Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Wilderness basks in glory despite negative reports

Botswana’s top ecotourism company, Wilderness Holdings, continues to ride high despite a mixed bag of fortunes when it comes to media reports.

Just under two years back, the company suffered a blow after its bid to take over national airline ÔÇô Air Botswana did not materialise following its ‘unexplained’ withdrawal of bid.

with the latest announcement that the safari focused company is expecting bumper profits.

In a cautionary guide released Friday, the company says its performance for the half year ended 31 August 2018 will be materially higher than those achieved in the corresponding period last year. In 2017, the company reported P116.8 million as profit after tax, up 25 percent from the corresponding period in 2016.

Wilderness then went on to finish the year with a profit of P87.3 million for the financial year ended 28 February 2018. This was an increase of 39 percent from the prior year’s profit. Wilderness’s anticipation of high profits in the first six months of the year was widely expected by observers following positive developments this year.

The company’s revenue, which is mainly in US dollars, is usually impacted by exchange rate volatility. However the company is set to get a boost from the Pula and South Africa rand which have been weakening against the dollar in the first half of the year. In addition, revenue is expected to be up through some of Wilderness’s flagship camps, propped by good publicity in major international publications.

A month back, the newly rebuilt Mombo camp clinched the second position in the Andrew Harper Travel’s Hideaway 2018 report which placed the camp under the Members’ Choice awards in the Most Spectacular Wildlife Experience category.

The good publicity followed another win for Wilderness safaris which beamed with pride In August when the tourism company’s Rwanda based Bisate lodge made it to Time magazine’s first annual list of the World’s Greatest places of 2018. Bisate lodged opened in mid-2017 and was soon seen as a game changer for its aesthetics and mostly for its reforestation and conservation efforts aimed at protecting the gorillas found in that area.

Wilderness will also get a boost following the reopening of Chitabe camp, which is also located in the Okavango Delta. The camp reopened after extensive renovations to the main camp. Chitambe was originally opened over 20 years ago, making it one of the company’s oldest camps.

The anticipation of higher profits will be a cherry on top to Wilderness shareholders as the company stock continues to impress on the Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). On the BSEL the stock price is up 11.09 percent since beginning of the year, while on the JSE the value has gone up by 25 percent in year to date returns.

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