Continuing with its efforts to focus its business on its beer and drinks operations, SABMiller has come to an agreement with its gaming joint venture partner, Tsogo Investments Holding to restructure its leisure interests in southern Africa to form a black-controlled hotel and gaming group in a R1.9bn ( $213m) deal.
SABmiller has called the move "the most important empowerment deal yet in the South African hospitality sector." And, the agreement will result in the transfer of both companies' interests within the hotel and gaming sectors into a new company, to be named Tsogo Sun Holdings  which is to be controlled by Tsogo Investments.

Today's announcement, which follows SABMiller's review of its options for its non-core hotel and gaming interests, will be beneficial to its shareholders, the company said. It is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2003 and will be earnings neutral for SABMiller in the first full financial year following completion.

Graham Mackay, chief executive of SABMiller said: "This represents an important empowerment transaction for South Africa and a further step in our strategy of focusing SABMiller as an international beer and beverage group.

"We are delighted with the development of our partnership with Tsogo Investments and are pleased to see it enter a new phase with this transaction.

"Over the medium term, SABMiller intends to continue to reduce its investment in hotels and gaming, in keeping with its strategy to divest of non-core interests."

Ashley Mabogoane, Chairman of Tsogo Investments said, "The formation of TSH represents a major step for Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and will substantially contribute to the transformation of the hotel and gaming industries within the context of the government's national BEE agenda."

Valli Moosa, the South African Minister for Environmental Affairs and Tourism, said: "This represents a landmark BEE transaction for SABMiller, Tsogo Investments and South Africa. It is also a milestone for BEE in the tourism industry, representing the largest BEE transaction to be concluded in this increasingly important sector of the South African economy."