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Travelstart completes acquisition of Club Travel Group

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Club Travel’s Managing Director and founder Wally Gaynor. Photo: Business Report Online

Travelstart has completed its acquisition of Southern Africa’s Club Travel Group for an undisclosed sum. Through the acquisition Travelstart will wholly acquire the Club Travel Group and its subsidiaries, was first announced in June 2019 and the deal was subject to the approval of South Africa’s Competition Commission. The transaction has been formally completed and approved. The deal is now in its closing stage after the Competition Commission approved it on 7 October 2019.

The acquisition will boost Travelstart’s offering by adding Club Travel’s established complementary corporate and franchise divisions to create one of Africa’s largest, full-service travel groups. Club Travel will continue as a standalone company within the Travelstart portfolio. Thebe Tourism Holdings (Thebe), the majority shareholder of the Club Travel Group since 2009, has sold its stake in the Club Travel Group to Travelstart. Thebe and Travelstart have jointly invested in Club Travel Corporate, a level one B-BBEE rated division of the Club Travel Group.

“We are thrilled to officially welcome Club Travel as the newest member of the Travelstart family. Together we will continue to concentrate on building the best place for people to plan, book and manage travel,” said Chief Executive Stephan Ekbergh.

Travelstart is strong in the consumer segment and wants to replicate this in the corporate and government travel sectors, where Club Travel is strong. The company said that the acquisition enables Travelstart to expand its business and reach new customers.

Also Read Cycles, Nigeria’s No.1 Bike-Sharing Platform Achieving The United Nations SDG Goal 11 – Damilola Soladoye

Club Travel’s Managing Director and founder Wally Gaynor said, “We are delighted to join Africa’s leading online travel agency and we know that Travelstart’s knowledge and footprint will help us ensure a sustainable future for Club Travel in an increasingly technology-dependent market”.

With the acquisition, Travelstart and Club Travel enter a co-operation which will enable the former to expand its business and reach new customers, and the latter to gain the expertise needed to deliver digital product innovation and remain competitive.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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Press Release

Aradei Capital welcomes South African shareholder PIC in its Shareholding

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PIC invests USD 50 million in Aradei Capital

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC), on behalf of its client, the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) of South Africa, has acquired a 13% stake in Aradei Capital for USD 50 million.

Aradei Capital is a real estate platform headquartered in Morocco that specializes in commercial real estate assets. It has a presence in 15 cities across Morocco. Through this investment, the PIC joins other reputable investors in Aradei Capital that include the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Label’Vie (LBV), a leading food retailer and franchisee of the Carrefour brand in Morocco, SANAM Holding and Best Financière which has interests in large and medium retail properties in Morocco.

Aradei Capital aims to be a leading platform in commercial real estate in Morocco since the country recently enacted legislation that enables real estate investment trust (REIT).

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis, the completion of this transaction is a testament to the strong fundamentals and growth prospect still forecasted in this segment.

“We are proud to welcome the GEPF to the shareholding and look forward to a long-term partnership” said Mr. Nawfal Bendefa, CEO of Aradei Capital. “This capital investment is key to funding our identified pipeline and we anticipate strong growth emerging from this global COVID-19 crisis. We expect such growth will be driven by a migration to commercial real estate with higher standards” he added.

This transaction is a mixed capital increase and a partial block-sale of shares held by the EBRD. Mrs. Marie-Alexandra Veilleux-Laborie, EBRD Director for Morocco, commented: “Our investment in Aradei Capital demonstrates our strategy in promoting innovative financings and capital market development in Morocco. The EBRD supported the company’s governance and growth, which have enabled it to attract a new foreign investment with the entry of PIC as a large international institutional investor. We look forward to remaining an active shareholder and further contributing to the development of commercial real estate in the country.”

Mr. Vuyani Hako, the PIC’s acting Chief Executive Officer believes the investment in Aradei Capital is in line with its Africa Property strategy. “We believe that partnerships are essential for us to deliver on the Africa strategy. Aradei Capital has the necessary expertise in Morocco that will enable us to deliver on our partnership approach to investing in African property markets”.

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“We are, particularly excited about future growth prospects informed by Aradei Capital’s clear and solid strategy to diversify into new asset categories and other yield generating real estate asset classes. We believe that our client, the GEPF, stands to benefit from this investment in the long run,” he added.

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Press Release

Prepare For Resurgent Property Markets In Africa

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Derrick Roper, Managing Director of Novare Real Estate

Despite current circumstances – dominated by the human and economic cost of Covid-19 – the African real estate investment cycle will return to its long-term trajectory of accelerated development, driven by economic fundamentals and demographics.

Derrick Roper, Managing Director of private equity specialist, Novare Real Estate, says that, in time, African property markets will continue to reward resilient investors with superior returns. In the short-term, the impact of Covid-19 will be felt particularly in terms of movement restrictions that result in customers preferring to order takeaways while bulk purchasing essential products.

On the plus side, Roper says African real estate has experienced less of an impact due to the coronavirus because there are fewer cases and the continent relies less on tourism and international visitors compared with the US, Europe and Asia.

“The longer-term prospects for African property, driven by market fundamentals, remain promising. The opportunity for investors is that the uncertainty as a result of Covid-19 is likely to bring to the market quality assets at very competitive prices. Novare’s existing portfolio of properties across three economies is well positioned for the up-turn.”

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Novare Real Estate has been developing commercial property in sub-Saharan Africa for over a decade, financing and building projects that meet the growing demand for a modern shopping and office experience.

Roper says that African markets still offer significant investment and development opportunity given the short supply of A-grade commercial real estate. With supportive demographics and some of the fastest growing economies in the world, these markets are inherently sustainable and capable of producing risk-appropriate long-term investment returns for investors.

Supporting his positive outlook, Roper notes the performance momentum that was building up across the group’s portfolio of properties in Zambia, Mozambique and Nigeria prior to the onset of Covid-19.

“Before government rules designed to contain the coronavirus in various African cities by curtailing the movement of people, Novare’s malls and offices had been enjoying brisk trade and visitor numbers that were well up on the previous year. Our developments are relatively new and are establishing as preferred retail hubs with ever-increasing occupancy rates of between 80% and 95%.”

For example, Novare Lekki mall in Nigeria’s most populous city, Lagos, attracted 7.3 million visitors during 2019, a 40% increase in footfall compared to 2018.

Novare Apo in the capital city of Abuja recorded 1.7 million visitors in 2019, in line with the footfall achieved in the previous year. Novare Gateway, also in Abuja increased its foot count by 33% in 2019 to 3.3 million people.

The new Novare Central development – comprising a single-level retail shopping centre with A-grade offices on the first, second and third floors – in the vibrant Wuse area of Abuja experienced visitor numbers in the fourth quarter of 2019 that were over 20% higher than in the fourth quarter of 2018.

At Novare Great North in Lusaka, Zambia total footfall for 2019 was 3.36 million compared to 2.24 million customers in 2018, a 50% increase year-on-year.Novare Pinnacle mall, also in Lusaka, opened in March 2019 with a very satisfactory 4.4 million foot count over the nine-month period to December.

In Mozambique, more than two million customers visited Novare Matola during 2019, an increase of 82% on the footfall achieved in 2018.The increase in traffic to Novare Matola improved tenant trade which, in turn, resulted in the increased recovery of rental arears and decreasing rental concessions.

Financial concessions have also played a role in Novare assisting tenants through lockdowns and other restrictive measures in response to the pandemic.

Says Roper: “We’ve had to adjust to rapidly changing circumstances, renegotiating and reducing gearing levels across the portfolio. Also working closely with successful retail tenants to support them in all aspects to ensure they trade and offer essential products and services to customers.”

In oil-producing countries like Nigeria, the collapse in the oil price has compounded economic problems caused by Covid-19.

“With the exception of gold, we expect commodity prices to remain subdued this year, contributing to poor economic growth prospects. Looking further ahead, Novare anticipates that the recovering global economy will support commodity prices and expansion in Africa. This, combined with supportive demographics, will help return Sub-Saharan African property to its growth trajectory,” says Roper.

Novare Real Estate’s developments are through its Mauritius-listed property funds – Novare Africa Property Fund I and II. Fund I was closed in June 2010 after raising $81 million, while Fund II raised $351 million and had its final close on 30 June 2016.

The group’s aim is to deliver superior long-term investment returns for clients who are mainly institutional investors, including African pension funds. To optimise the success of its projects, Novare adopts a hands-on approach, with an on-the-ground presence in the countries in which it undertakes developments.

“Our team boasts unrivalled expertise in investment management, property development and facilities management. Novare takes pride in the contribution our projects make towards infrastructure development, economic growth and sustainable employment in the communities where we operate. The intention is to expand our geographical reach to include opportunities in Uganda, Ghana and Kenya,” says Roper.

Novare Real Estate

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Launching a business without funding

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Ezinne Nwokafor- Head, Startup banking at Sterling Bank Nigeria.

Often times, while working with small businesses, it seems almost impossible to start a business without looking to investors or banks for support. In this post, I will attempt to show you ways of starting a business with your own savings.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting the RIGHT kind of funding while starting off, but you need to pay really good attention to avoid entering into a deep debt cycle.

To start off, bear in mind that I am making an assumption that you have a little savings to start-off. It is most advisable to start with your own funds. This shows your commitment to your business and how serious you take it.

So let’s get right straight into it. How do you start and launch your business without looking for funding:

  • Open a website and sell people’s goods and services.
  • Start off online business with your skill set – Some DIY, home tutoring, consulting, etc.
  • Become a freelancer. Check out my post on this – http://wix.to/UUCiBmk
  • Look for Co-working or shared spaces instead of purchasing a property or renting. This will go a long way in reducing your startup operating costs and give you the right leverage to start lean
  • Share or rent equipment. Depending on the product or service you are offering, you can consider sharing or renting equipment on a case by case until you build the capital you require.
  • Outsource certain job roles. Now if a role is not significant to the production, creation or distributing of your product or service, then outsource. There are so many freelancing professionals that you pay as they render a service. This will significantly reduce overhead cost.
  • Consider partnering with a Co-Founder when launching. This is especially true when you do not have the skill sets required to take the business to a certain level. Do not be scared of entering a partnership, just ensure all the legal checks are in place and then just dig in.

Also Read: Chynna Morgan – helping brands create memorable experiences using sound + music with GIF Out Loud

  • Apply to the numerous Grant opportunities. This is another great area to fund your startup business. There are lots of Grants available to businesses. Some are gender, sector, experience, location specific whilst others are generic. I will make a post soon on how to successfully apply for a grant.
  • Trade by barter – Yes, I know you will be sceptical about this, but this is a really good strategy. For instance, if you want to sell your product or service online, you can consider looking for an Influencer or just people with say 5,000 followers to hype your product or service in exchange for you offering it to them for free. Look out for other of such opportunities. It really pays.
  • Consider partnering with contractors to build your solution with a sign-off on percentage compensation for a period years. This is especially relevant to Tech solutions.
  • Family and Friends – Now these are our “ride or die” crew. Although I need to add that it is sometimes tough to get this set of people to believe in your idea but they provide a reliable source for financial support. Consider ways for them to assist, from sharing contents, hyping on social media pages, financial support, access to market, connections, etc.

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