Papua New Guinea manufacturers’ vote of confidence


While Papua New Guinea’s economy has slowed in the past year, many of the country’s manufacturers continue to see growth as the longer-term trend, and are investing in new plant, new products and new marketing approaches.

Lae-based manufacturer K K Kingston is just one of a number of manufacturers making major investments in new plant. Credit: K K Kingston

Lae-based manufacturer K K Kingston is just one of a number of manufacturers making major investments in new plant.
Credit: K K Kingston

‘We’ve probably injected more capital into this business in the last three years than we have previously—a combination of replacing ageing equipment and also putting more advanced technologies into our plant,’ Goodman Fielder Asia-Pacific’s General Manager for PNG, Peter Tannahill tells Business Advantage PNG.

The food manufacturer is in the process of finalising the construction of a brand new snack plant in Lae, consolidating its manufacturing sites in that city into one location.

‘It’s a combination of getting everything onto one site, but also upgrading our existing facility,’ says Tannahill, who indicates the company will be continuing to invest in capital expenditure over the next couple of years.

Goodman Fielder’s move follows on from that of Lae Biscuit Company, which has reaped the benefits of its major new factory since it opened in Lae in 2010.

Companies to open significant new plants in Lae (PNG’s industrial hub) in the past year include meat processor Prima Smallgoods and fish-canning joint venture Majestic Seafoods.

Meanwhile, local food manufacturer Paradise Foods is building a major new bottling plant in the city, as part of its ongoing plans to re-launch the Pepsi-Cola drink brand in PNG.

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Brewer’s rise

Based on increased demand for beer and other beverages, S P Brewery has involved in a major multi-year capital investment program for its plants in both Lae and Port Moresby.

General Manager Stan Joyce expects the upgrades to be completed by June 2014.

‘If you don’t replace equipment every now and again, it becomes inefficient. So there are efficiency gains, there’s a greater diversity of products and of packaging configurations,’ he tells Business Advantage PNG.

Nestlé is also upgrading its manufacturing operations in PNG, last week unveiling the first stage of a $9.5 million (K21.6 million) expansion of its plant in Lae, which is expected to deliver a 30% increase in production.

New products, higher quality

Another Lae-based company, industrial and household supplies manufacturer K K Kingston, has ‘returned to our core business’ in 2013, according to General Manager, Michael Kingston. A key part of this is a program of restructuring and rationalisation.

‘Our Speedway project continues to progress. This is a project to consolidate all our Lae operations onto one new green-field site on the outskirts of Lae,’ he says.

Kingston is also expanding its range of products.

‘We have introduced a number of new and updated products in 2013. This includes a new paper towel product, a new toilet paper product and a new-formula laundry detergent powder to upgrade our current product,’ explains Kingston. ‘We expect to bring six to 10 new products to market in 2014.’

Chicken producer Tablebirds is another company embracing higher quality, and is currently certifying its processing plant to meet international standards.

‘It means we can be able to sell our products to local markets including the mines, gas, oil and extracting industries, as well as obtain opportunities if they present themselves for export,’ says Dr Keith Galgal, Mainland Holdings Limited’s Corporate Affairs and Research Manager.

A version of this article appears in the 2014 edition of Made in PNG: showcasing Papua New Guinea’s produce and producers, published by Business Advantage International in association with the Manufacturers Council of PNG.

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