Boschendal's new owners pay R180 mil to complete the purchase of the 2,240 HA estate
The new owners of Boschendal have demonstrated their commitment to obligations made to the community and to Anglo American in an almost tangible manner by completing the second phase acquisition of Boschendal lands even though they are still awaiting planning approval for their initial property developments. The latest acquisition increases their investment to over R500 million in land and development.

Speaking to approximately 250 guests at an alfresco luncheon hosted by Gary Player, Boschendal’s “Ambassasor” (and the owner of a Founder’s Estate), Clive Venning, CEO of Boschendal, said,

“Almost all developers make payment and transfer conditional on receiving planning approval and, in some cases, a satisfactory level of presales. We have gone ahead without these, firstly because we gave an undertaking to Anglo-American Farms, the sellers, to do so by September this year and, secondly, because we believe that our planning will support balanced development at Boschendal – and will set a new benchmark, in the care taken to preserve the cultural, environmental and agricultural integrity of such estates, while at the same time giving genuine opportunities for the upliftment of surrounding communities.”

Don Tooth, MD of Anglo-American Farms, said that the new owners’ consortium had honoured their commitments throughout the process. He praised the patience, perseverance and flexibility of their approach.

Boschendal’s main shareholders today are 550 previously disadvantaged investors in a consortium headed up by Chris Nissen (who is also Executive Chairman of Boschendal Ltd), IFA Hotels and Resorts Limited South African Company and Citation Holdings SA, a Luxembourg company. These together hold 90% of the equity in roughly equal proportions. The remaining 10% is held by a South African company, Rocketship (Pty) Ltd.

Venning said that Anglo-American had selected his consortium from 142 bidders for the Boschendal estate. They had done so, he said, because they were determined that the socially responsible/partnering stance which they had adopted at Boschendal should be perpetuated. In particular, they wanted the farming operation to continue intact and the heritage homes, particularly the Manor House, be kept open to the public. All this Venning and his partners promised to do.

“Anglo”, said Venning, “set a model of socially responsible action at Boschendal. They built and ceded to their existing and retired labour force 611 homes at Lanquedoc with a value of R158 million. They are also in the process of donating 85ha of residential and agricultural land to the local community worth an additional R67 million.”

“We are trying to maintain this very responsible commitment. We have already donated some R740,000 to local schools and community outreach projects and, if allowed to proceed, over R120 million in cash will follow from the recently established Boschendal Treasury Trust as a result of them receiving 5% of all residential sales and 0,5% of all resales. We are also ceding 140ha of land to the local community for agricultural, residential and conservation purposes.”

In all, said Venning, Boschendal’s corporate social investment programme will total over R450 million, of which more than R226 million has already been handed over to the local community in land and cash.

“It would,” he said, “be a great pity if Boschendal’s plans are not allowed to reach fruition because it is clear to me that only in this way can the estate’s future be assured and serious unemployment in the valley alleviated. Our Sustainable Development Programme will preserve intact 1,000ha of agricultural land, 750ha of nature reserve, the historic homes and precincts of Boschendal and will alleviate poverty and unemployment in the valley raising average incomes by 35% in real terms.”

Now that the transfer of the additional land to Boschendal has been completed, the new owners are preparing second phase development proposals, said Venning. These, he said, are in line with World Heritage stipulations and will not encroach on productive farm land. In total only 11% of the total estate will be built on – and this includes the 5% already covered.

For further information contact Clive Venning on 083 706 9715