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SSNIT justifies sale of 60% shares in 6 hotels to private investor …says it is only option to resusticate hotels   

The Social Security and National Investment Trust (SSNIT) has justified its sale of 60 per cent of its shares in six hotels to a private investor, saying the move is the only option to resuscitate the hotels and help maximise their profitability.

The hotels include the Labadi Beach Hotel, La Palm Royal Beach Resort, Elmina Beach Resort, Busua Beach Resort, Trust Lodge and Ridge Royal Hotel.

Addressing a news conference in Accra, yesterday, the Director-General (D-G), Kofi Bosompem Osafo-Maafo maintained that due processes were followed in arriving at the decision for an investor to improve profitability, liquidity, and long-term sustainability of the scheme.

The D-G cited reasons including continuous losses accrued by the hotels, their inability to pay dividends to SSNIT in the last five years as well as failure to service their indebtedness to the Trust.

Furthermore, he said, SSNIT has had to fund maintenance and operational activities of the hotels, pay workers emoluments and regularly inject capital into the entities to enable them run effectively and improve the Trust’s liquidity.

“We’ve been through quite a lengthy process on this and we consider the sale to an investor as the only viable option. Bear in mind, we’ve also tried having external management companies running the SSNIT hotels and that hasn’t resolved the problem either, so for us, we are looking at it in two folds; to resolve a problem and do so with the introduction of a strategic investor,” he said.

“I know you are aware that Labadi does make some profit, but the returns are below par. Labadi Beach Resort only started paying dividends in the last 2 years. They haven’t from inception,” he stated.

We want to maximise what we get out of it and the question that I asked somebody the other day is if you were selling your car or even your house, you would make an attempt to actually paint it.

You wouldn’t wait for your car to be put on stones and then say, now this is the time to sell it. You make it look good so there’s no reason why if a business is doing well and we seek to maximise capital from it to invest elsewhere, we shouldn’t do so,” Mr Osafo-Maafo maintained.

Touching on allegations by the former National Chairman of the NPP, Mr Freddy Blay that his son expressed interest in buying SSNIT’s shares in some hotels in 2022, Mr Osafo-Maafo pointed out that the proposal by Spartan Ives, a company owned by Mr Blay’s son, did not make it through the first stage of the bidding process.

Denying claims that SSNIT rejected a 200 million dollar bid by the company, he explained that Spartan Ives did not get past the evaluation stage adding, “their technical proposal was weak and they scored below the required 50 per cent so their financial proposal was not even assessed.

“The envelope was not even opened. It was returned to them and that is what the law requires us to do so to say that SSNIT received an offer of 150 to 200 million dollars and turned it down is not accurate because the offer was never made and the offer was never opened,” he stressed.

BY TIMES REPORTER

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