April 7 2010: Wilderness Safaris, the titanic tour services company gearing to list on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE), Thursday hailed the success of its initial public offering that went over board by six percent as foreign investors took a lot of interest in it.
The company, which is planning a dual-listing on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE) on secondary listing basis, was aiming to raise P124 million to put it in a comfortable position to increase its bed numbers.
“The directors of Wilderness are pleased to announce that at the close of the Initial Public Offer (“IPO”) on Friday 26 March 2010, 570 applications totaling 3 179 638 ordinary shares for the 3 000 000 ordinary shares on offer in terms of the IPO had been received, representing a 6 percent over-subscription,” a statement issued by the company chairman, Malcom McCulloch, said.
“Accordingly the directors of Wilderness are pleased to advise that all applicants were allotted their first 40 000 ordinary shares applied for in full. Those applying for more than 40 000 ordinary shares received 74 percent of the balance,” the statement added.
Wilderness Safaris is aiming to raise P 124 million through listing on BSE on Thursday, which will provide investors with an arbitrage on the more liquid Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE) where it will have a secondary listing.
The listing of Wilderness safaris will bring the number of tourism related companies on the main board to twoÔÇöafter Chobe Holdings.
“The P 124 million is part of the restructuring of the business and will enable its Botswana operation to buy into South African operation and list on BSE,” Chief Executive Officer of Wilderness Safaris, Andrew Payne, has said.
The cashÔÇôrich operation is also working on plans to increase its bed per night, as such, it is looking at the low end market to broaden its product offering under its business model.
“The idea of listing is to improve efficiency and broaden participation (of shareholders),” Payne said.
Wilderness Safaris operates 70 destinations in seven countries with a business model that was grown in Botswana before being copied into other countries. In Botswana, the company has operations in Chobe, Linyanti area and Okavango Delta and presently it is giving the Central Kalahari Game Reserve a lot of attention, following the opening of Kalahari Plains operations.
“There are huge opportunities that we see in Kalahari but the thing is you cannot push them all at once,” he said.
The company’s plans fall in line with the government’s plans of increasing the tourism sector’s contribution to the GDP which currently stands at nine percent.
“We recognise that achieving this aim will require greater access to capital markets, a broader shareholder base and a simplified corporate structure. We also believe that our unique positioning, iconic international brand and management’s long track record of financial and operational delivery present investors with an attractive growth and performance platform,” he said.
Wilderness Safaris’ core philosophy is one of building sustainable conservation economies through responsible tourism, which shares the benefits of tourism with local communities and ensures that pristine wilderness areas are protected profitably.
The 26-year-old business is invested in 53 destinations and manages and markets a further 17 in seven Southern African countries. It also operates specialist travel businesses in six countries as well as a fleet of 49 aircraft. It employs more than 2 700 people, most of whom come from remote rural communities.
Its other operations are in Namibia, Malawi, and SeychellesÔÇöwhere it owns an island, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The company achieved a revenue of BWP995.05 million (ZAR1 220.45 million) for the year to February 2009.
The public offer for 3 million ordinary shares is at a price of P4.00 in Botswana and R4.56 in South Africa and is fully underwritten. Prior to the public offer the company placed 56 343 256 ordinary shares by way of a private placement, also at a price of P4.00 per share.