LANDOWNING groups from the Guadalcanal plains have questioned Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Limited (GPPOL) for not paying their outstanding dividend for 2015.
This came after the landowners still waited for their payments since the end of the financial year in April 2016.
In a letter written to company on 24th May 2016 and a follow up on 7th June 2016, the landowners have given the company seven days to response to their demand.
President of Guadalcanal Plains Resources Development Association, Fr. Benedict Garimane said they understand a new investor, Same Darby, had acquired New Britain Palm Oil’s shares from GPPOL.
“But we also understand that, in conventional business practice that should not have any impact what so ever on the company’s legal obligation to pay dividend to its shareholders.
“The only key factor determining the payment of dividends is whether or not, the company has made a profit,”Fr Garimane said.
He said if it does then it has to pay dividends.
“We understand that the company is doing well,” he said.
In a document obtained from Central Bank of Solomon Islands, it shows that in 2010, GPPOL exported palm oil for about 28,614.51 metric tonnes and 3,205.1 metric tonne on palm kernel oil.
In 2011, GPPOL exported 31,591.9 metric tonne on palm oil and 3,537.2 metric tonne on palm kernel oil.
In 2012, GPPOL exported 32,046.3 metric tonne on palm oil and 3,387.74 metric tonne on palm kernel oil.
In 2013, GPPOL exported 32,153.99 metric tonne on palm oil and 3,172.92 on palm kernel oil.
In 2014, GPPOL exported 33,719.9 metric tonne on palm oil and 3,097.55 metric tonne on palm kernel oil.
In 2015, GPPOL exported 35,361.3 metric tonne on palm oil and 3,486.6 metric tonne on palm kernel oil.
Furthermore, Fr Garimane said GPPOL paid three dividends to landowners of GPRDA.
He said in 2012, GPPOL paid $15 million dividend, followed by no dividend in 2013.
However, Fr Garimane said in 2014, GPPOL paid $8.9 million on dividend and $11 million in 2015.
However, he said they are still waiting for their dividend for this year and seek answers from the management to clarify the long delay.
General Manager of GPPOL, Andrew Kerr is currently in overseas and will be traveling back to country tomorrow.
However, Kerr said in an email that by law there is no legal obligation to pay a dividend it is based on profit calculated with a number of other factors.
“This is done at the end of the financial year which for us is 30 June so we haven’t even got there yet,” he said.
Kerr said there are a number of false statements and accusations going around which may be subject to legal action, which he don’t want to add to them.
“I have copied Mr Tangirongo as he also understands the current situation and is a senior representative of the landowners as well as a Director of GPPOL,” he added.
However, Fr Garimane said he is prepared to debate with GPPOL over the delay of their dividends because he has all the facts to verify his claims in the media.
“We have discussed this issue with the company through writing but they have not respond to us.
“Therefore, we decided to come out in the media to let the government know of this situation,” he said.
GPRDA, holds about 20% shares in GPPOL under the shareholder agreement.
By EDDIE OSIFELO