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CEO Message – February 2024

Half way through February and things are happening fast. The Orion train is moving ahead at pace and those aboard must hold on to their seats, as the train is moving full steam ahead.

We are extremely fortunate and grateful to be operating a successful group of businesses amidst the political and social economic turmoil around us. Potholes, loadshedding, strained fresh water supply, poor medical care, housing crisis, unemployment, crime & corruption and many more challenges are on our daily “look out” list.

Businesses in South Africa face other challenges, to name a few;

  • Cost of generators
  • Cost of diesel
  • Theft in companies
  • Lack of reliable contractors
  • Rand/Dollar exchange rate
  • Skills deficit

Orion however, has an absolute “CAN DO” approach to all of the above and more.

Below are a few examples of the projects within our group of businesses that are working hard at growth and success.

Bakwena Day Spa

At the end of January, Bakwena Day Spa closed their branch at Velmore in Erasmia, and two spas remain in the portfolio. The business is being refocused with;

  • Rebranding opportunities
  • Investing in upgraded and better software systems, to allow the business to become fully e-commerce compatible with a fully fledged online booking system and online retail shopping platform
  • The plans for growth and opening more spas in the future

Genset Corporation

  • Expand the short term rental fleet
  • Increasing long term rental agreements
  • Partnering with financiers
  • Appointment of a sales executive

Orion Hotels & Resorts

Safari Hotel & Convention Centre

  • Opening of the upmarket Station Bar where the hotel will serve a good selection of whiskeys, cognac, gin, craft beer on tap, wines and more.
  • Refurbishment of the EC venue
  • Continuous refurbishment and upgrade of the hotel rooms
  • New designated smoking area
  • Establish new kiddies play area by the heated pool
  • New Kiddies trike track
  • Entrance area upgrades
  • Investigate a partial solar solution

Venue Country Hotel & Spa

  • Continue with the “quirky” theme throughout the hotel
  • Refurbishment of 20 rooms
  • New Kiddies trike track

Ditholo Game Lodge

  • Continuous room upgrades
  • Luxury room with private jacuzzi
  • More kiddies activities
  • More weddings & functions
  • Hanging tents for children
  • New Kiddies trike track
  • New Toyota Bakkie for maintenance and operations

Mont Aux Sources Drakensberg Resort

  • Planned re-opening on the 1st September, with many exciting features and facilities to look forward including walking, running and bike trails, river rafting, swimming pool, volley ball, mini golf, and more.
  • Opening of the chalets
  • Opening of a backpackers

Orion Real Estate & Orion Facilities Management

Promenade Shopping Centre – Nelspruit

  • Completed phase one redevelopment & expansion with 12 new stores with total capital outlay of around R25 million
  • Entered into a franchise agreement with Regus furnished office solutions of a 800sqm space
  • Phase two redevelopment is well under way with further conversion of the old hotel to retail space

Primrose Mall

  • New leases secured with Pep Stores and Mr Price by extending their retail space size.
  • The corner general store was extended by a further 90sqm and signed a new 5 years lease.

Wendywood Centre

  • Redevelopment plan in place

Orion Centre Elma Park, Edenvale

  • Business Rescue in progress and building has been recaptured by the Orion Group
  • Cleaning up and rehabilitating of the retail and commercial sections
  • A number of interested tenants

Head Office

  • New procurement software and system implemented
  • A number of key positions filled
  • Planned IT infrastructure upgrades
  • New vehicle tracking system planned
  • Planning of upgrading and replacement of obsolete utility vehicles

The above are just some of the highlights of many moving parts which make The Orion Group successful.

The central theme for the year of 2024 will be accountability, where each department, business and person working for Orion will be held accountable to execute their tasks and to work in the best interest of the company, working toward the shared goal of success.

Much focus will go into this theme for the Orion Group to remain relevant, profitable and above all be prepared for future challenges and more importantly opportunities.

I am counting on all our directors, exco members, managers, supervisors and staff to diligently execute their tasks they signed up for and to hold the Orion Values and Guiding Principles in high regard.

I would also like to take this opportunities to thank each and every guest, client, customer and tenant for their ongoing support and belief in our business and we promise to keep working hard at improving all facets of our business to share in a better future for all.



The Orion Group

Franz Gmeiner