Chobe, Wilderness results mixed

Koobonye Ramokopelwa
Friday, 12 May 2017
Tourism is among the major contributors to Botswana's GDP Tourism is among the major contributors to Botswana's GDP

Eco-tourism companies, Wilderness Holdings and Chobe Holdings are expecting a mixed set of results for the past year,amid forecast that the industry will grow by nearly ten percent this year.
Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) listed firm, Wilderness stated in cautionary note that results for the 12 months to February 2017, ‘are likely to be more than 10percent lower than those achieved in the corresponding period in the prior year’. The expected fall in profits is likely to have shareholders worried, given that the Little Mombo owner also posted a drop in profits for the past year (2016).

For the same year, the dual-listed group saw its results taking a dive by 3 percent to close at P74, 2million. The Keith Vincent -led company explained the bottom line is down for the soon-to-be released results because of unrealised losses resulting from translation of the company’s foreign currency position. However, there has been a jump in segmental profit. The company, which listed at BSE in 2010, sells its rooms in the highly volatile US dollar.

Shareholders will have a chance to read more on the financial results when they are made public at the end of the month.The report of lower profits comes amid media reports that, government is on the verge of selling the struggling national airliner, Air Botswana to Wilderness following an expression of interest. Chairman of the group, Parks Tafa has denied the latest developments in an interview with a local weekly.

Meanwhile, shareholders of Wilderness competitor, Chobe Holdings are excited that profits for the group will be higher when compared to the year ended February last year. “The board of directors hereby announces that the Group’s results for the year ended February 2017 are likely to be significantly higher than those achieved in the corresponding period in prior year,” a company statement reads.

For the year to February last year, the owners of Desert and Delta Safari made a profit of P56million, up when compared to P52million recorded the year before. The BSE-quoted company has not stated factors which led to the rise in bottom line. Writing in the company’s 2016 annual financial statement, Chief Executive Officer, Jonathan Gibson said the introduction of South African Airlink’s flight between Maun and Cape Town ‘is anticipated to contribute positively to Maun’s accessibility.

“These factors,coupled with the Group’s superior marketing strategies and ever improving product offering,are anticipated to translate to satisfactory results in the forthcoming financial year,” said Gibson. Chobe Holdings has not announced when the results will be out. It has, like Wilderness Safari, cautioned shareholders to exercise caution when dealing with its securities.

On a related matter, Chief Economist at the finance ministry, Batane Matekane told the just-ended HATAB annual conference that, the industry has grown rapidly in the past few years. Travel and tourism generated 32 000 jobs directly in 2014, representing 4.6 percent of total employment. This was forecast to grow by 2.6 percent in 2015 to reach 32 500 or 4.6 percent of total employment.

“Total employment in the tourism sector includes direct employment by hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services, excluding the commuter services,” said Matekane.

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