Funds for ecotourism in Kenya secured
Wilderness Safaris has recently raised US$35 million as a bilateral loan to finance the acquisition of a ecotourism company in Kenya. The loan was arranged by Stanbic Bank Botswana, one of the regional banks in the Standard Bank fold.
Wilderness Safaris operate close to 40 luxury camps and lodges in eight African countries.
The structured, multi-currency loan facility will be deployed over several years in multiple currencies to create a natural hedge against foreign exchange risks. The transaction is one of the largest corporate deals in Botswana in 2016, and was fully funded by Stanbic Bank Botswana on a bilateral basis.
Leina Gabaraane, Managing Director at Stanbic Bank Botswana said “Our footprint across 20 countries on the continent provided Wilderness Safaris with an on ground banking partner with regional and local expertise in the countries in which they operate, as well as countries targeted for future expansion.” As Sole Arranger, Stanbic Bank Botswana has been able to provide funding solutions that will help protect Wilderness i from currency volatility as well as generate future growth. “The ability to provide long-term funding in multiple countries with currency flexibility in a short space of time, illustrates the complexity of the capital requirement needs of Africa’s emerging intra-continental service businesses,” said Gabaraane. “In addition to reinvestment into flagship properties in Botswana and Namibia, the proceeds of this loan will be used for expansion across African markets such as Kenya and Rwanda,” said Keith Vincent, the Chief Executive of Wilderness Safaris. “This is in line with our group strategic vision, to invest in markets which offer authentic wildlife and safari experiences and where we feel our specific ecotourism model can have positive conservation and community impacts.” “This not only requires a bank on the ground in most of Wilderness Safaris’ countries of operation, but since the deployment of the loan will be a hands-on process, a bank with local personnel familiar with operational and currency challenges in each environment.” Wilderness Safaris places huge emphasis on the conservation of pristine ecosystems and the wildlife they hold. Conservation activities such as ecosystem restoration and endangered species reintroduction are blended with community programmes such as training and education, as well as community employment.