Sofitel’s $30M Facelift

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The renovations and refurbishment are being done with minimum disruptions to guests.

Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa’s $30 million refurbishments will set this renowned resort apart from many other resorts in Fiji. The latest area under refurbishment is the arrival area at the entrance,foyer and reservations and with the images showing what the transformation would look like, the sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa will surely set itself apart from major tourist destinations in Fiji.

The resort has already completed the refurbishment of the famous Watui Beach Club and its rooms, the newly built Kid’s Club and restaurants including the new concept Bazaar kitchen.

The new buffet restaurant is the first of its kind in Fiji and features seven interactive kitchens French,Fijian,Arabic, Indian,Japanese,Chinese and American Grill.

Republik Nightclub

The resort opened its $1.6million Republik Nightclub in December and is the only nightclub on Denarau Island which features international disc jockeys on special occasions.

The resort’s director of sales and marketing Michael Bell said the entrance and foyer had been closed.

” Yes this is currently offline for renovation till early March 2020,” Mr Bell said.

He added the resort ahd received excellent feedback for both the Republik Nightclub as well as the Baazar Kitchen.

” This year the resort would be looking at the renovations and refurbishment of three wings of guest rooms on the family section.

” We are in discussions to possibly add another wing of rooms, about 66 rooms in total to the hotel.

” The wing would run down the family side of the resort next to our boundary with Hilton”.

However Mr Bell did not disclose when work on this new additional wing would start.

The renovations and refurbishment are being done with minimum disruptions to guests.

Credit: FijiSun

Date:26/01/20

Bayshore unveils new website

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For survival in this tech savvy world, we need to have a presence and a product which is customer friendly and easy to use.

This has prompted Bayshore Real estate to revamp itself and bring a product which is user friendly, faster to use and offers viewers a chance to find a solution to their housing needs whether it be a rental or the purchase of a lot of land.

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New $40mil project for Nadi

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Wailoaloa Developments Pte Limited earlier this week carried out the groundbreaking ceremony for their $40 million Palm Beach Estate Townhouses Project at Wailoaloa, Nadi.

The company, fully owned by Hari Punja and Sons, said the development was launched at a level that was not previously available in Fiji.

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Reduced lending rates will benefit Fijians

The Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry says the announcement by the Reserve Bank to reduce lending rates will benefit many struggling businesses.

President, Dr Nur Bano Ali says the announcement by the RBF to lend to the commercial banks, licensed credit institutions, Fiji Development Bank and Housing Authority at a rate of 0.25 percent will bode well for businesses.

“What they have said is the Bank can on lend that at a reduced interest rate of 3.99 percent, so it’s positive all the way. We do hope that the Banks will take it up this offer that the Reserve Bank has put out and use that facility to assist businesses”.

Dr Ali adds the flow on effect will also benefit many Fijians employed in the business sector.

“Financing is a central component of a business, so if your cost of financing is reduced that allows you cash flow and you can look after your employees better and then you pass it along and it reduces the impact of a reduction on salary possibly and payroll cost.”

Dr Ali says this will create economic activity and is way towards economic recovery.

Credit: FBC

BRED Group doubles capital for BRED Bank Fiji to $70 million to boost its growth in the Fijian market

BRED Bank Fiji CEO, Thierry Charras-Gillot.

BRED Group is carrying out capital increases of nearly $70 million for its subsidiary BRED Bank Fiji to accelerate the development which will boost its growth in all market segments, including corporate and institutional financing.

BRED Bank Fiji CEO, Thierry Charras-Gillot says the investment of new funds improves the Bank’s capital position and will help accelerate its growth in the Fijian market.

He says the doubling of capital investment from an initial US$36.5 million by the shareholders demonstrates their confidence in BRED Bank Fiji and the growth potential of the Fijian economy.

Charras-Gillot adds the capital increase has also put the Bank in a better position to stimulate post-pandemic growth which will help in getting the economy back on track.

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says there is no doubt that BRED Bank has played a positively disruptive role in the banking sector since its entry into the Fijian market 9 years ago.

He says this injection of new capital is another indication of it and it will provide an important source of credit for Fijian businesses that will help fuel our growth as we emerge from the COVID crisis.

Sayed-Khaiyum adds the injection of this new capital from Paris demonstrates confidence in Government’s management of the Fijian economy and the stability of our financial system.

BRED Bank now owns around 7.5% market share and its network is made up of six branches and more than 140 employees.

Credit: Fiji Village

Investment Fiji continues to plan

Investment Fiji’s Trade and Investment Advisors are in constant contact with existing investors and exporters in a bid to maintain supply chains as well as seeking new markets.

Acting Chief Executive, Kamal Chetty says they are in regular contact with both investors and exporters to gather information about issues they are facing and work with relevant agencies to address them.

Investment Fiji recently launched the Investment Symposium, an initiative to maintain investor confidence and to attract more international markets.

“Projects listed on the platform will focus on three categories namely Joint Venture Opportunities, Tourism Properties for Sale and Commercial Properties for Sale. We have over 90 opportunities listed on the online platform focusing on key sectors such as Tourism, Agriculture, Real-Estate, Manufacturing, ICT, Forestry and Services sector.”

Chetty adds they have implemented innovative digital strategies to remain connected with our investors overseas amidst the second wave of the pandemic.

He says most of their promotional events are now done digitally as it is the easiest way to reach their clients and with a dedicated web page to connect with potential investors.

RBF: Liquidity level increase

The Reserve Bank of Fiji building in Suva. Picture: FT FILE

Liquidity levels in the banking system increased to $1.7 billion at the end of May, mainly as a result of an increase in foreign reserves.

According to the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF), foreign reserves increased to $3.1b – sufficient to cover 11 months of retained imports.

In its June economic review, the RBF stated as of June 30, foreign reserves increased further to $3.2b and expected to remain comfortable into the medium term.

Meanwhile, aggregate demand remained sluggish given the reduced spending power of households and firms amid the subdued economic environment.

The review also highlighted in the year to May, partial indicators of consumption activity such as net VAT collections reduced by 20.9 per cent, new vehicle registrations decreased by 9.5 per cent and new consumption lending by commercial banks declined by 13 per cent on an annual basis.

However, on the upside, robust annual growth continued for second-hand vehicle registrations with an increase of 119.9 per cent cumulative to May, underpinned by the reduction in fiscal duties and easing of regulatory requirements on the import of second-hand vehicles.

Meanwhile, the central bank highlighted that a year on from the onset of the pandemic, movements in monetary aggregates continued to reflect weak real sector activity.

According to the RBF, domestic credit growth remained subdued (y-o-y: +0.5 per cent) in May, weighed down by the continued contraction in private sector credit (-3.4 per cent).

“Broad-based declines in private sector credit were noted across institutions, with commercial banks accounting for much of the reduced activity.

New lending by commercial banks, cumulative to May, was also lower (-3.7 per cent) when compared with the same period last year,” the RBF stated.

Credit: The Fiji Times

Bank forecasts further economic contraction

Westpac Fiji has downgraded its real GDP forecast for 2021, projecting the Fijian economy to contract by 4.2%.

This is in contrast to a growth of 2.3% anticipated earlier.

Westpac says economic activity remains below last year’s levels due to continued weakness in sectors closely linked to the international border and the halt in domestic activity due to restrictions.

For 2022, growth will be propelled by re-opening, and rebounds as a successful vaccine rollout is expected to bring the pandemic under control.

Westpac adds there is hope that international borders will re-open post quarter one, leading to a projected recovery of 14.5% in 2022.

It also says a key dynamic that would reshape parts of economic landscape over the coming year is the budget announcement on 16th July.

To cater for the impact of the pandemic, Government expenditure is expected to be propped up and revenue is still projected to be lower than anticipated earlier.

Westpac add the government needs to keep hopes for the recovery alive and kicking and on a sustainable path.

Overall, the economy is still very fragile and there remains considerable uncertainty around the health and economic outlook resulting in low consumer and business confidence.

A more persistent pandemic, financial sector stress and any natural disaster could derail the expected recovery for next year.

Date: 2/07/2021

Credit: FBC

$60m worth of building permits issued

A total of 319 building permits for construction valued at $60million were issued in the March quarter of this year.

However, when compared to the December quarter, the number of permits issued and the corresponding value of work declined by 11.4 and 9.5 percent respectively.

The highest number of permits were issued in the Central/Eastern divisions which accounted for 84.7 percent.

According to the Fiji Bureau of Statistics, a total of 147 completion certificates valued at $23.5m were issued in the March quarter.

When compared to the December quarter it rose by 11.4 percent, whereas the value of construction associated with completion certificate declined by 56.3 percent.

“It is encouraging to see that the construction permits and industry is resilient despite a 16.6% decline from the last quarter of December 2020. Construction and real estate are significant drivers of the economy at present. However, it will be interesting to see the permits for the 2nd quarter. I envision a decline due to the 2nd wave of Covid-19 and subsequent lock-downs,” stated Arif Khan, Director of Bayshore Real Estate Fiji.

One Agency Bayshore Realestate Fiji specializes in buying, selling, leasing, property management and selling of private islands as well.

RBF drops lending rates, banks to pass on to consumers

The Reserve Bank of Fiji has reduced its interest rates for financial institutions that borrow under its Import Substitution and Export Finance Facility, Disaster Rehabilitation and Containment Facility and the Housing Facility.

This came into effect today, where the RBF will now lend to the commercial banks, licensed credit institutions, Fiji Development Bank and Housing Authority at a rate of 0.25 percent.

Previously this rate stood at one percent previously and the lower rate implemented under the facilities will be reviewed after two years.

The central bank says In line with the reduction in the interest rate that RBF charges, the maximum interest rate that lending institutions can charge for on-lending these funds to eligible businesses and households will be lowered from five percent to maximum of 3.99 percent per annum.

This applies to new loans and existing rolled over loans.

RBF Governor Ariff Ali says the reduction of interest rates on the bank’s special lending facilities will reduce the borrowing costs of all businesses and households who have accessed the facility.

He says with Fiji facing a second wave of COVID-19, this should provide some measure of relief in helping reduce the negative impact

Ali says the change is also consistent with the broad reduction of interest rates in the market over the year and the RBF will continue to engage with the lending instuitions in broadening the accessibility of the facilities.

The scheme has a combined funding allocation of $550 million. This comprises of $300m under ISEFF, $150m under DRCF and $100m under housing facility.

To date, a total of $339m in loans has been disbursed under these facilities.

We hope that the banks would lower interest rates based on this great news for the borrowers who have been struggling to meet mortgage payments especially in the West.  The rental income for most of these properties in Nadi have declined by 40-50%.  This is a time to collectively see how we can all sustain ourselves through Covid-19, says Director of OA Bayshore Fiji Mr. Arif Khan.

Fiji-China Trade Expo creates opportunities

[SOURCE: INVESTMENT FIJI]

Investment Fiji in partnership with the Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) China and the Chinese Embassy launched the Fiji-China Trade Expo series.

Chief Executive, Craig Strong says the online exhibition is part of Investment Fiji’s Global Trade expo series to create opportunities for Fijian businesses in these trying times.

He adds this exhibition is part of their ongoing monthly expo series that focuses on key markets to promote premium Fijian products and services.

Fiji’s targeted markets include New Zealand, Australia, China, Japan, India, Indonesia, Europe, and the United States.

“What is also fitting is our virtual expo this month is combined with PTI China and Fiji Embassy Investment promotional event in Beijing allowing our exporters to showcase some of their products of the Pacific and also giving you, our potential investors the opportunity to see investment projects that are currently available here in Fiji.”

Strong highlights China was one of Fiji’s largest export destinations last year which stood at 157 percent. Fiji exports woodchips, iron ores, mineral water, timber and tuna to China.

The expo showcases over 60 Fijian companies in the health & cosmetics, and food & beverages sector among others.

Credit: FBC

Date: May 12, 2021

New Caledonia businesses show interest in Fiji

Aerial View of Suva City

The Fiji and New Caledonia e-trade expo has received a positive response since its launch last month.

Investment Fiji’s Trade and Investment Manager, Kamal Chetty says some New Caledonia businesses have shown interest in certain commodities that Fiji has to offer.

Chetty says the expo is a pathway where Fiji and New Caledonia can explore business opportunities, secure new markets and attract investors.

“Out of that, we have received several interests into cocoa products, moringa products, sugar, noni juice, hand sanitizers, kava, and other wood products. This has been the kind of interest to date but it will continue for another one month.”

Fiji had also launched its e-trade expo with Australia and this is expected to continue for another month.

Credit: Fbc News

Date: 6/5/2021

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$10m Investment To Carry On Works Despite Lockdown

Artist impression of the Charan Katonivere Holding Limited Complex.

Second lockdown will not affect construction of $10 million complex and business will continue as usual.

These were the words of Charan Jeath Singh (CJS) Group of Companies operations manager, Sanjay Kirpa.

Speaking in regards to the stateof- the-art, Charan Katonivere Holding Limited Complex, being constructed in Nakasi, he said the group is confident in the development.

“Nakasi also has the biggest populationin the Suva-Nausori corridor so we are confident customers would love the services we have to offer,” he said.

Mr Kirpal highlighted the opening of the complex would create around 150 to 200 jobs.

He said during the global pandemic, the complex would also mean creating livelihood for theresidents of Nakasi.

“The customers can expect modern facilities and satisfaction from the services.”

The construction work of the complex is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

What To Expect?
The complex will be a three storey building:
– Ground Floor – this floor would house the CJS Supermarket, and a liquor store.
– Level One – Customers can expect four food courts in this level, along with coffee shop space and a children’s amusement centre.
– Level Two – This level will be dedicated to office spaces.

Mr Kirpal has said the floor will have the maximum capacity of 15 office spaces.

The complex would also provide customers with an underground parking space, which Mr Kirpal said would be more space efficient and convenient to their customers.

About CJS Group
The Group is a local enterprise which is headquartered in Vatuwaqa, Suva.

It was established by Charan Jeath Singh and his wife, Dr Swaran Singh, in Labasa in the late 1980s.

According to the Group website, companies that form the CJS

Group include:
– Gurbachan’s Foodtown Pte Ltd,
–  Gosal Distributors Pte Ltd,
– Orange Coast Investments Pte Ltd,
– Charan Katonivere Holdings Pte Ltd,
– Crazytwinz (Labasa) Pte Ltd,
– Leeza Investments Pte Ltd,
– Gurbachan Singh and Co Pte Ltd,
– Twinzyrocks Pte Ltd,
– The Friendly North Inn.

Demolishing of old building for construction of the Charan Katonivere Holdings Ltd Complex in Nakasi. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga.

Credit: Fiji Sun

Date: 20/4/2021