Hospitality group Sun International appoints Sam Sithole as chairperson

SOUTH AFRICA – Hospitality and gaming group Sun International has announced the appointment of Sam Sithole as its new chairperson as it navigates the turbulent Covid-19 environment.

Sithole replaces Jabu Mabuza, who recently died from Covid19.

Sun International chief executive Anthony Leeming said that Sithole brought a wealth of experience to the group with a proven track record at the company.

“Sam Sithole’s history with the company has given him valuable knowledge and insight, and his more than 20 years of experience in finance and investment will serve us well. The board and management of Sun International congratulate Sam on his new appointment and welcome him as chairperson,” Leeming said.

The group said Sithole had been a member of the Sun International board since 2018 and was also the chief executive and co-founder of Value Capital Partners, which had a substantial shareholding in the Sun International group.

Sithole is also a director of several Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed companies, including technology giant Altron, workplace solutions provider Adcorp and Metair Investments.

Sithole would also serve as the chairperson of the group’s nomination committee, while Sindi Mabaso-Koyana would replace Sithole as chairperson of the remuneration committee and she had also been appointed as an additional member of the audit committee, the company said.

The group has also strengthened its board by making new appointments in various of its committees.

Caroline Henry, who was appointed as an independent non-executive director of the board in 2016, had been appointed as a member of the nomination committee, while Tapiwa Ngara, an independent non-executive director, has been appointed to the risk and investment committee.

Sun International is still feeling the impact of Covid-19 in its operations after President Cyril Ramaphosa moved the country back to an adjusted level 4 national lockdown at the end of June 2021.

The group temporarily had to close all of its restaurants and casino properties from June 28, in line with new Covid-19 regulations announced by the president.

The group also took a decision to temporarily close its hotels and resorts, including Sun City Resort and Wild Coast Sun.

However, its online SunBet sports betting platform continues to operate.

In March 2021, Sun International said it expected to fall into an annual loss after the hotel, resort, casino and gaming group experienced a lengthy closure of many of its operations as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

In a trading update, the group said that it expected to report a headline loss of between 170 cents and 290 cents a share for the year to the end of December compared with headline earnings per share of 603 cents reported a year earlier.

The group said it had seen early signs of a recovery, following a positive last quarter in the year to end December 2020 after being knocked by the lockdown and trading curbs due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

it said that its South African casino income showed a positive trend in the second half of the year and increased as a percentage of that in 2019 from 52 percent in the third quarter to 71 percent in the last quarter of 2020.

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