Villagers get dividends

Business, Normal

The National, Thursday 22nd December 2011

THE people of three Labu villages along the Huon Gulf coastline in Morobe province this week received dividends from their equity in Labu Hol­dings Ltd, a local stevedoring company at the port of Lae.
Cheques amounting to K350,000 were distri­buted to 1,416 sharehol­ders who came from the villages of Labu, Miti and Tale.
Company chairman Luke Wangi and directors Butu Asinu, Nasinom Dau and David Poka supervised the cheque distribution.
Labu Holdings entered into a joint venture with Steamships Shipping Co to form the Lae Port Services Ltd for all the stevedoring work at the wharf.
Wangi said they were proud to work in partnership with Steamships Group (which is owned by the Swire Group) because it gave them the chance to participate in Lae’s spin-off business activities. 
Parts of the Lae wharf and the city were owned by the Labu people.
Labu Holdings owned 48% of the JV company and most of its workers were men from Labu, who worked as crane and forklift operators, mechanics and drivers.
“The company was started in 1995 and was very quiet whilst looking for means on how to ensure the village shareholders reap what they deserved,” Wangi said.
The first dividend payment was done in 2002.
On Monday and Tuesday, the board, with help from the Bank South Pacific, brought smiles to the villagers with the payment of the second dividends.
The people had purchased Labu Holdings shares for one kina which earned them K4 dividends per share.
The highest dividend was K15,000 with most villagers receiving between K200 and K400.
Others received the lowest dividend of K80.
 “Dividends paid to village shareholders further strengthened relationships and confidence between the people and company and the two shipping companies – Steamships and Swire,” Wangi said. 
Asinu and Wangi said they would also diversify their investments to other ventures such as property.
“But first of all, lets have a chainsaw and cut timber and improve our schools, teachers’ houses, churches, pastor’s houses and clinics,” Wangi said.