October 15, 2012

The right time

Geraldine Panapasa
Saturday, October 13, 2012

INTERNATIONAL sporting brand, KooGa Australia, is coming to Fiji. Well, a real possibility anyway with chief executive officer Kim Brant confirmed plans to set up a manufacturing plant to begin operations before the year ends.

The move, which would undoubtedly improve economic growth for the trade and manufacturing industry, would also create employment opportunities for locals while expanding on the KooGa brandmark worldwide.

"There are four main benefits Fiji will see from this venture — increased employment and investment into the Fiji economy, a KooGa team wear range that will meet and better current prices in Fiji, a better performance product for all sports teams in Fiji and increased sponsorship of Fiji teams across all sports," Mr Brant said.

"KooGa is owned by the Brant family in Australia. The Brant's call Fiji their second home and travel to Fiji on their family holiday every year. They have a great deal of affection for the warm and generous people of Fiji.

"I can say without any hesitation that the family are excited about this venture and are looking forward to contributing in its own way to this wonderful country and its people."

The idea to open a manufacturing plant in Fiji had been on the table for many years and according to Mr Brant, the directors felt this was the right time to increase their manufacturing capabilities considering the positive growth of the brand year after year.

"The cost to do this in Australia is prohibitive. The textile industry in Fiji remains strong and I feel this creates a good synergy for KooGa's plans," said Mr Brant who is expected to arrive in the country tomorrow morning.

"The board recently approved the plan and I have taken on the role to do the due diligence. This has just started with a call to the Fiji embassy here in Australia to get a full understanding of the Fiji government's requirements for this expansion to go ahead.

"No budget has been set at this stage — it is too early in the program and employment numbers have not been defined at this stage.

"But it is fair to say that our intention is to grow the plan year on year hence more employment and much needed export funds back into the Fijian economy."

On the available export markets Fiji could tap into if the plans are approved by the appropriate authorities, Mr Brant said they had offices and distributors in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, United States, Japan, Malaysia and France.

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