Exclusive by James Wells at Castaway Island, Fiji
Outrigger Enterprises Group CEO and President David Carey has provided some insights into the reasons why the Kelley family has relinquished control of the company after seven decades with the recent announcement of the sale to KSL Capital.
In an exclusive interview with HM conducted during the recent Castaway Island 50th birthday celebrations, Carey said the Kelley family felt that the time was right for the sale to take place.
“The Kelley family has done well for 69 years and I think they felt like the game has changed and the ante has been raised and more capital is required,” Carey said.
“The family feel a deep responsibility to the company and the employees and they just felt it was important to find a player that was going to step up for the future. KSL is one of those significant investors, they are a big money player and they are in the resort industry so we are very optimistic that they are going to up the game for Outrigger.
“They have told us it is business as usual for the management team which has stabilised a lot of our employees. I have been visiting our properties and making speeches to our employees to tell them that yes we intend to keep our brand and keep our company, keep our value system like we have here at Castaway in Fiji and I am therefore optimistic that it is going to help us grow to the next phase.
“They bring big time resort experience and of course they bring capital and they have other businesses including a big global spa company, they have a lot of experience in different sorts of resort markets so I think they will challenge us to raise our thinking as well. I think there is value on the upside otherwise we wouldn’t have done [the deal].
“It is very hard when you have a warm and fuzzy family based business, but we are facing some mega competitors. I feel better that we have some big players behind us now and allow us to compete with the mega players.
“The family has owned the company for a long time, so people are concerned that it is transitioning from a family business to an investment and I am hoping that in my job I am going to maintain that atmosphere and I’m to try to do that
“My message to our employees is that it is business as usual, wages and benefits for the line employees stay the same and we hope we will have capital to do our renovations and grow the business.”