Steamships MD Peter Langslow sees future in property development (Part 2)


In the second of a two-part series, Steamships’ Managing Director Peter Langslow tells Business Advantage PNG that his diversified company is looking to upgrade its manufacturing activities, upgrade more hotels and is planning more property development in Papua New Guinea.

Manufacturing Gala ice cream at Steamships subsidiary, Laga Industries Credit: Steamships

Manufacturing Gala ice cream at Steamships’ subsidiary, Laga Industries  Credit: Steamships

Business Advantage PNG (BAPNG): What changes are coming up at your manufacturing arm, Laga Industries?

Peter Langslow (PL): Laga Industries is continuing to execute a very satisfactory period of growth, with 2016 the second continuous year of improvement, notwithstanding the obviously difficult market circumstances.

Steamships' Managing Director Peter Langslow Source: Business Advantage International

Steamships’ Managing Director Peter Langslow Source: Business Advantage International

The year has improved as it has progressed with particularly good results for the Gala ice cream and Highland Meadows oil businesses.

Following the success of the new Hamamas ice cream bar which we introduced in 2016, we’re looking forward to introducing more new products this year and continue to see great potential in the consumer goods market in PNG.

BAPNG: To what extent has the hotel and property side been affected by the downturn?

PL: Hotels had a difficult year, with the business downturn impacting levels of business travel and conference and meeting activity. Port Moresby has been a particularly challenging market, considering the new competitive hotel capacity introduced last year.

The new 180-room Grand Papua Hotel opened in 'Town' - Port Moresby's CBD - in September 2011

The 180-room Grand Papua Hotel opened in ‘Town’ – Port Moresby’s CBD – in September 2011

Despite the challenges we believe that we’ve got some great hotels and are well positioned as a boutique hotel operator.

The Grand Papua continues to enjoy the advantage of its location and reputation. The Ela Beach Hotel last year completed the renovation of all its rooms.

Story continues after advertisment...

The Gateway has introduced considerable new food and beverage offerings during 2016, with Jacksons Restaurant and Bar opening earlier in the year, and Sizzlers Family Restaurant opening just before the end of the year.

The Enzo’s Pizza and takeaway outlet has also been very well received.

BAPNG: And your portfolio outside Port Moresby?

PL: We closed the Melo (Melanesian Hotel & Apartments) in Lae during the year and are now looking forward to commencing the rebuild of that iconic hotel.

In Mt Hagen, we will shortly be starting to upgrade the Highlander Hotel’s rooms and to expand the food and beverage facilities, as well as its meeting room and conference facilities.

‘We’re very pleased with Harbourside.’

We’re firm believers in the economic and business prospects for Mt Hagen and in the first half of 2017 we’ll also complete the construction of a new retail and commercial centre, ‘Hagen Central’.

Similar in concept to Waigani Central in Port Moresby, it will feature a new Tininga supermarket as the anchor tenant, supported by multiple other retail and commercial tenancies and ample secure parking.

BAPNG: In Port Moresby, Harbourside is now open. Is it fully tenanted?

PL: We’re very pleased with Harbourside and yes it’s pretty much fully let now.  We’ve got just one office and one food and beverage tenancy that we’re still looking to finalise, but it’s absolutely realising the transformational vision which my predecessors and the Steamships Board conceived, and it’s a fantastic new facility for Port Moresby.

‘Prices for residential property have come down somewhat.’

The next stage we look forward to is to enlarge this precinct by further developing across the road. We don’t have a timeframe on that yet.

BAPNG: How would you describe the property market?

PL: Prices for residential property have come down somewhat, more at the lower end of the market than the premium end, while other sectors are somewhat less volatile.

Steamships remains confident of a recovery in the economy and business environment in PNG and we’re looking forward to 2018 which will certainly be a big year, with APEC at the end of the year coinciding with Steamships’ 100th anniversary.

This is the second of a two-part interview with Steamships’ Peter Langslow. Click here for part one.

Leave a Reply