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Aitken Spence records profit of Rs. 4.2 billion in 2019-2020 amidst unprecedented challenges

26 May

The year under review experienced two black swan events with their distinctive and severe impacts within the space of one year. Aitken Spence PLC remained resilient despite these challenges due to the Group’s diversified business portfolio and strategic direction.

The Group’s financial performance for the twelve months ending 31st March 2020 recorded a year-on-year profit-before-tax of Rs. 4.2 billion compared Rs. 7.3 billion last year.

Despite considerable economic headwinds the organisation’s agile strategy was reflected in the earnings from the overseas businesses that contributed 39% compared to 43% last year. This underlined the exceptional relationships that have been built with global industry players across the key sectors. The Group’s businesses from the domestic market derived 61% earnings of the Group’s PBT for 2019/2020 compared to 57% in the previous year.

The total revenue of the Group ending 31st March 2020 was Rs. 53.5 billion, a 4% drop from the previous year, primarily due to a reduction of revenue from the Tourism sector which was affected by the significant impacts mentioned above. However, the drop was compensated by the commencement of the operations during the third quarter of the year of Heritance Aarah, the flagship hotel in the Maldives.

The total assets of the Group increased by 14% to Rs. 140 billion. The Group invested Rs. 10 billion in capital expenditure across many sectors with the highest investment incurred in the power generation segment to fund the construction of the pioneering waste to energy power project, the first of its kind in Sri Lanka. This reflects the organisation’s confidence in its future earnings growth capacity.

The Group’s expansion increased to 9 countries as the Maritime & Freight Logistics sector re-established its presence in South Africa whilst the Tourism sector commenced operations in Myanmar during the year.

The launch of Heritance Aarah was a key milestone in the Tourism portfolio as it was the first time that the Heritance brand was launched overseas. Heritance Aarah is the first LEED certified building in the Maldives reflecting their commitment to sustainable and energy efficient design. Heritance Aarah has also set the bar for culinary excellence in this popular tourist destination emerging victorious in the World Culinary Olympics in Germany, having also won the Maldivian and Sri Lankan competitions during the year.

The Tourism sector recorded a loss before tax of Rs. 15.3 million compared to a profit of Rs. 3.1 billion last year. This sector was hardest hit by the Easter terror attacks at the beginning of the year with dramatic declines in tourist arrivals in the following months. Overall, performance of the overseas Tourism sector was dampened by the increased depreciation and interest costs related to Heritance Aarah which is inevitable due to the capital intensive and long-term nature of the industry.

Heritance Kandalama and Heritance Tea Factory made profits despite the setbacks. This was owing to the differentiated marketing strategy that helped to mitigate losses, carving out a niche that could be finetuned to enhance yields over time. Aitken Spence Travels handled around 14% of organised tourist arrivals to country underlying its position as the market leader and providing a healthy contribution to the Group and the country, to accelerate and strengthen the recovery of this key economic sector. Additionally, Airline General Sales Agency business added another regional passenger carrier to its portfolio which is expected to commence operations in the new financial year.

The Maritime & Freight Logistics sector contributed an outstanding profit before tax of Rs. 2.25 billion which was once again the largest contributor accounting for 54% of the Group profits. The resumption of operations in South Africa, completed a short-term assignment which supported the performance of the sector.

The Sri Lankan operations of the Maritime & Freight Logistics sector also recorded an increase in operating profits despite a significant decline in trade volumes due to global trade tensions and import restrictions. Integrated logistics performed very well by securing new multinational clients through service excellence.

The Strategic Investments sector recorded PBT of Rs. 1.7 billion compared to Rs. 1.8 billion last year. Steady progress has been made in the country’s first waste to energy power plant although the final commissioning is likely to be delayed given the challenges with the current situation. Apparel had improved efficiencies and had a good year but witnessed a drawback due to the impact of COVID-19 at the end of the financial year. The printing and packaging segment continued to differentiate itself in the market leveraging its sustainable printing agenda but was adversely impacted due to higher costs of paper leading to narrower margins and the cessation of operations in the latter part of March following the lockdown imposed in the country.

The Group’s investment in the printing & packaging segment in the South Pacific region is nearing completion and is expected to commence full scale operations soon. This strategic investment will support the printing and packaging segment’s aspirations to expand services in the South Pacific region using its expertise in sustainable printing to differentiate their value proposition.

Performance of the plantations segment was commendable despite the lower prices of tea experienced throughout the financial year due to its business diversification strategy. Escape Theme Parks signed an agreement to develop a park in Devithurai estate making Elpitiya Plantations the first Regional Plantation Company to embark on a non-agri diversification project of this scale.

The Services sector performance was commendable recording PBT of Rs. 298 million compared to Rs. 269 million last year. The insurance segment performed remarkably well and no major impact from COVID-19 is expected for this segment. The elevators segment secured a large number of contracts but may experience delays in installations as the market may be impacted due to the COVID-19 related economic downturn. Despite work remittances to the country declining during the financial year, the Money transfer segment of the Group performed well due to operational efficiencies.

“As we emerge from the great lockdown of our time to a world that has changed significantly, it is crucial that we are prepared for a paradigm shift within the Group to seize new opportunities by responding to changing demand dynamics. Plans are taking shape to ‘Realign, Reinvent and Relaunch’ our businesses to be even more relevant to society’s changing needs to deliver sustainable growth in earnings to our shareholders, upholding the Spensonian legacy of adapting to thrive,” stated Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC.

Aitken Spence PLC won the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award 2019 for the third successive year and has been ranked among the Top 10 Best Corporate Citizens of Sri Lanka for an unprecedented 14 consecutive years.

Listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange since 1983 and marking its 150th year milestone in 2018, Aitken Spence is a blue-chip conglomerate with a strong regional presence in hotels, travels, maritime, freight and logistic solutions, plantations, power generation, financial outsourcing, insurance, printing, apparel and other services.

Aitken Spence 9-Month Net Profit Grows by 17%

14 Feb



Aitken Spence PLC recorded a strong financial performance closing the immediate 9-month period with a 9.9% year-on-year growth in profits before tax amounting to Rs. 2.9 billion, and a 17% growth in profit attributable to shareholders. The growth is attributed to  strong financial performances posted by a number of key operational sectors in the reporting period.

Bringing to fruition the long term investment strategy adopted by the diversified group, many of the key industry segments operated by Aitken Spence showed positive growth trends in the 9-month period that drew to a close on the 31st of December 2016. The top line for the same period grew by 69% to a figure of Rs. 30 billion while earnings per share rose by 17% to Rs. 4.09.

The company achieved a 28% growth in profit before tax in the third quarter amounting to Rs. 1.4 billion. Earnings per share rose by 36% in the quarterly period amounting to Rs. 2.14 per share. Profit attributed to equity holders also rose by 36% to Rs. 870 million year-on-year, for the quarter.

Listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange since 1983, Aitken Spence is a blue chip conglomerate with a strong regional presence in the Hotels, Travels, Maritime Services, Logistics, Plantations, Power Generation, Printing, Insurance, IT, Outsourcing and Apparel.

Maritime and Logistics, Services and Strategic Investments sectors all showed positive growth figures contributing to the bottom line gain experienced during the reporting period. Growth in the Strategic Investments sector was driven by power generation, plantations and printing segments while the elevator agency segment helped the Services sector performance. Maritime & Logistics sector benefited from growth in the port management services and education segments and the addition of a new freight forwarding representation.

Unfavourable market conditions in foreign markets, particularly the Maldives and India, and the high costs of finance have negatively contributed towards a challenging period for the tourism sector, despite top line growth. The addition of RIU Sri Lanka in Ahungalla, Al Falaj Hotel (Oman), Turyaa Chennai and the new wing of Turyaa Kalutara contributed to the rise in revenue.

“We have seen growth in revenue, and more significantly contributions from some of our new investments to the top line of the Group which is a healthy indicator of the performance of those investments in my view. Most of the [Group’s] key sectors have experienced positive growth in the third quarter. We are also confident that the tourism sector will rebound across the various geographical markets and that the new investments we made will continue to pay off in the coming years”, commented Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC, J M S Brito.

Aitken Spence Records Rs. 1.1bn as PBT in Third Quarter

13 Feb

Aitkenspence head office

Leading conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC posted its interim results to the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) released on Friday. The blue-chip’s financial results for the quarter ended 31st December 2015 saw profit-before-tax decrease by 25.3 per cent to Rs. 1.1 bn while profit attributable to equity holders decreased by 26.7 per cent to Rs. 637 mn. Revenue for the quarter fell by 14.6 per cent to Rs. 6.7 bn.

The diversified group’s nine-month results showed profit-before-tax decreasing by 28.3 per cent to Rs. 2.6bn and profit attributable to shareholders falling by 35.4 per cent to Rs. 1.4 bn, while revenue dropped by 28.2 per cent to Rs. 18.6 bn.

The revenue loss from the cessation of the power purchase agreement of Ace Power Embilipitiya in April 2015 had a significant effect on the results. Other Operating Income for the 9 months to 31st December 2014 included insurance income of Rs 351m for the fire damage at a resort in Maldvies during 2013/14.

“Diminished returns from the Maldives due to external factors and consolidation of hotel investments in Sri Lanka, negatively affected the returns from the tourism sector”, said J M S Brito, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC.

The Group’s Hotels arm recently completed a 100-room extension to its beach property in Kalutara, which is now a 200-room upgraded resort. In addition, the company is currently overseeing two large hotel projects in Negombo and Ahungalla.

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.

“We are pleased to report increase in profits from companies in the port management, ship agency and airline sub sectors contributed towards the profits of the Maritime & Logistics Sector.” Mr. Brito added.

Aitken Spence is Sri Lanka’s largest integrated logistics services provider and has port management services in Africa and the South Pacific.

Depreciation of the Rupee has adversely affected company due to foreign currency loans obtained for overseas investments.

The company was also significantly affected by the substantial Super Gain Tax paid during the quarter ended 31st December 2015, as per the provisions of part III of the Finance Act No. 10 of 2015.

Subsequent to the balance sheet date, Aitken Spence PLC after obtaining all relevant approvals purchased a 20% shareholding in Fiji Ports Corporation Limited. The company which was previously wholly owned by the Government of the Republic of Fiji owns and manages all ports in Fiji.

Aitken Spence Hotels International (Pvt) Ltd., a subsidiary company, entered into an agreement to acquire Al Falaj Hotel in Oman from Oman Hotel and Tourism Co., subject to obtaining all relevant approvals. Al Falaj Hotel has been under management of Aitken Spence since 2008.

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 Hotels Bags Gold Once Again at the CA Annual Report Awards

19 Dec

CA Acceptance Image CA 2013 Group ImageSri Lanka’s leading resort operator, Aitken Spence Hotels walked away with the Gold Award in the Hospitality Sector category at the recently concluded Institute of Chartered Accountants Annual Report Awards. The much anticipated event with its forty nine year old history was held recently under the distinguished patronage of Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Chamal Rajapaksa as Chief Guest.

The annual competition formulated to encourage transparency and accountability in financial reporting in the corporate sector recorded the highest number of registrations this year with a total of 126 entries vying for the coveted awards. This year’s competition revolved around the inspiring theme ‘One Destination – Towards Integrated Reporting’. The Institute of Chartered Accountants Annual Report Awards has been the focal point in inculcating financial reporting discipline in the corporate sector.

“We recognize that transparency and good governance play an extremely vital role and it is encouraging to note that due to global trends most companies are working to ensure that these vital areas are addressed. This win highlights the importance Aitken Spence Hotels gives to sustainability, transparency and accountability and provides a clear indication that the company’s ongoing commitment to report on its economic, social and environmental impacts” said Mr. Malin Hapugoda, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels.

Aitken Spence Hotels manages a portfolio of hotels and resorts in Sri Lanka, Maldives, India and Oman. The company’s expertise in hotel design, building and management is complimented by its dedication and commitment to excellence. Located in some of the key tourist locations, each of the properties cater to a diverse clientele.


Mr. C. R. De Silva P. C.

8 Nov

Aitken Spence boosts Fiji Port efficiencies by 35pc in two months

15 Oct

Aitken Spence public-private partnership with the Fiji Ports Corporation to oversee the operation of Suva and Lautoka ports, the largest in Fiji; recorded an increase in its efficiencies by 35 per cent within a short span of two months.
Marking the first- ever public-private partnership overseas by a Sri Lankan company recorded to-date; diversified blue-chip Aitken Spence bought a 51 per cent stake in state-owned Fiji Ports Terminal Ltd, taking control of businesses of the two ports for a period of 15 years.

A function commemorating the Public Private Partnership between Fiji Ports Corporation and Aitken Spence PLC was held recently at the Holiday Inn Suva in Fiji, where Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, Chairman of Aitken Spence Maritime and Director of Aitken Spence PLC revealed the increased efficiencies in the Ports.

“Achieving substantial gains in efficiencies within two months is major milestone, especially in the absence of the shore cranes which are vital to enhance productivity and efficiency of the ports. Fiji Ports Corporation has assured us that it will be delivered by the end of this month” he noted.

Dr. Dissanayake further stressed what was encouraging was that shipping lines had written to them commending on the progress made so far. “This is a process where we have to continuously enhance the service delivery to sustain the level of efficiency to make sure we have a world class port” he added while encouraging all stakeholders to join hands to deliver the service standards that they were expecting.

Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC, Mr. J M S Brito said, “Efficient ports are a key driver of economic growth. We are committed to establishing world-class best practices to our port operations in Fiji to improve its efficiencies and enhance its competitive position”.

At the function, Attorney-General and Minister for Public Enterprises in Fiji, Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said that the Fijian Government looks forward to Aitken Spence’s internationally-exposed skill sets to help incorporating efficient management systems and style to the Fijian people and to its broader operations. “We look forward to you bringing your skill set and your expertise that not only exists in Sri Lanka but various parts of the world” he said addressing the representatives from Aitken Spence.

Adding to his address, Hon. Sayed-Khaiyum stated that there are abundant prospects by Aitken Spence which the Fijian Government believes can be explored in numerous other areas. He indicated plans are currently underway on an agreement with Aitken Spence, with regards to further areas of engagement.
Aitken Spence PLC is among Sri Lanka’s leading and most respected corporate entities with operations in South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange 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. Aitken Spence was recognized as the Best Corporate Citizen by the country’s leading chamber of commerce for 2012.
Aitken Spence Boosts Fiji Ports Efficiency

Heritance Presents Junior Pastry Chef 2013 : A roaring success

17 Sep

Junior Pastry Chef 2013, presented by Heritance Hotels and Resorts, recently concluded the inaugural competition of its kind on the 18th of August 2013. This exciting edutainment event targeted at kids with a keen interest in culinary experiences, achieved its objective of educating aspiring young chefs and providing them with a platform to display their acquired culinary skills.

The competition was held over a period of three days which tested these little Chefs strengths and abilities. The weekend’s activities kicked off with a training programme conducted by celebrated Chef Dimuthu Kumarasinghe where he taught the participants the art of sugar crafting and decorating. The young participants were then given the opportunity to practice their newly acquired skill by making animals and figures from fondant. These individual creations were then mounted onto a cake which was auctioned for Rs. 167,000. This money will be donated to Anula Wijerama Children’s Home, Balapitiya.

Upon completion of the training workshops the participants were placed in groups and the semi final round commenced. The 10 best creations in the semi finals qualified for the final leg of Heritance Junior Pastry Chef. The creation of the ten finalists were judged by Chef Gerard Mendis, Chef Madawa Weerabaddana, Chef Dimuthu Kumarasinghe, Chef Srimal Kulatunge .

Khashish Naraindas was adjudged the Heritance Junior Pastry Chef where she won a cash prize of Rs. 100,000 and a stay for her family at Heritance Kandalama. Sasandi De Silva was 1st runner up and clinched a cash prize of Rs 50,000 and a stay at Heritance Tea Factory. The second runner up was Hana Cassim and she took home a cash prize of Rs 25,000 and a stay at The Sands by Aitken Spence.

The event was an initiative of the renowned culinary team of Heritance Ahungalla, the reigning winners of the Best Culinary Team, Best Hotel Team and Best Regional Team awards conferred by the Chefs Guild of Sri Lanka. The team led by Chef Dimuthu Kumarasinghe, the only Chef in the World to have won nine Gold medals for individual events at the Culinary Olympics and the Culinary World Cup have received extensive recognition both internationally and locally for their culinary expertise.

The concept for hosting a competition of this nature was encouraged by the booming tourism industry in Sri Lanka and the growing need for chefs in the culinary world. “The competition was a success and we hope that through this programme, we inspired these young individuals to pursue their aspirations in the culinary field”, said, Mr. Refhan Razeen, General Manager, Heritance Ahungalla.

“We experienced world class service from the moment we arrived and the positivity and energy that surrounded the property was noteworthy. Although we were at Heritance Ahungalla to participate in a competition the staff at the hotel made the entire experience a truly memorable one and we look forward to our future visits to your other properties,” commented Mr. Mahesh Naraindas, proud father of Khashish, winner of Junior Pastry Chef 2013.

The event was made possible by the Main Sponsor for the event Stassens Group, media partners Maharaja Broadcasting Corporation and online booking partner Trekurious.
Khashish Naraindas

Creation of a participant

Heritance Ahungalla Once Again Home to the Best Culinary Team in Sri Lanka

6 Aug

Sri Lanka’s premier beach resort Heritance Ahungalla, emerged as the Most Outstanding Culinary Team in Sri Lanka after competing against both international and domestic star-class city and resort hotels at the 15th Culinary Art Competition held from the 2nd to the 5th of August. Heritance Hotels dominated the competition with Heritance Kandalama being adjudged the first runner up in the overall competition. Organized by the Chefs Guild of Sri Lanka, the culinary competition is part of the industry’s largest food and trade exhibition.

Maintaining its reputation for offering the best cuisine in the country, Aitken Spence Hotels won an unprecedented 150 medals including the prestigious award for the Most Outstanding Culinary Team in Sri Lanka.

There were 25 categories for the medals and the Aitken Spence medal tally displayed the sheer dominance the resort chain’s chefs had over its competitors in the field. World acclaimed Chef Dimuthu Kumarasinghe – Group Skills Development Chef, Aitken Spence Hotels and Heritance Hotels who led the team along with Chef Lalith Gunesekera – Consultant Chef, Aitken Spence Hotel Managements and Chef Kasun Premachandra, Executive Chef, Heritance Ahungalla whose continuous training and motivation guided the participants, were jubilant along with the teams from Aitken Spence Hotels who collectively won 16 special awards out of a total of 29 special awards. The special awards included the following: Most Outstanding Chef – Chef Y.K.P De Silva, Heritance Ahungalla, Most Outstanding Pastry Chef – Chef W.M.J.A Bandara, Heritance Ahungalla, Most Outstanding Apprentice – Chef L.H.S.N.R De Silva, Heritance Ahungalla, Best Bartender Mixologist – H.D.S.N Jayasekera , Heritance Ahungalla, Best Beer Cocktail –H.D.S.N Jayasekera, Heritance Ahungalla, Nescafe Creative Coffee- S.P.S Fernando, Heritance Ahungalla, , Best Sunquick Mocktail- H.D.S.N Jayasekera, Heritance Ahungalla, Best Wedding Cake Structure – Chef S G Wijesundera – Heritance Ahungalla, Most Outstanding Apprentice Hot Cooking Live – Chef L.H.S.N.R De Silva, Heritance Ahungalla, Best Plated Appetizer – Chef T.M.P Peiris , Heritance Ahungalla, Best Sri Lankan Meal – Chef Krishna Kumar and Chef C J Kumarasinghe, Heritance Kandalama, Best Arrack Cocktail – N.H Jayasinghe, Hilltop Hotel, Best Regional Hotel- Heritance Ahungalla, Most Outstanding Hotel- Heritance Ahungalla, Most Outstanding Culinary Team 1st Runner – Heritance Kandalama and the prestigious Most Outstanding Culinary Team – Heritance Ahungalla.

“I am tremendously proud of the achievements of our team, walking away with 150 medals from a competition such as this is a tremendous achievement. We constantly strive to be the best and are firm believers of ensuring that our future generation is provided with the knowledge required to take on the baton when required. Winning accolades such as this, year after year reaffirms our stance on the sustainable development of our future generations”, said Mr. Gemunu Goonewardene, Vice President, Food and Beverage, Aitken Spence Hotels.

Chefs Guild of Sri Lanka from their modest beginnings in 1988 has emerged as the premier professional body of culinary professionals in the hospitality trade.
A platform for recognizing true culinary talents, the competition symbolizes the pinnacle of excellence as hundreds of practitioners in the food & beverage industry in the country gathers to prove their mettle.

“Aitken Spence Hotels cater to a diverse market segment and are famed for its exquisite food and culinary art. Over a period of time the reputation gained in this specialisation has helped to position the chain of hotels as among the best in the region.
We recognize that our greatest asset is our staff at all levels who are loyal, dedicated and committed and work together as one team assisting and encouraging each other to be the best.” said Mr. Malin Hapugoda, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels.

Aitken Spence Hotels is the largest resort operator in Sri Lanka and the largest international hotel operator in the Maldives with a portfolio of hotels in multiple locations in India and Oman. Its range of international award-wining properties, management & culinary expertise and environmental commitment has set industry benchmarks both domestically and internationally.

Most Outstanding Culinary Team – Heritance Ahungalla

Exterior shot of Heritance Ahungalla

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