An abandoned desiccated coconut factory in Vaitele fou which the Samoa National Provident Fund (S.N.P.F) invested millions in its development remains on the market – albeit unattractively.
As a matter of fact, calls for interested parties to use the factory to make some money from it have attracted very low bids.
The compound was leased by the Paradise Products Company. Their lease had expired and was not renewed.
That’s when multi-million-tala property was publicly advertised for lease.
But the response has been rather disappointing.
“Bids received to date were too low,” said S.N.P.F. Chief Investment Officer, Petra Suhren Chang Tung, in response to an email from the Samoa Observer.
“Furthermore, none of the bidders received have any interest in using the machines at the Desico factory so the Fund had decided to allow time to remove the machineries and then re-advertise the factory again.”
Mrs. Chang Tung explained that the prices offered by interested bidders were too low, relative to the value of the property and thus the required return.
As of yesterday, the gates at the property were opened with three men mowing the lawn and clearing the overgrown grasses. The machines are still on site.
In a previous statement, S.N.P.F. management said the plan for the factory was to lease it out.
“We were hoping to lease it to a manufacturing company in the coconut industry to assist with export and employment,” they said.
“There has been foreign interest to lease it for manufacturing purposes and we have proritised it and reserved the property for them since we need it to promote exports and employment in the long term. They have withdrawn recently so we are currently advertising again.”
The management insisted that there were some years with minimal profit when the property had tenant.
“At the moment we can realise a profit if a gain on the property is recognised.
“The value of any property in the Vaitele industrial area will increase as development increases in that area. Thus there will be a gain realised.
“The value of the building has diminished over the years under normal wear and tear conditions and because it is not in use, so this is the cost to us. A recent valuation of that property indicates that the gain on the land itself outweighs the loss in the value of the building. So there is a net gain on this property.”
When Desico fell into the ditch several years ago the Aarco Samoa Ltd took over the plant.
Aarco took over Desico after an attempt by Samoa Niu products to run the operation failed.
About US$2million was spent on refurbishing the company’s plant before it was re-commissioned.