Serena, South African Group Compete for Top Dar Hotel

By: Apolinari Tairo
Special Correspondent

Serena Hotels, South Africa's Stocks and Resorts Hotel, and Gibraltar-based Feram Holdings are the three companies short-listed for the acquisition of a 75 per cent stake in the government-owned Kilimanjaro Hotel in Dar es salaam.

The Nairobi based Serena Group of Hotels, which submitted its bid last year after the government announced its plans to sel some of its shares in the hotel, and Stocks and Resorts Hotel are the only companies from the COMESA region to show interest in the venture, while Feram Holdings is the only firm from outside Africa to put in a bid.

If successful Stocks and Resort Hotels will be the third South African Company to acquire a stake in Tanzania's hotel industry afer Protea took over the management of five hotels which were formerly run by Bushtrekker Limited, a subsidiary of the Tanzania Finance Development Limited(TDFL). The other hotel chain is the Holiday Resort Investment, which has bought a Tsh12.4 billion ($20m) majority shareholding in the Four-Star New Africa Hotel in Dar es salaam.

Officials of the Parastatal Sector Reform Commission (PSRC) told The East African that the top bid for the hotel will be known later this month. The Commission's Senior Consultant on Hotels, Mr. L. Mlambo, said the winner will be determined after a number of interviews and negotiations.

Under its new owner, the hotel is expected to become one of the biggest tourist facilities in Tanzania. Presently the 250-room Sheraton Dar es Salaam Hotel in the city centre is the leading hotel.

The 198-room Kilimanjaro Hotel, which overlooks the Dar es Salaam harbour, was built in 1965 and managed by an Israeli firm until 1972 when it was nationalised by the government and run by the disbanded Tanzania Tourist Corporation (TTC). The hotel occupies 5.2 acres on the strategic sea front.

Since 1992 it has been under the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources, and is among more than 200 parastatal being sold either wholly or as a joint venture through the PSRC.

The successful investor will be required to rehabilitate and upgrade the hotel to international standards and will be allowed to operate either individually or in a join venture basis, says PSRC officials.

More than 400 employees of the hotel have, however, filed suit seeking a temporary injunction to stop the hotel's sale, demanding that the government, which is the owner of the hotel settle their benefits first.

They have asked that the new shareholders and the government pay them their terminal benefits before the sale is finalised.

Source: The East African
March 17-23, 1997

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