S.N.P.F. defends equity investments

The Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa National Provident Fund (S.N.P.F.), Pauli Prince Suhren, is standing by the Fund’s multi-million-tala equity investments portfolio.

“The returns from the variety of investments in our entire portfolio allowed us to pay you and all of our other members a 10 per cent return for the year in question – a rate of return that is virtually unheard of anywhere else in the world,” Pauli said in response to questions from the Samoa Observer.

Total equity investments by the S.N.P.F. was $46.85 million as of June 30, 2018 according to the organisation's annual report.

S.N.P.F. owns 67 per cent of shares with Computer Services Limited (C.S.L.) and as of financial year 2013-2018, has paid $1.01 million in equity investment. The fund also owns 50 per cent of shares in C.S.L Mobile Limited and has invested $1.92 million for the 2018 financial year.

The S.N.P.F. also owns 54 per cent shares in Aggie Grey’s Beach Resort and Spa at Mulifanua, making them the largest shareholder. According to the report, the Fund had invested $34.2million in 2018.

Its other investments include 20 per cent in Samoa Submarine Cable Company effective from the 2016 financial year with its investments totalling $4.13 million.

When Pauli was asked about the dollar rate of returns, he did not divulge the information, but noted that the rate of return from all equity investments is 3 per cent.

“The S.N.P.F. considers Samoa Submarine Cable Company as one of its golden investments, not just because of the financial returns it will reap from it in the future, but especially so for the fact that it enables and facilitates greater economic and social benefits for our members and people contributing to versatile national economic growth and development,” Pauli said.

Asked about the returns received from Samoa Submarine Cable Company, Pauli said the returns for all the shareholders – as per the shareholders agreement signed in 2016 – allows for returns to be paid to all shareholders only after the financial results of this year are ready.

“Henceforth, paying dividends would be a decision solely for the Samoa Submarine Cable Company Board of Directors.

“Remember Samoa Submarine Cable Company is another separate entity. But let’s talk about the wider impact of this investment in Samoa Submarine Cable Company and the bold vision of Government and investors like S.N.P.F. in setting it up.”

According to the C.E.O., without the Samoa Submarine Cable Company there would be no Tui Samoa Cable.

“Tui Samoa cable was activated in February 2018. Since that time you have seen marked improvements in bandwidth availability and speed the likes of which have never before been experienced in Samoa,” Pauli said.

“Since that time, the cost per megabyte of internet has reduced by about 70 percent of what it was before Tui Samoa.

“New internet based businesses and app based companies are popping up here and there because the faster speed internet has enabled a whole new world of possibilities for business and e-business.”

The C.E.O. said he was pleased with the outcome of their investments with the Samoa Submarine Cable Company.

“The Samoa Submarine Cable Company has done an exceptional job in achieving its mandate and is now working towards bringing in its second cable, the Manatua cable, which will bring in even more benefits for Samoa.”

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