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Elpitiya Plantations partners with Sim Leisure to commence work for ESCAPE theme park in Galle

25 Jun

Elpitiya Plantations PLC an associate company of Aitken Spence PLC, recently entered into a Shareholders’ Agreement with Sim Leisure Group Ltd., a listed company in Singapore Stock Exchange, to develop and operate an adventure theme park under the ‘ESCAPE’ brand in Galle, Sri Lanka. While the partnership will formalise and strengthen the business relationship between the two companies, this is an extraordinary step from both parties amid the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country and shows the confidence on the government foreign investment policy.

‘ESCAPE’ will bring their well-known philosophy for theme parks to Sri Lanka with a unique state-of-the art adventure park. Moreover, the project is the first of its kind in Sri Lanka and obviously the first in Regional Plantation Companies. A few unique features of the park would be;

  • Longest waterslide in Sri Lanka at around 800m
  • The first chairlift experience in Sri Lanka
  • Cascaded flying fox and other exciting games

The construction of Phase 1 of ESCAPE Sri Lanka on 30 acres is scheduled to commence in the financial year ending 31 December 2020, targeting to open for the public beginning of FY2021. ESCAPE Sri Lanka will be situated in the Galle district.

This will be an attraction for Sri Lanka’s largely untapped domestic tourism sector, which has increased over the years, whilst strengthening leisure & entertainment options for international tourists.  The theme park will also integrate well with the Government’s efforts to strengthen the tourism sector and to promote destination Sri Lanka. What’s more, this is likely to create ripple effects for the economy by attracting more investments into districts outside Colombo and by creating employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for the local communities.

Sim Leisure is a leading theme park developer and operator based in Malaysia (under ESCAPE brand). Over the past 25 years, Sim Leisure has completed more than 300 projects, including Bollywood and Motiongate (Dubai), Yas Waterworld (Abu Dhabi), Legoland (Denmark and Malaysia), and Universal Studios (Singapore).

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.

Large-Scale Housing, Water & Sanitation Projects at Dunsinane Estate of Elpitiya Plantations

17 Aug

158 new homes were built at Dunsinane estate, in the Nuwara Eliya District, owned and managed by Elpitiya Plantations PLC.    Out of  404 Housing  Units  which are being  constructed under the Indian Government’s large-scale housing project initiated in the country at a cost of Rs. 1.2 Mn.,  158 Housing Units were declared opened recently by Hon. Ranil Wickramasinghe, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.

The Indian Government initiated a programme to construct 14,000 housing units to provide decent houses in light of improving living standards of plantation workers under the ‘Plantation Villages’ concept introduced by the Sri Lankan Government in Central and Uva Provinces of Sri Lanka.

The above programme was initially launched in October 2014, as the first ever mega project to construct housing units at the Dunsinane estate and to provide public amenities such as a Child Development Centre, Community Development Centre and an internal road network for easy access to all housing units.

The General Manager of Dunsinane estate at the time when the project was initially launched, Mr. M.I. Izzadeen and the current Deputy General Manager of the up-country cluster Mr. Ranga Gunasekera and Manager of Dunsinane estate Mr. Asela Udumulla ensured the correct selection of sites, beneficiaries while assisting the respective officials of the Ministry in Hill Country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development and the Plantation Human Trust to facilitate the implementing Agency – UN-HABITAT to complete the task successfully.

Coinciding this event, another first ever mega project to provide safe and pure drinking water, and sanitation facilities at cost of Rs. 74 million, funded by the World Bank was ceremonially declared opened at Dunsinane estate by the Hon. Prime Minister and the distinguished guests. This project is the first of its kind implemented on an estate owned by a Regional Plantation Company and would benefit a population of over 6,000.

The opening ceremony was held with the presence of His Excellency Taranjit Singh Sandhu, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka and Hon. Naveen Dissanayake, Minister of Plantation Industries,  Hon. Palani Digambaram, Minister of Hill Country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development, Hon. Gayantha Karunathilaka, Minister of Lands and Parliamentary Reforms, Hon. Rauf Hakeem, Minister of City Planning and Water Planning, and other distinguished dignitaries felicitated this ceremonial event.

Elpitiya Plantations wishes to greatly acknowledge the kind gesture of the Government of India for implementing a housing project of such magnitude and for selecting Dunsinane estate to launch this Pilot Project to construct 383 housing units. A special note of appreciation to the key role played by Hon. Palani Digambaram, Minister of Hill Country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development, respective Ministry officials and officials of Plantation Human Development Trust and the implementing Agency – UN-HABITAT and other Government Institutions for initiating the above projects.

Elpitiya Plantations PLC is a public liability company and is one of Sri Lanka’s leading producers of exquisite high quality premium teas. The Company is managed by the Aitken Spence since 1997. Elpitiya Plantations comprises of 13 estates located in up, mid and low country regions, which cover more than 8,800 hectares. While the core business is focused on cultivation and manufacturing of tea, rubber, oil palm, coconut and cinnamon, the Company has diversified into sustainable forestry development, eco-tourism, hydropower development, and specialty teas.

Aitken Spence Facilitates Cruise Ship Call on All Four Ports in Sri Lanka

30 Jan


For the first time in Sri Lanka a cruise ship has made calls on the four main ports of Sri Lanka. The Luxury Cruise Ship Ms Europa 2 owned by German Operator Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten called on the 29th, 30th and 31st January 2016 to the Ports of Galle, Colombo, Hambantota respectively and have arrived at the Port of Trincomalee on the 1st of February 2016.

Hapag-Lloyd Lanka which is a subsidiary of Aitken Spence PLC is the local agent for Hapag-Lloyd, a top five global container operator. During her stay in Colombo on the 30th January 2016 at the request of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, the local agent Hapag-Lloyd Lanka carried out a full passenger turnaround in Colombo on 30th January 2016 which included, embarking and disembarking a total of 740 passengers.

Ms Europa 2 is a newly designed luxury cruise ship, which is considered as one of the most spacious cruise ships on the market. Every year the Ms Europa 2 sets sail on its journey around the World to visit Ports that are unreachable by other ships due to its size.

Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten has decided to have more frequent callers to Colombo, Galle, Trincomalee and Hambantota and are scheduled to call all four Ports in Sri Lanka in 2017/18. A full passenger turnaround is once again scheduled to take place in 2017 and as well as in 2018.

On April 7th 2015 Ms Europa, the sister ship of Ms Europa 2, called the Ports of Trincomalee, Galle and Colombo.

Diversification Delivers for Elpitiya Plantations

11 Jul

Aitken Spence-managed Elpitiya Plantations PLC recorded a profit-after-tax of Rs. 480 mn     for the financial year ended 31st March, 2014.  Elpitiya’s exceptional earnings were mainly driven by an excellent performance in oil palm and return on strategic investments made by the company into joint venture projects.

“Profit was commendable as revenue on tea &rubber had declined by around 8 per cent YOY,   following the erratic weather conditions and the poor prices released for natural rubber. Increase in cost of production following revision of the workers’ wages by 20 per cent had a significant impact on the Comp any’s profitability. Our strong results  are  due to the team work by our employees”, said Dr. Rohan M Fernando Managing Director of Elpitiya Plantations PLC and Director of Aitken Spence PLC.

The company’s net assets had increased to Rs.  2.9 bn from Rs. 173 mn at the time of taking over of the estates in 1997. Since taking over, the company has invested over Rs. 3.8 bn  on tea and rubber replanting, factory development, diversification into oil palm & commercial forestry and other capital enhancements.

“New Peacock and Nayapane estates have achieved all-time record yields of 2,855 kg per hectare and 1,979 kg per hectare respectively in tea.   This was made possible due to the good agricultural practices followed on the estates, with special emphasis on fertilizer inputs and upgrading factory machinery. We thank the government for the subsidy given to the industry which has helped us maintain fertilizer levels” said Mr. Tony Goonewardena, Executive Director of Elpitiya Plantations PLC.

Commenting further, Mr. Goonewardena stated that the company’s strategic investments into re-forestation (commercial forestry) and hydro power projects brought in significant income during the financial year under review.   The   joint venture project with Dianhong  International Limited,  to produce  Chinese specialty  black tea and  green tea at the company’s  newly  developed Harrow Tea Factory in Pundaluoya  also contributed substantially to the company’s  profit  along with the income  derived from the palm oil processing factory, which is jointly owned by Elpitiya Plantations PLC  with two other regional plantation companies.

The CEO and Director of Elpitiya Plantations PLC - Mr.Goonewardena

Elpitiya Plantations PLC CEO Bhathiya Bulumulla.

“Company’s strategic diversification programme into large scale palm oil cultivation in the low country region has paid dividends by contributing considerably into the company’s profitability.   Deviturai Estate recorded the highest ever yield of 16,281 kg per hectare on oil palm and Talgaswella Estate, a major tea & oil palm plantation in the low country, has made exceptional returns.” said Mr. Bhathiya Bulumulla, the Chief Executive Officer of Elpitiya Plantations PLC.

The Company also has commenced aneco-tourism project in the low country and planning to extend the same concept on Dunsinane, Sheen and Fernlands estates in the upcountry region in the current year.

Elpitiya Plantations PLC adopts the stringent food safety standards in the production of tea.  Dunsinane, New Peacock, Nayapane  tea factories  in the up country region  and Talgaswella and Deviturai Tea Factories in the Low Country  regions   have been certified for ISO 22000:HACCP  for  Food Safety  Management Standards and  all  the  tea factories  have been certified  for  Ethical Tea Partnership and Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification  for best  practices on   health & safety and  environment Management. The Company is currently working towards obtaining rain forest alliance certification to all   its up country tea estates.

Elpitiya Plantations PLC is committed towards improving the living conditions of the worker population on the plantations.   Projects include construction of new housing units, water and sanitation, for more than 50 housing unit for several estates.Further, plans are underway to construct 510 housing units on Dunsinane & Meddecombra Estates with the assistance of the Indian Government during the years 2014-2016.

As a pilot project, bank accounts were opened for all employees of Talgaswella Estate while the company also has facilitated to provide scholarship grants to 21 children of the estate workers, who excelled in their studies to pursue their higher education at the universities. Elpitiya Plantations  has also pioneered to construct an  elders home on Meddecombra Estate, the first of its kind in the Plantation Sector,  to accommodate and look into the well  being  of 40  retired workers , in collaboration with the French  Donor ‘Foundation Adam Pierre’ at a cost of  over Rs.  25 mn.

The company is continuously exploring sustainable avenues for marketing its produce abroad, especially tea and rubber, in North and Southeast Asia.

Aitken Spence-Managed Elpitiya Plantations Posts Highest Ever Profits

20 Jun

Aitken Spence-managed Elpitiya Plantations PLC recorded Rs. 507mn as net profit before management fees for the 2012/13 financial year, its highest ever recorded. Profits soared by 194% from the previous year’s figure of Rs. 172mn while revenue grew by 13% to Rs. 2.83bn. The Company’s earnings per share rose by 201% to Rs. 6.20 and net assets per share recorded a growth of 23% to Rs. 33.51, from the previous year.


Elpitiya Plantations PLC consists of 13 estates, situated in the upper, mid and low country regions of Sri Lanka, cultivating tea, rubber, oil palm and coconut. The company has a significant stake in Sri Lanka’s only privately-owned palm oil mill and operates several mini-hydro power plants on its own estates.


At the point of takeover by blue-chip conglomerate Aitken Spence in 1997, Elpitiya Plantations was dependent on tea and facilities were in a dilapidated state. The new management embarked on a strategy of crop diversification, efficiency improvement and human resources development for the company’s growth.


New Peacock estate in mid-country and Talgaswela estate in low country were the highest contributors to Elpitiya’s exceptional performance during the financial year.

Dr. Rohan M Fernando, Director and Head of Business Development & Plantations of Aitken Spence PLC and the Managing Director for Elpitiya Plantations PLC said, “Our strategies to optimally utilize the resources inherent in our estates and enhance the capabilities of our staff to generate sustainable growth to the company have proven fruitful. We will continue to look at ways to innovate in our cultivation and production processes as well as in our marketing, looking at new avenues for growth”.


New Peacock, Nayapana and Sheen estates achieved the highest ever recorded yield-per-hectare in tea, while Talgaswela estate recorded the highest ever palm oil yield-per-hectare. Tea prices of Dunsinane, New Peacock, Nayapana and Talgaswela estates improved above elevation averages with the better standard of leaf that was offered for manufacture.


The low country segment improved its productivity significantly from the crop diversification targeting low-income tea lands to palm oil and cinnamon. Continuous investments made by the company on re-cultivation of tea, rubber and palm oil have begun to pay dividends.


Company reaped substantial returns from on its mini-hydro power projects and from its investment in the joint-venture palm oil mill. 


Processes introduced towards the efficient use of the fertilizer subsidy to correct fertilizer deficiencies in soils contributed towards record-breaking crop levels harvested by estates belonging to Elpitiya Plantations.


Elpitiya’s successful direct overseas marketing of sole crepes to top international brands and RSS rubber manufacture using one-day drying systems kept the company’s rubber net sale average high despite  a low rubber market in Sri Lanka.


The sustainable forestation and re-forestation programmes commenced by Elpitiya Plantations subsequent to its taking over of the estates in 1997 have resulted in valuable timber reserves to the company’s asset base.


The CEO and Director of Elpitiya Plantations PLC, Mr. Tony Goonewardena said, “Our emphasis on the management our human resources and sustainable development have been the foundations on which we have been able to generate exceptional growth for the company. I would like to express our appreciation to all associates in our estates who have made excellent contributions to make these results possible”. 


“Elpitiya Plantations PLC pioneered in sending field staff on overseas training to Indonesia and we continue our policy of sending executive staff on overseas training, with the objective of strengthening our human resources”, he added.

During the financial year, the company built twenty new houses for the estate employees at Meddacumbra estate with the help of PADEM and International Institute of Development Training. Further twenty five houses were built at the Elpitiya estate with help of the National Housing Development Authority and the Plantations Human Development Trust. 


Elpitiya continues to grant mid-day meals to children in crèche facilities operated by the company and scholarships to children of employees attending university.  The company has ongoing programmes in developing the living standards of estate employees, by offering estate cooperative facilities, training programmes, loan facilities, free distribution of books, uniforms, and assistance towards New Year festivals and annual pilgrimages.Image

Dr. Rohan M Fernando, Director and Head of Business Development & Plantations of Aitken Spence & Managing Director for Elpitiya Plantations

Dr. Rohan M Fernando, Director and Head of Business Development & Plantations of Aitken Spence & Managing Director for Elpitiya Plantations

The CEO and Director of Elpitiya Plantations PLC - Mr.Goonewardena

The CEO and Director of Elpitiya Plantations PLC – Mr.Goonewardena

Elpitiya Plantations recognised for Hydro Power Generation

11 Aug

Aitken Spence managed – Elpitiya Plantations PLC, which comprise of 16 estates of tea, rubber and palm oil; spread across three regions of Sri Lanka was awarded the prestigious “National Plantation Award 2012 for Generating Hydro Power of RCP sector” by His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the National Plantation Awards 2012, held recently.

The award ceremony was held to recognize the contributions made to the national economy by growers, industrialists, factory owners, regional planters and exporters in the plantation sector.

Elpitiya’s diverse portfolio of estates include Dunsinane and New Peacock in the high and mid grown elevations and Deviturai and Talgaswela in the low grown elevations. The Company in 2003 initiated a project to reduce the cost of energy in its plantations by investing in hydro power. The project has over the years progressed to the building of two mini hydro power plant projects with a feeding capacity of 3560 KW and an average annual generation of 11.2GW to the country’s national grid.

Elpitiya built its first hydro power project in 2008 whilst it took a stake in another hydro power project built on the Dunsinane estate in 2006. The third project will be commissioned in December 2012 with a capacity of 900KW, which is currently under construction and is anticipated to generate 2.92GW of green energy to the national grid.

Dr. Rohan Fernando, Director and Head of Business Development and Plantations of Aitken Spence receiving the award from His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mr. Tony Goonewardena, CEO of Elpitiya Plantations said, “Being recognised at the National Plantation Award for the efforts of our hydro power projects is encouraging to push forward similar sustainable investments. Elpitiya has prospered over the years and will continue to grow by taking key decisions that create and contribute value not just to the business, but to the community and the nation as a whole”.

Environmental conservation is a key strategy for Elpitiya in the context of sustainable development. Apart from the growing of shade and other valuable trees on the estates, the company has set up water treatment plants in the rubber factories, developed systems for rainwater harvesting and also introduced several biological methods to control pest and diseases . Furthermore, the application of organic fertilizer on a sustainable basis to improve soil and preserve the environment has also been increased. Elpitiya has also taken several timely steps to reduce the cost of energy apart from investing into hydro power. Installation of several energy saving devices such as wood-fired hot water boilers, installation of capacitor banks in all the factories, installation of energy saving withering fans, have been some of the ongoing initiatives.

Four more projects are in the pipeline of the Company’s initiatives, from which the expected total capacity of 2600KW, with an average annual generation of 8.6GWh is anticipated. Two of these projects have obtained all the necessary approvals, including the BOI approval.