South African Breweries Limited (‘SAB Limited’) and hotel magnate, Sol Kerzner, partnered to create Southern Sun Hotels (‘Southern Sun’), the largest hotel group in the southern hemisphere at the time. Southern Sun commenced operations with six hotels, including the iconic Beverly Hills hotel in Umhlanga Rocks, Durban, and was subsequently involved in the development of many of the most prestigious hotels of the era, including the Cape Sun, Sandton Sun and Sun City.
Sun International Limited was split out of Southern Sun as a separate gaming business and Southern Sun remained focused on hotels.
Southern Sun had expanded to 26 hotels. It then acquired the Holiday Inn South Africa hotel group, thereby establishing a countrywide distribution of 49 hotels, in both the upmarket and mid-market segments.
Southern Sun was delisted from the JSE and became a wholly owned subsidiary of SAB Limited. Southern Sun entered into a joint venture with Accor SA, the French hotel group, to develop the Formula1 and Formula Inn range of hotels in South Africa and the first of 23 hotels opened the next year.
Tsogo Sun Holdings Proprietary Limited (as it was then known) (‘Tsogo Sun Holdings’) was constituted as a bidding consortium between Southern Sun and numerous black empowerment corporates, associations and individuals (via TIH) and the consortium was successful in obtaining five casino licences.
The group opened the Emnotweni Casino which in 1997 was the first casino within the new regulated environment in post-apartheid South Africa.
In the following year the group opened The Ridge Casino.
Southern Sun acquired a 50% interest in a consortium Liberty called The Cullinan Hotel Proprietary Limited (‘Cullinan’) which owned three hotels.
Montecasino opened during 2000, Hemingways Casino opened during 2001 and the Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World followed in 2002.
During 2002, SABMiller (via SABSA Holdings Limited) and TIH concluded a landmark BBBEE transaction which resulted in TIH acquiring control of Tsogo Sun Holdings, including the hotel business, and the dilution of SABMiller’s ownership interest to 49%. HCI first acquired a 10% interest in TIH during 2002 and has subsequently obtained control of TIH.
The group acquired two casino properties owned by Century Casinos Inc., namely Blackrock Casino and The Caledon Casino.
An additional 30% of the shares in the Suncoast casino were acquired from non-controlling interests increasing the group’s holding to 73.5%.
The group merged with Gold Reef incorporating an additional seven casinos into the group’s portfolio – Gold Reef City Casino, Silverstar Casino, Golden Horse Casino, Garden Route Casino, Mykonos Casino, Goldfields Casino and an associate investment in Queens Casino. The group was reverse listed into Gold Reef and subsequently renamed Tsogo Sun Holdings Limited. An additional 16.5% of the shares in the Suncoast casino were acquired from non-controlling interests, increasing the group’s holding to 90%.
The group acquired Accor SA’s holding in the Formula1 hotels and in the following year rebranded the hotels to SUN1. The Tsogo Sun group was rebranded, bringing the two casino businesses and the hotel business under one common identity.
The final 10% of the shares in the Suncoast Casino were acquired from non-controlling interests, bringing the group’s holding to 100%. The group acquired 75.5% of Ikoyi Hotels Limited which owns the Southern Sun Ikoyi Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria.
The group acquired an additional 10% interest in Cullinan and Cullinan acquired various hotel assets from Liberty and Southern Sun bringing the number of hotel properties in Cullinan to eight. The group acquired a 25% interest in RBH Hotel Group Limited (‘RBH’), a leading hotel management company in the United Kingdom. The expansion of Silverstar Casino was completed. SABMiller disposed of its stake in the group and Tsogo Sun Holdings Limited bought back 12% of its ordinary shares.
The group acquired 55% of the Hospitality Property Fund B-linked units in anticipation of acquiring a controlling stake in the fund. The expansion of Gold Reef City Casino was completed. The group acquired 26% of International Hotel Properties Limited, a hotel owning company in the United Kingdom. The group acquired a 20% interest in the GrandWest and Worcester casinos. The group acquired an additional two hotels and the 40% shareholding Liberty had in Cullinan. The group acquired a controlling stake in Hospitality Property Fund.
The group acquired Gameco incorporating the Vukani LPM and Galaxy Bingo businesses.