Grand Parade Investments gets JSE listing go-ahead

Listing to add value to shareholders, and open further expansion opportunities

Western Cape-based empowerment investment group Grand Parade Investments Limited (GPI) has been given approval to list on the main board of the JSE on 6 June 2008.

GPI, which was launched in 1997 with the backing mainly of thousands of community investors, has rapidly grown into a substantial player in the South African tourism, leisure and gaming industry. The empowerment partner in the successful SunWest application for the Cape Metropole casino licence in 1999, it now holds a 26.41% stake in SunWest, which owns South Africa’s most successful casino, the GrandWest Casino & Entertainment World, the luxury Table Bay Hotel in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, and a stake in the world-class Cape Town International Convention Centre.

GPI also owns interests in limited payout machine operations in the Western Cape, the Free State and KwaZulu Natal through Thuo Gaming, a 36.7% shareholding in the Golden Valley Casino in Worcester, and through the recent acquisition of a 23% stake in Real Africa Holdings it now has interests in the Boardwalk Casino & Entertainment World in Port Elizabeth, the Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom north of Durban, and the Carnival City Casino & Entertainment World outside Brakpan. The Real Africa Holdings deal also increases GPI’s stake in SunWest.

GPI also recently acquired 50% of Akhona, a KZN company with interests that include 20% of KZN-based LPM operator KingdomSlots and 6% of Dolcoast, which in turn holds 22% in Afrisun KZN. This investment gives GPI the opportunity to expand into the KZN gaming market.

“The JSE’s approval of GPI’s listing application is the culmination of almost two years of work,” says GPI chairman Hassen Adams. “We are elated to have cleared this final hurdle, which will open up new vistas for GPI and ultimately create further wealth for its shareholders, many of whom have been fiercely loyal to GPI for a decade now.”

For Adams, the listing will be a major step forward in GPI’s plans to become a major player in the tourism, leisure and gaming industry in both South Africa and the rest of the African continent.

“GPI has come a very long way since its inception 11 years ago as the empowerment partner to the SunWest casino application. Whereas its genesis was as a truly broad-based BEE company, in that its shareholders mainly were – and still are – thousands of ordinary people from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, it has now outstripped that function. It now holds substantial interests in tourism and gaming operations all over the country and has become a fully-fledged, inclusive national company in its own right, one that is deserving of its listing on the stock exchange,” he says.

“This listing will not only allow GPI’s shareholders to benefit even more than they have already, it will underpin GPI’s plans to expand even further in the tourism, leisure and gaming industry by unlocking access to funding. And we have grand plans for Grand Parade Investments – watch this space,” Adams add.

GPI will list its ordinary shares on the main board “General Financial” sector under the abbreviated name of Granprade, and the share code GPL.