Moreland well-poised for expected tourism boom

Posted On Thursday, 05 August 2004 02:00 Published by
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Moreland, the property development arm of Tongaat-Hulett, could emerge as the group's golden goose

 August 5, 2004

By Margie Inggs

Durban - Moreland, the property development arm of Tongaat-Hulett, could emerge as the group's golden goose if the national cabinet approves the Dube Trade Port and King Shaka Airport, creating a tourism explosion that would blow the roof off land values in the area.

The group is in talks with KwaZulu-Natal premier S'bu Ndebele, the provincial minister of finance and economic development, Mike Mabuyakhulu, and national transport minister Jeff Radebe.

Gordon Hibbert, Moreland's managing director, said both the national and provincial ministers were keen to have the operation up and running before the 2010 soccer World Cup.

Tongaat-Hulett owns 2 000ha of the land earmarked for the development and the government owns another 2 000ha.

Speaking at the group's interim results presentation yesterday, Peter Staude, Tongaat-Hulett's chief executive, said Moreland was well positioned to benefit from the expected tourism boom.

Moreland has a joint venture with Kuwaiti-based IFA, which has resort investments in Dubai, Portugal and Zanzibar, and has agreed to partner Moreland in the development of the Zimbali resort and surrounding areas.

Moreland performed strongly in the residential, commercial and industrial property sectors.

"The group has a responsibility to manage the transition from sugar to property development on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast to extract maximum shareholder value," Staude said.

In the six months to June, Moreland's turnover surged by 318 percent to R272 million and its underlying operating profit by 490 percent to R118 million. Operating profit for the full 2003 financial year was R90 million.

Hibbert said a way in which Tongaat-Hulett and the state could work co-operatively on the Dube Trade Port, a logistics platform planned for the area surrounding King Shaka, would be through a private-public partnership. "All the land could go into one pot, which would facilitate co-ordinated planning and development."

Moreland has developed infrastructure and services on 1 000ha originally under sugar cane over the past decade, some of it in a private-public partnership with the eThekwini municipality.

Another 11 600ha must still be developed.

Russel Curtis, the acting chief executive of the Durban Investment Promotion Agency, said a cost-benefit analysis was being undertaken to decide on the best timing for the development.

Publisher: Business Report
Source: Business Report

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