Jul 31 , 2021

A businesswoman with assets in the hospitality industry has acquired the Nexus, a four-star hotel located in the Gerji area, for 740 million Br.

Tiliksew Gedamu, the owner of the Grand Hotel in Bahir Dar, bought the eight-storey hotel, under the management of the Swiss Inn Hotel & Resort. Nexus was first opened in 2012 with an investment of 150 million Br. Resting on a 3,000sqm plot of land, the Hotel encompasses 151 rooms, five meeting halls, bars, a restaurant, a gymnasium, a spa, an outdoor swimming pool and a parking lot.

The original developers decided to sell the property to shed off debt, including a 25 million Br loan from Awash Bank. Zena Dawit, the managing director at Nexus, disclosed that 40pc of the proceeds from the sale will be used to settle these liabilities.

"We haven't decided on what to invest in using the outstanding proceeds," said Zena. "We'll most probably be working on expanding our import and export businesses."

The owners may not have received a value the current market could offer, according to Wubishet Abera, a consultant in property management.

"It's hard to believe it is based on the current market value," said Wubishet.

The deal could have been brokered by middlemen who only considered the value of the land and the structure but neglected to account for the value of the property and amenities within the Hotel, according to the consultant.

Tiliksew, however, is happy with her latest acquisition.

"We'll request land for expansion if the City Administration permits, as the Hotel's parking space is insufficient," she told Fortune.

Once a teacher, Tiliksew got her start in business through the transport sector before moving to the hospitality industry. She began with a hotel in Debre Markos and then opened the largest hotel in Bahir Dar, the seat of the Amhara Regional Administration. She is a Chairperson of Grand Resort & Spa Bahir Dar, under the management of the Radisson Blu Hotel Group, and General Manager of Piccolo Abay International Business Plc.

Nexus Hotel is not the first piece of property she has acquired in the capital. She bought Bellevue Hotel in the Megenagna area in January 2020 and has no plans of stopping here. She has completed the construction of a 14-storey building in Bole District for another hotel.

"I'm excited about the future," said Tiliksew. "We bought the Hotel hoping that a better time is coming ahead."

She hopes that the future will be kinder to the hospitality industry than the last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hospitality industry was one of the worst affected by the pandemic, with occupancy rates plunging to as low as two percent last year. Many hotels reached the point where they could not have covered payroll. Two decades ago, there were fewer than 10 star-rated hotels. The figure has skyrocketed to over 1,000, with hundreds more currently under construction. However, most are concentrated in Addis Abeba, Hawassa, Bahir Dar, Adama and Meqelle.

Ermiyas Alemu is a freelance hotel service consultant. He observed that heavy debt burdens, including the soft loans facilitated by the central bank to salvage the hotels from the impacts of the coronavirus, threatened the viability of the industry, though things have improved lately.

"The hospitality industry is recovering with the occupancy rate of hotels showing improvement compared to the situation in the aftermath of the pandemic," said Ermiyas.

Nexus' occupancy rate currently sits near 50pc.

PUBLISHED ON Jul 31,2021 [ VOL 22 , NO 1109]

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