Aitken Spence Hotels launch ‘SpenceSafe’ safety guidelines for guests

30 Jun

Premier hospitality company, Aitken Spence Hotels recently launched ‘SpenceSafe’, a complete guide to health & safety in support of the efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The blueprint, accessible on their website ( and shared with their key travel and trade partners, aims to reassure guests and restore their confidence by sharing their comprehensive and cohesive health & safety procedures over all functions.

The Group has 22 hotels and resorts in Sri Lanka, Maldives, India and Oman under its brands Heritance Hotels and Resorts, Adaaran Resorts, and Turyaa as well as its managed properties. Collectively, the Aitken Spence Hotels have taken a holistic and precautionary approach benchmarked to global best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Company is gradually opening their doors to welcome guests, with Earl’s Regent being the first to open at the beginning of June 2020, followed by Bandarawela Hotel, Amethyst Resort Passikudah Heritance Kandalama, Heritance Negombo, Earl’s Regency and Turyaa Kalutara in July. Heritance Ahungalla and Tea Factory are scheduled to open in October and November respectively.

‘SpenceSafe’ explains precautionary measures implemented as well as the expectation of guests’ responsibility. For the benefit of guests, the document explains procedures to be followed from the point of making a reservation, arriving at the hotel, check-in, accommodation, dining, use of meeting and conference venues and public spaces and recreation. Developed under the second phase of the Company’s Risk Mitigation Strategy, the document provides guidance to all guests, staff and supplier touchpoints to assure safe and carefree travel for all stakeholders when the hotels and resorts reopen in the next few weeks.

“The wellbeing of our guests has always been of paramount importance to us,” said Aitken Spence PLC Director, Head of Tourism and Leisure, and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotel Managements Stasshani Jayawardena. “We believe our legacy in hospitality is based on providing a superior experience to our guests by going the extra mile. Throughout our hotels, we serve with warmth and care, inherent qualities of being a local brand taking our well-known hospitality to the world. While we open our doors after a hiatus, we are keen to reacquaint our guests with our customary hospitality, only made better with the enhanced safety protocols.”

Adding to the sentiments, Aitken Spence Hotels Managing Director Susith Jayawickrama asserted, “Collectively, our hotels have taken stringent precautions to ensure the safety and health of all stakeholders, and to reassure peace of mind for our guests who have been anticipating a holiday at our resorts.” The practices outlined are based on local and international health & safety standards and have been strengthened by in-house expertise.

“We believe in creating a safe environment for our guests; promoting hassle-free travel to relax, rejuvenate and enjoy a much-needed break which is worth the wait,” he said.

The safety precautions will be constantly monitored by the Company’s Risk Response Team and will evolve with the changing global and national needs.

Furthermore, the Group used the lockdown period to educate their staff on emergency response, recognising symptoms and to familiarise them on other emerging protocols for post-lockdown operations following the SpenceSafe initiatives. The staff have also been educated on the heightened hygiene standards and safety guidelines to be followed both at work and at home as well, reiterating the Group’s commitment towards mitigating any contagion.

“Our Company has always followed international guidelines for health & safety, environmental protection and quality. For example, we maintain HACCP/ ISO 22000: 2005 certified food safety management systems. These industry benchmarks have paved the way for not only operational efficiencies and high-quality standards but for responsible tourism practices maintained across all our operations,” Jayawickrama assured. Aitken Spence Hotels look forward to welcoming all guests with hospitality from the heart at a safe haven while you are away from home.

Elpitiya Plantations partners with Sim Leisure to commence work for ESCAPE theme park in Galle

25 Jun

Elpitiya Plantations PLC an associate company of Aitken Spence PLC, recently entered into a Shareholders’ Agreement with Sim Leisure Group Ltd., a listed company in Singapore Stock Exchange, to develop and operate an adventure theme park under the ‘ESCAPE’ brand in Galle, Sri Lanka. While the partnership will formalise and strengthen the business relationship between the two companies, this is an extraordinary step from both parties amid the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country and shows the confidence on the government foreign investment policy.

‘ESCAPE’ will bring their well-known philosophy for theme parks to Sri Lanka with a unique state-of-the art adventure park. Moreover, the project is the first of its kind in Sri Lanka and obviously the first in Regional Plantation Companies. A few unique features of the park would be;

  • Longest waterslide in Sri Lanka at around 800m
  • The first chairlift experience in Sri Lanka
  • Cascaded flying fox and other exciting games

The construction of Phase 1 of ESCAPE Sri Lanka on 30 acres is scheduled to commence in the financial year ending 31 December 2020, targeting to open for the public beginning of FY2021. ESCAPE Sri Lanka will be situated in the Galle district.

This will be an attraction for Sri Lanka’s largely untapped domestic tourism sector, which has increased over the years, whilst strengthening leisure & entertainment options for international tourists.  The theme park will also integrate well with the Government’s efforts to strengthen the tourism sector and to promote destination Sri Lanka. What’s more, this is likely to create ripple effects for the economy by attracting more investments into districts outside Colombo and by creating employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for the local communities.

Sim Leisure is a leading theme park developer and operator based in Malaysia (under ESCAPE brand). Over the past 25 years, Sim Leisure has completed more than 300 projects, including Bollywood and Motiongate (Dubai), Yas Waterworld (Abu Dhabi), Legoland (Denmark and Malaysia), and Universal Studios (Singapore).

Aitken Spence ranks in the Top 3 Best Conglomerate Brands 2020

17 Jun

Aitken Spence was ranked among the top three best conglomerate brands 2020 compiled in a special edition by LMD. In the last rankings, Aitken Spence was ranked among the top 10 conglomerates and moved up six positions in 2020. The 17th annual review of Sri Lanka’s most valuable brands is produced through an in-depth analysis conducted by Brand Finance Lanka, a pioneering brand valuation and strategy firm.

The organisation was rated based on the following attributes; corporate vision, reputation or image, degree of innovation and quality consciousness. Aitken Spence achieved a competitive score of 82.58 from 100.

During the financial year 2019-2020, Aitken Spence reached several milestones. Most notable is the company’s investment in Sri Lanka’s first waste to energy project; The plant is 88% complete and is expected to commence operations during 2020-2021, solving two national crises with one effective solution. Aitken Spence also introduced LEED certified architecture to Maldives with the launch of Heritance Aarah which is the first property in the Maldives to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold status.

Elpitiya Plantations PLC signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Sim Leisure Group Ltd, a leading theme park developer and operator based in Penang, Malaysia, to set up a world-class theme park in the Galle district.

“We have been at the forefront of pioneering sustainable investments in the country; using our expertise, investment capacity, access to technology and strong partnerships to be a catalyst for socio-economic progress. Moreover, having interwoven sustainability into our strategy for over a decade, we have made a mark of raising the bar for the country’s corporate sector. Continuing ongoing work and initiating new efforts, we invested Rs. 70 million towards sustainability processes and action plans in the financial year.

We are the winner of the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award for three successive years, while being the only company in Sri Lanka to be ranked among the Top 10 Best Corporate Citizens for an unprecedented 14 consecutive years. Aitken Spence PLC has consistently ranked among the Top 10 Most Respected Entities in Sri Lanka by LMD. These recognitions reflect our commitment and efforts to sustain the triple bottom line with emphasis on the fourth P which is processes. We are committed to contribute positively towards the sustainable development of Sri Lanka,” commented Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC.

Aitken Spence records profit of Rs. 4.2 billion in 2019-2020 amidst unprecedented challenges

26 May

The year under review experienced two black swan events with their distinctive and severe impacts within the space of one year. Aitken Spence PLC remained resilient despite these challenges due to the Group’s diversified business portfolio and strategic direction.

The Group’s financial performance for the twelve months ending 31st March 2020 recorded a year-on-year profit-before-tax of Rs. 4.2 billion compared Rs. 7.3 billion last year.

Despite considerable economic headwinds the organisation’s agile strategy was reflected in the earnings from the overseas businesses that contributed 39% compared to 43% last year. This underlined the exceptional relationships that have been built with global industry players across the key sectors. The Group’s businesses from the domestic market derived 61% earnings of the Group’s PBT for 2019/2020 compared to 57% in the previous year.

The total revenue of the Group ending 31st March 2020 was Rs. 53.5 billion, a 4% drop from the previous year, primarily due to a reduction of revenue from the Tourism sector which was affected by the significant impacts mentioned above. However, the drop was compensated by the commencement of the operations during the third quarter of the year of Heritance Aarah, the flagship hotel in the Maldives.

The total assets of the Group increased by 14% to Rs. 140 billion. The Group invested Rs. 10 billion in capital expenditure across many sectors with the highest investment incurred in the power generation segment to fund the construction of the pioneering waste to energy power project, the first of its kind in Sri Lanka. This reflects the organisation’s confidence in its future earnings growth capacity.

The Group’s expansion increased to 9 countries as the Maritime & Freight Logistics sector re-established its presence in South Africa whilst the Tourism sector commenced operations in Myanmar during the year.

The launch of Heritance Aarah was a key milestone in the Tourism portfolio as it was the first time that the Heritance brand was launched overseas. Heritance Aarah is the first LEED certified building in the Maldives reflecting their commitment to sustainable and energy efficient design. Heritance Aarah has also set the bar for culinary excellence in this popular tourist destination emerging victorious in the World Culinary Olympics in Germany, having also won the Maldivian and Sri Lankan competitions during the year.

The Tourism sector recorded a loss before tax of Rs. 15.3 million compared to a profit of Rs. 3.1 billion last year. This sector was hardest hit by the Easter terror attacks at the beginning of the year with dramatic declines in tourist arrivals in the following months. Overall, performance of the overseas Tourism sector was dampened by the increased depreciation and interest costs related to Heritance Aarah which is inevitable due to the capital intensive and long-term nature of the industry.

Heritance Kandalama and Heritance Tea Factory made profits despite the setbacks. This was owing to the differentiated marketing strategy that helped to mitigate losses, carving out a niche that could be finetuned to enhance yields over time. Aitken Spence Travels handled around 14% of organised tourist arrivals to country underlying its position as the market leader and providing a healthy contribution to the Group and the country, to accelerate and strengthen the recovery of this key economic sector. Additionally, Airline General Sales Agency business added another regional passenger carrier to its portfolio which is expected to commence operations in the new financial year.

The Maritime & Freight Logistics sector contributed an outstanding profit before tax of Rs. 2.25 billion which was once again the largest contributor accounting for 54% of the Group profits. The resumption of operations in South Africa, completed a short-term assignment which supported the performance of the sector.

The Sri Lankan operations of the Maritime & Freight Logistics sector also recorded an increase in operating profits despite a significant decline in trade volumes due to global trade tensions and import restrictions. Integrated logistics performed very well by securing new multinational clients through service excellence.

The Strategic Investments sector recorded PBT of Rs. 1.7 billion compared to Rs. 1.8 billion last year. Steady progress has been made in the country’s first waste to energy power plant although the final commissioning is likely to be delayed given the challenges with the current situation. Apparel had improved efficiencies and had a good year but witnessed a drawback due to the impact of COVID-19 at the end of the financial year. The printing and packaging segment continued to differentiate itself in the market leveraging its sustainable printing agenda but was adversely impacted due to higher costs of paper leading to narrower margins and the cessation of operations in the latter part of March following the lockdown imposed in the country.

The Group’s investment in the printing & packaging segment in the South Pacific region is nearing completion and is expected to commence full scale operations soon. This strategic investment will support the printing and packaging segment’s aspirations to expand services in the South Pacific region using its expertise in sustainable printing to differentiate their value proposition.

Performance of the plantations segment was commendable despite the lower prices of tea experienced throughout the financial year due to its business diversification strategy. Escape Theme Parks signed an agreement to develop a park in Devithurai estate making Elpitiya Plantations the first Regional Plantation Company to embark on a non-agri diversification project of this scale.

The Services sector performance was commendable recording PBT of Rs. 298 million compared to Rs. 269 million last year. The insurance segment performed remarkably well and no major impact from COVID-19 is expected for this segment. The elevators segment secured a large number of contracts but may experience delays in installations as the market may be impacted due to the COVID-19 related economic downturn. Despite work remittances to the country declining during the financial year, the Money transfer segment of the Group performed well due to operational efficiencies.

“As we emerge from the great lockdown of our time to a world that has changed significantly, it is crucial that we are prepared for a paradigm shift within the Group to seize new opportunities by responding to changing demand dynamics. Plans are taking shape to ‘Realign, Reinvent and Relaunch’ our businesses to be even more relevant to society’s changing needs to deliver sustainable growth in earnings to our shareholders, upholding the Spensonian legacy of adapting to thrive,” stated Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC.

Aitken Spence PLC won the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award 2019 for the third successive year and has been ranked among the Top 10 Best Corporate Citizens of Sri Lanka for an unprecedented 14 consecutive years.

Listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange since 1983 and marking its 150th year milestone in 2018, Aitken Spence is a blue-chip conglomerate with a strong regional presence in hotels, travels, maritime, freight and logistic solutions, plantations, power generation, financial outsourcing, insurance, printing, apparel and other services.

Aitken Spence PLC & Aitken Spence Hotels shines at the ACCA Sustainability Reporting Awards

11 Mar

Public performance disclosures of the leading blue-chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC were recognised by ACCA Sri Lanka at the recently concluded Sustainability Reporting Awards of 2019. The holding company, Aitken Spence PLC was adjudged Runner-Up in the ‘Conglomerates & Diversified Category’ while Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC emerged winner in the ‘Leisure & Connected Services Category’.

ACCA Sri Lanka has felicitated Sri Lanka’s best sustainability reports for over 15 years. The Sustainability Reporting Awards are held with the objective of recognising and rewarding organisations which disclose information on financial, environmental and social performance, and to encourage corporate transparency, accountability and responsiveness to stakeholders.

Across the Group, a holistic, systemic approach is implemented to fulfil social, environmental and financial commitments with a long-term perspective that is reflected in the value created by the Group. Signatories to the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact, and the 7 Women’s Empowerment Principles, the Group also aligns their reporting practices to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI Standard) and the guidelines of the International Integrated Reporting Council. Operational priorities are aligned to national priorities and identified priorities within the Sustainable Development Goals.

Aitken Spence PLC is also the reigning winner of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability award for three successive years while being the only company in Sri Lanka to be ranked among the Top 10 Corporate Citizens for an unprecedented 14 consecutive years.

Strengthening the ingrained ethos of sustainability of their parent company, Aitken Spence Hotels is committed to preserve and sustain the natural environment and to channel dividends of the tourism industry to local communities. The award highlights the importance Aitken Spence Hotels gives to sustainability, transparency and accountability while recognising the company’s commitment to report its economic, social and environmental impacts.

With an indisputable repute as one of Sri Lanka’s pioneering corporates, Aitken Spence has anchored to a heritage of excellence spanning over 150 years. Listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange since 1983, Aitken Spence is a responsible enterprise driven by over 14,000 employees across 16 industries in 8 countries. Creating opportunities for Sri Lanka across new frontiers, Aitken Spence PLC is an organisation committed to the development of Sri Lanka.

Ms. Nilanthi Sivapragasam, Chief Financial Officer of Aitken Spence PLC, accepting the award for Runner-Up – Conglomerates & Diversified Category.


Mr. Jeevaka Weerakon – Chief Operating Officer, Aitken Spence Hotel Managements (Pvt) Ltd and Mr. Dammika Ekanayake – Assistant Vice President Finance, Aitken Spence Hotel Managements (Pvt) Ltd., accepting the award for Winner – Leisure & Connected Services Category.

Aitken Spence’s Heritance Aarah brings Gold from Culinary Olympics 2020

7 Mar

Aitken Spence Hotels continued their winning streak at their latest resort in the Maldives, Heritance Aarah, bringing home multiple wins from the prestigious IKA Culinary Olympics 2020. The team clinched four (04) Golds, seven (07) Silver and two (02) Bronze medals; marking their third win in the culinary sphere since the opening of the resort last year!

The team from Heritance Aarah embarked on the Culinary Olympic journey just months after their previous win at the Culinary Food Expo in September; the eight-member team from Heritance Aarah were led by chef Lalith Gunasekera –  Corporate Chef – Maldives Sector, and chef Amila Silva – Executive Chef Heritance Aarah. The team was guided by Culinary Olympic record holder Chef Dimuthu Kumarasinghe, a (nine-time Gold medalist). Chef Kumarasinghe is currently The Ambassador, Heritance Cuisine/Chefs & Culinary Art Development Officer at Aitken Spence Hotels.

Excellence in skill, together with the expertise of the team, sheer hard work, commitment and dedication fueled by the spirit of Aitken Spence and a winning attitude, proved to be the award-winning ingredient for Heritance Aarah.

Held in Stuttgart, Germany from 14-19 February, the competition saw over 2,000 chefs from around 59 countries crafting over 7,000 menus to be judged by an elite panel of global chefs from across the world. The competition acknowledged as the oldest, largest and most diverse international culinary art competition in the globe is one of the most competitive and challenging battles in the industry.

The winning team was welcomed at the Bandaranaike airport by the Chairperson and Management of Aitken Spence Hotels followed by a felicitation lunch and ceremony with the attendance of Deshamanya D H S Jayawardena – Chairman, Aitken Spence PLC, Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake – Deputy Chairman and Managing Director – Aitken Spence PLC, Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena – Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels and well-wishers from Aitken Spence subsidiaries.

Heritance Aarah presents 150 villas with a premium all-inclusive offering, including extensive dining experiences. Introducing a unique food culture to the Maldives hospitality industry, Heritance Aarah’s culinary success is owed to its innovative approach and simple food structure. It’s no surprise that the resort has made a name for itself as a hub for gastronomic finesse among its wide clientele from across the world.

Speaking on this accomplishment, Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena, Aitken Spence PLC Director, Head of Tourism and Leisure, and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels Management, said “I am extremely proud and congratulate our team. Their achievements today will no doubt motivate our very own and others to aspire for the best in their own fields.”

Heritance Aarah has successfully followed the footsteps of its sister properties in Sri Lanka and set a benchmark in the culinary field. Through our unique culture of embracing local flavours and fusing them with techniques around the world, our culinary experts have developed an award-winning experience that amazes guests from around the world. The win reiterates our commitment to create cuisine that delight our customers,” she said.

This achievement also reflects the Company’s dedication to invest in honing talent and to drive innovation. “These wins reflect the promising talent within our family. Our hope is that they utilise all available resources to improve their skillset and together, create memorable holidays for our guests,” she further added.

Aitken Spence Hotels is part of the Sri Lankan blue-chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC and operates 23 hotels and resorts across Sri Lanka, Maldives, Oman and India. The Company’s owned hotels represent Heritance, Adaaran and Turyaa brands, popular around the world for exceptional service, and undisputed lifestyle experiences. Aitken Spence Hotels’ Sri Lankan portfolio includes 11 resorts across the island, with seven resorts in the Maldives, four resorts in Oman and one resort in India.


Heritance Aarah Culinary Olympic Wins


Amila Sathsara Silva

Silver, Sri Lanka Culinary Artistic – D1

Silver, Regional Team Sri Lanka


A. Dananjaya Fernando

Bronze, Sri Lanka Pastry Artistic – D2

Silver, Regional Team Sri Lanka


F. Gihan Maduranga Fonseka

Gold, Sri Lanka Pastry Artistic – D2

Silver, Regional Team Sri Lanka


Chamaka Nadeeshan Perera

Gold, Culinary Art Cooking – Sri Lanka

Bronze, Pastry Artistic – D2

Silver, Regional Team Sri Lanka


Shrimal Kulatunge

Gold, Pastry Artistic – D2

Silver, Regional Team Sri Lanka


Lalith Gunasekera

Gold, Culinary Art Cooking – Sri Lanka

Aitken Spence Maritime & Freight Logistics emerges as Integrated Port & Terminal Logistics Operator of 2020

4 Mar

Aitken Spence Maritime & Freight Logistics was adjudged the Integrated Port & Terminal Logistics Operator of the Year 2020 at the prestigious Global Ports Forum Awards ceremony held in Dubai on 26th February 2020.

The primary objective of The Global Ports Forum Awards is to recognise the most valuable contributions made by the organisations and professionals in different areas of ports and terminals industry.

This award category recognises ports/ terminals specialising in port logistics, enhancing capacity and productivity with sustainable and consistent growth, and providing value added, high quality of service for customers.

“As Sri Lanka’s largest integrated logistics service provider, Aitken Spence offers an unrivalled gamut of solutions to the industry and the region at large. Our widespread facilities, service excellence and experience add to our competitive advantages in the industry. The award further reiterates our positive influence in the integrated logistics sector and whilst we take pride in this, we will continue to set higher benchmarks”, commented Mr. Iqram Cuttilan, Managing Director of the Aitken Spence Maritime sector.

Aitken Spence Maritime and Logistics broke new ground by becoming the first Sri Lankan company to venture into port efficiency management and container terminal management overseas. It was also the first Sri Lankan company to enter into an agreement with the Fiji Ports Corporation to operate the country’s two major ports, marking the first ever public-private partnership for a Sri Lankan company overseas.

Aitken Spence is a front runner in freight forwarding in the country, providing total freight and logistics solutions with offices in 15 locations including Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar and Pakistan. The company counts over 35 years of experience in international express services and represents global brands in Sri Lanka and the Maldives whilst representing cargo GSA’s of leading global airlines. Qatar Airways Cargo has been represented by Aitken Spence in Sri Lanka since 2011.

It was the first company in Sri Lanka to set up and operate an inland container terminal, Container Freight Stations (CFS), distribution parks, multi country consolidation, third party logistics, mobile reefer storage and quality assurance centres at the CFS.

The company operates the largest inland container terminal in Sri Lanka located close to the port of Colombo. Additionally, they also operate 3 three inland container terminals at major Free Trade Zones in Sri Lanka.


Aitken Spence Travels, the first Sri Lankan DMC to be Travelife Certified

17 Feb

Aitken Spence Travels the leading destination management company in Sri Lanka has been awarded the Travelife Certified sustainability award. The Travelife Certified award is a recognition for the company’s long-term efforts and leading position regarding sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

As a responsible travel organisation throughout its journey, Aitken Spence Travels championed all management and performance requirements to earn this title. The organisation complied with more than 160 criteria related to an operators’ sustainability management, office operations, working with suppliers and customer communication. The Travelife standard covers the ISO 26000 corporate social responsibility themes, including environment, biodiversity, human rights and labour relations; and is formally recognised as in full compliance with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council standards.

Mr. Nalin Jayasundera, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels commented, “We are delighted to be awarded the Travelife certification as a leading DMC in Sri Lanka and for having paved the way in the industry. As an organisation, we are committed towards sustainability and promote responsible tourism.”

“I am thankful to my team who are a set of professionals that goes beyond the call of duty. The dedication and commitment of our staff is commendable as sustainability is part of our DNA. We have implemented many activities that results in greater impact to our environment and we will continue to lead from the front.”, he further added.

Commenting on the certification, Mr. Naut Kusters, Manager of Travelife for tour operators stated, “I am delighted to see that sustainability in the tour operator’s sector is obtaining momentum. While we congratulate Aitken Spence Travels as a leading DMC in Sri Lanka for obtaining this certification, we hope that it will inspire other companies in Sri Lanka to follow the same path.”

Travelife was launched in Sri Lanka in 2016 in partnership with the Responsible Tourism Partnership Sri Lanka (RTPS). Today more than 20 Sri Lanka tour operators are working towards certification. Mr. Nishad Wijetunga, Chairman RTPS, stated “sustainability is key for the future of tourism in Sri Lanka. Aitken Spence Travels is one of the first companies in Sri Lanka to be awarded this certification which is of the highest international standards and is a historic landmark towards our goal to establish Sri Lanka as global leader in sustainable tourism”.

Travelife, which has been established with the support of the European Commission, is the leading international sustainability certification for the travel sector. More than 35 national travel associations are promoting the scheme to their members including ABTA, The British Travel Association and PATA, the Pacific Asian Travel Association. Since 2012, more than 600 Asian tour operators have been trained. They are now working step-by-step towards more sustainable operations.

Aitken Spence Travels affirmed its market leadership position by facilitating over 200,000 visitors to Sri Lanka in the financial year 2018/19. The Group’s destination management arm, handles inbound and outbound tour packages for groups, FIT and the MICE segments which operates in a highly competitive business environment.

Aitken Spence PLC: Revenue grows 3.3% to Rs. 43.8 Bn, amidst challenging times, in the 9 months ended December 2019

11 Feb

The leading blue-chip conglomerate, Aitken Spence PLC remained resilient during a difficult period through its diversity of investments in eight countries, thereby recording favourable results for the nine months ended December 2019.

Amidst challenging times, revenue of the Group grew by 3.3% to Rs. 43.8 billion for the period ended December 2019. The Group’s EBITDA for the nine months remained stable at Rs. 6.8 billion.

Close to 57% of the Group’s PBT of Rs. 2.4 billion was generated through its investments overseas for the nine months ended December 2019.

The Group recorded a profit from operations of Rs. 3.7 billion compared to Rs. 4.6 billion recorded the previous year for the nine months under review. This was primarily due to the significant foreign exchange gains recorded in the previous year due to the 17.4% depreciation of the Sri Lankan rupee as against a 3.1% depreciation during the current year. Profit from operations of the Group stood at Rs.1.8 billion for the third quarter under review.

The Maritime & Freight Logistics sector performed exceptionally well recording a 20.6% growth in profits over the previous year. The Integrated Logistics and Maritime segments continued their exceptional performance recording significant improvement in profits. However, the Group’s freight segment did not come up to expectations mainly due to intense competition and lower yields.

The Tourism sector continued to be affected from the April aftermath during the reporting period, due to the downturn the industry witnessed in the early part of the financial year. The Maldivian hotels sector continued its healthy performance though somewhat subdued due to the initial losses incurred due to partial closure of 100 rooms for refurbishment during the period.

Notwithstanding the many obstacles witnessed by the local tourism industry, the Group’s Destination Management segment maintained its market share of tourist arrivals to the country whilst upholding its position as the market leader, in this segment.

The Tourism industry in Sri Lanka had seen a steady recovery following the Easter Sunday attacks, with tourists’ arrivals considerably improving during the last few months of 2019. However, the unfortunate outbreak of the coronavirus (2019-nCov) is dampening the recovery efforts of the country with cancellations being witnessed and the overall lack of interest in travel.

The Strategic Investments sector contributed Rs. 815 million towards the Group PBT. The Group’s investment in Printing in Fiji, is yet to bear fruition with considerable cost still being incurred on restructuring and revamping its operations. The lower prices recorded for tea resulted in the decline of the performance of the plantation segment compared to the previous year though remaining profitable.

The Services sector contributed 11.1% of the Group’s PBT and recorded a 5.0% growth in Profit Before Tax over the previous year.

The Group’s first Heritance Property in the Maldives; Heritance Aarah commenced commercial operations on 1st October 2019. This 150-room property recorded healthy levels of occupancy during the first months of operations and shows immense potential to command higher rates in the coming years. Following the ingrained ethos of sustainability at Aitken Spence, Heritance Aarah is the first property in the Maldives to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

Steady progress is seen in the construction of the country’s first waste to energy power plant which is projected for completion shortly. Proving Aitken Spence’s commitment to the sustainable development of Sri Lanka, this pioneering venture will help solve the long outstanding waste disposal issue in Colombo city.

An associate company of Aitken Spence PLC, Elpitiya Plantations PLC has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Sim Leisure Group Ltd, a leading theme park developer and operator based in Penang, Malaysia, to set up a world-class ESCAPE theme park in the Galle region. This will promote economic development in terms of creating opportunities for local employment and boosting tourism in Sri Lanka. Construction of the theme park will commence in March 2020.

During the reporting period, Aitken Spence was awarded the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award for the third consecutive year organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. Being the reigning winner of 2017 and 2018, Aitken Spence walked away with a hat trick winning the overall award along with 12 other awards in diverse categories and sectors – the highest number of awards received by a single company at the ceremony. Aitken Spence displays unparalleled commitment to sustainability as the only company to have been ranked among the Top Ten Best Corporate Citizens for 14 consecutive years.

With an indisputable repute as one of Sri Lanka’s pioneering corporates, Aitken Spence is a blue-chip conglomerate anchored to a heritage of excellence spanning over 150 years. Listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange since 1983, Aitken Spence is a responsible enterprise driven by over 14,000 employees across 16 industries in 8 countries. Creating opportunities for Sri Lanka across new frontiers, Aitken Spence PLC is an organisation committed to the development of Sri Lanka.

Hapag Lloyd Lanka sets industry benchmark for effective Environmental Management System (EMS)

28 Jan

Hapag Lloyd Lanka is the first liner agency company in Sri Lanka to receive both ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 accreditations


Hapag-Lloyd Lanka, a subsidiary of Aitken Spence PLC and the local representation of Hapag-Lloyd AG- Hamburg was recently awarded ISO 14001:2015 from ALCUMUS ISOQAR Manchester, United Kingdom. The scope of the certification covers Hapag Lloyd Shipping Agency Services at Aitken Spence Tower II, Vauxhall Street.

Hapag Lloyd Lanka also received the ISO 9001:2015 certification in 2018 and was re-certified this year. Hapag Lloyd Lanka is the first liner agency company in Sri Lanka to receive both ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 accreditations.

ISO 9001:2015 specifies management system requirements for quality and ISO 14001 sets out the system requirements for an environmental impact management and control. With the aim of improving its environmental performance, Hapag Lloyd Lanka obtained this certification for more efficient use of resources and reduction of waste.

“Hapag-Lloyd Lanka is honoured to be among the pioneers in the industry to achieve this valued endorsement that demonstrates sought after international quality and environmental standards. Our parent company Hapag-Lloyd AG- Hamburg is also ISO 9001 and 14001 certified across the global logistics chain and marine operations, commented Mr. Lalith Witanachchi – Asst. Vice President of Hapag Lloyd Lanka Ltd.

“Aitken Spence actively manages its impacts on the environment in a scientific and systematic way with over 50 diverse management systems benchmarked under internationally acclaimed standards including ISO standards for environmental and social governance. It has become a prerequisite mandated by customers and other stakeholders for businesses including shipping lines to be conducted in an environmentally sustainable manner. We commend Hapag Lloyd Lanka for being pioneers in this endeavour taking the decisive step to be ISO 14001 certified, which is keeping with the Group’s overall objective of developing sustainable businesses,” further commented Mr. Lalith Witanachchi.

Hapag-Lloyd represents one of the world’s leading container shipping lines Hapag-Lloyd based in Hamburg, Germany. Hapag-Lloyd is ranked the fifth largest liner shipping company in the world, operating one of the largest shipping container fleet and today ranks among the top five mainline carriers to the port of Colombo. Hapag-Lloyd currently operates eight services to Colombo on a weekly and regular basis using Colombo port as the Transshipment Hub in the region.

Hapag-Lloyd Lanka, liner agency represents Hapag-Lloyd AG- Hamburg is a joint venture with Aitken Spence Maritime. Aitken Spence Maritime was the first Sri Lankan company to undertake port efficiency enhancement management overseas with its entry into the African Continent and subsequently the South Pacific Islands. The company handles all areas of maritime services – from ship agents and cargo handlers, to liner agency, cruise vessel, port management and development, chartering services and maritime education.

Mr. Lalith Witanachchi, Asst. Vice President, Hapag-Lloyd Lanka receiving the Award from ISO Auditor Mr. See Jong Tan (ALCUMUS ISOQAR) with Hapag-Lloyd Lanka’s ISO Team and Mr. Iqram Cuttilan Managing Director of Aitken Spence Maritime Sector.