VENTURES: Here's that Sinking Feeling
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IT hardly seems the right time to be expanding your watersports offering when pressure on discretionary spending is tightening by the day.
But that’s exactly what listed leisure conglomerate Cullinan Holdings has planned, opting to add a new operational dimension to Manex, its Cape Town-based supplier to the yachting and diving industry.
CBN noticed a story in Business Day recently that marked a change of the guard at Cullinan with Michael Tollman taking the chairman’s seat from Michael Ness. This executive change was reportedly initiated to “try to refocus and revitalise the travel group and reaffirm direct family control over the company”.
Cullinan’s best known brands include well-known travel outfits like Thompson and Hylton Ross. But what caught CBN’s eye was an admission by the new chairman that acquisitions were on the cards – and that an area of focus would be Cullinan’s marine division - namely Manex.
Manex endured “slow sales” in the six months to end March 2008 – which are in line with ‘watersport’ trends evident in results from larger retail concerns like Combined Motor Holdings.
At the interim stage Cullinan’s directors noted tersely that steps were being taken to improve the performance of Manex.
It would seem one of the steps is to shore up the watersport division with an acquisition in the form of Central Boating – which was acquired at the beginning of October for an undisclosed sum.
Cape Town-based Central Boating looks to be a sprawling operation, covering an array of boating brands for the yachting and power boat sectors.
Cullinan said the acquisition would strengthen the group’s current presence in the marine industry and would add additional profits to the group in the future.
CBN wonders if Cullinan – which recently warned its year to end September results would be down by more than 50% - is being prudent in hoisting a bigger sales pitch in boating.
What if the local economy slides into the doldrums?
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