Leading conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC recorded a strong performance in the third quarter, interim results to the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) released on Friday revealed.
The blue-chip’s financial results for the three months ended 31st December 2013 saw profit-before-tax surging by 47 per cent to Rs. 1.58 bn and profit-after-tax surged by 53 per cent to Rs.1.38bn, while profit attributable to shareholders rose by 54 per cent to Rs 1.1 bn.
The diversified group’s nine-month results revealed profit-before-tax rising by 10 per cent to Rs. 3.5 bn and profit-after-tax increasing by almost 10 per cent to Rs. 2.9 bn, while profit attributable to shareholders was up by 11.2 per cent to Rs. 2.3 bn, while earnings per share increased by 11.2 per cent to Rs. 5.68.
Aitken Spence has operations in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific. Listed in the CSE since 1983, it has major interests in hotels, travel, maritime services, logistics and power generation. The group also has a significant presence in plantations, printing, financial services, insurance, information technology and garments.
Profit before tax from the tourism sector surged by 26.2 per cent to Rs. 2.3 bn while revenue rose by 10 per cent to Rs. 10.3 bn, for the nine months. The company recorded strong growth from its resorts and inbound travel business in Sri Lanka. Aitken Spence operates a wide portfolio of hotels and resorts in Sri Lanka, Maldives, India and Oman. Its travel arm, the largest in Sri Lanka, is a joint venture with TUI Travel.
During the period Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC., a subsidiary company entered into a shareholders’ agreement with RIU Hotels of Spain to build a 500-room luxury resort in Ahungalla, costing approximately USD 100m.
Cargo logistics sector, which includes its international maritime services arm, recorded Rs. 545 mn as profits-before-tax, an increase of 29 per cent over the previous year, while revenue was up by 16.8 per cent to Rs. 5.1 bn. Aitken Spence is Sri Lanka’s largest logistics services provider and has port management services in Africa and the Pacific.
During the period under review Aitken Spence acquired 51 per cent shares in Ports Terminal Limited., through a public-private partnership and took over the managerial and operational responsibilities at the Fiji Ports Corporation.
Strategic investments sector showed drop of 38 per cent in profits-before-tax and 34 per cent in revenue, to Rs. 489 mn and Rs. 9 bn respectively, for the period under review. Whilst the printing and garments businesses performed well, the power business has shrunk as its plants in Horana and Matara were not operational, following the cessation of the power purchase agreement entered
into with the Ceylon Electricity Board.
Subsequent to the balance sheet date, the 24 MW thermal power plant owned by Ace Power Generation Horana (Pvt) Ltd., was disposed.
The Group’s services sector saw profits-before-tax growing by 18.5 per cent to Rs. 154 mn and revenue rising by 19% to Rs. 458 mn. The services sector includes financial services, insurance, elevator agency and technology businesses.