MHG joins hands with Sun

Rajakarier … expect further expansion in Africa and Asia

THAILAND-headquartered Minor Hotel Group (MHG), operator of over 100 hotels, resorts and serviced suites across Asia Pacific, the Middle East, the Indian Ocean and Africa, has announced the formation of a new strategic partnership with Sun International to own and operate a collection of eight properties in five African countries.

MHG has invested a total of R679.5 million ($63.9 million) to own a 50 per cent stake in two properties in Zambia and between 37.5 per cent to 80 per cent stakes in six further properties – one each in Botswana and Namibia, along with two properties in Lesotho and Swaziland. The majority of the properties will be reflagged to MHG’s upscale Avani brand and takes the total number of MHG properties in operation to 118 in 19 countries.

Leveraging both companies’ core strengths, MHG will assume the hotel management, marketing and distribution of the properties under its Avani and Anantara brands, while Sun International will continue to manage the on-property casino operations.

The properties are: the 173-key Royal Livingstone Hotel and the 212-key Zambezi Sun in Zambia; the 196-key Gaborone Sun in Botswana; the 158-key Lesotho Sun and 105-key Maseru Sun in Lesotho; the 149-key Royal Swazi and the 202-key Ezulwini Sun in Swaziland, and the 173-key Kalahari Sands in Namibia.

Seven of the eight properties will be rebranded to Avani, MHG’s vibrant upscale brand for guests who appreciate genuine hospitality and the details that matter. There are currently five Avani properties in operation in three countries, with a further three to be added before the end of the year, in addition to these seven African properties. The well-known Royal Livingstone Hotel will not be rebranded and will be marketed through Anantara’s distribution channels.

The new partnership will allow MHG to invest in the properties, committing to new capital expenditure to realise their revenue potential. In addition, MHG will bring its operational expertise and distribution capability to capture the growth potential of these properties. This also fits with MHG’s ongoing strategy to expand its footprint globally and increase the group’s presence in Africa, where it has existing partnerships for the ownership of Elewana Collection, eight luxury safari lodges and resorts in Kenya and Tanzania, and for five hotels in Mozambique.

Dillip Rajakarier, chief executive officer of Minor Hotel Group, adds: “Minor Hotel Group is strategically expanding its hospitality business into many regions and Africa is a key focus where we have seen substantial growth potential. We are excited to be partnering with Sun International with their vast experience on the continent and this latest acquisition significantly strengthens MHG’s position in Africa. Starting with these existing African properties, it is the intention of this new partnership to explore together other hotel and gaming opportunities that may arise in Africa and Asia, where MHG would manage the hotel component and Sun International would manage the casino component.”