IFA Hotels & Resorts K.S.C.C (IFA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait's International Financial Advisors, which is listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange and has a global presence and market capitalization of over US$ 1 billion, has announced its plan to list two of its subsidiaries on the JSE Limited (JSE) in South Africa.
IFA has reached agreement in principle with JSE-listed Moribo Leisure Limited to house two of its current South African assets in Moribo which will result in a reverse take-over of Moribo and a change of the company name to IFA Hotels & Resorts Limited.
Mr. Jassim M Al-Bahar, Chairman and Managing Director of IFA, said "South Africa is a model for developing nations in terms of political and economic progress as evidenced over the last ten years. We have a clear commitment to further investments into South Africa, and this key milestone is another step towards our goal of becoming the leading foreign tourism and residential investor in Africa. The natural progression for our overall investment strategy in South Africa was to list on the JSE. The listing will also provide for accelerated investment growth into new ventures."
"We have seen an increasing demand from our investors and clients who follow us across the globe on every new development we engage in, to have more flexibility on entering into foreign markets. The reverse take-over of Moribo, so enabling the listing of IFA entities, will create an ideal vehicle for both local and foreign investors to diversify their portfolio to either invest through the listed company or directly into the developments."
IFA Hotels & Resorts Limited will house the 5-star Zimbali Lodge as well as the equal partnership in the development of the Zimbali resorts and will create the platform for further investments in South Africa and Africa.
IFA Zimbali Lodge (Pty) Ltd is the owner of Zimbali Lodge which is operated by Sun International Limited. It is a magnificent 5-star boutique hotel with 76 luxurious rooms to be expanded in 2006 with an additional 20 rooms and is rated by Conde Naste Traveller magazine as one of the top hotels in the world. Zimbali Lodge is located amongst indigenous semi-tropical gardens, and overlooks the signature hole of the scenic Tom Weiskopf-designed championship golf course, the magnificent lakes and conservation area and the Indian Ocean beyond.
In 2003, IFA Hotels & Resorts (SA) (Pty) Ltd formed a joint venture with Moreland Developments (Proprietary) Limited (a subsidiary of Tongaat-Hulett Group Limited), to develop the Zimbali Coastal Resort and the future Zimbali Lakes development. The Zimbali Coastal Resort covers 3.7 million square meters (370 hectares) of coastal forest estate with 3,5km of coastline. The joint venture is developing around 700 residential opportunities therein. The Zimbali Lakes development covers 3 million square meters (300 hectares) and is a natural extension of the Zimbali Coastal Resort. Planning applications have been made for the creation of a resort on Zimbali Lakes.
Says Jassim M Al-Bahar, "We hope to enjoy continued success in all our new ventures in South Africa and Africa. We have found a business destination in South Africa which provides low interest rates, clear legal frameworks, a stable currency, economic stability, and the opportunity to form lasting private and provincial partnerships, in a climate that fosters growth, provides jobs and promotes the region."
"IFA is responsible for the sales and marketing of the Zimbali resort developments and all its other developments across the world. This ensures that we have consistency over all our developments and creates a sales and marketing strategy to enhance the overall brand and quality throughout. Listing on the JSE will provide the opportunity to enhance our exposure to the South African market in addition to offering both South African and international investors the opportunity to invest into our network of resorts in South Africa, Portugal, Dubai, Beirut and Zanzibar," says Phillip de Sylva, Vice President Acquisitions and Developments IFA Hotels & Resorts (SA).
Outside of South Africa, IFA has acquired the Zanzibar Beach Hotel & Resort as part of a strategic $30 million re-positioning of the property to be upgraded and branded as the Movenpick Beach Resort & Spa Zanzibar. Construction starts at the end of the year, with completion set for 2007. Additional investments for a second luxury hotel on the island are well underway and will bring IFA's total investment on the island to $100m.
In July 2005, through IFA's partnership with Prince Alwaleed's hotel investment company Kingdom Hotels Investments and the prestigious North American operator Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, IFA acquired an equity share of the Lonrho Hotels portfolio in Kenya. The portfolio, which consists of five properties in excess of 400 rooms, includes the historic Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi and the famous destination resort of the Mount Kenya Safari Club. The remaining three hotels are located in important and very popular tourist destinations, such as the Masai Mara. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts will be managing the portfolio in its entirety and will oversee an ambitious renovation programme that will create the finest internationally branded hotels and resorts across the Eastern African continent.
Jassim Al- Bahar concluded by stating that, "IFA's listing on the JSE will further boost our commitment to provide our clients and investors with a full investment strategy from specialized property investments to financial instruments where they can make their investments through one of the most regulated and leading stock exchanges in the world. It is in line with our mission to deliver an outstanding international network of tourism and real estate opportunities to global investors".
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )