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.

Business Advantage Papua New Guinea - - Contents -

With many in­puts im­ported from over­seas, the decline in the value of the kina in the sec­ond half of 2013 in­creased many man­u­fac­tur­ers’ costs. In­deed, Man­u­fac­tur­ers Coun­cil of PNG Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Chey Scov­ell de­scribed the weaker kina as a ‘real kick in the guts’ for lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers.

‘We’ve seen a flat­ten­ing off of rice im­ports over the last four months,’ ob­served Gre­gory Wor­thing­ton-eyre, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of Trukai In­dus­tries, at the end of 2013, although he noted it’s ‘still 30% up on what it was five years ago’.

‘Busi­ness and de­mand across our man­u­fac­tured prod­ucts and im­ported industrial equip­ment is sig­nif­i­cantly down on pre­vi­ous years,’ con­firms Michael Kingston, Gen­eral Manager of Lae-based industrial and house­hold sup­plies man­u­fac­turer, K K Kingston.

New prod­ucts and plants

The com­pany ‘re­turned to our core busi­ness’ in 2013, Kingston says, but it will still be bring­ing at least six new prod­ucts to mar­ket in 2014, an ini­tia­tive that has re­quired sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment.

Mean­while, food man­u­fac­turer Good­man Fielder is about to fi­nalise the con­struc­tion of a brand new snack plant in Lae, con­sol­i­dat­ing its man­u­fac­tur­ing sites in that city into one lo­ca­tion.

Other 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.

Chicken pro­ducer Tablebirds, part of the Main­land Hold­ings, is cur­rently cer­ti­fy­ing its pro­cess­ing plant to meet in­ter­na­tional stan­dards.

An­other 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.

Nec­es­sary up­grades

PNG’S ma­jor brewer, S P Brew­ery, is also up­grad­ing its Lae and Port Moresby plants, based on in­creased con­sumer de­mand.

‘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,’ says Gen­eral Manager, Stan Joyce.

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