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Lapham kicked out of Dawn board

VERNON Lapham was kicked out of the Dawn Properties board of directors on Wednesday after shareholders sought to ensure its independence.

 Report by Staff Writer
Lapham was the only director who was booted out after 57,81% of the shareholders voted against him with only 39,23% supporting him and 2,95% abstaining. Lapham also sits on the African Sun board.

 
Shareholders told businessdigest he could not be both landlord and tenant.

 
The other directors, George Manyere, Tendai Chimuriwo, Phibeon Gwatidzo and Themba Ndebele were re-elected.

 
Manyere and Lapham were the additional directors African Sun forwarded to the board after it shored up its shareholding in the counter in June.

 
In his trading update, CEO Mike Manyika said the group’s focus would be on unlocking value out of the hotel portfolio as revenues had remained static mainly because of accessibility issues which resulted in cancellation of bookings, limited availability at Crowne Plaza which is currently being refurbished and reduced conferencing business due to liquidity challenges.

 
An agreement was reached with African Sun over the properties and options are available, namely, disposal of assets, leasing of certain assets to new tenants and a merger, he said, or a combination of the options.

 
Dawn Properties approached the High Court seeking cancellation of eight property leases citing breaches in the contracts ranging from late rental payments, lack of maintenance and diminishing commercial standing of the buildings due to low business.

 
The properties are Hwange Safari Lodge in Hwange, Holiday Inn Mutare, Carribea Bay Sun in Kariba, Elephant Hills Hotel in Victoria Falls, Crowne Plaza Monomotapa Hotel in Harare, Express Holiday Inn in Beitbridge and Troutbeck Inn in Nyanga.

 
However Manyika added that the options are not mutually exclusive as they are in line with the 2011 strategy announced by the chairman.

 
Dawn Properties revenue in the five months to August was 10% ahead of last year while expenses are 10% below.

 
Manyika said this performance should translate to a positive outturn especially after the group stopped the agro-business which was bleeding the group.

 
“This should translate to positive cash flows,” he said.

 
He said the second half of the year looked more promising as there are now better yields at Crowne Plaza which should translate to stronger cash flow generation.

 
Disposal of CB-Richard Ellis was at an advanced stage but progress has been slower than expected because the transaction involved a foreign investor and there were additional compliance issues that needed addressing.

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