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Zimsun hunts for casino partners

Godfrey Marawanyika

ZIMBABWE Stock Exchange-listed Zimsun is seeking strategic partners for its casino project at the World Casino Operators Convention to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in September.


Zimsun chief executive officer Shingi Munyeza will be one of the main speakers at the convention, which brings together international casino operators.


The gathering aims to analyse world trends in casino operations as well as review legislation on gaming with emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa.


The group is set to take advantage of the presence of world-acclaimed casino operators to launch its appeal for a strategic partner.


Zimsun has been trying to grow its casino business in line with regional trends such as in South Africa where the government has authorised urban casinos in return for community development by the casino operators.


Locally, casinos are allowed to hold periodic charity casinos whose operations are governed by the Ministry of Home Affairs.


Munyeza said the plan to unlock value out of casino operations was still on course and Zimsun was working closely with its partners.


Munyeza could not be drawn into giving projected costs of the expansion project, saying this would only be known after a final feasibility study.


The project seeks to establish casinos in urban centres in line with trends in South Africa.


Already Zimsun has opera-tions in South Africa, wherethe group recently acquiredthe lease and operating busi-ness of The Grace at Rosebank in Johannesburg. The move to invest in South Africa has effectively guaranteed the group hard currency earnings. The group has also secured a management contract for a new hotel in Accra, Ghana, scheduled to open in early 2005.


Zimsun has also gone into a joint venture with an international developer to expand its time share resort in Mozambique. These are all part of the group’s regional expansion drive to increase its hard currency earnings capacity.


Currently, there are three operating firms which have casino licences locally.


For a firm to be granted a licence it needs clearance from, among other ministries, Home Affairs and Environment and Tourism.

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