Sri Lanka’s Santani Resorts eyes US$50mn for expansion

 ECONOMYNEXT- Dumbara Hotels (Pvt) Ltd, a  start-up which operates Santani Wellness Resort and Spa, wants to raise 50 million US dollars in a second funding round for expansion, and is looking for a public listing in the medium term, an official said.

 "We’re looking at around 40-50 million (US dollars) raise next year to go into two to three hotels," Founder/Chief Executive Vickum Nawagamuwage said.

 "Those will come into play in the next six to eight months," he said.

 The company has purchased 70 acres adjacent to its existing Santani resort on Sri Lanka’s Knuckles mountain range to build serviced residential villas.

 "We will be developing villas which will be operated under the Santani brand, but the public will be able to invest in the villas, so that people can own a villa, and lease it back to us where we will manage it and rent it out," he said.

 The 20-room Santani property was built with an investment of 4 million US dollars in 2016. Nawagamuwage said the firm was already in profits.

 "We were making money in the first year. That usually doesn’t happen," he said.

 Some of the new hotels may be built overseas, he said.

 "So far we were focused on building a brand. Once we have built a brand, it’s not limited to a geographic setting," he said.

 US-based Time magazine has recognized Santani as one of the ‘World’s Greatest Places’ in its inaugural listing.

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 "With all this, it’s an opportune time for us to go out of Sri Lanka as well," Nawagamuwage said. 

He said the company is also planning a public listing over the next 3 to 5 years.

"I need to make some money as well so it’s definitely in the plans."

Nawagamuwage and several other individuals own shares in the company. (COLOMBO, 30 August, 2018)

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