By Malcolm Meja
In a statement released on Friday, Meikles group chairman John Moxon said, the group does not consider that it is in a position to commit to the required US$30 million to modernise its prime Harare hotel.
Meikles limited is in the process of selling its hotel to a Dubai based company, Albwardy Investment. Dubai billionaire, Ali Albwardy who also owns 3 hotels in Tanzania, owns Albwardy Investment.
Group chairman, John Moxon said, initial forecasts suggests up to US$30 million needs to be spent on the hotel, and the group was not in a position to commit funds for the upgrade.
Processes to dispose of the hotel are in progress, hence the hotel reflected as an asset held for sale in the financial statement released for the year ended 31 March.
“Meikles Hotel now requires substantial modernisation of guest facilities as well as electro-mechanical plumbing infrastructure to restore it to a five-star property by international standards,” said Moxon
“Processes to dispose of the hotel are in progress, hence the financial statements reflect the hotel as an asset held for sale,” he added.
The Competition and Tariff Commission recently approved sale of the five-star Meikles Hotel to Albwardy Investments.
Albwardy Investments’ interest in the conglomerate’s five star hotel was communicated prior, back in 2017 in a cautionary statement released by the hotel.
“The offer now under consideration has been made to all shareholders by Albwardy Investment, an entity based in Dubai. The proposed transaction can, however, not be formalised until the audited financials for the year ended March 31, 2017 are made public” read the statement
“The company is expediting this process and it is anticipated that the 2017 financials will be made available during the first half of May 2017,” said company secretary, Thabani Mpofu.
However, Meikles stating Albwardy withdrew its interest in acquiring a majority stake in the Company released a subsequent cautionary statement to its shareholders.
“Albwardy has informed Meikles that it is withdrawing its interest in acquiring a majority stake in the Company,” said Mpofu.
Disposal of Meikles Hotel will leave the group with two hotel subsidiaries, the Victoria Falls and Cape Grace in South Africa.
Moxon said funding had been secured for an upgrade of the Victoria Falls hotel, which would start in the last quarter of the year, after the peak season.
Meikles’ hotel division was the third largest contributor to group earnings in the period, with the biggest contributions coming from the supermarket, followed by the agriculture division.
The group owns retail stores TM, Meikles Stores and Pick ‘n Pay as well as tea producer, Tanganda Tea Company.