Archive | May, 2018

The National Trust Unveils Ground-breaking Book with Aitken Spence Printing Support

31 May

The National Trust Sri Lanka selected Aitken Spence Printing as the sole print solution partner to produce a coffee table book that is a great value addition to the architectural knowledge in Sri Lanka. Aitken Spence Printing is known for its high-quality standards and state-of-the-art technology in carrying out responsible printing and packaging services. Aitken Spence Printing being a pioneer in the printing industry of Sri Lanka formed a partnership with The National Trust Sri Lanka that is dedicated to protecting and raising public awareness about Sri Lanka’s rich heritage.

Together with The National Trust Sri Lanka, Aitken Spence Printing took the lead in sponsoring a coffee table book titled ‘Geoffrey Manning Bawa: Decolonizing Architecture, by Shanti Jayewardene’, an important contribution to recognising Sri Lankan Artists.

“Aitken Spence Printing is proud to have been the sole sponsor of The National Trust’s book on Geoffrey Bawa, as it is a landmark publication that promotes Sri Lankan heritage on a cultural and aesthetic realm. Aitken Spence believes that the book is a task of national importance that would showcase a rich aspect of Sri Lanka’s wide heritage”, commented Prasanna Karunathilake, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Printing.

We want the new generation of architecture students to know Bawa’s significant creations, as narrated by Dr. Shanti Jayawardene. This is the only book that carries multiple architectural view images of his creations. We also contribute to this community of architect students by printing the quarterly magazine “The Architect” and “Wasthu” among the other relevant publications for this field of study”, added Mr. Karunathilake.

The publication centres around the work of Geoffrey M. Bawa (1919-2003), that is acclaimed internationally for its relationship with the traditions of Sri Lanka’s architecture. Bawa’s work reveals him discovering the traditions of Sri Lanka’s architecture while reshaping and learning in an effort to engage with European and Asian design cultures from a decolonial perspective. Some of the exceptional architectural work of Bawa have been captured at the Aitken Spence Hotels such as Heritance Kandalama, Heritance Ahungalla and Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara. Bawa’s experience of cave monasteries such as Kudumbigala, Dowa and Dambulla have been captured in Heritance Kandalama hotel.

Aitken Spence Printing is a leader with over six decades in the printing industry in Sri Lanka. It has evolved into a dynamic operation and is ranked among the top printers in the country specializing in both offset and digital printing technologies. In addition to coffee table books, Aitken Spence Printing offer a range of services from packaging, publications, magazines, seasonal products such as calendars and diaries; and caters to a wide range of industries such as tea, apparel, FMCG and pharmaceutical. Operating in a fiercely competitive industry, Aitken Spence Printing enjoys a leading market share in the printing industry of Sri Lanka. The company was also the first LEED-certified, carbon neutral printing facility operator in South Asia.

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Aitken Spence Posts 22% Growth in PBT in 2017/18

22 May

Aitken Spence PLC recorded a steady financial performance for the twelve months ending 31st March 2018 with a 22% year-on-year growth in profit-before-tax from Rs. 5.2 billion to Rs. 6.4 billion, its highest ever. The leading conglomerate recorded an increase in its annual revenue by 14.9% from Rs. 45.9 billion to Rs. 52.7 billion. The company also reported the highest ever profit-after-tax of Rs. 5.1 billion, which was an increase 27.3% from the previous year.

The diversified group concluded the reporting period with a strong fourth quarter performance during which both revenue and profit-before-tax figures showed strong growth trajectories.

Aitken Spence PLC’s profit-before-tax increased by 31.4% from Rs.2.4 billion to Rs. 3.1 billion in the fourth quarter, over the previous year, while revenue increased by 7.9% from 15.4 billion to Rs. 16.6 billion. The profit-after-tax increased by 47.1% from Rs. 1.8 billion to Rs. 2.7 billion in the fourth quarter.

The holding company’s revenue growth reflected across all key operational sectors including tourism, maritime and logistics, strategic investments and services.

The tourism sector recorded a growth of 18.2% in revenue to Rs. 28.5 billion, while the maritime and logistics, strategic investments, and services sectors reported revenues of Rs. 10.7 billion, Rs. 19.3 billion and Rs. 1.9 billion respectively, indicating a growth of 7.7%, 6.3% and 16.8% respectively over the year.

Aitken Spence PLC reported a profit attributable to shareholders of Rs. 3.6 billion, a rise of 23.2% while earnings per share also rose by 23.2% from Rs. 7.12 to Rs. 8.77. The earnings per share surged by 47.1% from Rs. 3.03 to Rs. 4.46 for the fourth quarter, year-on-year.

Sri Lankan hotels ended the year with a satisfactory performance. All properties under the Group’s flagship Heritance brand achieved revenue targets, with Kandalama, Tea Factory and Ayurveda Maha Gedara reporting good results despite being affected by a slow start to the year. Despite severe competition facing beach properties Heritance Ahungalla recorded a satisfactory performance, while the newest addition to the portfolio –Heritance Negombo, shows great promise for the future.  Meanwhile Turyaa Kalutara made steady progress towards a turnaround, as did Hotel RIU, where the Group has a 60% shareholding.

The global and local market conditions have remained less than favourable, with slow market growth impacting many of the operational sectors Aitken Spence PLC is engaged in.

“Despite challenges posed by a turbulent operating environment, our prudent and astute strategies continued to hold Aitken Spence in good stead, enabling the Group to achieve a remarkable performance recording its highest ever profit before tax of Rs. 6.4 billion during the year. In the year under review, we switched gears and accelerated the pace to reach the next phase of our growth agenda,” stated Aitken Spence Deputy Chairman and Managing Director, Mr  J.M.S. Brito.

“The year also saw the power generation segment to begin work on a landmark waste-to-energy project, that would help solve both the waste disposal and energy supply challenges in the country at present. The project would see the construction of a 10MW waste-to-energy plant in Muthurajawela which upon completion, would be equipped to convert municipal solid waste to electricity, which I expect would greatly relieve the Colombo City of its waste disposal burden,” added Mr. Brito.

“Moving forward, I am convinced that the Group has the resilience and the capability to accelerate its growth trajectory even amidst headwinds by drawing on our innate domain expertise and business acumen. In doing so we will look for long term growth opportunities by focusing on sectors and markets where we see ourselves having a distinctive role, now and in the future. We will continue the strategy of expanding in domestic and offshore markets through enabling partnerships and improving competitiveness by making consistent investments in technology, people and processes,” he added further.

Listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange since 1983 and marking its 150th year milestone in September 2018, Aitken Spence is a blue-chip conglomerate with a strong regional presence in the Hotels, Travels, Maritime Services, Logistic Solutions, Plantations, Power Generation, Financial Outsourcing, Insurance, IT, Printing and Apparel sectors.

Aitken Spence Travels records landmark 178,000 Happy visitors to destination Sri Lanka

18 May

Aitken Spence Travels, the largest inbound tour operator in the country closed the 2017/18 financial year with a total inbound volume exceeding 178,000 happy visitors to Destination Sri Lanka. This year’s performance builds on the previous year’s record high of 153,000 tourists by far the largest number of visitor arrivals handled by any Destination Management Company in the country. The Aitken Spence Travels’ growth was recorded at 16% while during the same period the country arrivals grew by 7%.

Commenting on the feat the Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels Mr. Nalin Jayasundera stated, “This achievement was possible due to our continues efforts in diversifying to new markets and growing the existing markets by securing new business.  I am happy to note our increased visitor numbers resulted in the Company recording the highest ever profit thus far. This was due to the excellent team work of the staff who ensured that our clients are served with dedication and professionalism coupled with years of experience in the tourism industry”.

“The contribution of our Tour Operator partners has been significant to the Company’s achievements.  We place our sincere appreciation for the support extended by Hotel partners, airline’s and other suppliers for playing a significant role. The 41 year journey of Aitken Spence Travels is built on the ethos of trust and partnerships. We are privileged to have the best practices of TUI, the world’s largest integrated tourism company and the strength and backing of Aitken Spence group”, he added.

Aitken Spence Travels is active in many diverse segments of tourism. The Company’s Cruise shore excursions business commands market leadership in the country. The cruise business is a growing segment and Sri Lanka has potential to offer a multi-port offering to differentiate in order to secure future business.

The charter flight operations have been growing and the Company has continued to handle charters from U.K., Sweden, Finland and Russia. In 2017/18 together with TUI, Aitken Spence Travels handled a charter from Poland for the first time which operated flights every 10 days. Due to the successful charter operation TUI will be operating a second charter for winter 2018/19 from Poland.

The Company has also made inroads on sports tours handled and have brought many teams from different sporting disciplines. Cricket by far is the most popular but netball, rugby and hockey tours have grown, and the Company has made inroads with golf tourism.

As the only award-winning conference organiser, AST events unit managers international and local business and consumer events. The event portfolio covers medical, IT, education and consumer trade fairs. Flagship local events such as Colombo Shopping Festival, Home and You, the Best Brand Show has attracted over 175,000 local visitors per annum. The unit also specialises in handling events in Maldives.

 

In addition to giving back to the community in numerous ways, Aitken Spence Travels is among the few companies in Sri Lanka that offsets its carbon footprint across its operations. Visitors continue to place their trust and confidence in the Company as they too become part of the organisations greater responsibility towards minimising carbon footprint when partaking on tours and excursions designed to have minimum impact to the environment and nature. The Travel Life Certification was secured for the operations keeping in line with global sustainable tourism practices.

Since 2015 the Company has been handling over one hundred thousand inbound clients and have not looked back since then. The formula for continuous success has been the commitment of the management and dedication of the staff to achieve a common corporate objective. The Company carries out its own promotions in partnership with tour operators to create a better demand for the destination.

It is envisaged that the tourism industry and its stakeholders will stand to gain from the proposed digital promotion campaign. It is also important to have a sustained and an effective marketing campaign for the benefit of the tourism sector stakeholders and the overall economy of the country.

Looking further Aitken Spence Travels hopes to continue to strengthen and build its international market position. The Company will continue to shape the tourism industry, by pioneering in terms of innovation in products and exploring markets be it Sports, MICE, Cruises, Nature, Luxury, Online and Charter operations.

Hyundai’s New Asia-Europe Express Service Offers Best Transit Times

3 May

Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) launched its new Asia-North Europe Express (AEX) service that included Port of Colombo, in April from Pusan. The AEX service which is independently run by HMM offers exporters the fastest transit times to Europe base ports that will benefit them in meeting the timelines of their buyers with time sensitive shipments.

The first vessel on the AEX service mv ‘Hyundai Forward’ made its maiden call at the Port of Colombo on the 22nd of April berthing at the Jaya Container Terminal (JCT).

AEX Service brings immense benefits to the importers sourcing shipments with direct sailings from the base ports of Korea, China and Taiwan, improving the supply chains and minimising delays. Shipping & Cargo Logistics, a subsidiary of Aitken Spence is the local agent for HMM in Sri Lanka.

This new service includes port rotation in Pusan, Shanghai, Ningbo, Kaohsiung, Yantian, Singapore, Colombo, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Southampton on the westbound voyage.

The Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, commented that “We express our gratitude to HMM for choosing Colombo as one of its port of call and promoting Colombo as the transshipment hub for the Indian Subcontinent region. We assure that the Jaya Container Terminal and the Port of Colombo would afford all facilities to enhance transshipment volumes being routed through the Port of Colombo”.

Mr. D H Oh, Managing Director of HMM HQ – India expressed his confidence in the Port of Colombo and stated that HMM was laying greater emphasis on the Indian Subcontinent region with the opening of the Regional HQ in Mumbai and he expected more services to call at Colombo. He also mentioned the expansion plans of HMM where an order for 12 x 20000 TEU and 8 x 14000 TEUS vessels had been placed and by 2020. The 20000 TEU vessels will be deployed on the AEX service which will call at Colombo. He was excited at the development plans of the Port of Colombo and was looking forward for HMM to be a big player in Colombo in the very near future.

An exchange of plaques between the Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake and Mr. D H Oh, Managing Director of HMM Regional HQ India to commemorate the maiden call of the AEX independent service at JCT was held on 23rd April. Also present at the ceremony were Mr. Jayantha Perera, Director Operation-SLPA, Mr. Upul Jayatissa, Chief Manager Marketing and Business Development-SLPA, Mr. Y D Park and Mr. Jitin Joshi from HMM Regional HQ India. The local agents of HMM in Sri Lanka was represented by Mr. Bevin Mack, General Manager of Shipping and Cargo Logistics (Pvt) Ltd along with Mr. Iqram Cuttilan, Chief Executive Officer of Aitken Spence Maritime sector.