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Futuregrowth acquires stake in Thebe Tourism

Anna Lyudvig
Jan. 27, 2021, 9:15 p.m.

Word count: 549

Futuregrowth Development Equity Fund has acquired a significant stake in Thebe Tourism Group, alongside its senior management.

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Futuregrowth Development Equity Fund has acquired a significant stake in Thebe Tourism Group, alongside its senior management.

The deal was concluded in December 2020.

Although the sector has been one of the hardest hit during COVID-19, the iconic properties owned by Thebe Tourism position it well for the industry’s inevitable recovery from the challenges it has faced.

Thebe Tourism was founded in 2001 and the senior management team, Jerry Mabena and Brett Hendricks, have steadily built an A-list portfolio of uniquely South African tourism venues.

Amrish Narrandes, Head of Unlisted Equity Transactions at Futuregrowth, said: “We believe strongly that the tourism industry will return to its former glory post-COVID and, given the quality of the assets of the group, feel Thebe Tourism is well-positioned to capitalise on the eventual resurgence of the sector.”

With a total GDP contribution of around 9% and over 1.5 million jobs supported, the tourism sector will continue to be an instrumental contributor to the South African economy.

Kearon Gordon, Investment Analyst at Futuregrowth, added: “The diversity of the Thebe Tourism portfolio of assets means it appeals to both local and international tourists, while giving both groups access to the best experiences South Africa has to offer.”

Thebe Tourism has been at the forefront of the transformation and empowerment of the tourism sector.

The Group has positioned itself as a tourism business that understands South African and African heritage, with an unmatched ability to package aspects of this heritage into tangible tourism products for distribution to the domestic and international tourism markets.

Thebe Tourism owns the concession to the iconic Cape Point, a Cape Town tourist destination near the top of the list of must-see destinations for locals and international travellers alike.

The Group also owns the newly launched innovative Kruger Shalati “train on a bridge” Hotel overlooking the Sabie River in the Kruger National Park.

Thebe Tourism will also soon be launching Sanctuary Mandela, a boutique hotel that gives visitors the opportunity to stay in Nelson Mandela’s Houghton home.

Thebe Tourism has also invested in Chiefs Tented Camps, a luxury tented camp operator, which recently secured a concession to operate two new camps in the Kruger National Park and one in the Knysna Forest on the Garden Route.

The company’s goal is to drive black economic empowerment, in order to redress the economic imbalances in South African society.

“This purchase is more than just an acquisition. Investing in the tourism business gives hope to not only those who work for us across all these products, but also to others in the industry who fear that this sector has no more room for growth,” said Jerry Mabena, who now serves as CEO.

“I firmly believe that, together with our partners, we will lead all the brands within our company on to new heights and show that tourism in Africa will not only survive these current times, but also thrive once the pandemic has passed.”

Futuregrowth is committed to improving the lives of all South Africans by striving to identify opportunities that yield optimal financial returns for its clients and make tangible contributions to society.

Other early-stage business investments in the Futuregrowth Development Equity Fund's portfolio include Rubicon, LifeCheq, SweepSouth and Yoco, which are complemented by a variety of maturing and established companies in the developmental space.

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