17 May 2018

Malawi: Press Corporation Buys Stake in Malawi Sunbird Tourism

Dual-listed conglomerate Press Corporation plc has confirmed that it has acquired a 10% stake in Sunbird Tourism plc, extending its investment interests into the tourism sector.

PCL Group Chief Executive Officer George Partridge confirmed of the acquisition of the stake in an interview yesterday.

"Yes it is true that we have acquired a 10% shareholding in Sunbird Tourism plc. We have been talking about expanding our investment base to include tourism for some time and we thought this was a good starting point," said Partridge.

PCL plc is listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE) and on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) as a global depository receipt and as the largest holding company in the country has interests in different sectors of the Malawi economy namely financial services, telecommunications, food and beverages, energy and consumer goods.

The highly diversified company has stakes in fourteen companies comprising of eight subsidiaries, four joint ventures and two associates.

Partridge said the PCL plc strategy, apart from emphasizing on growth and sustainability of the companies in which it holds stakes, also embraces new sectors earmarked for future investments like tourism and energy.

"So the Sunbird Tourism deal gives us a good entry point into the tourism sector and we hope that this investment will grow in future and will benefit our shareholders," said Partridge.

PCL now becomes the second largest single shareholder in Sunbird the largest being government which owns 71% and indicated on record that it may want to dilute its shares in the company in line with the philosophy that government responsibilities should be providing a conducive environment for businesses to thrive other than running businesses which the private sector can ably run.

Meanwhile, Partridge also announced that PCL has acquired the Top Mandala Building and Office Complex from IndeTrust Holdings Limited.

He said this stake also includes other property in the form of vacant pieces of land and buildings which should boost the Group's portfolio.

"We have acquired the Top Mandala building and we will let one of our subsidiary companies, Press Properties Limited manage it on our behalf. This is one way of trying to resuscitate the subsidiary which has been going through difficult times recently," said Partridge.

He also said PCL is conducting reviews and formulating turn-around strategies of some of its subsidiaries which are not doing well to bring them back to life.

Among some of the companies affiliated to PCL plc include NBM, TNM, Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL), Puma Energy Malawi Limited, Ethanol Company Limited (EthCO), PressCane Limited, Peoples Trading Centre (PTC), Macsteel, The Foods Company Limited, Press Properties Limited (PPL), Limbe Leaf Tobacco Company Limited and Castel Malawi Breweries Limited (Formerly Carlsberg Malawi Limited).

PCL plc announced a K39.6 billion profit for the year ended 31st December 2017, a jump from K15.31 billion realized in the previous year.

Partridge said the PCL Group will continue to explore viable investment opportunities in various sectors of the economy in order to strengthen its portfolio of investments and enhance shareholder value.

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