Wilderness executives share P12m

SHARE   |   Monday, 08 August 2016   |   By Kabelo Adamson
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Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) listed tourism outfit Wilderness Holdings has paid over P12 million to its three executive directors. The information is contained in the company’s latest annual report made available this week through the BSE website where it has a primary listing. Chief Executive Keith Vincent was remunerated with total of P3 980 828 for the 2016 financial year with P2 422 729 being a salary of the year. He was paid a further P1 461 895 for benefits and bonuses while P96 204 was for employee provident and medical aid. Wilderness, whose board chairman is Parks Tafa, rewarded its Chief Financial Officer Ami Azoulay with a sum of P4 127 385 which is a combination of salary, bonuses, employee provident and medical and shares.

Azoulay salary’s for the year stood at P1 389 470, gaining a further P265 298 under the employee provident and medical aid while the rest came from shares and bonuses. Wilderness’ Executive Director Derek de la Harpe – who occupies the positions of Commercial Director and Chief Sustainability Officer – earned a total of P4 474 894 for the period under review. He earned P1 625 844 as a salary for the whole financial year, P1 131 148 as benefits and bonuses. De la Harpe, who according to the information provided by the group joined Wilderness as CFO in 2010 before being appointed to his current roles, made a total of P1 544 710 from share/options.

Rates structure review
Meanwhile Wilderness, operators of a number of safari camps in Botswana, says it has reviewed its rates structure to introduce demand-based pricing. The revision of the rates, according to Wilderness Chief Executive Vincent, is to encourage further growth of their partners in securing future business. Stating in the group’s latest annual report, Vincent said the new, simplified nightly camp rates have, for the first time, been released for a 24 month future period and include significant immediate reductions in selected camps. Wilderness, which has dual listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and has operations in at least seven Southern African countries, is also looking to offer ‘early bird’ deals occasionally to encourage long-lead bookings and reward guests for committing early in the buying cycle. “We believe this will create long-term visibility for the Company and provide certainty to our partners, as well as reducing complexity,” Vincent said. 

2017 outlook positive
In terms of the group’s performance over the course of 2015, Vincent said despite a challenging environment influenced by the ‘hangover’ from the Ebola outbreak in 2014, the overall results are pleasing while the 2017 positive outlook is encouraging. “In order to maximise returns in this economic environment, we made the difficult but necessary decision to exit several management and marketing contracts for lodges in which we held no equity in order to focus our resources and capital in owned assets,” he said. The group has in addition it launched a luxurious lodge in Zimbabwe while progress is being made towards launch plans in Rwanda.

For 2017, Vincent said Wilderness’ biggest focus is the roll-out of an internal brand awareness campaign to instill the company’s core values and vision across its staff which will support the organisation’s promise that its journey changes life.
“We have always believed that our people are our best asset and have run Brand Champion workshops across all regions and strata of the business to ensure that ten percent of the Company is now trained to drive the campaign forward,” said Vincent.