Mauritians buy locally rejected Safari Hotel



The Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC) has given the green light to a Mauritius-based real estate company, Condor Kite, to purchase the Safari Hotel for an undisclosed amount.

This ends a five-year struggle by Safari owners to find a buyer, with locals showing no interest in the deal since 2017.

The sale includes the hotel and the surrounding undeveloped land.

NaCC announced last week that it had finished evaluating the proposed merger and had given Condor Kite, a state-owned company registered in Mauritius, the green light to buy out Safari Hotel.

Condor Kite is owned by Kasada Hospitality Fund, a Mauritian investment fund.

According to the commission, the owners (administrators) have offered the hotel and its property to local investors since 2017, but the interest has not been there.

The only significant interest was expressed by United Property Management, which however did not materialize.

“The international companies have shown immense interest, but the directors have always tried to engage all the Namibian entities that may have bought the hotel business,” said the commission’s statement.

When the United Africa Group-owned real estate firm’s transaction to buy the hotel failed, administrators assessed international buyers, who were ready to buy the hotel despite the tourism sector being the most affected by Covid-19.

In this case the Condor Kite.

The share sale agreement also indicated that Safari Hotel’s 43 employees will not be laid off or made redundant by the merger, the commission said.

Condor Kite has promised the commission more job opportunities once the hotel business is reorganized.

The NaCC is also responsible for ensuring that no engagement between two or more companies is entered into if it results in barriers to entry for small entities. The commission’s assessment revealed that since there is no geographic overlap between the two entities, there will be no decrease in competition in the domestic market after the merger and merger n ‘will not prevent market access by local small businesses.

As a result, the Competition Commission has given the green light to the merger without conditions.

The Condor Kite merger is the fourth merger and acquisition approved by the commission.

Two of the mergers concern the tourism sector, while the other concerns fuel distribution and the mining sector.

The acquisition of fuel involves the mutual rescue of two Singaporean companies, Trafigura having obtained the authorization to take over the majority shares of Puma and its subsidiary in Namibia. This happened after Puma’s operations needed refinancing and Trafigura stepped in to provide the necessary financing, thereby securing its current ownership in the business.

The commission said if the acquisition does not materialize, Puma’s financial problems could cause the fuel retailer and distributor to go bankrupt in the future.

EOS OFFER

The Safari Hotel offer is not the only one for the tourism sector.

A local private equity fund, Eos Capital also acquired Mushara Collection this year.

The Mushara Collection represents approximately four types of luxury accommodation formats outside of Etosha National Park in northern Namibia.

The operation was financed by the Eos’Allegrow fund.

These acquisitions and many more come as the recovery hopes that over the next two to three years, tourism activity will rebound after being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Additionally, Namibia has been listed on various platforms as a no-fly zone due to the high number of Covid-19 infections.

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