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Diversified Aitken Spence Shows Strong Growth in Q1

9 Aug

Aitken Spence PLC released its first quarter financial results to the Colombo Stock Exchange on Monday, reporting a pre-tax profit of Rs 734 mn for the three months ended 30th June 2011, a growth of 13.5 per cent, over the previous year. The leading diversified conglomerate’s profits attributable to the shareholders grew by 25.3 per cent to Rs 551mn during the quarter.

Earnings per share for first quarter ended 30 June 2010 stood at Rs. 1.36, an increase of 25 per cent over the corresponding period in the previous year.

The Group’s Maldivian resorts that operate under the Adaaran Resorts umbrella showed strong growth from the first quarter of last year. With five award-winning resorts under its portfolio, Adaaran is the fourth largest resort operator in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

With several new projects on port related services from South Africa coming online during the quarter under review, Aitken Spence’s overseas maritime services arm recorded a significant growth in profits compared to the same period last year.

The Company’s travel arm, the largest inbound operator in the country, recorded a robust performance during the quarter under review. Aitken Spence Travels is a joint venture with TUI Travel Plc, the world’s largest integrated tourism group. TUI generates over 30 million tourists worldwide and operates over 150 owned aircrafts.

Group revenue for the period showed a drop of 2 per cent over the corresponding quarter. The closure of its largest power plant at Embilipitiya during most of the quarter due to repairs and maintenance, as well as the closure of two Sri Lankan resorts for refurbishment contributed negatively to Group revenue.

The former Neptune Hotel in Beruwala which was closed for refurbishment during the quarter is now opened as Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara, an up market wellness resort. Our resort property in Kalutara was the other resort that was closed during the quarter for refurbishment. It will open in November this year as The Sands by Aitken Spence, subsequent to a refurbishment and an expansion in room capacity and service offering.

Deputy Chairman & Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC, Mr. J M S Brito said, “Reflecting our diversified interests, the quarter’s strong growth was fuelled by vigorous performances by several of our strategic business units.”

“We are delighted to note the outstanding achievement of the culinary team of our hotels sector who were rated the Best Hotel Team and Best Culinary Team in Sri Lanka after competing against both international and domestic star class hotels at the 14th Culinary Art Competition. Such achievements are testament to our relentless commitment to being globally competitive in whichever business we are in”, added Mr. Brito.

During the quarter under review, the Company’s Heritance Hotels and Resorts were the dominant winners at the Sri Lanka Tourism Awards. Heritance Ahungalla, was awarded the Best 5-Star Resort in the island successfully taking over the baton from Heritance Kandalama who won the coveted award for the last three consecutive years, securing the resort a position in the prestigious Hall of Fame last year. Heritance Tea Factory emerged winners in the Best 4-Star Resort category for a second year. The Best Host Hotel for Eco Tourism was awarded to Heritance Kandalama.

The Group’s printing & packaging arm, known for its industry leadership in quality and reliability, contributed strongly during the reporting quarter. The integrated logistics arm of the company which has an unrivalled range of container related services showed an improved performance from last year.

Aitken Spence Brings the First Ever Passenger Vessel to the Port of Hambantota

9 Aug

Creating history, Mv Logos Hope the goodwill passenger cruise liner cum book exhibition vessel docked at the Port of Hambantota on recently, as the first ever passenger vessel to call at the port. A spokesman for the vessel agent Aitken Spence Shipping stated that they were keen on making the Logos Hope call at the Port of Hambantota, firstly to showcase the brand new picturesque port and secondly to nullify the myth that vessels could not call at the Port of Hambantota.

“We were able to convince the owners and project directors to call at the port of Hambatota despite the initial concerns they had”. The spokesman further stated that they wish to thank Dr. P B Wickrema, Chairman Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA); Mr Agil Hewaeegana, Projerct Director of Hambantota Port; Capt Ravi Jayawickrema- Harbour Master SLPA, Capt Athula Hewawitharana, Senior Deputy Harbour Master SLPA and all the officials of the Hambantota Port for their wonderful support and cooperation.

The vessel which is 132.5 metres in length and 21 metres in breadth eased into the Port of Hambantota under the care of Capt. Pat Tracy who was a former US Naval Frigate Master. The vessel was piloted into the port by Capt. S.C.Wimalasiri, the Deputy Harbour Master of Galle. The vessel was guided to its berth by Tug “Therapuththapaya”.

The vessel has onboard 450 passengers and crew of nearly 45 nationalities. It is truly a multicultural contingent whose purpose is to bring knowledge, help and hope to the people of the world. The vessel was docked in the Port of Colombo from 17th March 2011 to 23rd May 2011 and in the Port of Galle from 29th June to 17th July 2011, before reaching Hambantota on the 18th of July. During its stay in Sri Lanka the vessel was open to the public to visit its book exhibition and purchase valuable books.

Capt. Pat Tracy was very impressed with the warm hospitality that was afforded to him, the passengers and the crew during their stay in Sri Lanka.

The passengers and crew travelled to various parts of the country for site seeing, visiting places of historical interest, shopping and enjoying the pleasures of our lovely nation. They were also involved in community service in the villages, schools and communities, as well as donating books worth several hundred of thousand US Dollars to schools, libraries and community centres.

It is believed that over 1 million Sri Lankans visited the vessel during its port calls at Colombo, Galle and Hambantota. Since this was the first ever passenger vessel to call at Hambantota, there were queues of people visiting the vessel. “At times we were wondering if Hambantota had such a large population” said Mr Seelan Govinder – Project Director of Logos Hope, because there were so many people arriving to see the vessel.

The Logos Hope derives its name from the Greek Word Logos traditionally meaning “word, thought, principal or speech”. The vessel was constructed in 1973 and subsequently converted to a passenger vessel commencing from 2004. The vessel began its journey as a passenger vessel in February 2009. The vessel has 492 berths capable of carrying nearly 900 passengers.

The Logos Hope carries a stock of half a million books for the whole family. The thousands of titles available cover a wide range of subjects such as science, technology, sports, hobbies, cookery, arts, social sciences and languages. A large selection is devoted especially to children and every effort is made to ensure that local language materials are available for each port visit.

The vessel sailed from Hambantota on 28th July 2011 to its next destination which is Vizag, in India.