In brief: Papua New Guinea announces plans for ‘partial privatisation’ of state-owned enterprises and other business stories


Papua New Guinea’s Minister for State Enterprises announces plans for ‘partial privatisation’ of state-owned enterprises, P’nyang negotiations between ExxonMobil and PNG could resume, and company reporting season. The business news you need to kickstart your week.

Prime Minister James Marape. Credit: NBC News


There is hope that negotiations between PNG and ExxonMobil over the P’nyang gas project resume, Oil Search’s new CEO, Keiran Wulff, told Reuters last week. ‘We would hope to see some sort of formal negotiations recommence between Exxon and the state negotiating team within a reasonable period of time,’ said Wulff. ‘We’re hopeful that it’s weeks. We don’t think it’ll be months.’


Prime Minister James Marape said in a conference that there is room for six LNG trains in the country. The Prime Minister also said that as early as this month the future of two mining projects, Wafi-Golpu and Porgera, could be decided. (LOOP)


K92 Mining has been listed as number two in the mining category of TSX Venture Exchange’s 2020 Venture 50. Every year, the TSX Venture Exchange lists the top performing companies in five sectors (oil and gas, clean technology and life sciences, mining, diversified industries and technology); K92 was selected this year because of its strong performance.

John Lewis, K92’s CEO said: ‘During 2019, K92 increased gold equivalent production 74 per cent from the previous year, exceeded the top end of our upgraded annual production guidance, and made significant progress from exploration, both near-mine and regionally.’

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State-owned enterprises

During a POMCCI business breakfast meeting the Minister for State Enterprises Sasindran Muthuvel mentioned that state-owned enterprises in PNG have been struggling with debt and it was time to reform, suggesting PNG is open to privatisation and ‘partial privatisation’. (Business Advantage PNG)


Ian Tarutia, Nasfund’s CEO, reportedly said that the fund was ‘interested in the government’s idea of partial privatisation’. Tarutia noted that the superannuation fund will be looking at opportunities in sectors that meet their objectives, including energy, power, water and ports. ‘Thus, from a Nasfund perspective, we will be looking for opportunities in these sectors that meet our investment objective, asset allocation strategy and risk and return profile. With the recent announcement of Isikeli Taureka as managing director of Kumul Consolidated Holdings Ltd (KCH), we look forward to progressing discussions.’ (The National)



The Autonomous Bougainville Region has been the scenario of two recent shootings. The second one happened last week, when Thai geologist, Channon Lumpo, was shot by a ‘high-powered weapon’. Channon was conducting exploration activities for the company Austhai Geophysical Consultants. According to The Guardian, ‘the police said the remoteness of the location made it impossible to conduct proper investigations.’


When the referendum poll began in Bougainville, many people celebrated. Credit: Aljazeera

Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) has published its observation report of Bougainville’s Referendum. The report, based on observations of volunteers, academics, independent constitutional bodies and TIPNG staff, found that ‘voters and polling officials were not subject to intimidation or bribery. These findings were also supported by voter surveys, where 99 per cent of respondents never felt threatened to select a particular option’.

Company reports

Kina Securities presented its full year results, highlighting ‘organic business growth on target’ and the acquisition of ANZ PNG’s Retail, SME and Commercial business. The full year dividend was AUD 10.4 cents (25.5 toea) per share. Revenue grew 27 per cent, net interest grew by 31 per cent and return on equity was up by 11 per cent.  Read the investor presentation here.


Oil Search also made public its full year results. The company reported a net profit after tax of US$312 million (8 per cent lower than 2018), operating cash flow of US$752 million and US$1.2 billion liquidity. In the report Oil Search also highlighted its progress in Alaska and power developments in PNG through its joint venture with Kumul Petroleum. Read the results here.


Credit Corporation published its full year results highlighting a 34.8 per cent increase in net profit after tax to K132 million from K98 million in 2018; the core operating profit increased 21.7 per cent during the same period. Its Chairman, Syd Yates, said: ‘This result also highlights our ongoing strategic focus on maximising shareholder value and creating a solid platform that supports our future growth ambitions.’ Read the report here


Conic Metals released a summary of the operating performance of its Ramu Nickel-Cobalt operation in PNG, which is operated by the Metallurgical Corporation of China along with its partners. The highlights include production above nameplate capacity and ‘substantial’ free cash flow. Read the presentation here.


Dentons has helped Papua New Guinea secure a final judgement from PNG’s Supreme Court to stay a US$3 billion claim made by the company IT&S. IT&S started arbitration against the Pacific nation in 2015 after supposed inaction for a forestry and road project in Western Province. ‘Given the size of the claim against PNG and the severe impact an adverse ruling would have had on the country’s budget, the win means that government finances can instead be deployed to fund essential government services like health, education and critical infrastructure,’ said Daniel Rolpagarea, state solicitor and instructing counsel. (Australasian Lawyer)


Credit: Australian High Commission in PNG/Facebook

To improve safety, hygiene and accessibility, a new site has been announced for Wabag market in Enga Province. This development has received support from the PNG-Australia Partnership, working with the Wabag District Development Authority 2018-22 and UN Women Papua New Guinea. (Australian High Commission in PNG)


Kumul Telikom Holdings Deputy Chairman, Reuben Kautu, said that the wholesale internet pricing in PNG has been reduced from K4,000 in 2014 to K300 per Mbps per month. He also suggested that if the country achieves 20 per cent growth in broadband penetration by next year then, the ‘communication industry could expect a contribution to the national GDP growth by the ICT sector of about 2.6 per cent.’ (Post-Courier)

Photograph of the week

Last week, the PNG Department of Department of Information, Communications and Technology and its Australian counterpart, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU could set the pace for legislative and structural reforms required to build ICT sector capacity in PNG. The agreement was signed by PNG’s Steven Matainaho and Australia’s Simon Atkinson in Canberra. (Telecompaper)


  1. Sanol Malaga says

    Re: Dentons scored a win for png ?
    As I understand The State v.IT&SL , arbitration has been ruled out but the substantive dispute relating to the project agreement goes back to the national court.
    So can we wait until outcome of the national court determination before making declarations !

    Sanol Malaga.

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