BLACK-empowered investment group Grand Parade Investment (GPI) is still looking for gaming and leisure deals.

Despite economic turmoil, it is in an ideal position to take advantage of opportunities. The group is cash flush (more than R83m in cash at end-December) while gearing remains low (about R300m in interest bearing debt).

GPI CEO Adrian Funkey said yesterday it was in a unique position to “cherry-pick” investment opportunities in a distressed market. In the past year, GPI expanded its gaming portfolio significantly. In the second half, it increased its direct stake in SunWest International, which owns and operates Grand West Casino and Entertainment World, by 2,83% for R92,4m by exercising 560000 of its 700000 SunWest share options at an exercise price of R165 per SunWest share.

By end-December, GPI held a 29,24% stake in SunWest, making it the group’s largest investment.
GPI also indirectly increased its effective interest in the Sibaya Casino with its associate Akhona Gaming Portfolio Investments raising its stake in Dolcoast Investments, which owns 22,5% of Sibaya, to 18,5%.
GPI now indirectly owns an effective share in Sibaya Casino of 6,3% as a result of these transactions and the 30,6% acquisition in Real Africa Holdings the previous year.

In the six months to December, headline earnings rose 8% to R48m. With the issue of additional shares, headline earnings a share fell 16% from 12,52c to 10,54c.