Maropeng looks for new shareholder

2010-06-14 10:04

The main shareholder in the Maropeng visitor centre has asked the

government to find a “more suitable partner”, but has agreed not to dump the

project, a company director said.

“This was a discussion that was almost two years old,” said Rob

King, managing director at Stefanutti Stocks Concessions, which is the major

shareholder of the visitor site at the Cradle of Humankind, west of


“We haven’t pulled out, we have agreed with government to fund it

while they find a more suitable partner.”

King said they took over as majority shareholder when another

company was unable to do so on completion of the project.

Stefanutti Stocks had “stepped into the breach” even though it was

a construction company, not a leisure company, and had funded it for almost six


“We are a construction company and were always hoping to find

someone involved in the leisure industry (to take over).”

The project was making a loss but was starting to break even.

Visitor numbers to the area had doubled, but the recession “didn’t help”.

“It isn’t reaching tourism numbers we required to make it more

profitable,” he said.

The recent discovery of a new fossil in the area had boosted

visitor numbers, but the discovery of “another five” would really help, he


King said staff at the facility knew what to do and what was needed

for it to remain a going concern, which usually took about 10 years from start


“Now is the time to find a more suitable partner,” he said.

“The government has asked us to adopt a holding position, which we

have accepted, so we are not just dumping the project while they are looking for

a partner.”

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