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HCI WON’T CONSIDER BUYING TSOGO SUN STAKE

05 Jun General

After SABMiller reviewed its stake in the hotel group.

Hosken Consolidated Investments, the largest shareholder in South African hotel and casino operator Tsogo Sun Holdings, isn’t seeking to buy SABMiller Plc’s $1 billion stake in the company.

The brewer said in April that it’s considering options for its 39.6% stake in Johannesburg-based Tsogo as the investment isn’t core to the beverage operations. There’s no certainty any action will come from the strategic review, SABMiller said.

Buying the SABMiller shares would be “a very, very big decision for us and it’s certainly not something we could fund out of the current borrowing capacity of the company,” HCI Chief Executive Officer Johnny Copelyn said by phone today. “I would say it’s absolutely not a consideration our side.”

Tsogo Sun has more than 90 luxury hotels in seven African countries including Nigeria and the Seychelles. Its interests include Montecasino, Johannesburg’s Tuscany-themed hotel, theater and casino complex.

The shares, which have climbed 11 percent since SABMiller said it was reviewing its stake, were little changed at R28.26 as of 2:30 p.m. in Johannesburg.

HCI, which owns controlling stakes in a bus service, independent broadcaster e.tv, a bingo center operator, a colliery and a convention center, has a 41.5% stake in Tsogo and intends to remain the largest shareholder, Copelyn said.

The Cape Town-based investment company has been “happy in partnership with SABMiller” and would prefer the maker of Peroni, Grolsch and Castle Lite keeps its Tsogo holding, he said.

An acceptable alternative would be that SABMiller sells the shares on the market and HCI doesn’t expect a single partner to replace SABMiller, Copelyn said.

Source: Moneyweb – Bloomberg News