Archive | February, 2011

Aitken Spence Hotels Triumphant at the ACCA Sustainability Reporting Awards

25 Feb

The 7th annual ACCA Sustainability Reporting awards were held on February 24th in Colombo under the aegis of Chief Guest, Nobel Prize winner, Prof. Mohan Munasinghe while the Guest of Honour for the event was ACCA President, Mr. Mark Gold. Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings Ltd. was adjudged the joint winner in the Medium Scale Category and now joins the ranks of being one of the most transparent companies in the world. This win highlights the importance Aitken Spence Hotels gives to sustainability, transparency and accountability and provides a clear indication that the company possesses extensive knowledge on how economic, social and environmental impacts of an organization should be reported. The judging criterion is split into three categories and looks at completeness in scope & coverage, credibility and communication. Reports are evaluated by an eminent independent judging panel consisting of experts in the field of sustainability and environmental reporting disclosures. “We are delighted to have been adjudged the joint winner in the medium scale category. This commendation reflects Aitken Spence Hotels’ track record of commitment to corporate accountability and championing sustainable tourism by producing industry best practices. The tourism industry is experiencing a boom with many new entrants. As a country we need to be focused on positioning Sri Lanka as a sustainable tourism destination, to optimize the abundant benefits tourism can bring to the country’s economy and its people”, said Mr. Malin Hapugoda, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels. The awards, held in over 30 countries, is based on judging guidelines established by ACCA worldwide, and is open to any type of organization encompassing all business sizes. The ACCA Sustainability Reporting Awards are already functional in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the UK and the USA with similar awards, largely based on the ACCA criteria, existing in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Aitken Spence Hotels’ enduring efforts in making tourism a sustainable resource is made tangible by winning accolades such as this. Winning the ACCA award for Sustainable Reporting and achieving remarkable feats such as having all its hotels in Sri Lanka attain the prestigious EarthCheck benchmark status under the globally recognized sustainability management systems programme attests to the company’s commitment of delivering exceptional sustainable experiences to their guests. Aitken Spence Hotels manages a portfolio of hotels and resorts in Sri Lanka, Maldives, India and Oman. The company’s expertise in hotel design, building and management is complimented by its dedication and commitment to excellence. Located in some of the key tourist locations, each of the properties cater to a diverse client base. [Ends]

Elpitiya Creates a Sri Lankan Record for the Highest Rubber Price

15 Feb

Hitting a record of Rs 700 for Latex Crepe 1X, Elpitiya Plantations PLC, managed by Aitken Spence, announced that invoice 55 – 2000 kilos of Latex Crepe 1X from Devitura Estate was sold at Rs. 700 per kilo at the weekly public auction organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday the 15th of February.

It is the highest economy price ever recorded for Latex Crepe 1X rubber in Sri Lankan history. Elpitiya plantations can proudly state that Devitura Estate was the only Estate which had the power to reach the mark of 700. Broker JD &Sons (Pvt.) Ltd. successfully sold the rubber to Rajapaksha Trading (Pvt) Ltd at this rate which was considered to be the top price for the day.

Elpitiya Plantations PLC consist of 13 estates, situated in the Upper , Middle and Low country regions owned and managed by Aitken Spence Plantation Managements Ltd. These estates are cultivated with Tea, Rubber, Oil Palm, and Coconut.

271 Families in Trincomalee Receive Aid from Aitken Spence

8 Feb

People around the world welcomed the dawn of year 2011 with new hope, making plans for the months to come, jotting down new year resolutions, nobody even dreamed of the disaster that was to take place. Many people’s dreams of a bright new year were shattered within minutes when the flood waters hit their homes. Once again these helpless people were left with another traumatic experience to face. But help was on its way, Sri Lankans from all parts of the country did not waste any time in gathering items necessary for these victims. Appeal after appeal brought in more and more aid.
Aitken Spence PLC saw this as a moment where the community at large was in great need. Hence did not hesitate to make their presence felt by giving them a helping hand. Over 400 families belonging to the Kuchchaveli Divisional Secretariat in Trincomalee, were affected by the floods including 200 families residing in Valaiyaoothu. All these people, including many other families residing in and around the Divisional Secretariat, received relief items from Aitken Spence on the 26th of January 2011. Over 900 dependants received aid that day.
Many were without food, clean water, proper clothing, sanitation and medication. Aitken Spence PLC was able to provide for them. The staff members and the Management teams of the company were able to collect the following items: dry rations, milk powder, baby milk powder, children’s food supplements, bottled water, clothing items, toiletries and sanitary items.

Aitken Spence PLC has been assisting the Kuchchaveli community for many years and has also built houses for 26 families in the Kumburupiddy housing scheme during the Tsunami rehabilitation efforts. Dry rations were also distributed to the low income families residing in this housing scheme.

News Release 08-02-2011

Aitken Spence Hotels the only Hotel Company in the Top Ten of the Corporate Accountability Index

7 Feb

Aitken Spence Hotels was the only hotel company ranked in the top ten and was the highest ranked contender in the tourism sector in the STING Corporate Accountability Rating 2011 as revealed in the February issue of LMD.

The STING Accountability Rating conducted an independent survey of the LMD 50 companies and 10 key State Owned Enterprises (SEOs) operating in Sri Lanka. The survey was carried out based on information provided by the companies on a voluntary basis as well as from information that is available to the public – including annual reports, sustainability reports and corporate websites. The companies are catergorised into broad bands (Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze) which provides an indication of their levels of advancement in the area of corporate accountability.

Aitken Spence Hotels were classified “Gold” based on scores derived to reflect a holistic and integrated approach to CSR, sustainability and governance. The STING Corporate Accountability Index assesses companies based on six areas; measurement and disclosure, corporate values, stakeholder engagement, policy coverage, management and governance and identifying impacts, risks and opportunities. These key factors are weighted according to their relative importance in facilitating corporate accountability.
“Sustainability is a core belief of Aitken Spence Hotels and an integrated sustainable policy has been developed and implemented internally, incorporating our values and commitment to the environment and the communities in which we operate. We consciously adopt best practices in environmental and social governance in harmony with the principles of the United Nations Global Compact and the Millennium Development Goals. We believe that that our philosophy has assisted us in differentiating our product both in the local and international arena”, said Mr.Malin Hapugoda, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels.

The Aitken Spence Hotels chain boasts of exotic properties such as Barefoot at Havelock located on the “The Best Beach in Asia” as rated by the Time Magazine; Heritance Kandalama, Sri Lanka’s most awarded hotel and “an icon of modern hotel design” as rated by the Observer UK; and Desert Nights Camp, Al Wasil, Oman, rated as one of the top ten desert retreats in the world. The chain’s Heritance Tea Factory has been rated by The Independent, UK as one of the ‘Top Five Factory Hotels’ in the world and one of the best 100 places to stay in the world by the Sunday Times, UK.
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News Release 06-February-2011

7 Out of 10 Awards Won by Heritance Hotels & Resorts for Cleaner Production

5 Feb

The National Cleaner Production Awards 2010 took place on the 27th of January 2011. This event has been held for four consecutive years to recognize and appreciate environmentally friendly businesses in Sri Lanka. At this event Heritance Ahungalla and Heritance Tea Factory secured seven awards and a merit certificate out of ten recognitions for the service sector.

Gold and Silver Service Sector Awards were won by Heritance Ahungalla and Heritance Tea Factory respectively. Further to the main awards, Heritance Tea Factory received Excellence Awards for Energy, Water and Material utilization. Heritance Ahungalla received Excellence Awards for Water and Material Utilization and a Merit Certificate for Energy Utilization.

Heritance Ahungalla was represented by Mr. Refhan Razeen (General Manager ), Mr.Jayantha Madanayake (Chief Engineer) and Ravindra Kumara (Assistant Engineer / Environment Management Representative) . Heritance Tea Factory was represented by Roshanlal Perera (General Manager) and Amila Gamage, (Chief Engineer) and Environment Management Representative (EMR)

Heritance Hotels and Resorts is a premier brand of the Aitken Spence Hotels & Resorts in Sri Lanka . The best practices followed by the Group for conservation and protection of the environment, have been recognized as global case studies on sustainable tourism. In addition to the portfolio of hotels in Sri Lanka, the company is also a rapidly growing regional player with an increasing portfolio of hotels under the brands of Aitken Spence Hotels & Resorts, Heritance Hotels & Resorts and Adaaran Hotels & Resorts in India, Maldives and Oman.

To conclude, since Heritance Kandalama won the gold award in the service sector in the year 2009, Heritance Hotels & Resorts can now proudly state that all three Heritance Hotels have made their mark at this prestigious event. National Cleaner Production Awards is organized by the National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC). All enterprises registered in Sri Lanka falling under the categories of large scale manufacturing organizations, medium & small scale manufacturing organizations, service organizations and public & other institutes are a part of this event. Awards are presented to progressive companies and service organizations that have voluntarily adopted cleaner production as a tool for increasing productivity while, minimizing waste and emissions at source rather than treating after it’s generated.

News Release 1-Feb-2011

Aitken Spence Results Boosted by Strong Tourism Performance

3 Feb

Aitken Spence PLC reported its third quarter financial results to the Colombo Stock Exchange on Thursday, showing Rs 2.44 bn as pre-tax profit and Rs 1.63 bn as profit attributable to shareholders for the nine months ended 31st December 2010; an increase of 13.5 per cent and 25 per cent respectively over the previous year. The diversified group’s revenue rose by 5.2 per cent to Rs. 18.2 bn and earnings per share increased by 25% to Rs. 4 over the same period.

Aitken Spence is among Sri Lanka’s leading and most respected corporate entities with interests in Hotels, Services, Logistic Solutions and Strategic Investments in South Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

“We are pleased to announce the strong performance of the group, mainly driven by a turnaround seen in the Sri Lankan hotels sector. We have plans to expand our hospitality portfolio in Sri Lanka with proposed resorts in several parts the island”, said Mr. J M S Brito, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC.

The tourism sector has revealed exceptional results with a substantial growth in profits in the nine months ending 31st December 2010. Strong growth in the Sri Lankan hotels and inbound tourism boosted earnings in the sector. Aitken Spence is the largest resort operator and the largest inbound tour operator in Sri Lanka.

Neptune Hotel which is presently undergoing extensive refurbishment will open as Heritance Maha Gedara in mid-2011 as an Ayurveda wellness resort. The company owned Ramada Resort Kalutara will also be closed from the 31st March for expansion and major refurbishment and expected to open by the end of 2011. Brown’s Beach Hotel, an associate company, will be closed from 31st March to undergo an extensive transformation.

Six Senses Resorts & Spas together with Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC, a subsidiary of Aitken Spence PLC is commencing construction of the first Six Senses property in Sri Lanka as 50:50 joint venture, worth USD 40 mn.

Aitken Spence Hotels has added another resort to its portfolio in India by taking over the management of the hill resort, Grand Palace Hotel and Spa in Yercaud, in Tamil Nadu.

The Group’s resorts in the Maldives which operate as Adaaran Resorts, faced pressure on rates as demand from key Western markets is yet to recover fully from the financial crisis. Aitken Spence is one of the leading resort operators in the islands. During the quarter under review, Adaaran Prestige Water Villas in the Maldives, run by Aitken Spence, won the award for the World’s Leading Water Villa 2010 at the World Travel Awards 2010. Adaaran ‘Select’ Meedhupparu won Gold Awards for the best hotel in its class according to the feedback of Thomson Holidays customers.

Aitken Spence Printing, which counts over five decades of commitment to quality and innovation, has commenced the development of a state-of-the-art printing complex during quarter, which is expected to drive growth in the sector.

The plantations division, which has in its portfolio tea, rubber and palm oil performed well with a significant turnaround in profits over the previous year.

During the period under review the Aitken Spence- China Merchant Holdings International consortium has been awarded the Letter of Intent (LOI) by the Sri Lankan authorities to build and operate a new deep-water container terminal in Colombo port, which is regarded as the largest ever Foreign Direct Investment in the country.

The Company witnessed a reduction in revenue from the power generation sector due to the reduced demand for thermal power on account of increased rainfall experienced by the country during the quarter.

Driven by expansion seen in the inward remittances market, MMBL Money Transfer, a subsidiary company, reported growth in the income generated.

Aitken Spence Rated Platinum for Corporate Accountability & the Best in Policy Coverage

2 Feb

Aitken Spence PLC was ranked second and among the handful of companies rated as ‘Platinum’ for the second consecutive year in the STING Corporate Accountability Index 2011 which was unveiled in the February issue of LMD. Aitken Spence was the highest ranked diversified holdings company. The company was also identified as the ‘Best in Class for Policy Coverage’.

 

The highly recognized STING Accountability Index rates the LMD 50 companies and 10 key SOEs on compulsory basis, counting largest entities in the country in one index. The scores are derived to reflect a holistic and integrated approach to CSR, sustainability and governance. The hierarchical ranking of companies in Sri Lanka is based on each organisation’s performance in the areas of Measurement and Disclosure, Corporate Values, Stakeholder Engagement, Identifying Impacts, Risks and Opportunities, Policy Coverage and Management and governance.

 

Sri Lanka’s leading business magazine, the LMD states on the Aitken Spence performance, “The Integrated Sustainability Policy-implemented under the overall direction of the Board of Management and Board of Directors- takes a 360 degree view on corporate sustainability and includes a wide-range of aspects we deem necessary to be addressed. Compliance, ethical conduct, awareness of global issues, sustainable processes, governance, stakeholder engagement, human rights, health and safety, information security, continuous improvement, quality, talent management, supply chain management, innovation, customer service and credible reporting to name a few. The policy is accessible to the public via the corporate website.”

 

The magazine goes on to state “few companies have structured and integrated processes to monitor and manage their sustainability – related risks and opportunities. Aitken Spence is amongst the corporates that do this well.”

Dr. Rohan Fernando, Director and Head of Business Development and Plantations of Aitken Spence said “Our Integrated Sustainability Policy which was developed in-house, takes a holistic view on corporate sustainability. It acknowledges that the sustainability of an organization depends on myriad factors. The policy and the accompanying implementation framework have been developed in line with global best practices, which will enable our diverse portfolio of businesses to gain a competitive advantage by continuing to do good business