Brain­work owner of ‘Vic Falls, Ele­phant Hills and Monomo­tapa Ho­tels’ reaps the ben­e­fit of Zim­babwe’s im­proved tourism sec­tor

Zambian Business Times - - BUSINESS REVIEW -

A firm­ing in the value of the rand is likely to boost tourist ar­rivals from SA to Zim­babwe where the per­for­mance of weak re­gional cur­ren­cies against the dol­lar led to flat room rates for ho­tels such as Vic­to­ria Falls Ho­tel, Ele­phant Hills and Monomo­tapa — all of which are run by Brain­works.

In its first full-year re­sults fol­low­ing the com­pany’s list­ing on the JSE in Oc­to­ber, Brain­works said that signs of a strength­en­ing rand au­gured well for ar­rivals from SA.

Even then, in the year un­der re­view, growth in ho­tel oc­cu­pancy was recorded in all three-mar­ket seg­ments, with the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket record­ing the high­est growth of 29%, do­mes­tic 17% and re­gional 3%. The in­crease in traf­fic was strong­est in Vic­to­ria Falls fol­low­ing the com­mis­sion­ing of the up­graded Vic­to­ria Falls In­ter­na­tional Ho­tel.

Brain­works is a Mau­ri­tian, di­ver­si­fied in­vest­ment hold­ing com­pany with an ex­clu­sive fo­cus on Zim­babwe. Its port­fo­lio of­fers ex­po­sure to prom­i­nent Zim­babwe-based as­sets in the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor, as well as in real es­tate and fi­nan­cial ser­vices lo­gis­tics.

The com­pany is in­volved in some of the coun­try’s top ho­tels, in­clud­ing Meik­les Ho­tel. It is cur­rently pur­su­ing a se­condary list­ing on the Zim­babwe Stock Ex­change.

The group says the tourism in­dus­try is ex­pected to con­tinue grow­ing in 2018 and would ben­e­fit from key ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing the up­com­ing gen­eral elec­tions, in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment and other gov­ern­ment projects.

The Zimbabwean gov­ern­ment is set to in­tro­duce mea­sures to re­ju­ve­nate the tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try. These in­clude chang­ing the visa regime to en­able tourists to ap­ply for visas at the port of en­try, in­tro­duc­ing sys­tems that would speed up im­mi­gra­tion clear­ance time, and open­ing the skies to other in­ter­na­tional air­lines.

Brain­works’ rev­enues rose 22% to $58.6m from the year be­fore. The hos­pi­tal­ity divi­sion con­trib­uted 88% of turnover, which rep­re­sented growth of 19% in its rev­enues. Driv­ing growth was the in­crease in ho­tel oc­cu­pancy to 52% from 44%.

How­ever, the group recorded a loss be­fore in­come tax of $6m, com­pared to profit be­fore in­come tax of $4.4m the year be­fore.

Key ob­jec­tives by the group for 2018 will be to raise cap­i­tal to re­struc­ture the com­pany’s debt, as well as con­sol­i­dat­ing and strength­en­ing port­fo­lio com­pa­nies. Brain­works said its direc­tors "be­lieved that the group’s as­sets are an­chored in an im­prove­ment in the so­cial, po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic for­tunes of Zim­babwe, which is now im­mi­nent".

VICTORIAL FALLS, on the bor­der be­tween Zim­babwe and Zam­bia, is the largest cur­tain of wa­ter in the world (1,708 me­ters wide).

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