By Adedapo Adesanya
The management of Capital Hotels Plc, owners of Sheraton Abuja Hotel, has assured shareholders of the hospitality company that efforts would be made to create better value for them by ensuring a better market presence for the business despite the huge challenging operational environment.
Chairman of the interim board, Mr Anthony Idigbe, gave this assurance on Monday at the company’s ‘Facts Behind the Figure’ held at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in Lagos. The team was also honoured yesterday by the NSE with the closing gong ceremony.
Addressing investment analysts at the event on Monday, including Business Post, Mr Idigbe said out of the 575 guest rooms the firm’s flagship hotel, Sheraton Abuja Hotel, has, 266 are presently undergoing renovation, but 97 rooms should be completed in the first quarter of 2020. He said these will include state-of-the-art club rooms and suites.
He express optimism that when these 97 rooms are released for customers’ use early next year, they should improve the “market share [of the company], enhance revenue [and] boost [its] presence.”
According to Mr Idigbe, “As you all know, Capital Hotels has been undergoing some transformation, we are happy we have a cohesive board for corporate governance and we have adopted many policies so as to be able to focus the components on the business.
“The result is that in the last two years, we have been able to declare profits and we hope to continue in that fashion. We have ambition to be the largest provider of leisure and business spaces in Nigeria.
“We are working very hard on refurbishing our rooms, banqueting and conferencing facilities. Also, we have returned our marketing plans and strategy and we hope to continue sustaining the current performance and even exceeding it.”
An Executive Director of Capital Hotels, Mr Robert Itawa, during his presentation, explained that the renovation was part of efforts to turnaround fortunes of the company, following decisions by the new management to commence an upgrade of some facilities in the hotel.
He assured investors that the company will improve its service delivery so as to result into more return of investment for shareholders of the hospitality firm, which was readmitted on the stock exchange in 2008.
However, Mr Itawa pointed out some factors having negative impact of the company’s numbers, which include a high operating cost. He explained that the organisation had to book the cost of implication of legacy staff schemes following an agreement with the unions. He added that the cost is expected to spread over a three-year period.
“For the past three years, this legacy cost alone is about N300 million. We have paid N110 million this year and from 2010 till date, cost associated with legacy system alone is N2.8 billion.
”That is why we have entered into negotiations with the union because we felt if we do not do something, the hotel will die and people will not get their money.
“In the next one year, we would have completed the payment of whatever that is outstanding. We have been paying massively every year since that period without fail and that is why we are experiencing industrial harmony,” Mr Itawa informed analysts present at the meeting.
Mentioning other challenges facing Capital Hotels, Mr Itawa said they include kidnapping, insurgency, institutional failure, poor transport system, power outage, public water shortage, integrity shortage amongst others.
Giving an outlook for the company in the future, he said that the firm may consider enhancing its topline by 60 percent mainly from the newly renovated 97 rooms.
While fielding questions from participants yesterday on the tenure of the present interim team, Chairman of the board, Mr Anthony Idigbe, assured that the board would ensure to complete its mandate within the time frame and not stay longer than necessary.
In his words, “I want to assure you that some of us will like to exit as quickly as possible and as soon as necessary. We continue to see it as a national service to perform this role.
“We are very proud of the work we have done so far, but be assured that we will not stay a minute longer than necessary.”
“We are happy that by the first quarter of next year, substantial progress would have been made in the decision process. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is going to ensure that rights of fair hearing are not breached. The process is very important. We are trying to get a solution that would be sustainable,” Mr Idigbe added.
SEC had on May 4, 2017, dissolved the former board of directors and appointed an interim board led by Mr Anthony Idigbe. The action was taken to protect investors of the company as well as integrity of the capital market and to restore the lost fortunes of the company in the shortest time possible.
The new interim board was mandated to oversee the conduct of a forensic investigation into the affairs of the company, considering the allegations of unauthorised sale of shares and diversion of proceeds from the sale of shares, amongst others.
Bill Gates Becomes Highest Shareholder of Four Seasons Hotel
By Adedapo Adesanya
The fourth richest man in the world, Mr Bill Gates, will take control of the Four Seasons Hotel chain after his investment firm agreed to acquire a stake from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Co, in a bet that luxury travel will rebound from a pandemic-induced slump.
Mr Gates’s Cascade Investment LLC will pay $2.2 billion in cash to boost its stake in Four Seasons Holdings to 71.25 per cent from 47.5 per cent, according to a statement last week.
Kingdom Holding, which will retain 23.75 per cent of the hotel chain, plans to use proceeds from the transaction for investments and to repay debt.
Four Seasons founder and chairman, Mr Isadore Sharp, through Triples Holdings Limited, will retain his 5 per cent stake.
Mr Sharp founded Four Seasons in 1960 and set the company on its path toward global expansion. Four Seasons now manages 121 hotels and resorts, and 46 residential properties in 47 countries complemented by a strong pipeline of more than 50 projects at various stages of development.
Four Seasons shareholders took the company private in 2007, when it managed 74 hotels, with Mr Gates and Mr Alwaleed leading the deal. The new owners expanded the company’s footprint to more markets in a bid to capitalise on what was then a booming market for luxury travel.
It has also expanded efforts to attach its brand to luxury homes, as real estate developers realised that affluent buyers would pay more to live in a condominium or residential community associated with the hotel brand.
The sale is expected to close in January 2022, pending regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.
Speaking, Four Seasons CEO, Mr John Davison, stated that, “As we mark our 60th anniversary and look back on the profound impact that Four Seasons has had on luxury hospitality we also look forward with tremendous excitement and confidence in the future of the industry.
“The unwavering support and partnership of our shareholders has and continues to be critical as we capitalise on growing opportunities to serve luxury consumers worldwide.
“Our company is at yet another key moment in its storied history and the confidence of our shareholders in Four Seasons and our strategic vision help position the iconic Four Seasons brand for continued success.”
Real Reason We Rebranded Plentywaka to Treepz—CEO
By Ashemriogwa Emmanuel
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Treepz Incorporated, formerly known as Plentywaka, Mr Onyeka Akumah, has said that the rebranding of the Toronto-headquartered shared mobility startup presented an opportunity to align with its Pan-African expansion plan.
He revealed that the company had been looking for a globally acceptable name for the last six months to use in creating the right kind of positive emotions around bus trips on the African continent.
According to him, the decision to change the name of the 2-year-old ride-hailing company was after a thorough deliberation from its stakeholders, partners, and staff members.
“This name change is a result of in-depth discussions with our stakeholders, partners, and staff. After we discovered that the term WAKA can mean different things across Africa, which may be completely different from travel or movement, we decided to change the name from Plentywaka to Treepz which is pronounced as Trips.
“The new name boldly states our mission to provide safe, convenient, and comfortable trips across Africa with plans for our expansion to 6 countries in 2 years on the continent,” Mr Akumah explained.
Adding that the new change better represents the vision of the company which is to establish the largest shared mobility platform across the continent, he said the name Treepz resonates with the experience on road, travelling across cities, within cities, and it gives a cool vibe.
In addition to its new company name, Treepz also released a new company logo which has the inscription of “Treepz” but retained its existing mission statement and “black & yellow” brand colours.
Also, the new brand identity reformation will retain the core service offerings but will be identified with new names which are; Daily Treepz, Travel Treepz, and Corporate Treepz.
According to Mr Akumah, already existing users won’t have to take any action as the new app will be automatically updated to the new Treepz experience in Africa.
Chevron, Gevo Eye Sustainable Aviation Fuel Investment
By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel
Chevron USA Incorporated, an energy company under the umbrella of the second-largest oil company in America, Chevron Corporation, together with Biofuel company, Gevo, have today announced intent to pursue sustainable aviation fuel investment.
In a press release obtained by Business Post from the official website of Chevron, it was gathered that both companies want to jointly invest in building and operating one or more new facilities that would process inedible corn to produce sustainable aviation fuel.
Hence, this can lower the lifecycle carbon intensity of fuels used in the aviation industry as the new facilities would also produce proteins and corn oil.
The proposed collaboration will see that Gevo operates its proprietary technology to produce sustainable aviation fuel and renewable blending components for motor gasoline to lower its lifecycle carbon intensity.
Chevron, while co-investing with Gevo in one or more projects, would have the right to offtake about 150 million gallons per year to market to customers.
In his comment on the proposed investment, the Executive Vice President of Downstream & Chemicals for Chevron, Mr Mark Nelson, stated that, “Chevron is providing our customers with next-generation renewable fuels that can help them lower their overall carbon footprint.
“This potential investment leverages Gevo’s innovative approach to producing sustainable aviation fuel, complementing other renewable fuels investments we are making as part of our higher returns, lower carbon strategy.”
Highlighting Gevo’s excitement on Chevron’s willingness to co-invest in the project, its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Patrick Gruber, was quoted as saying that, “Chevron’s advantaged market position would allow it to offtake production from this venture, helping to place sustainable aviation fuel with airline customers.”
The proposed investment is subject to the negotiation of definitive agreements with customary closing conditions.
This also includes regulatory approval, as updates regarding the letter of intent can be found in the Current Report on Form 8-K which was filed by Gevo with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on September 9, 2021.
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