(Adds comments from CEO, details)
JOHANNESBURG, May 21 (Reuters) - Tsogo Sun Holdings Ltd , Africa’s biggest hotels and gambling operator, is considering listing its 30 billion rand ($2.5 billion) property portfolio separately, its chief executive said on Thursday.
The company, which posted a slight drop in full-year profit, said it will decide before the end of this year whether to place the offices and shopping centres it owns around its casino’s in a Real Estate Investment Trust and list it on the JSE.
“We still want to control it,” said CEO Marcel von Aulock.
Tsogo Sun’s profit eased as cash-strapped consumers in its mainstay South African market cut back on gambling and the government put the squeeze on civil servants’ travel expenses.
Tsogo Sun said diluted headline earnings per share, the main profit measure in South Africa that strips out certain one-off items, dipped 1 percent to 175 cents.
Consumers in Africa’s most advanced economy are spending less due to high personal debt levels and rising fuel prices while a weak economy restricted business and government travel, which has led to low hotel occupancies.
Among higher income groups spending on gambling is curtailed by low confidence levels, as controlled power outages by energy utility Eskom saps optimism, said Von Aulock.
Tsogo Sun, which also operates hotels in several other countries such as Nigeria, Kenya and Mozambique, said revenue from outside South Africa was unchanged.
$1 = 11.7890 rand Reporting by TJ Strydom and Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by James Macharia