Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Tollman family in new deal with Wilderness

Botswana’s Competition Authority is considering a proposed acquisition of a subsidiary of one of Botswana’s leading leisure and tourism company ÔÇô Okavango Wilderness Safaris. The new deal will see former major shareholders of the parent company snapping the money spinning luxury camp.

In the proposed acquisition, Mountbatten Limited intends to acquire 100 percent shareholding in Great Explorations from Okavango Wilderness Safaris (OWS). The latter is a subsidiary of the Botswana Stock Exchange listed Wilderness Holdings Limited, an ecotourism behemoth spanning eight countries with 48 safari camps that boast some of the most luxurious camps in the world.

The acquiring enterprise, Mountbatten, through its complex ownership structure, brings names already familiar to Wilderness Holdings. Mountbatten is wholly owned by Travcorp Financial Services Limited which is in turn wholly owned by Travel Corporation Limited, an entity registered in British Virgin Islands. The Travel Corporation or Travcorp is a huge travel and leisure group owned by the Tollman family.

Until recently, the Tollman family was the largest single shareholder in Wilderness Holdings through Wine Investments Limited, their investment company. Earlier this month, the Tollman disposed of their entire shareholding in Wilderness Holdings after they sold their shares to The Rise Fund, a social impact investment fund managed by TPG Growth. Although no financial details were released, Wine Investments’ stake in Wilderness Holdings was 80, 697, 582 ordinary shares, translating to 34 percent shareholding, and if the shares were sold at the current price P5.86, the Tollman pocketed more than P472.9 million from the transaction.

Now awash with cash, the family with vast interests in the hospitality industry has set its eyes on Great Explorations which operates a safari Camp known as Xigera Camp in the Okavango Delta. Xigera Camp together with Xarei Camp are Wilderness Holdings’ oldest camps after being commissioned as the company’s first permanent camps in 1985, two years after Wilderness Holdings was established in Botswana.

Xigera Camp lies on Paradise Island, surrounded by deep channels and lush vegetation within a remote area of the Moremi Game Reserve. The camp with nine raised luxury tents and superb views of the classic Okavango Delta floodplains does not come cheap: the rates could swing between P7000 to P12000 per night depending on the season peak.

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