#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: $22 million down the gurgler

Monday, November 29, 2010

$22 million down the gurgler

FIJI WATER: John Cochran with staff.
The destructive hand of the illegal regime has struck again.

Just days after its clawback budget and Water Resource Tax, the company it was targeting with the new levy, Fiji Water, has annouced it plans to shut down its operation.

A source told Coupfourpointfive last week after senior executive, David Roth, was deported the company was fed up with the regime and would look at cutting its losses to concentrate on producing water in New Zealand.

Few took the threat seriously, with some saying Fiji Water had it too good anyway in Fiji where it was getting off lightly with paying minimal tax for the privilege of exporting millions of litres of natural Fiji water every year.

But Fiji Water president, John Cochran, has today shown they weren't mucking around.

"The country is increasingly unstable, and is becoming a very risky place in which to invest," he said in his statement, although he has said Fiji Water will stay on if talks produce a satisfactory outcome.

So where now for the regime, which has wilfully destroyed yet another business venture that offers jobs to locals and showcases the country internationally?

It introduced the tax in a bid to boost its earnings from less than a million to more than $22 million but could be forced to eat humble pie or find a new operator, the likelier scenario.

Sending Fiji Water packing may well have been its aim, just as it was with the Fiji Times but it's another example of how Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and Frank Bainimarama are callously stripping Fiji for their own purposes.

It's become all too easy for Khaiyum and Bainimarama to divide the spoils of war between them and who knows whose lap Fiji's money-making natural water will fall on.

Khaiyum has, after all, business peccadilloes in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Bainimarama, of course, has his own affiliates in China and it could be that Fiji Water is turned into a public enterprise with the Chinese. Bainimarama and Khaiyum lost their moral compass long ago and few would be surprised if they made a deal with the Devil.
Cochran's full statement:
Discriminatory Tax Forces Shut Down of Fiji Water factory
John Cochran, President and COO of FIJI Water
Los Angeles, California headquarters on November 28, 2010

In Friday’s budget (11.26.10), the Fiji Government announced that it will impose a 15-cent per liter tax on bottled water at locations where more than 3.5M liters per month are extracted. FIJI Water, which currently pays 1/3rd of a cent per liter, is the only bottled water producer in Fiji affected by the increased tax; bottlers who extract less than this monthly limit will continue to pay about 1/10th of a cent, or 10,000% less tax than FIJI Water.

This new tax is untenable and as a consequence, FIJI Water is left with no choice but to close our facility in Fiji, effective Monday Nov. 29, 2010. We are saddened that we have been forced to make a business decision that will result in hardship to hundreds of Fijians who will now be without work.

In addition, we will be putting on hold several large construction contracts in Fiji, including the renovation of the Drauniivi Primary School, a F$300,000 project and the resurfacing of the Naikabula Yard, worth F$1.6 million. FIJI Water will also be forced to cancel all contracted engineering and support services as well as our purchasing of cartons from Golden Manufacturers. Finally, all ongoing purchases from local suppliers will have to be canceled.

As a leading exporter, FIJI Water has contributed greatly to the Fijian economy. We represent more than F$130 million in export revenue for the country and employ nearly 400 Fijians at our facility. Our investment in Fiji has created millions of dollars in value through direct employment and with our supplier network. We currently pay millions of dollars in duties and income tax to the Government. We also contribute over F$1.8 million dollars annually in royalty payments to the Yaqara Pastoral Company Limited and another F$250,000 annually to a trust that supports the six local villages surrounding our facility.

In addition, our company and the FIJI Water Foundation have worked tirelessly to help improve the quality of life for the Fijian people, including an annual investment of F$1 million to bring clean water to local villages, improve education and provide access to health care services for those in need.

We consider the Government’s current action as a taking of our business, and one that sends a clear and unmistakable message to businesses operating in Fiji or looking to invest there: the country is increasingly unstable, and is becoming a very risky place in which to invest.

FIJI Water remains willing to work through this issue with the Fiji Government, as it would be our preference to keep operating in Fiji.


mark manning said...

I doubt Fijians have quite caught onto just what Aiyaz real intention is just yet !
Aiyaz is not trying to build a Utopia at all, in fact, it is exactly the opposite and he is right on target, thanks not to Frank Bainimarama, but to the uneducated cowardly Soldiers of the RFMF.
Destroy Fiji's Economy, then just walk in and take over !

Fiji Smarts said...

Just another op for Khaiyum to practice cronyism or nepotism!

Aunty Flo said...

Wouldn'tbe a bad idea for Ra to own but will it happen? More chance of it going to another buddy of regime and Khaiyum and Aunty getting kickbacks. Lord help us

Fiji Loyal said...

Unlikely dis regime will negotiate or compromise. They have nothing to lose, this is a major asset and someone will grab it. Fiji Water's loss

Anonymous said...

Good News - Bad News.

New incoming gov can renegotiate fair'er more equitable contract - part 2 self explanatory.

Anonymous said...

@ Fiji Loyal.

Unless they've got very deep pockets & very good lawyers? Nobody can grab it.
For reasons that seemed like a very good idea at the time - somebody allowed Fiji Water copyrite on name.

Bend over Bhaini said...

Khaiyum bends Bhaini boy over and gives it to him up the rear end on a daily basis now. Wake up Fiji military before your little bit of credibility left is totally destroyed.

Fair and square said...

How Fiji Water can continue to sell Fiji Water bottled in another country is beyond me.

They paid $500,000 in tax before the budget. Now they have to pay $22-million. It's a big increase, yes, but isn't this a fair return for the rest of us for a precious natural resource?

Don't be surprised if the regime calls their bluff. The water stays, they go. Someone else will come in like the Chinese or the French.

Wai the fuss? said...

If I was Evian or Perrier, I'd be knocking on Frank's door right now. We know this stuff sells and all they need is a marketing arm.

I don't understand you guys. These are Californian billionaires and they want to pay US$ 250,000 each year to the people of Fiji for their water. Doesn't seem right to me.

Anonymous said...

Another new local Indian owner ready to buy Fiji water.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 6:27.
Anybody can export water from Viti
- this has always been the case - just don't call it Fiji Water - otherwise Lawyers will be calling both you & your overseas clients.

As for comment re US$250 + other spinoffs such as employment etc?
Welcome to Franks Viti.

Anonymous said...

All that has been said is that Fiji water is closing down, They will still own the infstructure just as the Fiji times still own the building. Fiji water may just start up a bottling plant somewhere else in the world and still call there product Fiji water it's only a name. they may even continue to bottle the water in Fiji and export small amounts of the stuff.
All this is happening at the festive season, families will have to do with out now as the bread winners in the family have no jobs to go bAck to and the lastest budget does not help.

Fiji Loyal said...

Viti Water will end up going to one of the Khaiyum cohorts, just as Fiji Times did. Remember, the deal with Mac Patel was never made public so it be held up to scrutiny. We only have it on guesswork that Patel paid the going rate.

Viti Viti said...

Dis the same Chinese who gave Vore his clothes last week?

Samu said...

Thing is regime thinks it's doing so well but it's essentially selling off businesses at matest rates. So Fiji is never really benefitng and when the dust settles and life returns to nornaml (it must), the new buyers will be seen to be profiteers that they are.

Anonymous said...

Too painful to believe.

Anonymous said...

the brand "fiji water"belongs to Fiji Water so they can bottle the water wherever they want and call it Fiji Water..no one else can bottle the water and sell it as Fiji Water..they will get their asses booted out of countries like the US if they tried..water tax is only one of the taxes or payments Fiji Water pays to the govt..so its not only the $500k..they also pay millions in income tax, royalty payments, duties, paye tax, vat etc..hope this enlightens those that think the only tax paid is 500,000...

Anonymous said...

Fiji Water is a genuine investor..leave them alone

mark manning said...

Perhaps they could bottle the Urine from Aiyaz and call it, Fiji Gold !

mark manning said...

I'm sure that there would be a market with the Soldiers of the RFMF, think of all that extra Testosterone !

Anonymous said...

Joe says,

Good lessons for kai Viti's to learn. Have Ayarse as their leader & not Bai, he is just a puppet with no brains. The big question remians What are Fijians waiting for? Stand up and claim your rights & freedom.

Anonymous said...

Joe says,

Good lessons for kai Viti's to learn. Have Ayarse as their leader & not Bai, he is just a puppet with no brains. The big question remians What are Fijians waiting for? Stand up and claim your rights & freedom.