26 June 2011

Sri Lanka's Aitken Spence Net Profits up by 20pct in March 2011

31st May 2011, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka's Aitken Spence group, which has interests in tourism, shipping, power and plantations said profits rose 20.7 percent to 754.4 million rupees in the March 2011 quarter, with revenues flat at 6.9 billion rupees.
In the full year to March the group's revenues rose 4.0 percent to 25.1 billion rupees and profits rose 23.4 percent to 2.53 billion rupees.

Aitken Spence said performance was helped by strong growth in tourism. The group owns or operates hotels in Sri Lanka, Maldives, India and Oman. Tourism arrivals to Sri Lanka have surged following the end of a war in 2009.

"I welcome the spirited and upbeat sentiment in the economy and believe that the next few years will bring the transformation of Sri Lanka to a truly competitive emerging economy," Aitken Spence chairman Harry Jayawardena said in a


"For Aitken Spence, our advantage will be on our home ground and this will be reflected in our interests within Sri Lankan economy.

"I can say with certainly that we will invest to expand our existing positions of strength while also aggressively exploring fresh opportunities for diversification in to growth sectors of the economy."

The group had it has fully refurbished three 'Heritance' branded premium properties.

A resort Heritance Ayurveda Mahagedara will be opened next month, while construction started on a 'Six Senses' hotel in Ahungalla in the South West coast which is expected to be finished in 2013.

A resort in Kalutara 'The Golden Sun' is closed for refurbishment upgrade to 4-star status and is due to be opened in December. A hundred new rooms will also be built pushing the total to 200.

A 200 room hotel will be built on the location of Browns Beach hotel which is being demolished. A new property will be built in a land in Nilaveli the eastern coast. In April the group had got majority ownership of Hilltop Hotel.

Tourism had brought 1.6 billion rupees in annual operating profits, up from 1.17 billion rupees a year earlier. Strategic investments brought in 1.6 billion rupees in operating profits, down from 1.4 billion rupees a year earlier.

Aitken Spence with China Merchant Holdings (International), a Chinese state firm, was making site investigations after getting a concession to build container terminal in Colombo port. It is expected to be built by 2013.

The firm had also bought Logilink (Pvt) Ltd, a container freight station catering to the garment industry. The cargo logistics sector brought in 601 million rupees in profits, down from 623 million a year earlier

The firm's thermal power sector has seen lower generation due to rain, but hydro power and wind power plant was in the works.

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