The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) quoted tourism outfit, Wilderness Holdings Limited has announced that the company’s results for the year ended 28 February 2018 will likely be higher than those achieved in the corresponding period in 2017.
The company, which also has a secondary listing at JSE is expected to announce its results at the end of May.
According to the Board statement, shareholders are accordingly advised to exercise caution when dealing in the Company’s securities until the results are announced.
Looking back in early 2017, when the company released its full year results for the year ended 28th February 2017, revenue for the February 2017 reporting period increased by 18 percent to P1 107 million from P935 million in 2016, driven by the increase in bednights sold. Overall bednight sales increased by 18 percent to 165 864 from 140 162 in 2016. The Group’s occupancy rate remained flat at 58 percent.
This was a positive year overall, as the Group achieved 18 percent and 5 percent growth in revenue and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), respectively. That is; a financial measurement of cash flow from operations that is widely used in mergers and acquisitions of small businesses and businesses in the middle market.
This was despite the significant turn in foreign exchange from a profit of P26 million to a loss of P11 million, as the volatile currency environment impacted negatively on headline earnings. However, this volatility is expected to recur periodically as the Group operates in multiple jurisdictions and in different currencies.
The 2017 reporting period saw the Zambezi region recording good growth with segmental profit at P9 million compared to a break-even position in the prior year (2016). The growth was driven predominantly by improved sales mix and higher demand for our road transfer business. South Africa recorded 22 percent growth in profit attributed to the weaker average exchange rates and an increase in demand for local non-Wilderness product resulting in higher service fees. Kenya and Rwanda, comprising substantially the Governors’ brand, contributed to the remaining growth. Botswana was flat due to the discounting of Mombo camp bednights in the expectation that the rebuild would already be underway, necessitating the relocation of guests to a temporary facility, while Namibia, which was negatively impacted by the flying operations, recorded a decline in profit of 5 percent.
Meanwhile in early 2018, the Board at a meeting held in March 3rd 2018 declared a dividend of 16.5 thebe per share. The dividend was been declared out of income reserves. A further and final dividend may be declared for the financial year 28 February 2018 after publication of the results.
The foreign dividend shall be paid in Rand to shareholders on the South African register, calculated at the Pula to Rand exchange rate on Tuesday, 6 March 2018 which was P1/R1.2286 and accordingly the gross dividend payable is 20.2719 cents per share.
For the six months ended 31st August 2017, Namibia, Rwanda and Zambezi regions all recorded strong growth as, combined, they contributed 30 percent from 15 percent in 2016 of segmental profit and reflect combined growth of 104 percent from P27 million to P55 million. Botswana’s performance was down 2 percent. South Africa declined 23 percent as a direct result of the strength of the Rand. Kenya recorded a decline of 62 percent following the inclusion of low season for the period. Total available bednights (capacity) increased by 14 percent as the Governors’ businesses were included for the full period in comparison to just two months in the prior period. The Group in 2017 commenced the rebuild of Mombo camp, while the acquisition of the 51 percent interest in the Governors’ Camp Collection in Kenya and Rwanda proved highly satisfactory with pleasing results.
This inclusion of Governors’ resulted in a marginal decline of one percentage point, to 65 percent, in occupancy rate. The air business in Namibia has made a promising recovery from a loss of P2 million to a profit of P1.5 million. In late June, Bisate Lodge opened in Rwanda and is proving to be highly successful with occupancy rates reaching 90 percent in the high season.
In the six months results for August 2017, Wilderness CEO, Keith Vincent indicated that the Southern Africa tourism industry remains bullish and this trend is anticipated to continue in the medium-term. The Directors continue to ensure that the Group is well positioned to benefit from these positive market conditions.
“The majority of our clientele come from the Northern hemisphere. Political uncertainty in those regions, if exacerbated, could result in a significant decline in tourist arrivals in Botswana in general and the Group in particular. The Group’s strong cash position provides it with the opportunity to take advantage of expansion opportunities that may arise,” shared Vincent at the time.