Sun International shuts down Latin America operations on coronavirus fears

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Sun International casinos and hotels in Chile are set to close from Wednesday until Sunday, as part of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus in that country, the company announced on Tuesday.

The South African hotel and leisure group operates Monticello Casino and Hotel in Chile, in what is part of its portfolio in Latin America.

The coronavirus shutdown comes on the back of disruptions experienced by the company during social unrest seen in the country in the last quarter of 2019, which impacted operations and caused damage to property.

The company has advised shareholders that it will be closing all casinos in Chile, along with hotels and food and beverage operations from Wednesday, 18 March 2020 until Sunday, 29 March 2020. 

The hotel group also announced that authorities had closed its operations in Peru, Argentina, Colombia and Panama, due to the virus. It is not clear when these will be allowed to reopen.

"The measures taken are in accordance with the instructions of the pertinent authorities, in order to ensure the containment of the spread of the virus," it said.

"Given the uncertainty regarding the duration of the closures, it is not possible at this stage to determine their effect."

Upon release of the country's annual results on Monday, Sun International had said it was "particularly pleased" with the performance of its Latin American operations, which had grown income 1%. 

The company says all its operations in South Africa remain open for business. Sun International shares were down as much as 17% on the JSE on Tuesday, dropping to at R16.50 at 15:32, after closing at R20.27 on Monday. 

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