In brief: Papua New Guinea to issue Eurobond later this year, and other business stories

A US$500 million Eurobond to be issued later this year, Government owes US$88 million to local businesses and February earthquake bill to cost 5 per cent of government expenditure. Your weekly digest of the latest business news.

 Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says PNG will launch its first Eurobond this year, adding the lead managers will be announced within weeks. He said a US$500 million 10-year bond would be sold before the end of 2018.

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Sixteen private sector businesses in Papua New Guinea are reportedly owed more than US$88 million by the government. The Post Courier reported discussions were recently held between Treasury Minister Charles Abel and business leaders.

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The February earthquake is now costing the government about 5 per cent of total expenditures for 2018 and will have to come from the 2018 Budget, according to ANZ Bank’s Pacific Economic Outlook .

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Komo airfield reopens. Credit: ExxonMobil

Flights have resumed to the Komo Airfield, closed following the 26 February earthquake. In consultation with aircraft operators and design contractors, ExxonMobil PNG repaired cracks and depressions to the runway, re-marked the entire airstrip and repaired fencing in line with the highest safety standards.

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The ratings agency, Standard and Poor’s, has downgraded Bank of South Pacific from B+ to B, following its downgrading of Papua New Guinea from B+ to B, last month, adding it expects ‘our rating on the bank to remain no higher than our sovereign foreign currency rating on PNG’.  S&P says it has reaffirmed the short-term issuer credit rating at B.

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Air Niugini’s subsidiary Link PNG has reported a net profit after-tax of K15.1 million for 2017, up from K9.1 million net profits in 2016.

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The Governor of Oro Province Garry Juffa, has called on the government to sign international agreements and establish a National Investigation Bureau-type body, to investigate and combat transnational crime. He said more transnational criminals were getting into PNG with new schemes to make money off PNG’s resources.

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CPL’s Mahesh Patel.

One hundred additional workers will be employed at the refurbished Stop N Shop Waigani Central when it reopens for business next week, according to City Pharmacy Group Managing Director Mahesh Patel. The 4000-square metre supermarket has been closed for three years, after a devastating fire. Patel said part of the delay was caused by the insurance company of this particular property going into liquidation. ‘Millions of kina are still owed to us’, he said.

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PM Peter O’Neill has said the government is reviewing plans by Toronto-listed Nautilus Minerals to mine the ocean floor, after protests. ‘We will continue to engage with Nautilus to see how we can mitigate that,’ he told Reuters.

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The Minister for National Planning Richard Maru is leading a delegation to New Zealand on a five-day fact-finding tour this week.

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And finally, PNG is asking Australia if it will allow two of their airports be used as parking venues for an estimated 2000 planes that will be transporting world leaders for the APEC Summit in November.

Photograph of the week

The Vanuatu government is permanently evacuating 11,000 people from the island of Ambae this month as a result of continuing active volcanic activity. Monaro volcano has so far spewed 30cm of ash over the island. They will now live on nearby islands. Credit: Reuters

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