Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed real estate investment trust Mara Delta just announced a new hospitality acquisition plan in Mauritius.
Negotiations are underway for Mara Delta to acquire a 45 percent interest in three hotels owned by Mauritius stock exchange-listed New Mauritius Hotels Ltd, Africa Property News reported.
This follows another deal, concluded earlier in October with Mara Delta acquiring the Tamassa Resort for $40 million in Bel Ombre, Southwestern Mauritius, through a sale and leaseback agreement.
With an economy based on tourism and financial services, Mauritius is considered a model of stability. It has one of Africa’s highest per capita incomes, solid ownership rights and a free and independent media. It’s rated one of the top five prime property locations in sub-Saharan Africa along with Cape Town and Sandton, according to New World Wealth Mauritius Investment Review.
By the end of 2015, there were 3,200 U.S. dollar millionaires living in Mauritius — population 1.3 million — with a combined net worth of $12 billion.
Most of the millionaires — about two thirds — come from France and Southern Africa. Of the 1766 properties sold in Mauritius to foreigners in the last 10 years, 44 percent were from France, 21.7 percent from South Africa, and 8.9 percent from the U.K.
The property market is expected to grow 40 percent in the next 10 years.
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Low tax rates of 15 percent, a thriving financial services sector, ease of doing business and an idyllic environment of ocean and mountains all contribute to an enabling environment for investment, Africa Property News reported.
With a $500,000 US investment, foreigners can buy Mauritian residency and apply for a passport after five years of property ownership.
“No housing or property tax, no inheritance tax on properties purchased and no capital gains tax speaks directly to property investors, particularly those looking to relocate for retirement,” said Richard Haller, operations director of Pam Golding Properties.
Mauritius boast low levels of government regulation, and that appeals to wealthy people, New World Wealth reported. Residents are free to invest overseas with no exchange controls. It has a well-developed stock exchange and banking system, and it’s easy to do business there. World Bank ranked Mauritius No. 1 in Africa in its 2016 Doing Business report.
With offices in Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique and South Africa, Mara Delta is the only pan-African real estate investment trust listed on the JSE. Established a year ago, Mara Delta built a solid portfolio and has attracted some big investors, Biz Community reported.
Mara Delta was created in 2015 when Mauritius-based property investment firm Delta Africa merged with Mara Diversified Property Holdings, the real estate arm set up by entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar’s Mara Group. The goal of the billion-rand deal ($70.4 million US) and this strategic relationship was to create a property powerhouse on the African continent, ePropertyNews reported in November, 2015.
Tamassa is a four-star beach hotel with 214 rooms close to golf courses, nature parks and other attractions such as the Seven Coloured Earths geological formations. Operating for more than nine years, it ranks No. 7 on Trip Advisor out of 178 hotels in Mauritius.
New Mauritius Hotels does business as Beachcomber Hotels & Resorts, owning and managing eight hotels in Mauritius with 2077 rooms — around 25 percent of total rooms in the country. It’s the biggest and oldest hotel group in Mauritius and one of largest companies listed on the Mauritian stock exchange by market capitalization, according to a company snapshot.