Wilderness Holdings Limited, a listed eco-tourism group pay over P12.5 million in remuneration to its top three executive directors for its 2017 financial year. The executives include Keith Vincent, the group Chief Executive Officer; Ami Azoulay, the Chief Financial Officer and Commercial Director; and Chief Sustainability Officer Derek de la Harpe. The information is contained in the group’s annual report for the 2017 financial year which closed at the end of February. The group’s top earner was De la Harpe who took home a total of P4, 909, 974 – an amount accrued from salaries, bonuses, employee provident, shares and housing fringe benefit. De la Harpe earned P4, 474, 894 in 2016. Wilderness Holdings, which made news headlines few months back as government’s preferred bidder to take over the national airliner, Air Botswana before withdrawing its bid, spent P4, 477, 831 on its CFO, Azoulay. The group CEO Vincent earned less than his colleagues, taking home P3 116 195, the bulk of that being a 12-month salary of P2, 708, 298. The remaining balance is from benefits and bonuses as well as housing benefits which amounted to P209 898 and P198 000 respectively.
Vincent’s 2017 earnings are however lower than those of 2016 when he was paid a total of P3 980 828. During the 2017 financial year, Wilderness made profit of P76.5 million – a 14 percent increase from P55.5 million recorded last year. The year was described as a good one for the group despite the significant turn in foreign exchange from a profit of P26 million to a loss of P11 million, as the volatile currency environment impacted negatively on headline earnings. The volatile exchange rate is expected to occur periodically as Wilderness operates in various jurisdictions and in different currencies. Further the weakness of the US Dollar had placed additional pressure on performance, but the inverse will apply if it appreciates, the group indicated in the report which was published this week. Wilderness wants to invest in African tourism markets which offer authentic wildlife and safari experiences and where it feels its specific ecotourism model can have positive conservation and community impacts. The group is dually listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) and Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).