THE second richest person in Mexico and 32nd richest person in the world, Mexican billionaire Alberto Baillères, is set to become the new owner of the country’s most luxurious private game reserve as the sale of Erindi recently entered its final stages.
The 88-year-old billionaire reportedly developed an affinity for Namibia after many visits.
After being in the market at a price of N$2 billion for the past five years and several months of speculation about the possible sale, a statement issued on behalf of the parties involved announced that, pending a final decision of the Namibian Competition Commission and the finalisation of certain contractual aspects, the sale of the Erindi Private Game Reserve is all but completed.
During April this year the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Stanley Simataa, announced that the Namibian Government abandoned a decision to acquire the 71 000-hectare nature reserve, located south-east of Omaruru from the current owners Erindi (Pty) Ltd. Simataa said that Government scrapped its plans to buy the reserve because it does not have the funds to buy Erindi.
Baillères is an entrepreneur with multi-national business interests and is well known for being a philanthropist.
He is the president of the multi-national business consortium BAL Group and according to the statement, he has extensive experience with managing several wildlife protection ranches in different parts of the world.
“The transaction is still subject to Namibian Competition Commission approval, and certain other contracting party-related suspensive conditions. All other governmental and regulatory approvals have been obtained and complied with in full,” the statement reads.
The statement added that Baillères intends to continue Erindi’s activities in eco-conservation and the preservation of flora and fauna species that are unique and an essential part of African culture and heritage, including some rare and endangered species.
“The sale will bring benefits to all Namibians and the country. The number of jobs at Erindi will be preserved and within this number, new and better-remunerated opportunities will be created in the country, directly and indirectly.”
Baillères aims to upgrade and enhance Erindi, creating a world-class attraction and protecting its wildlife by implementing international best practices in anti-poaching and conservation initiatives.
Legal counsel for the buyer, Koos Pretorius of ENS Africa is quoted in the statement as saying: “Mr Baillères has stressed his commitment to preserve Erindi for the benefit of future generations of Namibians and the world. The intention is to turn Erindi into a flagship private game reserve, and any future profits generated from this social enterprise will be primarily reinvested in Erindi. He has visited Namibia several times and admires the beauty of the country and the spirit and warmth of the Namibian people.”
According to Pretorius, the transaction-oriented due diligence confirmed that while Erindi would not be suitable for farming or resettlement, it holds important potential as an area for wildlife conservation. He said the buyer’s plans for Erindi will greatly benefit the tourism sector, job creation and skills development, and as a consequence the wider Namibian economy.
“Mr Baillères has complied in full with each and every regulatory approval required under Namibian law. The government responded professionally, efficiently and promptly, and were scrupulous throughout the process,” said Pretorius.
In conveying the message on behalf of the Mexican billionaire, Pretorius stressed that his client hopes that Namibians will receive the sale and future plans for Erindi well.
“My client has made it clear from the outset that he will only complete the purchase of Erindi if all legal requirements are in place and if he and the investment he intends to make are welcomed by Namibians.”
The Namibian commercial representative of Erindi (Pty) Ltd., Willem Bodenstein, confirmed that the sale of the private game reserve has reached an advanced stage and said that the parties involved will provide more detail about the finalisation of the transaction at a later stage.