Profit before tax was up 11% to P120 million, up from the previous year’s P108 million, while cash generated by operations increased by 3% to P135 million. Occupancy percentage declined to 58% from 63%.
“Despite a challenging environment influenced by the ‘hangover’ from the Ebola outbreak of 2014, the strength of the US dollar against other hard currencies, and to a certain extent, South Africa’s visa regulations and xenophobia, the Group delivered pleasing results. The favourable exchange rate, coupled with changes in the product mix, cushioned the fall in revenue to just 1%”, says Ami Azoulay, Financial Director.
“While EBIDTA for the first half of the year was up 6% on the prior period, the second half was 22% better than the corresponding period, with the result that EBITDA for the full year was 10% up on the prior year at P199 million”. EBITDA margin improved from 19% to 21% with operating costs well contained at a 2% increase, despite the 3% growth in available bednights from 233 108 to 240 748.
Approximately P131 million was invested in capital expenditure, of which P46 million was allocated to the expansion of the business, including the acquisition of four new aircraft, the completion of the new Linkwasha Camp in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, the commencement of investment in Rwanda, and the purchase of new vehicles.
A total of P85 million was used to maintain existing operations, such as the completion of a solar power project at Vumbura Plains Camp in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, the refurbishment of a number of camps, the replacement of vehicles and the purchase of parts for the aircraft fleet. In addition, the Group has elected to reassess its rehabilitation policy and recognised a provision of P7 million for the rehabilitation of lodge sites.
Looking ahead, the Group says the existing business is reflecting promising forward occupancies, with the expansion of its geographic footprint into other regions of Africa expected to further boost its reputation as a provider of authentic wildlife and safari experiences. “The investment in Governors’ Camp Collection of properties in Kenya and Rwanda, through the acquisition of a 51% stake in the business, and the development of a new lodge in Rwanda is in line with the Group’s strategy to build further sustainable conservation economies in Africa”, says Azoulay.
“We expect to integrate Governors’ Camp operations into our existing business in terms of systems and processes, while retaining their unique brand and offering, discrete from that of Wilderness Safaris. The Rwanda greenfield project of Bisate Lodge is continuing, with its opening scheduled for 2017. In addition, our rebuilt Ruckomechi Camp has opened in Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park, to be followed by a new camp, Little Ruckomechi, in August 2016. The market outlook for tourism in southern Africa is extremely positive and the Board is optimistic about the future. We would like to thank our staff for their dedication in achieving this solid set of results”.
Click here for the audited abridged Group financial results.