The Carpenter Fiji Group is a trusted household name in the Fiji Islands with over 100 years experience in commerce and trading in the Pacific Islands.
The history of the Carpenter Group goes back to 1862 when an American Civil War Captain, John Boulton Carpenter left his home in Connecticut seeking new opportunities in the East Indies and the Pacific. In 1914, his son Walter Randolph Carpenter founded W R Carpenter Company Limited in Sydney Australia with a capital of 1,000 pounds. From this fledging beginnings grew the W R Carpenter Group. The major growth in the Fiji Islands followed the acquisition of Brown and Joske Limited in 1936. Twenty years later the Carpenter Group undertook one of the largest business transactions in the Pacific Islands when it acquired Morris Hedstrom Limited.
The Carpenter Fiji Group is fully owned by MBf Carpenters Limited a public company incorporated in Australia. This parent entity also fully owns the Carpenters PNG Group that operate extensive agricultural holdings and other commercial undertakings. The ultimate parent company of the Carpenter Group Pacific Operations is MBf Holdings Berhad, a Malaysian public company listed in the Bursa Malaysia.
The Carpenter Fiji Group is a diversified conglomerate and the largest private sector enterprise in Fiji employing over 2,000 people. The Group through its various businesses, operate in all major cities and towns and islands in the Fiji archipelago and maintains the largest private sector data network to link all operations to its Head Office in the capital Suva. This network is also used to provide billpay services to other entities and state owned utilities such as the Fiji Electricity Authority.
The Carpenter Group is a trusted household name signifying strength and stability in the islands and contributes significantly to the country’s GDP.
The Carpenter Group’s commercial operations include:
- Chain of supermarket and departmental stores
- Grocery wholesale trade
- Network of Mobil Service Stations
- Hardware retail and wholesale
- Automobile sales and service
- Heavy and light machinery sales and service
- Tyre retail and retreading
- Car rentals
- IT System and Retail services
- Ship agency
- Air and sea freight forwarding
- Custom house agency
- Fedex courier
- Heavy transport contractors
- Commercial waste disposal
- Lloyds agent
- Consumer finance and credit card operations
The Carpenter Group’s property operations include key investments in developed and undeveloped property holdings in strategic locations. Developed property holdings include commercial buildings in city and urban centres, residential housing, warehouses and workshops. Large-scale property developments earmarked in the near future include:
- MH City Centre retail complex and office building (under construction)
- Hotel, office building and residential housing development on prime 10 acre block on Suva City foreshore
- Industrial complex on 33 acre site in Tamavua-i-wai, within Suva City boundary
- Retail and residential complex on 120-acre site in Waqadra, Nadi.
Morris Hedstrom (MH) is Fiji’s largest wholesale and retail organisation with a chain of Supermarkets and Homemaker (variety) Stores.
Its evolution into today’s large trading enterprise began in 1910 when Suva’s Arthur Joske Limited and Levuka’s Morris Hedstrom and Company joined forces to become “store-keepers, general merchants, wine and spirit merchants, insurance agents, auctioneers and planters.”
MH now concentrates on retail and wholesale operations and the “MH” name has become a part of the fabric of Fiji life.
In the environs of the capital Suva, MH operates supermarkets in the City, Nabua, Nasinu and a suburban shopping complex in Tamavua. It also operates specialised Homemaker Stores in the City and Nabua and a variety and stationery store also in the City.
The MH chain of stores extends to Nausori, Naulu and Korovou not far from Suva, and on to Navua, Sigatoka, Nadi, Namaka and Lautoka in the West, Ba and Tavua on the north-western coast of the main island, Labasa and Savusavu on Vanua Levu, the second largest island, and Somosomo on the island of Taveuni.
MH merchandise spans a broad range of goods from foodstuffs, overseas fashions and modern appliances to basic agricultural supplies. These come from Fiji’s own expanding sources of local supply as well as from Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
MH variety stores carry liquor and tobacco, children’s and baby wear, fine fabrics and fashion garments, men’s wear, shoes, furniture and furnishing fabrics as well as floor coverings, appliances and utensils, crockery, glassware, and homeware, audio and video equipment and Hifi’s radios, pharmaceuticals, perfumes, cosmetics and toiletries, gardening and agricultural chemicals and tools, supplies and paints, travel goods … in fact all a shopper could want.
MH supermarkets offer a wide selection of groceries, fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products, frozen food and seafood. Greater emphasis on hygienic handling, and concerted efforts to enhance presentation of seafood, meats, fresh fruit and vegetables have proved popular and increased customer inflow.
MH also operates a network of 17 Service Station sites spread throughout Viti Levu and Vanua Levu main islands retailing Mobil fuel and related products and offering a range of supermarket merchandise through the MH Express outlets.
MH relentlessly pursues its drive towards continuing value, quality, freshness, cleanliness, dependability and service. This initiative is to prove to the consumers that the best value is at MH.
Additional activities include wholesaling of grocery lines, liquor and agricultural products and contract and bulk supply services. MH also operates agency and distributorship marketing for a number of well-known international brands.
MH is currently pursuing a strategy of opening new store outlets throughout the country including the redevelopment of the former MH Mainstore site in the heart of the Suva city which was completion gutted in a fire in 1998.
- Fresh fruits
- Dairy products
- Frozen food
The Group operates one of the largest and most successful automotive enterprises in Fiji. With a staff of over 500, Carpenters Motors enjoys substantial markets for its various franchises for cars, light commercial vehicles, trucks and tractors.
With its enviable stable of vehicle franchises Nissan, Honda, Holden, Hyundai and Isuzu, Carpenters Motors is the industry leader enjoying almost a third of the new vehicle market.
Carpenters Motors is a substantial dealer in imported used vehicles. This business is marketed under the branding “Autofields” with backup support provided by Carpenters Motors a reputable and trusted name in the market. Moves are underway to expand into the non-genuine parts market in a big way.
Carpenters Motors branches are located in Suva, Raiwaqa, Namaka, Lautoka, Ba in Viti Levu and in Labasa and Savusavu in Vanua Levu.
The division has modern servicing departments which includes Endrust rust proofing and Metalock cold repair of castings.
The light and heavy repair shops and the paint and panel repair shops are located in Suva, Lautoka and Labasa. A light repair facility is operated at the Namaka Branch. Recently a new light repair workshop was commissioned at Raiwai under the Autofields name to offer repair facilities to the price conscious lower end of the market. The main workshops are equipped with the latest automobile repair equipment including computerised engine diagnostic and tuning equipment. The workshops have fully computerised booking and processing systems and offers repair services to all makes and models of vehicles.
A sophisticated, computerised spare parts department with over 30,000 line items in stock, complements the service department and supports retail sales through outlets in all branches.
In additional to the parts agencies held for a range of vehicle franchises, agencies are also held for other well known brands such as Champion spark plugs, Repco and Hella products to name a few.
Carpenters Motors are the leading retailer in tyres catering to all segments of the market with its range of agencies - Goodyear, Firestone, Hankook and MRF. The tyres are retailed through a network of specialised sales outlets spread throughout the country. The merchandise offering in these outlets also includes a range of accessories including alloy wheels and batteries. The main outlets offer other related services such as tyre repair services and wheel alignment and balancing using the latest equipment.
Carptrac is the machinery department of Carpenters Motors. Carptrac holds the franchise and markets a full range of caterpillar machines, engines and forklift trucks in Fiji. It offers a fully computerised backup spare parts service with over 7,000 line items of stock to support a range of Caterpillar equipment and operates a modern heavy machinery repair facility which also offers mobile repair services to customers on the field.
On the light machinery side, Carpneters Motors holds agencies for Tohatsu Outboard Engines, Karcher cleaning equipment, EZGO golf equipment, Victa lawn mowers and Onga pumps.
Carpenters Hardware is a major supplier of building and industrial contracting materials. Building materials on offer include general hardware, plumbing, floor and wall tiles and domestic and industrial electrical products.
The division enjoys a strong position as a reliable and professional supplier from small contracting and do-it-yourself projects, to multi-million dollar construction works.
In recent years the division has expanded into regional markets and export sales now account for a significant proportion of annual sales. It has been a supplier for many major contracts in neighbouring nations, and continues to do regular exports to Tonga, Samoa, Kiribati, Wallis and Futuna and Tuvalu.
The division provides a range of services to its customers through the head office and Suva Branch in Walu Bay and a network of branches in Nausori, Sigatoka, Nadi, Lautoka, Ba and Labasa.
The division offers customers a full range of dressed timbers, including pine and native timber using the latest in modern machinery. Carpenters Hardware offers a large range of steel products in beam sheets and rods including a steel cutting and bending, as well as a wire rope cutting and splicing service.
Carpenters Hardware is one of the largest wholesalers in commercial and industrial electrical products, including air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment, as well as providing a full back up spare parts service. Carpenters Hardware also specialises in offering a full range of domestic electrical and lighting products.
It is the agent for a full range of world market leader Makita power tools and general builders equipment from Flextool. Key agencies include Norcros adhesive and grouts, Grohe tape ware, Schneider electrical range, Armstrong and Eureka tiles, Inda bathroom ware, Gainsborough locks and hardware, Syvain lights and fittings, Superlux lighting range, greens tapware and wheelbarrows, Watty Paints (Aust), Fedders air-conditioners and Biko water heating equipment.
Carpenters Hardware are also stockists of some well known brands such as Caroma sanitary ware, Taubmans Nobel and Dulux Paints, HPM, Clipsal, Expro electric goods, Leica geosystem tools, S & G Abrasives, Winstone wallboards, James Hardie, Kocera and Masteria and Iwai Ceramic tiles, Stanley/Sidchrome tools, Spears and Jackson garden tools and Tasman insulation.
Carpenters Shipping as an ISO quality accredited business has maintained its reputation as the South Pacific’s best known and leading shipping & logistics operator renowned for making world wide connections to and from the Pacific.
Carpenters Shipping is an operating division of the Carpenter Group, which is the largest private sector enterprise in the Fiji Islands
In addition to the core ship agency business, other ancillary operations include international airfreight forwarding, cargo deconsolidation, customs house agency, local and international courier, heavy equipment handling and transport contracting, stevedoring, commercial waste disposal and the operation of bonded and general warehouses and freezer and cooler storage facilities.
The division prides itself on its market knowledge and long industry experience and together with its commitment to quality, provides an enhanced service to its principals and customers.
At present the division services an impressive portfolio of customers including large mining concerns, newspaper publishers, garment factories, large scale manufacturers, fishing vessel owners, fresh produce exporters and a significant number of general importers and exporters in Fiji.
The division’s offices are strategically located in Fiji’s main sea and air gateways – the ports of Suva and Lautoka, and Nadi International Airport. It also operates sub-offices within the Suva and Lautoka port areas, thus facilitating excellent communication and speedy services to its agency vessels.
For number of years Carpenters Shipping has won the contract to provide agency services to sugar and molasses vessels calling Fiji during the sugar processing season and currently the only agents for fertilizer vessels. Husbandry services are provided to Navy Vessels calling Fiji ports from ports in USA, India, Japan, Koera, Australia and Canada.
In the area of cargo and passenger ship agency the division is agent in Fiji for Hapag-Lloyd (acquired CP Ship’s) China Navigation (NGPL-JSP), Greater Bali Hai services Kyowa Shipping, Bank Line, Mitsui OSK Line, N.Y.K.Lines, Barwil Agencies Oceania, Inui Steamship, Mobil Oil and Shell Tankers, Royal Viking Lines, Cunard Lines, Unicom Cyprus, Costa Croisieres, Greenship Shipping and Harpers Shipping. Fishing vessels represented are Marine Chartering, Partners Shipping, Toei Reefer Lines, Marumaan INC Zangyoren and Solander Fishing.
In airfreight forwarding the principal agent represented is C.T.Freight which is a large forwarder with the round the world connections. It is also a cargo agent for Korean Airlines. Other Principals represented include Pacific Networks and Excess Baggage.
In the area of international courier Carpenters Shipping is the agent for Federal Express in Fiji.
In sea freight forwarding Carpenter Shipping agencies include NACA Group, Cargo Transport System and Full Services Logistics. Agencies in the area of Household Removals include Wridgeways Worldwide and NZ Vanlines.
It is an IATA (International Air Transport Association) Cargo Agent.
Carpenters Shipping is the Lloyd’s Agent in Fiji and acts as surveyors and settling agent for over 100 insurance companies around the world. It is the sole agent in Fiji for the British Admiralty Charts and Hydrographical publications.
Carpenters Finance is the in-house financier offering competitive consumer finance facilities to customers which provides Carpenters with a significant competitive advantage in the market.
Hire purchase facilities are offered for household appliances, furniture and equipment sold by Morris Hedstrom, for building material products sold by Carpenters Hardware and light machinery and marine products sold by Carpenters Motors. Bill of sale facilities are offered for new and used vehicles sold by Carpenters Motors. Recently new business increased sharply with the financing of a significant share of Japanese used vehicles imported and marketed by Carpenters Motors under the branding “Autofields”.
The Carpenter Group is the only retailer in Fiji to offer an in-store credit card which is administered by Carpenters Finance. The cards are in gold and silver issue to provide for premium and regular customer segments and can be used in all Carpenter Group retail outlets.
The cardholders are offered many benefits including regular notice of special promotions, special limited hours shopping experiences and reduced pricing offers. Carpenters Finance in conjunction with the ANZ Bank offers on-line credit authorisation and processing of the Carpenters credit card transactions. This has enabled Carpenters Finance to significantly increase the credit card customer base, introduce innovative loyalty programs and also consider extending the use of the cards to outside retailers.
Carpenters Finance main offices are located in Suva and Lautoka in Viti Levu and Labasa in Vanua Levu. For convenience of customers, Carpenters Finance staff are also based in all major Morris Hedstrom stores.
Second-hand goods shops under the name “Warehouse” is operated in Suva, Nausori, Lautoka and Labasa for sale of second-hand repossessed goods.
Carpenters Finance also monitors and supervises the credit control function of all the operating divisions in the Carpenters Group.
Industrial & Marine Eng. Ltd.
Industrial and Marine Engineering Limited (IMEL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Carpenter Group, is one of the largest and best equipped engineering works in the Southwest Pacific.
Its principal area of operation is concentrated in ship repairs, with an increasing number of local, regional and overseas shipowners and fishing vessel operators utilising IMEL’s skills and capabilities.
Conveniently situated alongside the public slipway in Walu Bay, Suva, and within easy access of the main overseas wharfs, its experienced and skilled workforce offers a full range repair services to the region’s shipping industry.
Repair workshops are fully equipped to undertake a variety of tasks for ship owners, and to serve the needs of the other general local industry. A company owned barge enables engineering services to be provided to vessels anchored offshore.
Facilities offered are general fitting and machining, diesel repairs, pipe fitting, steel fabrication and welding and non-destructive testing.
A comprehensive stores and inventory stockholding supports the services of the workshop and offers retail sales to customers through a computerised inventory management system.
Daltron is the Information Technology (IT) Division of the Carpenters Group operating in Fiji, and is the most recently formed business activity of the Group.
Daltron has been a leading Information Technologies Company specializing in computer and IT solutions in PNG over the past 28 years. The Carpenters Group acquired this company in 2005 as part of its strategy to be a player in the IT sector. Daltron PNG caters for both retail and wholesale trade in the PNG market. The company has now grown to be a leader in providing complete IT equipment and IT solutions for the region. It has established expertise in computer retail, wholesale, networking, Internet and software development.
Daltron commenced operations in Fiji in January 2006, which saw the transformation of the Group’s IT function into commercial operation. With Daltron, the Carpenters Group aims to bring to Fiji its vast expertise in providing cutting edge IT solutions including Hardware, Software, and communication technology. This is a step in close synch with the Fiji Government’s stated intent to accelerate the pace of the IT sector development in the country.
Daltron vision is to be a leading provider of Information Technology Services and Solutions in the Pacific Island nations.
Its mission is to:-
To be the Company of Choice for all stakeholders; Help customers achieve their business objectives through innovative technology solutions; Provide leading edge quality products and services; and operate a financially strong company to maximize shareholder value
Daltron’s Products and services offer includes Computer Hardware, Computer Software, Consumables, Networking Services, Facilities Management, and Server hosting services.
Daltron opened up the first and the only modern computer superstore in Fiji in March 2006. As a result of its tremendous success, it is now planning to open another superstore in the other major city in Fiji. Daltron’s strategy is to provide quality products and value to customers at affordable prices backed by comprehensive service guarantees.
The principal property holdings of the Group are under the ownership of two property management companies, namely Properties Trust (Fiji) Limited and Carpenters Properties Limited, both wholly owned subsidiaries of the Carpenter Group.
Other valuable property including Ellery Street building in the heart of Suva City, Walu Bay Edinburgh Drive complex, the residential properties in Raiwai and properties in Savusavu in Vanua Levu and in Somosomo in Taveuni Island are directly owned by Carpenters Fiji Limited.
The property portfolio include valuable commercial, industrial and residential properties and numerous buildings and associated improvements. The industrial and commercial properties are exclusively occupied by the various businesses of the Carpenter Group. A separate property department located in the head office administers, maintains and manages all the properties.
The Group has a number of prime sites for development which the Group aims to develop at the appropriate time.
Currently the Group is finalising plans to replace the MH store in Somosomo with a modern retail store and also to extensively upgrade and modernise the MH stores in Nadi and Lautoka to exploit the full retail potential of these sites.
Plans are also currently being finalised the redevelop the Thomson Street site in central Suva that was destroyed in a fire in December 1998. The plans envisage the building of a multistorey modern shopping mall complex and office block on par with similar complexes found in developed countries.
The Group is pursuing an aggressive policy of acquiring property in strategic locations throughout the country to provide for the expansion of the Group’s business activities.