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Aitken Spence cumulative Q2 revenue up by 8.2%

15 Nov

Against an extremely challenging macro-economic environment, the leading conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC’s Group gross revenue grew by 8.2% to Rs. 28.6 billion for the period ending 30th September ‘19. Main growth in revenue were from the strategic investments and the maritime & logistics sectors. The integrated logistics segment performed exceptionally well recording a 30% year on year growth in revenue. This momentum is expected to continue for the rest of the year. The ship agency and maritime operations segments also recorded growth in revenue. The printing and apparel manufacture segments also recorded double digit growth in revenue compared to last year.

The Group recorded an overall profit from operations of Rs. 1.9 billion for the six months ended 30th September from Rs. 2.2 billion recorded the previous year. This was a result of the downturn experienced mainly by the tourism industry, post Easter Sunday. Despite the decline faced by the tourism sector, the Group showcased its resilience and its diversity of investments, to record an overall profit-before-tax (PBT) of Rs 1.2 billion for the six months ended 30th September. The Group PBT for the comparative period in the previous year was Rs. 1.7 billion.

The Group recorded a gross revenue of Rs. 14.2 billion for the second quarter whilst its profit from operations for the quarter was Rs. 1.1 billion compared to the profit from operations of Rs. 1.4 billion recorded the previous year.

Approximately 56% of the Group’s PBT for cumulative September ‘19 was generated through its investments overseas. The main contributor towards the PBT was the maritime & logistics sector which recorded a 24.5% growth over the previous year.

The strategic investments sector contributed Rs. 677 million towards the PBT compared to Rs. 727 million in the previous year. The significantly lower tea and rubber prices, and the intense competition faced by the printing sector coupled with the costs of the recent investment in South Pacific printing contributed to this effect. The printing segment is currently in the process of revamping the machinery and technology in this facility targeting to cater to the South Pacific region.

South Asia’s first green printing facility Aitken Spence Printing renewed its carbon neutral certification for the seventh consecutive year and thereby reflecting its commitment to sustainability.

Steady progress is seen in the construction of the country’s first waste to energy power plant and is projected for commercial operations towards the end of the financial year. Aitken Spence is committed to the development of Sri Lanka and this pioneering venture will help solve both the waste disposal and energy supply challenges in the country at present.

Despite a healthy performance by the Maldivian hotels, the drag in the local tourism industry resulted in the tourism sector reporting a loss for the period. However, the Group’s iconic properties Heritance Kandalama and Heritance Tea Factory recorded positive performances despite the decline in arrivals to the country.

Aitken Spence Hotels also received 14 awards at the South Asian Travel Awards 2019 and recently walked away with the championship trophy and an impressive 130 medals at the Culinary Art Food Expo 2019. With only few months into its opening, Heritance Aarah emerged as the overall champion at the Culinary Art Food Expo 2019 and excelled at the Food & Hospitality Asia Maldives 2019 (FHAM) competition with the highest number of awards won by an individual Resort. Following the ingrained ethos of sustainability at Aitken Spence, Heritance Aarah is the first property in the Maldives to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

The Group’s destination management segment was able to maintain its market share of the arrivals to the country. The destination management segment’s Myanmar operations has obtained all licenses and has recently commenced commercial operations.

During the reporting period Aitken Spence was ranked amongst the top 10 Most Admired Companies of Sri Lanka 2019 for the second consecutive year by International Chamber of Commerce, Sri Lanka (ICCSL) and The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) Sri Lanka. The Company was among the top 10 of LMD’s Most Respected entities hall of fame 2019. Aitken Spence PLC was also amongst the top 10 whilst Aitken Spence Hotels won the sectoral accolade at the CMA Excellence in Integrated Reporting Awards 2019.

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 the Hotels, Travels, Maritime Services, Logistic Solutions, Plantations, Power Generation, Financial Outsourcing, Insurance, IT, Printing and Apparel sectors. With a geographical presence in 8 countries and growing, creating opportunities for Sri Lanka across new frontiers, Aitken Spence PLC remains committed to the development of our nation.

Deshamanya D.H.S. Jayawardena –
Chairman Aitken Spence PLC

 

Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake –
Deputy Chairman and Managing Director Aitken Spence PLC

Aitken Spence Printing, Carbon Neutral for 7 Consecutive Years

13 Nov

Sri Lanka’s premier printing and packaging solutions provider Aitken Spence Printing, subsidiary of blue-chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC, offset their carbon footprint for the seventh consecutive year. The company was the first carbon neutral printing facility operator in South Asia. The Company also renewed its ISO 14064-1 certification for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission quantification, reporting and verification for the third year running reaffirming their commitment to quality and continual improvement.

Aitken Spence Printing was awarded the certifications by The Sustainable Future Group (SFG), Sri Lanka’s only verification and certification body accredited by the International Accreditation Forum to award ISO 14064 certification at both organisational and project levels. SFG is also the regional partner of Natural Capital Partners of the UK – the world’s leading provider of Carbon Offset Solutions and proprietor of the globally recognised CarbonNeutral® Certification.

The accreditation process involved an extensive analysis of the company’s GHG emissions and subsequent investment in a renewable energy project for registered carbon credits to offset their organisational carbon footprint. The ISO 14064-1 certification further included an additional internal audit of the company’s GHG Management and Reporting System.

Mr. Prasanna Karunathilake, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Printing, commenting on the company’s commitment to sustainability mentioned, “Being the first LEED Gold certified printing facility in South Asia, Aitken Spence Printing continues to push the boundaries of sustainability initiatives. We are constantly looking at modern technologies and newer, greener and more effective business practices to increase operational efficiency. This in turn encourages innovation and engagement among employees. Globally, a growing number of customers seek to minimise the environmental footprint of products they purchase. We are positioned as a preferred print solutions provider to leading global and local brands that seek high quality products and a responsible supply chain.”

Over the past seven years, Aitken Spence Printing has regularly measured, monitored and managed its operational carbon footprint with assistance from a leading industry expert, The Carbon Consulting Company (CCC). “Climate change poses several threats to Sri Lanka. The potential impacts will adversely affect agriculture, coastal communities, water resources, human health and, infrastructure and industry. If polluters do not take responsibility for their emissions and sustainable initiatives are not supported, this trend would not show any positive change. CCC is proud of its long-term engagement with Aitken Spence Printing and looks forward to supporting them to mitigate their adverse environmental impacts in the years to come” remarked Sanith de S. Wijeyeratne, CEO of CCC.

Aitken Spence Printing has pioneered many innovative benchmarks and enriched the industry with much  sought after professional services over six decades. The company offers a wide range of services from packaging, publications, magazines, seasonal products such as calendars and diaries; and caters to a wide range of industries including tea, apparel, FMCG and pharmaceutical. As a subsidiary of a conglomerate dedicated to contributing towards the economic, ecological, and social development in the region, Aitken Spence Printing continues to relish a leading market share in the printing industry of Sri Lanka.

Mr. Prasanna Karunathilake, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Printing & Packaging (Pvt) Ltd receiving the Award for 7 consecutive years of carbon neutrality from Mr. Sanith de S. Wijeyeratne, CEO – Carbon Consulting Company (CCC) and the CarbonNeutral® Certificate from Dr. Lakmini Senadheera, Head of Sustainability Assurance and Advisory Services – The Sustainable Future Group (SFG)

 

Aitken Spence Maritime ushers in the first cruise ship for the season – ‘Costa Victoria’

7 Nov

Aitken Spence Maritime launched the passenger cruise season with Italy’s biggest tour operator Costa Cruises. The luxurious passenger vessel ‘Costa Victoria’ called Colombo Port on the 05th of November 2019 carrying 1,739 passengers and 790 crew members on board.

Costa Cruises offers cruise holidays to Europe, Mediterranean, Caribbean and Asian destinations. Costa Victoria is adorned with a stunning combination of Italian and Swedish design, with a capacity to accommodate 2,394 passengers in 918 cabins and suits. During this season, Costa Cruises offers cruise packages to West India, Maldives and Colombo on a fortnightly basis for those seeking to join the voyage from any port of call.

As the local agents, Aitken Spence Maritime persuaded Costa Cruises to continue cruise calls to Colombo, considering all precautions taken by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Navy and the Police ensuring the safety and security of all passengers.

The Costa Cruises will have 6 vessels between November and December 2019 to the Port of Colombo. This operation will act as a key influencer for tourism, paving the way for other cruise operators to call at Sri Lankan Ports.

There are over 700 passengers engaging in excursions to enjoy the city and immediate locations of Sri Lanka such as the Colombo heritage walk, exploring the city of Galle, Kandy and key places of historical interests.

“We are delighted to begin the passenger cruise season by facilitating the first vessel Costa Victoria. Aitken Spence Maritime has been aggressively promoting cruise calls to Colombo and are expecting several cruise operators in the following weeks. It is also inspiring for the team to see their efforts materialise. Aitken Spence Maritime will continue to offer comprehensive, synergised services to cruise operators that in turn will boost tourism in the country,” said Mr. Iqram Cuttilan, Managing Director of the Aitken Spence Maritime sector.

Aitken Spence Maritime is a pioneer in the industry and was the first Sri Lankan company to undertake port efficiency enhancement management overseas with its entry into the African Continent and subsequently the South Pacific. The company handles all areas of maritime services – from shipping and cargo handling services, to liner agency, cruise vessel, port management and development, chartering services and maritime education.

Aitken Spence Hotels Victorious with Heritance Hotels Sweeping the Culinary Art Expo 2019

28 Oct

Aitken Spence Hotels Culinary Art Food Expo 2019 – Winning Team

 

Aitken Spence Hotels showed their mettle at the Culinary Art Food Expo 2019 walking away with the championship trophy and an impressive 130 medals in total. Heritance Hotels & Resorts were the stars of the show clinching 126 medals.

Heritance Aarah Maldives emerged ‘Overall Champion’, the second win for the luxury resort within just few months of operations. The property also excelled at the Food & Hospitality Asia Maldives 2019 (FHAM) competition with the highest number of awards won by an individual property.

Heritance Hotels along with Turyaa collectively won 42 Gold, 37 Silver and 51 Bronze medals. Aitken Spence Hotels received the most number of medals for a company at this event.

Heritance Kandalama emerged ‘Most Outstanding Cultural Triangle Team’ with 4 Gold, 11 Silver and 19 bronze medals. Heritance Ahungalla won 22 medals while Heritance Negombo won 21 medals. Heritance Tea Factory and Heritance Ayurveda won 4 medals in total. Turyaa Kalutara also won 4 medals at the competition.

Known as South East Asia’s biggest food and hospitality show, Culinary Art Food Expo was organised by Chefs’ Guild of Lanka together with World Association of Chefs Societies and CDC Events & Travels. The event was held from 22-24 October 2019.

Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena, Executive Director – Aitken Spence PLC and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels congratulated the teams, expressing delight over the many accolades. “Aitken Spence Hotels, and especially the Heritance properties, are known for their distinction in the culinary field. Our resorts, irrespective of its location, have been commended many a times on the unique F&B offering – by certifications, awards and most importantly, our guests. As such, the awards that are brought home from this competition are not a mere matter of pride but a reiteration of our commitment to nurture talent and present only the very best to those who walk in through our doors,” she said. Ms. Jayawardena, who also heads the Tourism and Leisure sector of Aitken Spence, added “The achievements of Heritance Aarah Maldives is especially commendable as it has been in operation for just a few months and have won two championship awards both in Maldives and Sri Lanka.”

Ms. Jayawardena also asserted that this recognition reflects the Company’s dedication to excellence and passion to drive innovation. “Since inception, the Company has been steadfast in its commitment to cultivate talent, promote innovation, inspire youth and local community development. This is evidence of the talents of our youth and we are proud to call them part of our family. We hope they utilise all available resources to improve their capabilities and together, create memorable holidays for our guests.”

The winning team was recognised at a ceremony held at Aitken Spence Towers, presided by Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director, Aitken Spence PLC.

Aitken Spence Hotels is part of the Sri Lankan blue-chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC and operates 21 hotels and resorts across Sri Lanka, Maldives, Oman and India. The Company’s owned hotels are reflected under the Heritance, Adaaran and Turyaa brands, popular around the world for its exceptional service and undisputed product and curated lifestyle experiences. The Company’s Sri Lankan portfolio includes 11 resorts spread across the island, whilst the Maldives resorts totals to five, four in Oman and one in India.

 

Heritance Aarah

Aitken Spence PLC among the top ten whilst Aitken Spence Hotels bag sectoral accolade at the CMA Excellence in Integrated Reporting Awards 2019

25 Oct

Building on its tenacious journey towards excellence, the conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC was ranked among the ‘Top 10 corporates for the Best Integrated Report’ at the CMA Excellence in Integrated Reporting Awards 2019 held for the fifth consecutive year. Adding colour to the prestigious event and its portfolio of recognition, Aitken Spence Hotels Annual Report presented under the theme “The Moment Momentum” walked away with the award for the Best Integrated Report – Hotels & Travels Sector whilst securing a certificate of Merit for Overall Excellence in Integrated Reporting.

The esteemed awards ceremony organised by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka (CMA), was graced by the Chief Guest – Honourable Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya and Keynote Speaker – Prof. Mervyn E. King SC, Chair Emeritus of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and former Judge of the Supreme Court of South Africa.

The Aitken Spence Group with its long and distinguished history of over 150 years as one of the nation’s most respected conglomerates with thriving business interests in major industry sectors in Sri Lanka and beyond, have created a vibrant business enterprise by being smart and far-sighted and now adept at perceiving where the best avenues for value creation lie. The 36th annual report of Aitken Spence PLC based on the theme ‘Future Fit’ reflects the Organisation’s strategic direction that has transformed over the years, embracing international best practice in corporate reporting. It is the eighth integrated annual report which contained information for providers of financial capital and is of interest to other valuable stakeholders. The corporate’s aim is to communicate relevant material information in a concise but comprehensive manner, providing a balanced review of its performance.

As one of the leading Sri Lankan hospitality enterprises, with a uniquely diverse portfolio of properties spread across the region, Aitken Spence Hotels believe that when they create special moments for the people while protecting the environment and creating value for the communities served, they are creating not just one moment, but extraordinary experiences in every sphere of their operations. The eighth Integrated Annual Report of Aitken Spence Hotels comprises rich information that communicates the alignment between the strategy, stakeholder needs, business model and triple bottom line performance.

The dual awards won by the Group and Hotels segment at the CMA Excellence in Integrated Reporting Awards is a further testimony to the Organisation’s commitment to international best reporting practices such as GRI and the IR Framework issued by the International Integrated Reporting Council.

Ms. Dilani Katipearachchi Vice President (right) – Corporate Finance and Ms. Shinska Wijesinha – Asst. Manager (left) Corporate Finance receiving the Aitken Spence PLC Group recognition as one of the Ten Best Integrated Reports.

 

Mr. Jeevaka Weerakone – COO Aitken Spence Hotels(right) and Mr. Dammika Ekanayake – Assistant Vice President (left) Aitken Spence Hotels receiving the award for the Best Integrated Report – Hotels & Travels Sector and a certificate of merit for overall excellence in Integrated reporting.

Aitken Spence Hotels celebrate 14 awards at the South Asian Travel Awards 2019

22 Oct

Aitken Spence Hotels reaffirmed their position as a trendsetting industry leader in hospitality, achieving the highest number of wins at the recently concluded South Asian Travel Awards (SATA) 2019 – winning six regional awards and eight country awards.

Aitken Spence Hotels in Sri Lanka, Maldives and India were recognised in the Gold and Silver categories.  Gold awards were awarded for the South Asian region and silver awards were presented in the respective countries (Sri Lanka, Maldives and India).

The iconic Heritance Kandalama brought home wins for both Sri Lanka and South Asia under Leading Eco-friendly Hotel/Resort. Heritance Kandalama, designed by the legendary Geoffrey Bawa, celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. The world’s first tea factory that was converted into a hotel, Heritance Tea Factory was awarded the Leading Theme Hotel/Resort in Sri Lanka and the region. Providing an authentic ayurvedic experience and having presented Sri Lanka as a leading wellness provider to the world since 2011, Heritance Ayurveda was adjudged winner, again, from both country and region as Leading Wellness and Spa Hotel/Resort. The hotel with the widest beachfront in Sri Lanka, Heritance Negombo was adjudged the winner for Leading Designer Hotel/Resort Sri Lanka.

Aitken Spence Hotels in the Maldives contributed to the wins with Adaaran Prestige Water Villas – Leading Bungalow/Villa, Adaaran Select Meddhupparu – Leading Dive Hotel/Resort and Adaaran Select Huduran Fushi – Leading Surf Hotel/Resort. The three resorts won awards in both the country category as well as the South Asian region.

Turyaa Chennai, India, located in the IT corridor and enjoying success as a business hotel won the country award for Leading Boutique Hotel.

Speaking of the recognition, Aitken Spence PLC Director, Head of Tourism & Leisure, and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels Management.Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena expressed her delight in having secured the most number of wins at South Asia’s most prestigious hospitality and travel industry awards.

“As a key player in the highly competitive and ever-changing industry of hospitality, Aitken Spence Hotels have consistently pursued excellence not just in the experience offered to our guests but also in the work environment enabled for our suppliers and staff. We endeavour towards this with a commitment to attain sustainable growth, contributing positively to the people, planet and economy. Awards such as these reaffirm our strategies and our vision towards creating this holistic growth through superior product offering and service from the heart,” she asserted.

“In all hotels where we are located, we work tirelessly to offer our guests a holiday that celebrates locality whilst promoting unique opportunities for them to experience. The awards we have won celebrate just this,” she said. Ms. Jayawardena thanked the management teams, the General Managers of the Hotels and the entire Hotels team for their dedication which has undeniably strengthened the growth of the company.

Launched in 2016, the prestigious awards for travel and tourism stakeholders in the region has affiliations from regional associations. The awards were held for the third consecutive year at the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai, India. With over 500 entries from Maldives, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal and Bhutan under 36 categories; the recognitions thus received further reiterates Aitken Spence Hotels’ leadership in the region as an innovative hospitality service provider.

Aitken Spence Hotels portfolio consists of 21 properties, with eleven owned and managed properties in Sri Lanka, five in Maldives, four in Oman and one in India. The hotel chain recently introduced the ‘Heritance’ brand of hotels to Maldives earlier this year with the opening of premium all-inclusive all-villa property, Heritance Aarah.

 

Heritance Kandalama

Leading Eco-friendly Hotel/Resort – Sri Lanka

Leading Eco-friendly Hotel/Resort – South Asia

 

Heritance Tea Factory

Leading Theme Hotel/Resort -Sri Lanka

Leading Theme Hotel/Resort – South Asia

 

Heritance Ayurveda

Leading Wellness and Spa Hotel/Resort – Sri Lanka

Leading Wellness and Spa Hotel/Resort – South Asia

 

Heritance Negombo

Leading Designer Hotel/Resort – Sri Lanka

 

Adaaran Prestige Water Villa

Leading Bungalow/Villa – Maldives

Leading Bungalow/Villa – South Asia

 

Adaaran Select Meddhupparu

Leading Dive Hotel/Resort – Maldives

Leading Dive Hotel/Resort – South Asia

 

Adaaran Select Huduran Fushi

Leading Surf Hotel/Resort – Maldives

Leading Surf Hotel/Resort – South Asia

 

Turyaa Chennai

Leading Boutique Hotel – India

 

Aitken Spence consistently ranked among the Top 10 Most Respected Entities in Sri Lanka

17 Oct

The award for Sri Lanka’s Most Respected entity for 2019 is presented to Aitken Spence. From left to right: Ms. Nilanthi Sivapragasam (Chief Financial Officer – Aitken Spence), Dr. Rohan Fernando (Executive Director – Aitken Spence), Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake (Deputy Chairman & Managing Director – Aitken Spence), Mr. Hiran Hewavisenti (Editor-in-Chief – LMD), Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena (Executive Director – Aitken Spence and Head of Tourism & Leisure), Mr. Rohan Pandithakorralage (Chief Human Resources Officer – Aitken Spence) and Mr. Brian Emmanuel (Marketing Director – LMD).

 

Inspired by the heritage and entrepreneurial journey for over 150 years, Aitken Spence shines among the top 10 of LMD’s Most Respected entities hall of fame 2019. Being a conglomerate that has pioneered many successful ventures whilst delivering long term value to all stakeholders, Aitken Spence secured a total score of 299, surpassing many large corporates in Sri Lanka.

The 15th annual edition of the Most Respected entities ranked the nation’s most admired corporations, adopted a revised methodology for ranking entities. LMD’s Most Respected rankings are based on an exclusive survey conducted by a leading research company Nielsen to gauge peer perceptions through a weighted ranking system. The key criteria include financial performance, quality consciousness, management profile, honesty, innovation, dynamism, corporate culture, CSR, vision and nation-mindedness.

Commending the achievement Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC said, “With an impactful legacy of over 150 years not just in Sri Lanka but internationally as well, our priority has always been to be a sustainable and a responsible organisation that delivers long term value to employees, customers, partners, communities and other stakeholders. Moreover, our ability to adapt and to be agile yet strong and stable, guarantees our pledge to stakeholders that we create a positive impact for people and the environment that enriches us.”

“The diversity of the Group’s business sectors and its geographical span has been the corner stone of the Group’s success throughout the years. Investments that were strategically thought out and passionately executed has not only propelled it to greater heights but has also enabled us to withstand the fluctuations of fortunes of the Sri Lankan and global economies. We are extremely pleased that our position among the Most Respected has improved in comparison to the previous years and this is a further testimony that we are moving forward despite the many challenges faced in both the local and global landscape,” he further added.

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 the Hotels, Travels, Maritime Services, Logistic Solutions, Plantations, Power Generation, Financial Outsourcing, Insurance, IT, Printing and Apparel sectors. The Company is empowered by a team of over 14,000 individuals, with a geographical presence in 8 countries and growing, creating opportunities for Sri Lanka across new frontiers.

 

Strength in Diversity: Aitken Spence Shows Resilience with 17.5% Revenue Increase in 1Q

8 Aug

In the aftermath of the devastating events of 21st April in Sri Lanka, the first quarter of 2019 was adversely impacted. As the country copes with multiple challenges, Sri Lanka’s economic growth is forecast at 2.7% in 2019. Overall, the performance of the services sector in the country declined to 4.1% year-on-year, compared to 5.5% GDP growth last year. Among other industries, tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka in May 2019 recorded a drastic decline of 70.8% from the arrivals in May of 2018. Although the arrivals increased by 19% by June 2019, it is yet 57% less compared to the arrivals in June 2018. Earnings from the country’s agricultural exports declined during the first five months of 2019 due to poor performance observed in tea, minor agricultural products and rubber exports.

Against this challenging macroeconomic backdrop, Aitken Spence PLC reported a 17.5% growth in Group revenue during the first quarter of the year at Rs. 12.4 billion compared to Rs. 10.6 billion recorded in the previous financial year.

Aitken Spence continues to manifest its dominance in overseas markets that has generated approximately 75% of the Group’s overall profits in the first quarter of 2019 compared to 60% in the first quarter of 2018. Overseas expansion, and thereby creating opportunities in local and overseas markets, is a vital aspect of the business strategy of Aitken Spence and it has strengthened the company’s resilience amidst a turbulent economic environment.  At present, Aitken Spence has a presence in Asia, Middle East, South Pacific and Africa and the efficacy of this strategy is evident to date.

At the same time, profit-before-tax for the quarter was Rs. 475 million from Rs. 538 million over the previous year. This is after accounting for an additional charge of Rs. 36 million for the quarter, due to the adoption of the new leasing standard SLFRS 16 as required. There was no corresponding adjustment made in the previous year.

“Aitken Spence is a company that has proven that our strength is in our diversity. The devastation of the Easter attacks should motivate unity, resilience and continual progress. With normalcy being gradually restored, we are confident that business will bounce back, and our efforts will continue to this end,” said Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC.

“We are pleased to be seen in the forefront of showcasing business resilience amidst challenging times. Following the Easter attacks, Aitken Spence Maritime facilitated the first luxury cruise ship carrying 350 passengers to call on Sri Lankan ports and Aitken Spence Travels Cruise team was responsible for the operation of all the shore excursions for its passengers,” he added further.

The tourism sector was significantly impacted by the Easter attacks that resulted in a loss of Rs. 385 million for the quarter, over the loss of Rs. 204 million in the previous year. However, the resorts in the Maldives recorded a strong growth with the newly opened Heritance Aarah which is the first overseas operation to carry the premium brand ‘Heritance’. The hotel property recently opened in March 2019 and is the latest addition to have been ‘Gold’ certified for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). LEED buildings save energy, water, resources, generate less waste and support human health. Only three months into its opening, Heritance Aarah marked a landslide victory at the Food & Hospitality Asia Maldives 2019 winning 33 awards, the highest number won by an individual property.

Despite the travel advisories issued for Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the Easter attacks, the inbound tourism segment has performed well. The destination management segment has also set up a new venture in Myanmar and operations are expected to commence shortly. This is a further testament to expansion overseas which help to offset negative impacts faced in the domestic segment. Moreover, this promotes our skills and expertise in a fast-growing tourist destination such as Myanmar.

Amidst the sluggish economic growth and stiff competition, the maritime & logistics and services sectors recorded increments. The quarterly profit-before-tax of the maritime & logistics sector increased by 21% to Rs. 528 million, over the previous year. The sector’s revenue increased by 4.4% to Rs.2.8 billion, mainly driven by its overseas operations.

Strategic investments and services sectors also recorded profit growth, of 8.4% to Rs. 242 million and 11.1% to Rs. 91 million respectively, in the first quarter.

Aitken Spence PLC won the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award 2018 for the second successive year, the 3rd win overall for the company, and has been ranked among the Top 10 Corporate Citizens for an unprecedented 13 consecutive years. Aitken Spence PLC has also been ranked Platinum and among the top 5 companies in the STING/ LMD Corporate Accountability Index for 6 consecutive indices. Recently, Aitken Spence was adjudged the overall winner at the ACCA Sustainability Reporting Awards for the year 2018.

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 the Hotels, Travels, Maritime Services, Logistic Solutions, Plantations, Power Generation, Financial Outsourcing, Insurance, IT, Printing and Apparel sectors. With a geographical presence in 8 countries and growing, creating opportunities for Sri Lanka across new frontiers, Aitken Spence PLC remains committed to the development of our nation.

Deshamanya D.H.S. Jayawardena – Chairman Aitken Spence PLC

 

Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake – Deputy Chairman and Managing Director Aitken Spence PLC

 

Landmark victory for Heritance Aarah and Adaaran Resorts at an International Culinary Challenge

30 Jul

Culinary prowess of the leading hospitality chain Aitken Spence Hotels was recognised with an impressive 94 awards at the recently concluded Food & Hospitality Asia Maldives 2019 (FHAM) competition, with its new entrant, Heritance Aarah clinching 19 Golds – highest number won by an individual property.

Heritance Aarah is the latest addition to the noteworthy hospitality portfolio of Aitken Spence Hotels. Opened in end March 2019, Heritance Aarah is Aitken Spence’s first ‘Heritance’ brand in an overseas operation. Heritance Aarah showcased its versatile food and dining offering through the 33 awards won in total. The team, trained and led by culinary maestros of the Group, brought home six silver awards, five bronze awards, three merit awards and 11 special individual awards; a testament to the superior F&B offering at the resort which features six (06) restaurants and four (04) bars. The culinary experience at the premium, all-inclusive resort includes international buffets such as French and Italian cuisines, Middle Eastern flavours, street food favourites, and many innovative dishes among the fusion of flavours offered.

Aitken Spence Hotel’s long-standing brand in the Maldives ‘Adaaran Resorts’ added to the overall jubilation with 62 awards, totalling the Group’s win to 94. Adaaran Select Meedhupparu won 19 awards, Adaaran Prestige Vadoo 14 awards, Adaaran Select Hudhuransushi 12 awards and Adaaran Club Rannalhi five awards. Additionally, Aitken Spence Hotels received 11 Special Awards.

The team competed with 500 chefs from international and local hospitality chains in diverse categories assessed by a panel of industry experts. The event was held from 15th-17th July 2019 in Dharubaaruge, Maldives.

“This recognition is a further testament to our exceptional culinary offering in the Maldives, which is a hallmark of our properties. I am delighted at this significant win. With Heritance Aarah shining at FHAM just three months since it opened doors, guests from around the world would have got a glimpse of the quality and creativity they can experience at a Heritance or Adaaran property.” said Aitken Spence PLC Director, Head of Tourism & Leisure, and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels Management Stasshani Jayawardena.

Whilst congratulating the team, she also noted the commitment of the Group to offer innovative culinary wonders to the industry. “The awards highlight our continued efforts to raise the bar in service, quality and the overall experience. As a hospitality group that is globally renowned for superior service and unique offerings, our continual efforts are focused towards transcending guest expectations at every turn. With lifestyle experiences being a key deciding factor, our resorts in the Maldives deliver the finest curated excursions through exhilarating activities and memorable gastronomic experiences.”

FHAM International Culinary Challenge & Exhibition is recorded as the premier event experienced by the hospitality industry and is the largest gathering of the industry in the Maldives. The event is endorsed and certified by the World Association of Chefs and Society (WACS) and is organised in partnership with Chef Guilds of Maldives (CGM) and Chef Guilds of Lanka (CGL), in association with the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Studies of the Maldives National University, the Ministry of Tourism Arts & Culture and the Ministry of Economic Development – Maldives, and the Maldives National Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The involvement of all these organisations and institutions of Maldives makes it the official exhibition and culinary challenge for the hospitality industry of Maldives.

Ladies first! Aitken Spence Hotels invests Rs. 70 Mn in ladies’ accommodation facility at Kandalama

24 Jul

The tourism industry generates income and employment worldwide. According to global statistics published by the World Travel and Tourism Council in March 2019, 1 in 10 jobs overall in 2018 and 1 in 5 new jobs created over the last five years were attributed to the tourism industry. It has also created a plethora of direct and indirect opportunities across Sri Lanka. However, similar to global statistics, female representation in the tourism sector is considerably low.

When more women work, economies grow. Enabling economic participation for women pays enormous dividends for families, communities and economies. However, the gender parity in the workforce is the widest in emerging economies such as Sri Lanka due to many reasons. These reasons could range from social and cultural limitations to a dearth of required skills.

Premier hospitality chain, Aitken Spence Hotels has worked over the years to bridge the gap of required skills among youth. In their efforts to create and promote a conducive work environment as an equal opportunity employer, Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC opened a well-equipped ladies’ accommodation facility at its most iconic property, Heritance Kandalama. This is yet another benchmark in the tourism and hospitality industry as this iconic property marks 25 years.

“Aitken Spence Hotels have always been a Company that valued and promoted equality and non-discrimination,” Aitken Spence PLC Director, Head of Tourism & Leisure, and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels Management, Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena said “The Company’s decision to invest Rs. 70 Mn in infrastructure is a reiteration of its commitment to enable greater access to our immediate communities to opportunities in the tourism and hospitality industry, and our effort to ensure women also benefit from those opportunities. We are confident that our proactive efforts towards enhancing accommodation and amenities will increase the female representation within our workforce.”

The hotel maintains a close relationship with its immediate community and regularly conducts educational programmes at local schools to enhance skills and knowledge among youth. With their employment policies giving priority to local applicants, over 60% of its workforce is from the community within 35-40km radius. Families of new recruits are invited to observe the working environment at all properties to allow them the peace of mind of their child’s safety and wellbeing.

“Competitiveness of Sri Lanka’s tourism and hospitality workforce weighs heavily on promoting employment for women and youth. Encouraging higher involvement from these two demographics, however, remains a challenge. Young women are hesitant to pursue a career in tourism and hospitality due to a myriad of socio-cultural views. It is our belief that all efforts must be made to welcome more women into the industry and to create a working environment where they feel safe and comfortable; thereby making a positive ripple effect on the economy.” She asserted that the ladies’ accommodation is but one area of the Company’s investment towards attracting a more diverse workforce.

The newly launched facility can accommodate over 40 females and offers three room categories – for Executives, Supervisors and Non-Executives. Comparable in design to a guest room, this ladies’ accommodation is fully equipped with all amenities for the comfort of the employees. The facility also consists of two common lounge areas designed for rest and relaxation.

This initiative is a testament to the company’s commitment to empower greater female representation in the hospitality and tourism industry. Currently at Aitken Spence Hotels, 15% of the Management is represented by women, with 24% in the Executive cadre and 7% at Associate level. Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC has set an ambitious target to achieve 20% female representation by 2020 and hopes to continue improving on that. This initiative to build accommodation facilities for the female workforce will be gradually rolled out at the hotel chain’s other owned properties.

As one of the first signatories of the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles and a trendsetter in the industry, Aitken Spence is confident that the efforts thus unrolled will bear fruit in the future by setting a precedent for establishing tourism as a tool for promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Heritance Kandalama ladies with their parents, Aitken Spence PLC Director, Head of Tourism & Leisure, and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels Management Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena, General Manager Mr. Priyan Wijerathne

Exterior

Indoor lounge area

Outdoor lounge area