Thursday, March 07, 2013

PNG Forest Products growing ‘very fast’

Source: The National, Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Story and pictures by MALUM NALU

PNG Forest Products (PNGFP) managing director Tony Honey says the company is growing “very fast” and is diversifying into other areas, including mining and a hotel venture.
Speaking after the opening of PNGFP’s K100 million Upper Baiune hydro power project in Bulolo, Morobe last Saturday, Honey said the opening of the project heralded exciting new times for the company.
Subject to favourable results from a current testing programme, PNGFP is planning to recommence alluvial gold mining in a joint venture deal with Pacific Niugini Minerals at Widubosh, near Bulolo.
PNGFP’s Jackson Airport hotel project in Port Moresby, between Gateway and Airways hotels at 7- Mile, will include a fully functioning hotel with 96 rooms, a swimming pool, bar and restaurant, conference room, business centre and internet cafe.
Site preparation has begun.
PNGFP is already well-established in plywood manufacture, sawmilling, planing mill, joinery shop, doors, prefabricated buildings and other products.

Honey talking with one of his supervisors in the PNGFP sawmill.
It is also into retail with the largest outlet in Bulolo, a farm which carries about 1,700 head of cattle, which supplies beef to the retail store and the Bulolo Country Club with a golf course and accommodation.
“It’s a monumental thing for this company to embark on such a large project,” Honey told guests at the Bulolo Country Club.
“I don’t know whether a lot of people appreciate this, but the company’s trading very well.
“Like every other company in PNG, you have to improve your efficiency to make the company a whole lot better.
“There are a lot of risks out there for us, but we’re very, very confident.
“Things are changing, we’re evolving, and we’re growing fast, perhaps too fast in many aspects.
“When you grow so fast, there are lags in all areas.
“We have to bring those lags up to growth.
“It takes patience and fortitude, but we will do that.”
Honey said the success of the company was due to its very skilled and committed workforce.
“We have a very good band of people here,” he said.
“We have a very, very resilient company with a lot of resilient people.
“The biggest thing about this company is that it predominantly employs Papua New Guineans.”
Honey said of this, about 97% are Papua New Guineans and 3% are expatriates.
“That’s a big company in PNG standards,” he said.
“That’s why we’ll keep on growing and developing into a diverse company.
“We’re not just about timber, just about plywood, farming, retailing and go on with the flow.

Pine logs ready to be processed into plywood at the PNGFP plymill.
“What we’ll do as a company is to make money.
“It could be chicken farming, it could be hydroponics, it could be more power stations, it could be a different type of building structure.
“We just have to grow with it as fast as we can without losing ourselves.”

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