TA to List Associate Firm On Botswana Bourse

24 May 2010

(Herald 24-5-2010)

ZIMBABWE Stock Exchange-listed investment company TA Holdings Limited will next month list its associate company, Cresta Marakanelo Limited, on the Botswana Stock Exchange.

Cresta Marakanelo is currently the biggest hotel in Botswana.

TA Botswana, a member of the TA Holdings Group, owns 40 percent of the share capital in Cresta Marakanelo and the remainder is owned by the Botswana Development Corporation.

Upon listing, Botswana Development Corporation will reduce its stake to 26 percent through a private placement of 10 percent of the share capital, the other 22 percent would be offered to the public and 2 percent will go to an employees' share trust.

However, the group said the listing is not aimed at raising additional capital.

"The primary objective of the listing is to give Batswana citizens an opportunity to participate in the company.

"The listing will also give employees of the company a similar opportunity.

"The board of TA Holdings welcomes the listing and the opportunities for growth that it is expected to bring," said the group in a statement to shareholders.

Prior to the listing, Cresta Holdings Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Trans Industries, a member of TA group domiciled in Botswana, signed a 10-year management agreement with Cresta Marakanelo, with an option to renew for a further 10 years.

TA Holdings, which controls 100 percent of Cresta Hospitality Holdings, Cresta Hospitality (Private) Limited and Cresta Hotels, is pinning its hopes on its hotel business. A recent trading update by the group indicated that Botswana occupancy went up 4 percent to 70 percent from 66 percent last year.

Average room rates at the Cresta Marakanelo increased to US$96 in the first quarter, from US$72 the previous year.

In Botswana, the Cresta group is enjoying the benefits of the soccer World Cup, which kicks off in South Africa next month.

At least 130 000 football fans are expected in Southern Africa during the month-long tournament.

Hotels in Botswana were among the biggest beneficiaries of world football governing body Fifa's lucrative accommodation agency, MATCH.

The investment group, which already runs Cresta Hotels in Zimbabwe and Botswana, is planning to expand into Angola, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa.

The group is also targeting to grow the number of hotel rooms to 2 000 by 2012.

TA also operates two insurance companies outside Zimbabwe, Botswana Insurance Company in Gaborone and Lion Assurance Company in Uganda, currently under expansion. In Zimbabwe, the company is involved in all facets of insurance -- life, short-term insurance, reinsurance and insurance broking.

Early last year, TA assumed complete control of Zimnat Lion Insurance Company, the country's second largest short-term insurance company by market share, after it successfully bought out minority shareholders through a share-to-share transfer.

The investment company's strategic vision is to expand its insurance business to eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa.