Despite a large number of its rooms being unavailable for occupation due to a full refurbishment, the Windhoek Country Club Resort and Casino (WCCR) on Wednesday revealed financial results which showed gross margins for the year which ended on April 30, 2016 were N$80 million. Gross operating profit for the year was N$43 million, slightly down on last year’s N$44 million, mainly due to higher operational costs, which enabled the payment of N$5 million in dividends to government, its only shareholder.
Hotel turnover growth year-on-year was 4.26 percent while the food and beverages department increased their turnover by 8 percent to report strong operating profit at N$9.9million. Rooms turnover year-on-year was static at N$32 million and average room rate rose by 7 percent. Gaming turnover dropped slightly by 5 percent year-on-year and this was mainly ascribed to the smoking laws in the country which prohibit smoking inside the venue. Also, new competitors entering the gaming market and high inflation rates in 2015/2016 led to a reduction in customer spending. Overall turnover showed a slight drop of 1.2 percent year-on-year.
“The root of turning this company around is its people and its leadership, not only the board of directors but the management of the hotel as well. It is impressive that you have reinvested profits to remain competitive. It is quite clear that there is integrity, and prudent management, of this institution. I love to use the WCCR as a model of what can be done,” said Minister of Public Enterprises Leon Jooste during the results presentation.
“I hear there is a cheque of N$5 million and that is what the shareholder wants to hear. We don’t always want to hear state-owned enterprises asking for bailouts,” said Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta, who also attended the results presentation.
Sven Thieme, Chairman of the WCCR’s Board of Directors, advised that according to the latest annual research from World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Namibia was on the list of countries which are forecast to be one of the fastest growing economies with a large contribution to gross domestic product from the tourism and travel sector (including hotel and restaurants) between 2015 and 2025. “In light of this positive news, it gives me great pleasure to advise that the past financial year for the Windhoek Country Club Resort and Casino has been a challenging but satisfying one. When looking back at 2015/16 we can once again smile about overall satisfying and solid results,” said Thieme.
“We look back at several highlights in the conferencing sphere such as the ministry of youth where we accommodated 300 guests for a week; the Office of the President whom we housed in February; Namibia Football Association that booked the hotel in March; the ministry of health that has supported us consistently throughout the year, UNESCO and the Windhoek Lager Africa Jacket Golf Tournament whose members of 10 countries spent a week with us in June. Special days were also celebrated and the International Braai day on 26 September 2015 stands out for us,” Thieme added.
He continued that WCCR is currently refurbishing all of its152 rooms. The refurbishment commenced in April 2016 with the scheduled completion being envisaged for end of April 2017 at a total cost of N$56.9million. This project has – to date – been funded by the company’s own cash reserves. “More exciting news is the fact that we plan to do a full refurbishment on the casino toilets, casino bar, deli, entrance, and the Kokerboom restaurant during the current financial year at a planned capital cost of N$3 million. Scheduled completion is also planned for April 2017,” said Thieme.
He also announced that the WCCR plans to install solar panels on its roof at an approximate cost of N$4 million. The scheduled starting date of the project is January or February 2017. “We expect the solar project to make a significant difference to our electricity consumption and are pleased to reveal that a fully Namibian owned and registered company will be offered the tender for this project,” Thieme said.