Archive | May, 2019

Aitken Spence Outperforms Industry Benchmarks with 13.8% Growth in PBT in 2018/19

27 May




















Aitken Spence PLC came up with yet another sustained financial performance for the twelve months ending 31st March 2019 with a 13.8% year-on-year growth in profit-before-tax from Rs. 6.4 billion to Rs. 7.3 billion, its highest ever. The leading conglomerate recorded a steady growth in several key sectors. The conglomerate capitalised on its broad-based business portfolio spread across several countries and sectors by recording an increase in its annual revenue by 5.6% from Rs. 52.7 billion to Rs. 55.7 billion whilst recording the highest ever profit-after-tax of Rs. 5.8 billion. This was an increase of 12.1% from the previous year. The resilience of the Group is demonstrated by the continuous growth in EPS which reflects the strength of the Group to face turbulence in the domestic market and yet achieving sustained economic growth during this period, due to its overseas investments.

Currently, Aitken Spence being an exceptionally diversified Group has generated 44% of its profits from businesses overseas; thus, spreading its wings across countries specially in the tourism, maritime and logistics sectors. As a result, the total assets of the Group comprise of 33% accounted by assets overseas. This is an indication of the valuable relationships that have been built with global industry players in these key sectors.

The company also witnessed a growth in revenue from the overseas operations by 9.9% to Rs.17.6 billion supported by good performances from the tourism, and maritime & logistics operations, surpassing revenue growth in the domestic market. The revenue increase in the Maldives is noteworthy as growth in room supply exceeded increase in tourist arrivals, leading to stiff competition in this attractive market. Further higher domestic volumes in the cargo business resulted in increased growth in overseas maritime and logistics operations.

Total revenue of the Sri Lankan operations also grew by 3.7% to Rs.38.1 billion. This was created by significant improvement in tourism, maritime & logistics and services sectors despite a contraction in the strategic investments sector. As a result of the outstanding growth in the key sectors, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased by 20% to Rs.6.2 billion during the year.

The Sri Lankan hotels performed extremely well recording a profit before tax of 40.3% over the previous year, although there was an increase in room inventory in the country which created intensive competition. Moreover, the destination management business underlined their leadership position in the country by exceeding all expectations resulting in a profit before tax of over Rs. 1 billion. They also brought in over 200,000 tourists into Sri Lanka which is an exceptional achievement.

The maritime and logistics sector recorded a growth in profit of 20.9% to reach Rs. 2.1 billion. The performance of these two sectors improved due to an increase in imports, exports and transhipment volumes. In addition, the hub concept which is gaining greater appreciation and attention in Sri Lanka also contributed to improved performances in freight forwarding, courier and GSA.

The broad-based strategic investments sector delivered an exceptional profit growth of 40.2% to reach Rs.1.8 billion. This was boosted by focus on driving operational efficiencies through sustainability initiatives resulting in a turnaround in the Garments segment. The power generation segment is in the process of providing a lasting solution to the city of Colombo’s acute garbage disposal problem by constructing a state-of-the-art waste-to-energy plant. This is a pioneering venture being carried out in Sri Lanka which will be operational in the fourth quarter of 2019/20 adding 10 MWs to the national grid.

The services sector comprising the insurance business and OTIS elevators, both showed top line growth with the overall sector reaching a profit before tax of Rs. 268 million, an increase of 11.6% over the previous year. The insurance business grew as a result of increase in external trade whilst OTIS elevators saw an increase in revenue growth from projects that commenced in the prior year’s nearing completion. This is despite the downturn in the construction industry.

Overall, profit attributable to shareholders crossed the Rs. 4 billion mark for the first time to Rs. 4.1 billion, an increase of 14.5%, while earnings per share (EPS) also rose from Rs. 8.77 to Rs. 10.04.

“Despite economic headwinds in key source markets and in their respective locations of operations, we have remained resilient and it is evident in the strong financial performance clearly seen across geographies and sectors. Our continued commitment to overseas expansion is evidenced by the investment of Rs.12.6 billion in Heritance Aárah in the Maldives as it becomes the first overseas operation to carry our premium brand Heritance which has been associated only with our iconic properties in Sri Lanka. Our printing and packaging segment also made an investment in Fiji in a printing business during the financial year, giving us the opportunity to further expand our horizons in the South Pacific region,” stated Aitken Spence Deputy Chairman and Managing Director, Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake.

“Currently, our top priority is to restore confidence and normalcy. Every one of us in the organisation is committed to making a contribution to this end. Moving forward, we will continue to work together with industry bodies to support recovery at a national level, voicing our concerns and conveying those of our business partners and customers to drive change in the right direction. We also stay committed and focused on the longer term as well, investing wisely to ensure that we drive the growth momentum in the country,” he added further.

Aitken Spence PLC won the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award 2018 for the second successive year and has been ranked among the Top 10 Corporate Citizens for an unprecedented 13 consecutive years.

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 Printing Certified with the World’s Leading Print Facility Validation

22 May

Market leader Aitken Spence Printing & Packaging (Pvt) Ltd. has again proved itself as a trendsetter in the industry by obtaining the G7® Master Facility Qualification-Colourspace, the highest level of the G7 compliance and the most stringent.

Regional Head of Idealliance for South Asia, K Panthala Selvan stated that “Aitken Spence Printing is the first ever in Sri Lanka to obtain the most globally used, recognised, and sought-after international validation in the printing industry. The G7 Master Qualification by Idealliance is a certification and specified standard for aligning printing technologies to achieve a consistent printing output. Utilising the G7 methodology improves output consistency across multiple print services, platforms, and distribution outlets, while tremendously reducing waste and increasing profitability”.

Being a pioneer in the printing industry for over six decades, the Company continuously sets innovative benchmarks. In addition to receiving countless endorsements, this recognition further validates its position as a ‘Best-in-Class Printer’ in Sri Lanka.

Managing Director of Aitken Spence Printing, Prasanna Karunathilake, stated that “Obtaining this internationally sought-after qualification in the printing industry is reflective of our commitment, every day, to deliver value-oriented, innovative, and sustainable printing and packaging solutions to our stakeholders. We will continue to set higher benchmarks to cater to leading global and local brands who seek to maintain the highest quality of their products”.

Prasanna Karunatilake further stated that “The countless endorsements received, and the rising demands of customers have paved the way for Aitken Spence Printing to reach new heights in matching and reproducing colours and in breaking the boundaries in the printing and packaging requirements. The wealth of experience, the proven skills and reliability coupled with unmatched level customer care has made Aitken Spence Printing a preferred printer for all forms of high-quality printing requirements, not just in Sri Lanka, but in South Asia and the region of the sub-continent of India”.

Aitken Spence Printing was the first LEED Gold certified printing facility in South Asia and was recognised for the fourth consecutive year as the industry’s best, by winning the Gold award in the Printing and Related Services category at the National Business Excellence Awards 2017.

Over the years, Aitken Spence Printing has evolved into a dynamic operation and is ranked among the top printers in the country specialising in both offset and digital printing technologies. Aitken Spence Printing has gained longstanding reliability as a printer of a broad range of products and services including coffee table books, packaging, publications, magazines, and seasonal products such as calendars and diaries. Catering to a wide range of industries such as tea, apparel, FMCG and pharmaceutical, Aitken Spence Printing operates in a fiercely competitive industry where it enjoys a leading market share in Sri Lanka.

Russian Tour Operators visit Sri Lanka with Aitken Spence Travels

14 May

A group of 12 tour operators from St. Petersburg, Russia is currently in Sri Lanka for a familiarization tour with Aitken Spence Travels.

The group leader Mr. Gorodenskiy Dmitry stated that he along with his other colleagues are very happy to be in Sri Lanka, which incidentally is their first visit although they have been promoting destination Sri Lanka.

“We are very happy about the security provided and felt everything is very normal. We love the Sri Lankan people and they are so friendly and helpful”, said Mr. Gorodenskiy.

He was confident that his Russian colleagues in the group will promote destination Sri Lanka and drive the much-needed tourists to the island.

The group visited Sigiriya and climbed the 660 ft tall rock capitol of King Kasyapa which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sigiriya is considered one of the best-preserved examples of ancient urban planning. The group would also make their way to the Dambulla cave temple, the Kandy Temple, experience a tea plantation, visit the gentle giants at the Pinnawela elephant orphanage and sum the tour by spending some time to enjoy the beach prior to departure.

Nayapane Estate Tea Factory of Elpitiya Plantations PLC Receives an All-time Record Price for the BOP Fanning Grade

2 May

The Nayapane estate tea factory managed by Aitken Spence Plantations Management PLC, has secured an all-time record for the BOP Fanning Grade in the Western Medium category with the highest price in the Sri Lanka tea auction. Securing this price is a testament to the Nayapane tea factory’s continuous commitment to maintain the highest quality of teas.

The tea factory situated in Pussellawa produces quality liquoring teas to high-end Japanese markets in compliance with international market standards. By ensuring that the manufacturing and processing of tea leaves are completed under stringent hygiene and safety conditions, the Nayapane estate tea factory produce is highly sought-after by buyers and is even considered a healthy beverage by customers.

Elpitiya Plantations PLC has heavily invested in state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies in the processing and manufacturing of its various produces. These efforts have enabled the company to manufacture the highest quality teas in a timely and efficient manner.

The Nayapane estate tea factory has been acclaimed both locally and internationally, and among the wins are the “Two-star” award at the Great Taste Awards UK 2018 for maintaining superior quality and taste in the British markets and the first place in the “150 Years Tea Board Awards”. The company is also an award winner at the ‘Sesquicentennial Tea Auction’ conducted by the Colombo Tea Traders’ Association where the Nayapane tea factory was adjudged the “Best Tea Factory” amongst other victories. Being awarded these prestigious accolades and recognitions, the BOP Fanning Grade serves to reinforce Elpitiya’s role as one of Sri Lanka’s leading producers of exquisite high-quality premium teas.

“Since our beginning over two decades ago, we have been steadily moving forward, and having our tea factory’s BOP Fanning Grade secure one of the highest prices, is a momentous milestone in our journey so far. Over the years we have undertaken continuous quality improvements and have optimised our operations, in order to run well-managed plantations. We hope to perpetuate these efforts toward ensuring an uncompromising standard of quality at all aspects of the business,” said Bhathiya Bulumulla, Chief Executive Officer of Elpitiya Plantations PLC.

In its commitment to meet stakeholder expectations through continuous improvements, sustainability is one of the core business strategies practised in the company, and it has been strategically embedded across all operational aspects at the Nayapane estate tea factory.

Commenting further, Kaushal Mathavan, Senior Manager of Elpitiya Plantations PLC said, “We have achieved an all-time record at Nayapane estate tea factory, and this was made possible through our continuous drive to ensure the long-term viability and profitability of Nayapane. We offset 20% of the company’s electrical energy requirements through a 93 kilowatts (kW) solar PV roofing system, and we are currently assessing Nayapane’s carbon footprint in order to become a carbon neutral plantation, which is an important element within our overall sustainability strategy at Elpitiya Plantations.”

In addition to this, Nayapane is a Rainforest Alliance Certified tea factory and a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership, which are reputed organisations working to improve the sustainability of the tea industry and are highly esteemed by most European markets. In its commitment to quality, Nayapane has broken grounds yet again by becoming the first tea factory in Sri Lanka to receive the ISO 9001: 2008, the environmental management system standard back in 1998, which was later upgraded to the ISO 22000: 2005 (HACCP) Food Safety Management Systems standard.

Managed by Aitken Spence PLC since 1997, Elpitiya Plantations PLC is one of Sri Lanka’s leading producers of the most exquisite high-quality premium teas. Today, Elpitiya Plantations operates 13 estates located in the up, mid and low country regions spanning over 8,800 hectares. Its core business is focused on cultivation and manufacturing of tea, rubber, oil palm, coconut and cinnamon, while the Company has subsequently diversified its operations into sustainable forestry development, eco-tourism, hydropower development, and specialty-tea manufacturing over the years.