IFA acquires stake in South African hotel

In its first acquisition since listing on the JSE in February, IFA Hotels & Resorts Limited (IFA SA) will purchase a significant stake in Boschendal Limited, becoming an integral contributor to the landmark Boschendal transformation initiative. The acquisition positions IFA SA to assist with a proposed mixed-use development on Boschendal’s 2,400-hectare estate near Franschhoek in Cape Town.

Talal Jassim Al-Bahar, CEO, IFA SA, and Chairman and Managing Director, IFA Hotels and Resorts said:

‘IFA SA is pleased to align with an iconic South African brand such as Boschendal and to leverage Boschendal’s prime real estate for development. The acquisition aligns with IFA SA’s strategy to deliver new premier resort and residential developments in South Africa, diversifying from Kwa-Zulu Natal where it owns Zimbali Lodge and holds a 50 per cent stake in the joint venture that developed Zimbali Coastal Resort.’

Future development plans for the Cape Boschendal estate include an upmarket retirement village with 500 individual homes, a boutique hotel with upwards of 120 rooms and a mixed-use development of a shopping centre, offices and apartments.

Werner Burger, President and COO, IFA Hotels and Resorts, said: ‘The global IFA group has already contributed to the country’s transformation as the single largest foreign direct investor in Kwa-Zulu Natal tourism. IFA group’s continued expansion into the Africa sub-continent affirms its commitment to ongoing direct investment in South Africa and neighbouring countries. IFA SA will serve as a platform for continued investment in Africa to expand the group’s global network of resorts, ensuring that we continue to deliver prime opportunities in tourism and real estate to our global investors. The investment in Boschendal enables IFA SA to bring Boschendal onto the international real estate market and present the estate as a world-class destination.’


Clive Venning, CEO, Boschendal, said: ‘IFA SA’s participation in Boschendal is of critical importance to the future development of the estate. As an established developer of premier leisure hotels and mixed-use resorts, the group will contribute crucial expertise to our development to benefit the company and the surrounding Dwarsriver community. The transformation will also generate jobs and lead to a 30 per cent rise in real wages in the region.’

Boschendal has also pledged 270 hectares of land including 40 hectares for 500 homes, 110 hectares of viable agricultural land and 120 hectares of nature reserve towards the Trust for locals.

‘Land sales of the Founders’ Estates will be launched in 2006 with the balance being released in 2008. The development is delayed at present by rezoning and other regulatory issues. With a heritage site such as this, we must adopt a slower, careful approach to design and planning to ensure the development’s success and minimum disruption to the valley,’ Venning added.

‘IFA SA agrees with Boschendal’s prudent approach and is confident of its management’s ability to realise the planned development. Boschendal is the latest of the IFA group’s resort development projects world-wide, including its major investment of more than USD 2 billion in The Palm, Jumeirah development off Dubai,’ Al-Bahar concluded. In Africa, IFA has major development projects in Zanzibar and Kenya and is currently exploring opportunities in the Indian Ocean and Asia.