Archive | February, 2015

27 youth complete Aitken Spence School of Hospitality training supported by Care International

27 Feb

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Twenty seven youth from Sri Lanka’s Southern province successfully completed their first section of hotel industry training by the Aitken Spence School of Hospitality. Commemorating the event, an award ceremony was held on the 13th of February 2015 for the handing of certificates. The training for the students were financially supported by CARE International while all resource personnel and logistical support for this endeavor was provided by Heritance Ahungalla.

As part of a joint initiative between CARE International and Aitken Spence School of Hospitality; the three-month training programme was aimed at enhancing employment opportunities for underprivileged youth. The course module designed as per ILO Certified Standards and incorporated by the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management is registered with the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission. The training will be followed with industry placement at the Aitken Spence Group of Hotels, thereby giving students the opportunity to gain first-hand industry experience.

Student K.L. Dimuthu Madushan received the award for the ‘Most Outstanding Student’ of the batch. Dimuthu also bagged the award for the ‘Best Student – Food and Beverage Services (Theory)’ while D.S.S.K Silva obtained the award for the ‘Best Student – Food and Beverage Services (practical)’ category. S. A. Nilushika Udayangini received the award for ‘English Language’.

To mark the occasion for the handing of certificates, Mr. Jeevaka Weerakone Assistant Vice President, Human Resources /Training & Development of Aitken Spence Hotel Managements, Mr. Refhan Razeen Executive General Manager- Heritance Ahungalla, Mr. Gregory Brady Country Director, CARE Sri Lanka, Ms. Lahari de Alwis CARE SL Private Sector Manager, Ms. Shivani Fernandez CARE SL Senior Programme Coordinator, Sujeewa Jayamanne Country Representative Diageo -Faculty and Resource Personnel were present together with the staff from both Aitken Spence Hotel Managements and Heritance Ahungalla alongside with the students’ parents.

Elaborating on the benefits of the training; Mr. Jeevaka Weerakone, stated, “An opportunity has been provided for a new generation of people. The hospitality industry is important for the future of Sri Lanka and is one of the largest contributing employers to the economy. This sector provides opportunities globally and these students have now received the foundation for it. If one works with honesty, commitment, discipline together with a genuine desire to improve one’s self, then anything is achievable”.

Since its inception in 2007, a total of four hundred youth have benefited from the Aitken Spence School of Hospitality programme; with this being the 10th batch of students to successfully complete it. The initiative also placed special priority on encouraging female youth, in hope to boost and promote further female employ ability in the tourism sector.

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Aitken Spence Information Technology Division Secures ISO 27001: 2005 Certification

14 Feb
(L-R) Mr. Keethi Jayaweera - Managing Director of Aitken Spence Aviation, Mr. Rohitha Rajaratna - Vice President - Engineering of Aitken Spence Hotel Managements, Mr. Vipula Gunatilleka - Chief Corporate Officer of Aitken Spence Group Ltd, Mr. Mihiran Fonseka - General Manager of Group IT Division and Mr. Rohith De Costa - Vice President - Internal Audit & Risk of Aitken Spence Corporate Finance (Pvt) Ltd together with the Steering Committee.

(L-R) Mr. Keethi Jayaweera – Managing Director of Aitken Spence Aviation, Mr. Rohitha Rajaratna – Vice President – Engineering of Aitken Spence Hotel Managements, Mr. Vipula Gunatilleka – Chief Corporate Officer of Aitken Spence Group Ltd, Mr. Mihiran Fonseka – General Manager of Group IT Division and Mr. Rohith De Costa – Vice President – Internal Audit & Risk of Aitken Spence Corporate Finance (Pvt) Ltd together with the Steering Committee.

Aitken Spence Information Technology division successfully attained the International Organization for Standardization certification (ISO 27001: 2005), earning the prestigious accreditation after nearly a year of independent, external assessments. The ISO 27001:2005 certification offers organizations with an internationally recognized, independently verified standard that showcases that a company is able to securely succeed information security, retaining confidentiality, integrity and availability of all data.

By being compliant with the ISO 27001: 2005 standard Aitken Spence Information Technology division has proven that it has its appropriate processes secured on the handling of its data and the data of its customers –ensuring that their critical information is both safe and readily accessible.

“As a diversified conglomerate we are well aware of the importance of Information Security and Audit role in an organization. It is important that we use technology to facilitate the growth and expansion of our businesses. It is vital for us to have the right practices embedded into our culture in protecting our stakeholder information assets.

I am confident this accreditation would be the first few steps of a long journey. I have high expectations and trust in the governance of information protection at Aitken Spence.” Noted, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence, Mr. J.M.S. Brito congratulating the team’s achievement.

Mr. Vipula Gunatilleka, Chief Corporate Officer commenting on the achievement said “I take this opportunity to congratulate, Aitken Spence IT and other support teams for all their efforts towards securing the ISO 27001 – which is considered as the highest accreditation for information protection and security globally. This certification is a true reflection of our commitment towards protecting the rights of our stakeholders and it endorses our commitment towards adopting and complying with the highest standards in information security to protect the confidentiality and integrity of data and information within Aitken Spence. Data and information is considered as the most valuable assets in a modern business and having the ISO certification would provide Aitken Spence with a tremendous advantage over and above our competitors.”

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Aitken Spence PLC is among Sri Lanka’s leading and most respected corporate entities with operations in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South Pacific. It is an industry leader in hotels, travel, maritime services, logistics, power generation and printing, with a significant presence in plantations, financial services, insurance, information technology and apparel.

Aitken Spence 9-Month Results Steady

11 Feb

Aitkenspence head office

Leading conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC recorded a challenging third quarter but showed a steady performance for the nine months, revealed its interim results to the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) released on Wednesday.

The blue-chip’s financial results for the nine months ended 31st December 2014 saw profit-before-tax increasing by 4.4 per cent to Rs. 3.8 bn while profit attributable to shareholders decreased by 4.8 per cent to Rs 2.2bn,

The diversified group’s third quarter results showed profit-before-tax decreasing by 5.9 per cent to Rs. 1.6bn and profit attributable to shareholders falling by 19.5 per cent to Rs. 870mn, “Although we had a challenging third quarter, we were able to record a steady performance for the year so far”, said J M S Brito, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC.

“With the new administration in Sri Lanka, we see a significant boost to business confidence. We are confident that the 100-day plan which has received bi-partisan support will strengthen good governance, which augers well for much needed healthy foreign investment to the country” Mr. Brito added.

Profit before tax from the tourism sector was up by 3.5 per cent to Rs. 2.5bn while revenue rose by 7.2 per cent to Rs. 12.4 bn, for the nine months. 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. It also acts as GSA for major airlines in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

The Group’s Hotels arm is currently overseeing two large hotel projects in Negombo and Ahungalla.

Maritime& Logistics sector recorded Rs. 525 mn as profits-before-tax, a decrease of 2.8 per cent over the previous year, while revenue was up by8.5 per cent to Rs. 5.2 bn. Aitken Spence is Sri Lanka’s largest integrated logistics services provider and has port management services in Africa and the South Pacific.Port operations in Fiji contributed significantly to the sector profits with the company achieving high efficiency levels in the ports of Suva and Lautoka.

Strategic investments sector showed a rise of 32.7 per cent in profits-before-tax and 10.1 per cent in revenue, to Rs. 695 mn and Rs. 10.6bn respectively, for the period under review. Power, printing and garments businesses performed better than last year during the nine months, with investments in new machinery and expansion of manufacturing facilities.

The Group’s services sector saw profits-before-tax falling by 42.4 per cent to Rs. 104 mn and revenue rising by 14.4 per cent to Rs. 607mn. The services sector includes financial services, insurance, elevator agency and technology businesses.The fairly nascent technology business accounted for a significant share of the losses in the services sector.

Aitken Spence Launch Brand Fiji Ports

11 Feb

Fiji Ports

Aitken Spence-run Ports Terminal Limited which operates Fiji’s two main ports has been rebranded as Fiji Ports recently at an event attended by senior government and Aitken Spence officials.
Minister of Finance and Public Enterprise Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum who attended the launch commended the efforts by Aitken Spence PLC in honouring the partnership with the Fiji Government by improving services and operations at the two major ports in the country.
Aitken Spence entered into a public-private partnership with Fiji Ports Corporation acquiring 51 per cent of the shares in Ports Terminal Limited in 2013 to oversee the repair and operation of the ports of Suva and Lautoka.
Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC J M S Brito and Chairman & CEO of Aitken Spence Maritime & Logistics Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake attended the launch.
“It has been a wonderful partnership, it has been a wonderful collaboration which has the levy that had been charged on containers coming into Fiji being lifted now which not only has financial benefits for exporters but also for importers”, said the Minister of Finance and Public Enterprise Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
“It also came as Government’s faith in Aitken Spence PLC, through the Public-Private-Partnership continues to be vindicated. Enormous achievements have been made by this management company”, he added.
Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC, J M S Brito said, “We are pleased to show significant positive results to the Government of Fiji since our investment in the ports of Suva and Lautoka. We are exploring investment opportunities in hotels, power generation, printing and other sectors where we have decades-long experience and expertise”.
Aitken Spence Maritime & Logistics Chairman & CEO and Director of Aitken Spence PLC Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake speaking at the launch reiterated company’s commitment to stakeholders present at the event.
“When you have the right product, we can launch a marketing campaign to boost volumes thereby attracting new shipping lines. And when you have more shipping lines, you will have more capacity and when you have more capacity, the freight rates are bound to go low. This would boost exports and imports and generate more employment and enable Fiji to become the hub of the South Pacific”, said Dr. Dissanayake.
“In Sri Lanka, we say port is the heart of the nation. And when you have an efficient port blessed with the right location like Fiji’s, you would establish not only a maritime hub but also aviation and a logistics hub”, he added.
Aitken Spence PLC is among Sri Lanka’s most dynamic and respected corporate entities with operations in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the South 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, garments, financial services, insurance and information technology.