‘Misinformation a challenge’

Tropik Woods Industries Ltd employees enjoy their lunch after the announcement of the bonus payout at Drasa, Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

MISINFORMATION spread on social media about the Fiji Pine Group was one of the most harrowing challenges faced by the company this year.

Group executive chairman Faiz Khan claimed when the company announced a $7 million bonus payout for landowners in April, questions were raised on social media about how the company was able to pay such an amount.

He said there were incorrect claims the company’s accounts were not audited for over a decade.

“When we clarified that Fiji Pine’s books were externally audited every year, we were told that Fiji Pine was feeding scraps to its landowners,” he said.

“Everyone knows that until 2013, our landowner shareholders did not receive a single cent of promised returns or bonus payouts. Within five years, we, you (staff), have taken this payout from $0 to $7m paid in one year.

We invite people to criticise our performance but when people through fake news try to undermine the transformation that you have brought about in the industry, the distinction between your star performance and mediocrity is lost.”

Mr Khan said once this happened, it was easier for companies to perform poorly.

Speaking to his staff, Mr Khan said paying off $50m of debt in the past seven and a half years to European Investment Bank, Westpac, FDB, FNPF and other creditors and becoming debt free was a major achievement.

He urged staff to remain true to their work and not pay heed to fake news.

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