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TSOGO SUN HOTELS LIMITED - Joint voluntary announcement Response to the impact of COVID-19

Release Date: 20/03/2020 17:05
Code(s): TGO HPB HPF13 HPF11 HPF12     PDF:  
Wrap Text
Joint voluntary announcement – Response to the impact of COVID-19

(previously known as Southern Sun Hotels            Incorporated in the Republic of South Africa
Proprietary Limited)                                (Registration number 2005/014211/06)
Incorporated in the Republic of South Africa        JSE share code: HPB
Registration number 2002/006356/06                  ISIN: ZAE000214656
Share Code: TGO ISIN:ZAE000272522                   Bond company code: HPAI
(“Tsogo Sun Hotels” or “the Group”)                 (Approved as a REIT by the JSE)


President Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster on Sunday 15 March 2020, which included numerous,
very necessary interventions in order to try and contain the spread of COVID-19 in South Africa which the Group is
fully supportive of. The impact of COVID-19, combined with the acceleration in travel bans being imposed by many
countries, including South Africa and other markets in which we operate, have resulted in forward bookings for April
through June reflecting a total collapse of demand.

Given the environment of the past few weeks we had already implemented actions in order to reduce costs and
capital expenditure, and these have now been expanded to eliminate virtually all variable costs, substantially reduce
the fixed cost overheads, conserve cash in order to preserve the sustainability of our business and the people whose
livelihoods depend on us.

In order for this to be achieved, a reduction of excess capacity is required. This will be implemented through an
orderly deactivation of a number of hotels in the key nodes where the Group has multiple properties and
consolidating the available demand into the remaining operating hotels in those areas.

The Group has the ability to reactivate this capacity on short notice should we see an upturn in demand. All booking
channels will remain active for the close monitoring of demand patterns in addition to the Group’s web booking and
call centre functionality.

In areas with a single hotel such as outlying areas in South Africa and some of the other African countries or hotels
where the saving through deactivation is minimal, such as in the budget market, the Group will assess demand on
an ongoing basis while ensuring the operating cost of these hotels are reduced to a minimum. Should there be little
to no demand or future regulatory impacts that result in a total restriction of travel, the hotels will be deactivated,
again with the ability to reactivate the hotels on short notice.
The first phase will affect up to 36 hotels representing 7 700 rooms (or 40%) of the Group’s portfolio over the next
few weeks. There are a number of consultations and planning logistics to be finalised, however we intend to still
retain significant operating capacity in our key nodes for the foreseeable future given current levels of hotels.

During this period, all capital expenditure has been postponed and only essential maintenance will endure. In
addition, head office support functions will operate on a limited staff-only basis to ensure good communication with
guests, partners and suppliers in order to facilitate this process and most importantly, ensure the smooth
reactivation of these hotels once the situation normalises.

The Group has been approached by both the public and private healthcare sectors to assist in the provision of
quarantine facilities through the use of hotels that would otherwise have been deactivated and we are endeavouring
to assist in this regard.

Although near impossible to predict, the Group is working on the assumption that hotels will begin to be reactivated
by no later than July 2020 and that the corporate and government travel sectors will recover relatively quickly. Many
of the events and conferences that were to take place during the next three months have been postponed to the
second half of 2020 as opposed to being cancelled.

Financial Impacts

This financial year has been a difficult period with subdued demand on the back of poor economic growth. March is
typically a peak month for the Group and until the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact trading the
Group was on track to achieve a satisfactory performance in the month. Despite the March impact, the Group (Tsogo
Sun Hotels and HPF) still expects to meet the covenant obligations to its various debt providers for the 12-month
period ended 31 March 2020.

Assuming exceptionally low occupancies and the deactivation of a number of hotels for a period of three to six
months, it would be unlikely that the Group will meet the covenant requirements for the rolling 12-month period
ending 30 September 2020. Accordingly, we are engaging with the Group’s various lenders to request waivers of
these covenants and ensure that the facilities to which the Group has access are maintained. The combination of
existing cash resources and these facilities should sustain the Group if the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue
for longer than is anticipated. Lenders have been supportive and are currently dealing with this process.


The actions described above are required to ensure the sustainability of the Group though this crisis and we are
acutely aware of the impact that these will have on particularly our people, suppliers and partners. We are
endeavouring to minimize these as far as possible.

Additional updates will be provided as events unfold and the market conditions in which we operate evolve. Once
the consultation and logistics planning have been completed, the Group intends to hold an investor call, the details
of which will be announced in due course.

20 March 2020

JSE Equity Sponsors
Tsogo Sun Hotels: Investec Bank Limited
Hospitality Property Fund: Java capital

JSE Debt Sponsor
Hospitality Property Fund: Rand Merchant Bank (A division of FirstRand Bank Limited)

Date: 20-03-2020 05:05:00
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