrade of the slipway will take between 6 to 9 months to complete.

After refurbishment and upgrade the slipway will be open for business.

The process and investment analysis to invest in the purchase of SML assets by the SINPF Board commenced in March 2010, with the Minister of Finance approving the new investment in November 2010, based on the viability of operating a well serviced world class slipway.

Solomon Islands National Provident Fund Board’s return from the investment will be 2 fold.

First from the rental of the slipway and several residential houses leased to the new company, and second from dividends once the new company starts making money.

The base 1 slipway facilities that came also with the sale will later be developed by the National Provident Fund Board to earn additional revenue.

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