Sun International, the iconic gaming and hotel group, is dicing with debt in a high-risk game where its rivals are watching closely — with their cards clutched to their chests. There are huge stakes at play in a highly competitive gaming sector where casinos are now battling to compete with fast-growing electronic bingo terminals, limited payout machines and sports betting. The odds, at this delicate juncture, are much stacked against Sun, which has just launched a R1.5bn rights issue to ease some of its hefty debt load. It’s perhaps the lowest point for a company that shot to international attention when a then 44-year-old hustler named Sol Kerzner opened the glitzy Sun City in 1979, at a cost of R35m. Kerzner wasn’t exactly a novice: he’d already opened SA’s first five-star hotel, the Beverly Hills, in Umhlanga in 1964 despite much scepticism. But Kerzner threw big money at Sun City, wooing the world’s top golfers with the promise of the first US$1m prize, and offering similar che...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.