Despite years of difficulty in Nigeria, according to a [DATA SUI: Sun International] spokesperson, the hotel group will not divest from the country, this comes after Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission launched a probe into the South African hotel and entertainment group.
Four of the hospitality group’s staff members were detained in the West African country last week before being released last night.
“We have been invested in Nigeria since 2006 when we purchased 49.3 per cent of a Nigerian Stock Exchange listed company called Tourist Company of Nigeria, making us the largest single shareholder in that company,” said Michael Farr of Sun International.
Farr explains that they had invested 50 million US dollars into the operation, which consists of two hotels and a casino.
“In the period 2009 through to 2015, we were drawn into a long standing family dispute between our fellow shareholders, a Nigerian family that between them controls a 49 per cent share in the company,” said Farr explaining how tensions grew.
He says that dispute caused multiple delays from the development of the property, delayed a proposed investment by third party worth about 450 million dollars for renovations of the second hotel and a real estate development.
“And that led to some unpleasantness – we became a target of some very unfounded allegations and our response to that at the time was to say – ‘we are happy to open our books and everything else related to the transaction for anyone to examine'”, said Farr.
The spokesperson said that offer was not responded to.
“In 2012, the economic and crimes commission asked for documentation relating to the company [The Tourism Company], we gave them everything that they asked for – there were no further enquiries at the time.”
Despite the difficulties experienced with its investment into the land, Farr states they will not be divesting out the West African country.
“We certainly have found it to be quite a challenging environment to operate in and have had trading difficulties also related to some very aggressive and intimidatory action by the unions, but we believe that Nigeria does offer a very large economy, a significant economy and Africa and we also believe that Nigerian economic prospects are good so we will remain invested.”