HomeBusiness DigestZimsun eyes World Cup 2010

Zimsun eyes World Cup 2010

Ngoni Chanakira

ZIMSUN Leisure group chief executive officer Shingi Munyeza says his group has thrown its weight behind South Africa’s successful bid to host the 2010 World Cup.

T face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Munyeza is strategising with his team on how to take full advantage of the prestigious international event.

South Africa, Zimbabwe’s neighbour and largest trading partner, recently won the bid to host the world’s most popular football showcase, beating Morocco.

“We are going into this with all our expertise and will try to win some of the activities that will be offered at the World Cup in South Africa in 2010,” Munyeza said in an interview. “We will not wait for that year to arrive but are already beginning to polish up our desire to host some of the tourists and spectators who will be going to South Africa.”

During its bid to host the World Cup, South Africa however did not market Zimbabwe, with whom it shares the prestigious Victoria Falls tourist destination.

South Africa and Zimbabwe have been shadow boxing partners over the Victoria Falls.

Tour operators have accused the South Africans of marketing the Victoria Falls as one of their tourist destinations.

Tourists visit South Africa and then jet in and out of the Victoria Falls in a neatly packaged tour.

South Africa hardly mentioned Zimbabwe in its documentaries when it made its bid for the World Cup but spoke of “friendly neighbours surrounding us”.

Analysts said the South Africans did not want to spoil their party by talking about Zimbabwe because the neighbour is unpopular internationally for its human rights record, economic downturn as well as its alleged abuse of the press and judiciary.

The country’s leaders have been blacklisted by Western countries including the European Union, the United States, Australia and New Zealand and international credit facilities have been withdrawn, further crippling the ailing economy.

“Our image is still a problem,” Munyeza said. “We need to tackle the issues that are making us unpopular internationally. Zimsun will be spearheading the marketing of Zimbabwe and we will be sending a high-powered delegation to talk to the South Africans about joint ventures and opportunities at the 2010 World Cup.”

Pursuant to its regional expansion, Zimsun has established a wholly-owned offshore subsidiary known as African Sun Ltd, which company will acquire subsidiaries in the relevant countries of intended operations.

Munyeza said the offshore subsidiary, which was domiciled in Mauritius, would drive the group’s capital-raising process and have management responsibility over all regional initiatives.

Africa Sun Ltd was established by way of an exchange of Zimbabwe Sun Ltd’s shareholding in Baia do Paraiso Sarl.

Munyeza said accordingly, Baia do Paraiso Sarl becomes a subsidiary of Africa Sun Ltd.

He said regulatory approvals for this structure were received this month.

“We need to understand that if you want your business to grow regionally and internationally you must have a presence in South Africa,” Munyeza said. “We can talk about the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya etc, but if you are not in South Africa you are not heading very far.”

Zimsun, through its subsidiary African Sun Ltd this week told shareholders that it had acquired the lease and operating business of The Grace in Rosebank, a five-star, 75-roomed property in Johannesburg, by means of an offshore funding structure.

“This acquisition, which took effect on April 1, was clinched through our Mauritius-based subsidiary, African Sun Ltd,” Munyeza said. “The acquisition is funded via a leveraged structure negotiated with a South African financial institution on satisfactory terms to be fully serviced from earnings. This acquisition is estimated to yield an internal rate of return (IRR) of 24%. We believe that acquiring The Grace in Rosebank is of major benefit to Zimsun in that about 70% of the business of this internationally renowned hotel, The Grace in Rosebank, is from international markets.”

Munyeza said one of the major attractions that made his group to acquire the property was the foreign composition of the business at The Grace, since Zimsun Leisure group has an extensive international marketing reach.

Another hotel group, Meikles Africa Ltd, also bought property in South Africa in the name of The Cape de Grace Hotel.

“We are now able to sell Victoria Falls as a destination by packaging the Victoria Falls as a Grace Collection,” Munyeza said. “The Grace was recently voted the best business hotel in Africa and the second best in Africa and the Middle East by an American travel magazine.”

The Grace in Rosebank is leased from Hyprop Ltd, a property owning company that is listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange.

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