Sun International Plans to Cut Thousands of Jobs
South Africa’s leading hotel and casino operator, Sun International has rolled out a restructuring plan to help the group offset the heavy losses that it saw in the first half of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in Sun International losing nearly R885 million. Part of the restructuring plan includes laying off at least 3,300 people in South Africa and other properties in Latin America.
“The COVID-19 pandemic required us to undertake a deeper review as we anticipate that it will take some time for our properties, in particular our hotels and resorts, to recover,” said Sun International’s Chief Executive Anthony Leeming said.
Sun International, along with other hotel and casino operators, was forced to close its properties for at least three months during lockdown. The industry was particularly hard hit because it is so dependent on travelers, especially those from overseas, as well as on the sale of alcohol.
Sun International plans to cut the jobs of around 2,300 employees in South Africa, and another 1,000 in Chile, where is operates hotels.
In the meantime, Sun City has reopened for business, although not all of the hotels in the resort will reopen.
Leeming said that Sun City was overstaffed even before the pandemic hit.
Sun International said that it was exiting its investment in Sun Dreams, a Chilean casino operator. This will put at least $160 million back into the group’s pockets and will go towards settling debts in Chile and South Africa.
Analysts have said that Sun International’s interim are as bad as were expected, with income down 55%.
Looking ahead, Leeming said that things are already starting to look up for Sun International, and the tourism industry as a hole.
“In August, things already started looking better,” he said. “We see a slow recovery. It will not be overnight. As the economy recovers, so will our business. We have used the pandemic as an opportunity to improve the business, looking at the costs to ensure we resilient going forward.”