Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE)-listed Sunbird Tourism plc and Blantyre Hotels (BHL) plc have registered mixed fortunes in the first half (H1) of this year, with one performing well while the other struggled.
In its published financial statement for the half-year ended June 30 2023, Sunbird Tourism plc said it posted a 296 percent jump in profit after-tax to K1.6 billion from K400 million achieved during the same period last year.
During the period under review, revenue for the hotel chain, which owns city hotels and lakeshore resorts, grew to K14.8 billion, which was 47 percent higher than the previous year’s K10 billion.
The financial results show that the corporate segment was the highest contributor of Sunbird Tourism’s profit growth, with 82 percent of the rooms occupied during the period and continued to be the anchor segment for the hotel chain.
On the other hand, BHL plc published financial statement for the review period show an after- tax loss of K494 million, which is an improvement from a loss of K484 million recorded during a similar period last year.
BHL, which owns Protea by Marriot Hotel Blantyre Ryalls, attributed the loss to net finance charges of K541 million for its hotel project in Lilongwe.
BHL plc in a statement co-signed by board chairperson Emily Makuta said for the six months period, revenue grew by 58 percent to K2.2 billion.
Reads the statement in part: “Hotel occupancy averaged 51 percent in the period compared to 42 percent in the previous.”
It said a negative earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) of K6.5 million was registered against an Ebitda of K113 million in the previous year, mainly due to the Lilongwe hotel project expenses.
BHL has resolved not to pay an interim dividend due to the subdued performance.
On the other hand, Sunbird Tourism plc, in its financial statement co-singed by board chairperson Villipo Munthali and director Moureen Mbeye, said despite starting the 2023 financial year with uncertainty, it was only made worse by the impact of Cyclone Freddy, with the business trading strongly in the first half of the year, registering a healthy occupancy of 51.5 percent and 45 percent increase.
Sunbird Tourism plc has indicated that the tourism industry is expected to continue on a recovery trajectory and the development is expected to have a positive impact on their business performance.
“Several product improvement initiatives have been implemented and others are currently underway,” reads the statement in part, adding that with these new initiatives, the hotel chain is poised to register a decent performance in the second half of the year.
In view of the performance, Sunbird Tourism plc has resolved to pay an interim dividend of K524 million or K2 per share. This is a rise from the previous year’s K131 million or 50 tambala per share.
One of the minority shareholders, Lovemore Tinto, said they remain patient and hopeful that the two entities will continue to grow.
“Every shareholder looks out for a return after an investment. We are hopeful that we will get the deserved returns from the two companies,” he said.