Management lifts Sheraton Abuja with 97 renovated rooms

·       Board ‘consulting’ on forensic audit report, says Idigbe

Chairman, Capital Hotels Plc, Anthony Idigbe (third left), sounding the gong to close trading on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) during the company’s Facts Behind the Figures presentation at the capital market on Monday. With him were Toke Alex-Ibru (a director, left), NSE Chief Executive Officer, Oscar Onyema, other directors – Chuma Anosike (middle), Fadeke Odugbemi and Dr. Alexander Thomopulos, and NSE Head, Listing Business Division, Olumide Bolumole

No fewer than 97 newly renovated state-of-the-art club rooms and suites in Sheraton Abuja Hotels will be released to the market early next year, the Chairman of Capital Hotels Plc, Anthony Idigbe, has disclosed.

Addressing stakeholders at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in Lagos after the company’s Facts Behind the Figures session, Idigbe noted that 266 of the 575-room hospitality front-liners have been out of use, and that 97 of them were being renovated using internally generated revenue.

The remaining 169 requires some “refreshment” rather than major renovation and for that, the company would be requiring “some external funding” by way of rights issue to existing shareholders next year.

Meanwhile, the ownership wrangling and other conflicts afflicting Capital Hotels Plc look nearly over as the company’s forensic audit has been submitted to SEC, which has been “consulting” to ensure fair hearing before a final decision.

Idigbe, who assured that the report would be out in 2020 Q1, said that “SEC is going through the process of giving all the right of fair hearing. We need to get it right once and for all.” He added that the decision was being delayed to ensure that efforts towards an amicable solution do not bring about unforeseen problems.

Similarly, the Executive Director, Finance, Mr.  Robert Itawa, explained that the company’s low dividend over the years was due partly to labour costs and legacy debts, as well as the ongoing renovation project, as management seeks to reposition the facility to make it more viable.

According to him, “legacy cost alone for the past three years is about N300 million. For this year alone, we have paid N110 million because we are phasing it over time.

“From 2010 till date, cost associated with legacy system alone is N2.8 billion, but that is why we are taking time in negotiation with the union. We have been paying massively every year; that is why there is industrial harmony.”

While regretting the poor state or total absence of such business-enabling infrastructure as electricity, public water supply, poor transport infrastructure, as well as insecurity and institutional failure, which have ensured unfriendly business environment and high cost of operation, he assured shareholders of better dividends once the company’s finances improved.    

Earlier, the NSE Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Oscar Onyema, had commended Capital Hotels for choosing the platform to inform the market of its financial performance and operational developments, stating that their interaction with the market through the NSE was welcome.

“The market is driven by timely, relevant and accurate information,” he said. “We are particularly pleased that in spite of the prevailing economic challenges, our listed companies continue to offer opportunities for growth and wealth creation.

“With the fast changing macro-economic environment in Nigeria and globally, we encourage Capital Hotels Plc to strive for sustainability by adhering to highest standards of corporate governance and sustainability reporting guidelines. We believe that these will position you to attain transparency, social impact and better returns for shareholders.”

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