Feb 7, 2010

UK firm buys Pacifica HR


PAPUA NEW GUINEA'S market leader in Human Resources consultancy, Pacifica HR has been bought by a Manchester -based recruitment firm Air Energi.

The acquisition will enable the two companies to venture into providing recruitment services for contractors such as engineers, design and technical specialists and managers for projects for clients such as the ExxonMobil's multi-billion PNG LNG and the existing BP and Shell companies in the country.

This follows last year's announcement by Air Energi Group for the signing of an operational alliance agreement with Pacifica HR. The alliance was formed to support upcoming resources projects in PNG.

In the new merger some of the services that they will be offering include expatriate and local recruitment, visa and work permits, local payroll and tax, airport meet and greet, security, accommodation and local transport.

Pacifica has 15 employees in Port Moresby and said it is confident that it will provide the Manchester-based company with a springboard to supply energy companies aiming to tap liquefied natural gas in the country.

The two companies did not disclose how much was the buy but said together they will provide a service-driven product to the multi-billion kina projects due to be completed in the region over the next decade and beyond.

Air Energi, headed by chairman Ian Langley and chief executive Duncan Gregson, is also opening a branch in Yokohama, Japan, which is also aimed at supplying engineering staff to major LNG projects.

The United Kingdom (UK) company part owned by private equity firm Zeus, said in a statement it is projecting a turnover of £160m this year and a profit of £6.1m.
The firm is eyeing revenues of £200m within five years.

The company employs around 175 staff worldwide and the Pacifica acquisition adds around 15 employees.
Air Energi stands to benefit from increased interest in producing liquefied natural gas.

Mr Langley said: "Some of our major clients have announced plans to build world-scale LNG facilities in Papua New Guinea. Estimated capital expenditure there over the next decade is at least $20bn. There are some tremendous opportunities for us there."

APNG halts Goilala flight services

AIRLINES PNG has indefinitely stopped its local flight services to Goilala due to safety concerns regarding the standard of the airstrips at Onogue and Fane.

The Port Moresby Stock Exchange (PoMSOX) listed company in a brief media release said flight services to these two destinations will remain suspended.

The decision follows from an earlier airstrip review that also resulted in AusAID and Airlines PNG deciding to suspend services to Manari, Efogi, Kagi and Milei in the Koiari area.

It said it will continue to engage with relevant authorities with the aim of upgrading the two airstrips to ensure they each meet the minimum standard for the airline's operations and, accordingly, a resumption of services.

But the company confirms that both scheduled and charter services to Kokoda, Tapini and Woitape will remain unaffected.

The airline further acknowledged disruptions which have occurred in recent weeks to flights to and from these and other destinations in the domestic network.

"These disruptions have largely been a result of the heavy wet season and its consequent impact on the airline's schedule.

It said it is expecting similar disruptions for the remainder of this month until weather conditions improve.  

Vangold buys NGG properties


JUNIOR miner and Canadian Vangold resources Ltd has bought of New Guinea Gold (NGG) Corp's four gold properties in Papua New Guinea in a recent business transaction.

This will see the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) listed company, Vangold to acquire and consolidate a 100 percent interest in the four gold properties which include Mt. Penck - West New Britain, Allemata - Milne Bay, Fergusson - Milne Bay and Feni - New Ireland. The company has also obtained shares in Pacific Kanon Gold Ltd ("PKG") and associated interests in certain mineral properties.

To complete the acquisition Vangold has spent approximately Cdn$500,000 (K1.2 million) and over 6 million common shares to NGG of the purchase. 

In a company announcement Vangold has also agreed to provide NGG a 5 percent carried interest in the Mt. Penck, Allemata and Fergusson properties, and a 10 percent carried interest in the Feni Island property, in each case until completion of a "bankable feasibility study" at which time NGG will contribute its share of costs for the property or be diluted in accordance with normal industry standards. The common shares are subject to a hold period expiring May 30, 2010.

The CEO and President of Vangold Dal Brynelsen while commenting on the transaction said he is satisfied with the acquisition so far.

"I am very pleased that Vangold has secured a 100 percent interest in the Kanon and Feni gold camps. This will allow Vangold to achieve its long sought after goal of creating a viable advanced gold exploration company based in Papua New Guinea.

"Each of the four gold properties offers a unique path to discovery. It is important that New Guinea Gold continues to have direct involvement in these gold properties, providing invaluable technical and administrative expertise and support when called upon. We are pleased to have New Guinea Gold as a major shareholder and value our continued relationship with them."

Meanwhile, NGG and Private Company 7238550 Canada Ltd (PC) have modified PC's Option Agreement to include the Weioko Project, Sehulea Property, EL 1069, situated in Milne Bay Province.

The total expenditure commitment to earn a 50 percent interest has increased from C$5 million (K12 million) to C$8 million (K20 million). This commitment is expected to be completed within 3 years and sixty days of the date the PNG Government renews EL 1091, Normanby, expected to be on or before April 25, 2010.

The company's CEO and Chairman, Bob McNeil said the expansion is economical.

"We have expanded the Joint Venture to include the Weioko project which is only 12 kilometres from Imwauna on Normanby Island. It makes sound economic sense to include development of Weioko with Imwauna".

"At the present time, we would anticipate the exploration funding commitment will be spent quickly, with our Joint Venture partner intending to begin underground exploration to determine how best to mine this high grade gold system. Underground exploration will also allow deep exploration (drilling) of the system to better determine its depth extent. It is currently anticipated that future mining at Imwauna would be partly open pit and partly underground, and this exploration program will move us more rapidly in that direction.

We are very pleased that this new Agreement will provide for the expeditious development of both these important projects," concluded Mr. McNeil.

Westpac to conduct financial literacy training

THE oldest bank and PNG's first bank, Westpac has joined forces with the Australian Government's Agency for International Development (AusAID) to deliver money management and business skills training across Papua New Guinea.

AusAID and Westpac are working in partnership to deliver financial literacy and business development training within communities across PNG.

With Westpac celebrating 100 years in PNG this year, it well placed to provide these communities with the necessary skills training to contribute towards the partnership's objective - to increase the capacity of local communities to participate in the formal private sector.

"Education is fundamental to the development of all nations and this partnership seeks to increase the standards of living and private sector participation of PNG communities, while also focussing on improving the participation by women in private enterprise," said Robin Scott-Charlton, Acting Minister-Counsellor, Aus AID.

The partnership further strengthens Westpac's local community ties and will deliver a number of free money management and business development workshops around PNG.

"Financial Management is our business development workshop and is aimed at small medium business owners, or key managers within business. It provides training and tools to help participants to start or grow a business," said Mr Ross Hammond, Managing Director, Westpac Bank PNG Ltd. "The workshop is delivered in a way that is easy to understand, uses simple everyday language, is relevant to all types of businesses and provides skills that can be put into practice immediately."

The financial literacy component will be delivered through Westpac's Financial First Steps, a three hour workshop which introduces participants to range of topics from budgeting and saving, to credit cards and is designed to encourage people to better understand basic money management matters.

The workshops will be conducted in urban and rural areas around PNG and launched in March, 2010.