Sunbird Tourism plc says it has appropriate structures in place to ensure adequate responses to emerging risks in its operating environment.
The listed hotel chain’s board chairperson Phillip Madinga said this on Friday during the board’s virtual annual general meeting in Blantyre.
He said the risks include pandemics, competition, market risks, cyber security and uncertainty surrounding operating assumptions.
Madinga, however, said the board expects some volatility in key macroeconomic variables and uncertainty due to the negative economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the firm will continue with efforts to entrench macroeconomic stability and focus on sustaining the positive economic gains achieved over the past few years.
Said Madinga: “The group will continue its efforts to improve service delivery, enhance guest experience, product improvements [refurbishments] and will also intensify sales and marketing activities. There are a number of key product improvement plans that are currently underway.
“These include the completion of the 42-bedroom Sunbird Waterfront Hotel at Senga Bay in Salima, introduction of new Vincent Platinum Restaurant and extension of carpark at Sunbird Mount Soche [in Blantyre] and construction of 30 additional rooms at Sunbird Nkopola [in Mangochi].”
He said many of the projects started in 2019 and are expected to be completed this year and in 2021.
In 2019, the group’s profit after-tax marginally increased to K2.595 billion from K2.562 billion in 2018.
In an earlier trading statement, the group’s company secretary Allan Muhome said the Malawi Stock Exchange-listed hotel chain expects to post a 150 percent loss in the half-year ended June 30 2020 largely due to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.
The tourism and hospitality sector has been the most affected with the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry projecting that the sector would shrink to -9.9 percent from a growth rate of 4.9 percent last year.
Sunbird Tourism plc has proposed a final dividend of K131 million, representing 50 tambala per share, bringing the total dividend to K262 million or K1 per share.
In 2018, the firm also declared a total dividend of K262 million or K1 per share.
As of December 2019, the Government of Malawi owned majority stake in the hotel chain at 71 percent with the public owning 14 percent and dual-listed conglomerate Press Corporation plc owning 15 percent.