Staff Writer

HARARE – African Sun reported a 23% decline in occupancies in six months ended 30 June 2020 weighed down by Covid-19 pandemic.

The first quarter performance was positive and recorded a 2% increase in occupancy from 38% to 40% compared to the same period last year.

Chairman Alex Makamure said the most significant impact of Covid-19 on volumes was in April and May when the group recorded unprecedented low occupancies of 0% and 2% respectively. African Sun’s Q2 occupancy closed at 5%.

“The Government of Zimbabwe instituted a number of socio-economic restrictions, effectively locking down the nation in an attempt to manage the spread of the virus. Our hotels were closed during April and May with limited services restored at the end of May,” he said.

Inflation adjusted revenue was down 48% at ZWL461.85 million split as 63% and 37% between domestic and foreign currency respectively.

Room nights sold dropped by 52% to 63 116 from 132 525 reported last year.

“The decline in room nights was across all market segments, with export and domestic reducing by 62% and 49% respectively mainly due to the Covid-19 lockdowns and the related reduction in travel and tourism, resulting in the complete or partial suspension of hotel operations,” Makamure said.

The decline in revenue and volumes resulted in the group posting inflation adjusted EBITDA loss of ZWL53.61 million.

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African Sun suspended its refurbishment program in order to preserve cash and increase financial flexibility. This resulted in the group having total cash and equivalents of ZWL466.57 million as at 30 June 2020 compared to ZWL519.93 million as at 31 December 2019.

“As we look at the remainder of the year, we are confident that we have enough liquidity to continue to navigate the current environment and prepare for recovery.”

The group is likely to embark on phase 4 of the opening program, focusing on the remainder of the Victoria Falls properties in Q4 2020.

Due to the significant loss position, the group did not declare a dividend.

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