Wilderness hands parting P39m gift to investors

Mombo is among Wilderness' flagship camps
Mombo is among Wilderness' flagship camps

Wilderness Holdings Limited has allocated P39 million for its 2018 full year dividends, as it finalises its exit from the Botswana Stock Exchange and goes into private hands.

After nine years on the exchange, the tourism giant is due to delist later this month after the majority of shareholders approved a takeover bid led by CEO, Keith Vincent and backed by fund managers.  Wilderness, which is active in markets as far as Rwanda, is widely perceived to control the high end of the Okavango Delta’s luxury hospitality market.

According to its recent financials for the year ended February 28, 2019, Wilderness’ shareholders will receive a parting gift of 16.5 thebe per share, before the company goes private.

“The dividend will be payable after delisting on Tuesday, July 31, to shareholders registered at the close of business on Tuesday July 16, 2019,” directors stated.

“The dividend has been declared out of income reserves.” Investors listed on Wilderness’ secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange will similarly receive their dues.

The group’s pretax profits for the year were up 41% at P162.5 million, with the performance anchored on the return of the key Mombo camp in the Delta and the continued growth in Rwanda and Kenya. 

In the recent financials, directors noted the “overwhelming vote to delist from the Botswana and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges”, after the decision was put before shareholders recently.

Ahead of the vote, analysts had said the poll was a fait accompli, as Vincent and his partners had already secured irrevocable commitments of support from other major shareholders.

Departing shareholders will receive P6.25 per share as part of the approved offer.  By close of trade on Tuesday, Wilderness was trading at P6.25, having opened the year at P6.56 before levelling down to the offer price.

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