Sunbird Tourism plc says it is positive it will maintain its performance trajectory this year despite political uncertainty which could dampen economic activity.
The Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE)-listed hotel chain’s board chairperson Phillip Madinga said on Monday in Blantyre during an annual general meeting that 2019 being an election year, there is uncertainty due to possible policy changes.
“This [political uncertainty] may potentially depress economic activity and; hence, travel may also reduce and adversely impact the tourism sector,” he said.
During the year, Sunbird after-tax profit increased from K2.4 billion in 2017 to K2.5 billion in 2018 while its share price jumped by 51 percent from K96 in 2017 to K145 in 2018.
“This performance is mainly attributed to prudent cost management, business process re-engineering and also the improving economic environment.
“There has not been significant increase in the numbers of tourists coming to Malawi in recent years despite the fact that Malawi’s tourism industry has the potential,” he said.
On the decision to capitalise the hotel chain, Madinga said they continue discussing with government, whose shareholding at 71 percent is valued at K20 billion.
Sunbird Tourism plc chief executive officer Yusuf Olela said in the medium to long-term, the company is at concept stage for the expansion of Sunbird Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi to build an additional 100 rooms and construction of a mixed-use facility at Sunbird Capital in Lilongwe.
Sunbird has nine properties, namely Sunbird Lilongwe, Sunbird Capital, Sunbird Mount Soche, Sunbird Mzuzu, Sunbird Nkopola, Sunbird Livingstonia Beach, Sunbird Ku Chawe, Sunbird Thawale inside Majete Wildlife Reserve in Chikwawa and Sunbird Kara O’ Mula in Mulanje.