Durban's property market has seen dramatic change since the mid-1990s, particularly along its northern coast where a development boom has transformed sugarcane fields and coastal villages into modern economic hubs. Much of this development, including King Shaka International Airport and the Gateway Theatre of Shopping, has happened on land owned or previously held by Tongaat Hulett - Africa's largest sugar producer. Over the past two decades the 127-year-old company diversified from its roots as a sugar producer to get into property development, which was a profitable move initially but is now seen as one of the main reasons for the group's poor performance in recent years. The company's fortunes took a turn for the worse in 2018 when it reported a R30m loss from its land business, a dramatic reversal of the R441m operating profit the previous year. As at October 2018, Tongaat was owed R1.9bn by debtors who had bought land from it. Michelle Jean-Louis, Tongaat Hulett's investor rela...

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