Millions invested in Safari Hotels

The Safari Court Hotel will be converted to Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, while the Safari Hotel will become an Ibis Styles.

14 May 2021 | Business

We look forward to bringing our international hospitality know-how to Namibia’s leading hotel complexes, heralding a new chapter in its storied history. - David Damiba, CIO: Kasada

Jo-Maré Duddy – Following failed plans to merge with United Africa Group (UAG), Safari Hotels and Conference Centre announced that it has been acquired by Kasada, a group dedicated to hospitality in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The deal, for an undisclosed purchase price, remains subject to approval by the Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC).

The transaction will be made through Kasada Hospitality Fund, part of Kasada Capital Management. The firm was launched in 2018 with the backing of Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund of the state of Qatar, and Accor, a French multinational hospitality company. In April 2019, the Kasada group held a close on its maiden fund, Kasada Hospitality Fund, with equity commitments of over US$500 million.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Kasada said the Safari Court Hotel will be converted to Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, a modern, upscale hospitality company which is part of Accor’s brand portfolio. The Safari Hotel will become an Ibis Styles, an economy hotel owned by Accor.

N$100 MILLION

Kasada said it will rebrand the hotels utilising the management skills, expertise and marketing resources available from its strategic partnership with Accor and its portfolio of renowned international hotel brands.

“By investing over N$100 million (US$8 million) in this refurbishment, Kasada will further improve the existing conference facilities, which are a hub for local, regional and international events in Namibia, creating a go-to destination for both business and leisure guests,” the group said.

“This transaction is aligned with Kasada’s strategy of bringing our capital and expertise to the management of existing properties in key locations in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said the group’s managing partner and CEO, Olivier Granet.

“We look forward to bringing our international hospitality know-how to Namibia’s leading hotel complexes, heralding a new chapter in its storied history with the incorporation of ESG [environmental, social and governance] and international best practices, and the creation of 150 jobs,” Granet added.

David Damiba, managing partner and chief information officer of Kasada, said: “This transaction underscores our continued belief in the resilience and long-term prospects of the sector in Namibia and is aligned with the government’s FDI [foreign direct investment] initiatives. It also highlights our ability to structure bespoke liquidity solutions for asset owners in difficult market conditions across all of Sub-Saharan Africa at a much-needed time in this cycle.”

UAG

The NaCC in 2018 gave the go-ahead to UAG to acquire the entire issued capital in Safari Hotels and Conference Centre. UAG owns the Hilton Windhoek, as well as seven other hotels, most of them operated through the Protea Hotels brand by Marriott International.

UAG, however, failed to come with the required funding to buy Safari Hotels and Conference Centre and the deal fell through.

Safari Hotels and Conference Centre in May last year had to retrench 177 of its 219 workers due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The rest earned only half of their normal salaries.

The chairperson of the group, Phillip Ellis, told Republikein at the time that the business’ salaries of around N$1.9 million per month meant it would go bust without any meaningful income.

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