DUBAI-BASED hospitality conglomerate, Albwardy Investments has taken over full control of Meikles Hotel in Harare with effect from next month following the disposal of the property for US$20 million.
The transaction means that Albwardy will now be running the hotel through the investor’s Zimbabwean investment vehicle, ASB Hospitality.
In a notice to shareholders, Meikles Limited company secretary Mr Thabani Mpofu said the disposal of the hotel was completed after the buyer met regulatory approvals, sales and purchase agreements.
“The directors wish to advise shareholders that the requisite terms for regularising the control of Meikles Hotel to the buyer per the sale and purchase agreements have been met.
“The buyer will take effective control of Meikles Hotel on 1 March 2020,” said Mr Mpofu.
The decision to dispose of the hotel emanated from Meikles Hospitality’s self-proclaimed incapacity to mobilise the US$30 million it inevitably needed for the substantial modernisation of guest facilities as well as electro-mechanical and plumbing to restore the hotel to international standards.
In November last year, Meikles Limited issued a circular to shareholders highlighting the importance of putting the hotel in the hands of skilled international hotel operators with capacity to undertake the requisite refurbishments.
And for the disposal to sail through, prior regulatory and shareholder approvals had to be attained which include a greenlight from the Competition and Tariff Commission (CTC), the Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe (Seczim, which regulates the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange) and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Exchange Control Authorities.
It is believed that the acquisition of Meikles Hotel by an internationally recognised hospitality group, Albwardy Investments will help expand Zimbabwe’s reach in terms of tourism and hospitality markets and in the process propel exponential growth of the sector.
The disposal is in fact a sign that the Zimbabwean hospitality industry has opened doors for foreign direct investment in line with “the Zimbabwe is open for business” policy of the Second Republic.
Given the deficit of new modern hotels in the country, players in the tourism industry have lauded the disposal of Meikles Hotel saying the decision was a step in the right direction as it is a sign of progression in the hospitality space.