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Meikles’ hotel occupancy down

Meikles Africa Ltd chairman Farai Rwodzi says the cholera scare, coupled with the slow pace of economic recovery, adversely affected hotel occupancy at its hotels, which dropped to 34% from 41% last year.

However, the group managed to post a $1,6 million operating profit.
In a statement attached to the group’s financial results to December 2009, Rwodzi said: “Occupancy at Zimbabwe hotels was adversely affected by the cholera scare, slow pace in economic recovery and the world recession affecting source markets.”
More than 4 000 people died due to cholera outbreaks countrywide.
Meikles hotel’s occupancy for the year was 27%, 16% below the previous year. In 2008, the hotel benefited from both the March and June elections, Rwodzi said. At Victoria Falls Hotel, Zimbabwe’s premier tourist resort occupancy for the year of 23% was 40% below the previous year.
This is attributed to the effects of the world recession on the USA and European economies, the major tourism source markets, he said.
Rwodzi says it could take a while to de-merge Kingdom Meikles Ltd as certain conditions are still to be fulfilled.
“As shareholders are aware, on 22 June 2009 shareholders resolved to demerge KFHL from the group and this demerger was subject to certain conditions precedent. KFHL have not fulfilled these conditions precedent and discussions are in progress to resolve this. Shareholders will be apprised on progress,’’ he said.
According to the group’s results, KFHL recorded an operating loss of $3,8 million. “Customer deposits were $34,8 million at the end of the year,’’ the chairman said. He said dealing profits, mainly driven by foreign currency trading, contributed 20% of total income.
Non-interest income contributed 60% of total income.
Commenting on the retail side, Rwodzi said a loss of US$7,1 million was recorded and retrenchments are being considered.
“Regrettably, the segment has been obliged to effect staff retrenchments through voluntary and non-renewal of contract worker’s contacts in 2009,” he said.
In April it was reported that TM Hyper, one of Zimbabwe’s leading supermarket chains was planning to retrench close to 1 000 workers across the country and merge some branches and departments.
An internal memo written by TM managing director Bisset Chimhini and circulated to management on April 10 showed that the company plans to trim its 2 774-strong staff to a manageable 1 720, a move which will affect all branches.
“After going through the staff levels that were presented to me by the human sources manager, I have recommended reductions in all branches. All general managers are to justify case by case if they cannot operate with such reductions,’’ the memo reads in part.
Chitungwiza, Nkulumane Complex in Bulawayo and Highlands branch in Harare were due to be closed at the end of April.
Branches in Victoria Falls, Hwange and Kariba would be earmarked for departmental mergers.


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