TPSEA aka Serena Hotels held their first ever (public) AGM, as the company was listed after the last AGM was held.
The company with with 15 properties (11 owned, 4 managed) is enjoying the ongoing tourist boom. (Sarova should hurry up and take advantage with an IPO while the sector is doing well). 64% of income is earned in Kenya, with improved returns from Tanzania and other properties recorded. But, though Kenya recorded an increase in tourists visiting, a significant number were conference tourists – whose and gains are only felt by Nairobi (not coast or safari) hotels
In a keynote speech, the MD mentioned that they have maintained profitability despite the appreciating shilling, noting that a weakening or the SA rand had provided significant benefits to the south African tourism sector.
He also mentioned that the expansion into the region would cushion the company from company specific risk. Through managing properties (they don't own) in Rwanda and Uganda, they were able to increase awareness of the Serena brand at lower cost – and once those hotels are established and profitable then the group may bid for equity in them.
Future growth plans include Lake Nakuru, Laikipia, and southern Tanzania. The company has also invested in an energy efficiency program that will be completed this year.
The MD called on government to improve on infrastructure (roads) and security while he at the same time lamented that the environmental authorities (NEMA) had approved some lodge expansions that could harm environment and ecosystem.
why company has high retained earnings & low dividend and, increased property investment costs: MD response was that tourism is a high risk business and it is important to keep reinvesting in hotels to maintain premier status and visitor preference. He noted that Kenya used to have four major hotel chains – and that block hotel and AT&H went out of business because they did not make such crucial investments to keep up. Serena must continually refurbish facilities, and must have ready cash since a lot of opportunities come up at short notice. Still, they were able to contain other costs (only 1% increase from the year before)
Serena a market leader? hotels in Nairobi do share information and this confirms Serena's leadership in terms of (revenue per available room), while coast and safari circuit hotel statistics are not easily available - but going by the packages that tour operators put together confirm that Serena properties are marketed as premier packages
corporate social responsibility can shareholders recommend CSR projects to the company? Management said yes as long as projects are in areas where the company has properties. Shareholders can also get discount rates if they book through the Serena offices.
goodies: bonus share, dividend, and a lunch box (with roast beef slice, bottled water, apple & banana, yogurt, boiled egg, cake). I noticed some other shareholders boxes had juice & hamburger as opposed to my water & roast) and I gave my offered my boiled egg (can't eat that) to a lady seated neat to me, who surprised me by giving me her yogurt – fair trade?
See: another past Serena AGM report.