New Vision (Kampala)
January 15, 2004
John Eremu

Contractors Await Nile Hotel Tenders

Prequalified firms are expecting substantial contracts after Serena Tourism Promotion Services of the Aga Khan signs the $19m concession for the Nile Hotel complex today.

The hotel has not had a major refurbishment in well over a decade. Sources say plans are to upgrade its facilities, which will also involve considerable refitting and re-modelling. This will raise the hotel's standards synonymous with the much respected Serena name.

Meanwhile early last month The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private lending arm of the World Bank Group, signed agreement to invest $5m in the Industrial Promotion Services (AKFED) where the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development is the majority shareholder in the holding company.

The Aga Khan, who owns a string of businesses in East Africa and elsewhere was the sole bidder for the Nile Hotel complex.

The IFC investment is part of an increase in the share capital of IPS which will permit it to undertake a number of new investments in East Africa, the World Bank said in a statement. This includes upgrading Nile.

IPS is presently owned 51% by the AKFED and 15 percent by IFC. Under the capital increase, the German Development Company, DEG, will also acquire a 14.5% stake, the statement said.

"The expansion of IPS will enable it to play an important role in providing equity capital and strategic direction to companies in East Africa. IFC values the contribution that IPS has made to development in the region and looks forward to a fruitful relationship," said Ms. Haydee Celaya, IFC's director for Sub-Saharan Africa.

"We are very pleased the shareholders have arranged this expansion, which will enable us to maintain our plans for growth," said Lutaf Kassam, IPS managing director said.

AKFED executive Anwar Poonawala said AKFED values the support of IFC in laying this foundation for IPS to increase its investments.