Multi-million-dollar hotel set for Vic Falls

Intellego Investment Consultancy head for corporate advisory services Owen Namusi

A NEW hospitality real estate investment trust (REIT) is scheduled to be listed on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX) after Zesa Pension Fund and Cresta Hotels partnered to build a 4-star hotel in Victoria Falls, businessdigest can report.

The project, which is expected to cost US$49 million in total, will be developed under the Mosi-oa-Tunya Real Estate Investment Trust (Mosi REIT), with 24 million units available for private placement at a price of US$1.

The hotel, which will have 180 rooms, conference facilities and other entertainment activities, will be operated by Cresta Hotels on a lease basis.

The project was unveiled on the side-lines of the Zimbabwe Association of Pension Funds 49th annual conference in Victoria Falls last week.

The project's financial advisor, Intellego Investment Consultancy head for corporate advisory services, Owen Namusi said the units will be listed on the VFEX with the sponsor putting in about US$7 million.

"We are offering 24 million units at a unit price of US$1 in this particular price-based exercise. We are targeting to reach US$24 million. We are open to receiving investment subscriptions in ZiG (Zimbabwe Gold)," he said.

"This is, after all, a hospitality tourism-themed real estate investment trust, unlike, other REITs that you may know that may focus on commercial real estate, some that may focus on a mixture of industrial and office space. This REIT's primary target is to really establish a portfolio of hospitality-focused assets.

“So, we are looking at hotels. We are looking at related sort of infrastructure, so you can also potentially have something like a theme park that is set up in a tourist destination, which can also then be part of this REIT going  forward.”

According to Namusi, they intend to expand their portfolio of hospitality assets under the Mosi REIT's umbrella in the future.

The owners of Mosi REIT anticipate receiving rental income as soon as the assets are operationalised.

Under the terms of the REIT model, sponsors and investors will pool their resources to purchase the facility's assets, and Cresta will run it to generate income.

Namusi stated that they expected to have at least seven case players over the next five to 10 years, and they looked forward to having multiple assets come on board on a regular basis.

"We are in the second quarter of 2024. Private placement is opening for commitments and subscription flows. So, probably in the next month or so we will commence actual construction activities on this particular site,” he noted.

“Then we do expect the private placement window to close by the fourth quarter of 2024, and by then, we expect investors who are interested to make their commitments. I think from a logistical point of view, we can do this."

The project is expected to be completed in 2027.

It will draw income from the tourism sector, greatly boosting the investment return and preserve the retirement benefits for members and pensioners.

Cresta Hotels is one of Southern Africa’s leading hotel management groups, operating businesses and resort hotels in Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa.

Celebrated leisure hotels in the Group are the Mowana Safari Resort & Spa and Cresta Sprayview in Victoria Falls.

Cresta Marakanelo is the operating company for the 11 Cresta Hotels in Botswana.

Cresta started hotel operations in 1958, when it began running the Jameson Hotel in Harare. Cresta Holdings is a hotel management company registered in Botswana.

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