Wilderness Safaris to list in lead up to expansion phase

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Conservation tourism company Wilderness Safaris has announced the launch of a public offer in Botswana and South Africa, to be followed by a primary listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange and a simultaneous secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange's Africa Board.

The company announced that the exercise was a strategically significant step in its evolution, designed to enable it to take full advantage of growth opportunities and to give the public an opportunity to participate in its future success.

Chief executive Andy Payne says the company aims to double both the number of guests hosted in the business by 2015 and the present areas under influence, while continuously improving the operational efficiencies of the business model.

"We recognise that achieving this aim will require greater access to capital markets, a broader shareholder base and a simplified corporate structure. We also believe that our unique positioning, iconic international brand and management's long track record of financial and operational delivery present investors with an attractive growth and performance platform," he explains.

Wilderness Safaris' core philosophy is one of building sustainable conservation economies through responsible tourism, which shares the benefits of tourism with local communities and ensures that pristine wilderness areas are protected profitably.

The 26-year-old business is invested in 53 destinations and manages and markets a further 17 in seven Southern African countries. It also operates specialist travel businesses in six countries as well as a fleet of 49 aircraft. It employs more than 2 700 people, most of whom come from remote rural communities. The company achieved a revenue of BWP995.05-million (R1 220.45-million) for the year to February 2009.

The public offer for three million ordinary shares is at a price of P4.00 in Botswana and R4.56 in South Africa and is fully underwritten. Prior to the public offer, the company placed 56 343 256 ordinary shares by way of a private placement, also at a price of P4.00 per share.

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