Tag Archives: Aitken Spence History

Resilient Performance by Aitken Spence Sees PAT up by 6.6% to Rs. 4.9 bn for FY 14/15

25 May

Aitkenspence head office

Blue chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC reported its annual financial results for 2014/15 to the Colombo Stock Exchange on Monday, reporting a profit before tax of Rs 5.7 billion and profit after tax of Rs. 4.9 billion, a growth of 4.9 per cent and 6.6 per cent respectively. The diversified Group’s annual revenue rose a marginal 0.7 percent to Rs. 35.3 billion whilst earnings per share declined by 2.5 per cent to Rs. 8.82 for the financial year.

“Although this year has been a difficult year in terms of performance, it must be noted that while riding the wave of external challenges, we have turned inwards to strengthen ourselves to reap the opportunities of the future. We are thus optimistic about the future growth of the Company”, said Aitken Spence PLC’s Chairman, Deshamanya D H S Jayawardena.

“Aitken Spence has recorded another year of resilient performance. Diversification held the Group in good stead in 2014/15, to grow amidst challenging global economic conditions and intense competition”, said J M S Brito, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC.

The revenue of the tourism sector for the financial year grew by 5.1 per cent to Rs. 17.8 billion whilst recording a profit before tax of Rs. 4.2 billion and a profit after tax of Rs. 3.7 billion, a decline of 2.2 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively, for the year. The decline in tourism sector bottom line was mainly due to the decline in profits from hotels in Sri Lanka and overseas which was primarily attributable to the adverse impacts of the global political and economic climate. The company owns and manages a chain of hotels in Sri Lanka, Maldives, Oman and India. The Group’s destination management segment performed remarkably well. Aitken Spence Travels is Sri Lanka’s largest destination management company which during 2014/15, became the first and only company to handle 100,000 tourists to the country within a financial year.

“The coming year will be an exciting one for the sector, as we add Heritance Negombo to our portfolio and also expand capacity at The Sands, Kalutara by 91 rooms. Construction of the RIU Hotel in Ahungalla is well on target and we are excited by the possibilities offered by our partnership with RIU, and its parent company TUI” added J M S Brito, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC.

Annual revenue for the Maritime Logistics sector increased by 3.9 per cent to Rs. 7.7 billion whilst profits before tax increased by 4.3 per cent to Rs. 735 million and profit after tax increased by 8.1 per cent to Rs. 614 million. The Maritime and Logistic sector experienced weaker performances from the freight forwarding and the logistics segments whilst overseas investments performed well.

Strategic Investments sector’s profits surged during the year, with profit before tax swelling by 207 per cent and profit after tax rising by 341 per cent to Rs. 613 million and Rs. 509 million respectively. However, the sector reported a year-on-year decrease of 6.4 per cent in revenue to Rs. 15.2 billion mainly due to the reduction in revenue from the power segment. The sector’s printing and garments segments have reported exceptional performances. The Company expanded the garment sector’s production capacity by up to 40 per cent during the period under review, by commissioning a new environment-friendly production facility in Koggala. The plant was built in four months and will create 750 jobs once in full operation.

The Plantations segment reported outstanding results driven by an efficient diversification initiative. The Power generation segment also showed an increase in profits compared to the previous year due to the sale of two idling power plants which resulted in a lower cost of maintenance.

Services sector reported a revenue of Rs. 1.1 billion for the financial year which was a growth of 15.1 per cent. The sector’s profit before tax stood at Rs 132 million, a decline of 38 per cent compared to the previous year. Profit after tax reported a drop of 52 per cent to Rs. 83 million. Except for insurance, elevators and property businesses, the other segments within the sector recorded disappointing performances. The relatively nascent information technology segment accounted for a significant share of the losses in this sector. The Company has addressed the poor performance by restructuring the company, which is expected to lead to a better performance in the next financial year

With a history spanning 150 years, Aitken Spence PLC is among Sri Lanka’s leading and most respected corporate entities with operations in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South Pacific. Listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange since 1983, it is an industry leader in hotels, travel, maritime services, logistics, power generation and printing, with a significant presence in plantations, apparel, financial services, insurance and information technology.

Aitken Spence Sweeps 3 Leading awards at HRM Awards 2014

16 Mar
Aitken Spence PLC wins Gold Award and Heritance Kandalama wins Silver Award & Category Award for best practices in ‘Talent Supply

Aitken Spence PLC wins Gold Award and Heritance Kandalama wins Silver Award & Category Award for best practices in ‘Talent Supply

Aitken Spence PLC emerged as a Gold award winner and was listed in the ‘Super Ten’ companies at the HRM Awards 2014 organized by the Association of Human Resource Professionals (HRP) for the sixth time in Colombo recently. It is the only conglomerate to be amongst the winners repeatedly since the inception of HRM Awards in 2002.

HRM Awards, widely considered throughout the industry as the pre-eminent awards in recognising organizations and practitioners with outstanding evidence-based HR management practices has reaffirmed with this testament of recognition, the commitment Aitken Spence places for meeting processes and practices that are on par with globally recognized standards. Heritance Kandalama, considered as Sri Lanka’s most awarded hotel, similarly secured a Silver Award and received the category award for best practices in ‘Talent Supply’. Aitken Spence was the only organization to win 3 awards at this year’s awards ceremony.

The Awards’ eminent panel of judges, comprising of prominent local and international HR professionals and industrialists, paid special attention to processes that enhance productivity, promote employee growth and give organisations a competitive, long term advantage in their respective fields of business. The scientifically designed evaluation tool evaluated the best practices of participants against established norms and benchmarks facilitated by Society for Human Resource Management, SHRM, India.

Aitken Spence continues to promote innovative thinking and strategies in HR practices within the organization in alignment with world-class standards. Understanding that employees are the core to the company’s success, the Group continues to incorporate diverse career and leadership opportunities both locally and internationally, enhance employee skills and abilities for both professional & personal growth.

Aitken Spence HR Partners

Aitken Spence HR Partners

“We are honored to be recognized at the HRM awards as one of the best employers in Sri Lanka with world class HR practices. We understand that a team of highly engaged and enabled employees are the key to the company’s success. I am confident we will continue to observe the highest standards of HR practices for the sustained growth of our company” noted J M S Brito, Deputy Chairman & Managing Director, Aitken Spence PLC.

“The continual recognition of our HR policies and efforts at the HRM awards is an inspiring indicator that we are moving in the right direction of making Aitken Spence an Employer of Choice. This award will encourage us to continue to create challenging and exciting experiences for our employees, ultimately creating an open and unique work culture that elevates employees to their full potential”, stated Mr. Rohan Pandithakorralage, Chief Human Resource Officer, Aitken Spence Group Ltd.

Further Mr. Pandithakorralage stated “Aitken Spence has a rich history of nearly one and a half centuries. In its journey it has pioneered in to many new industries and continue to be a market leader even today. The success we have had, we see today and we envisage in the future are all attributable to our employees. We at Aitken Spence always go the ‘extra mile and a half’ and we provide an ‘exceptional’ service to all our customers; internal, external, stake holders. It is our DNA and it is our drive. It is how we evolve. We dedicate these successes to our employees of past, present and future.”

Aitken Spence PLC is among Sri Lanka’s leading and most respected corporate entities with operations in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South Pacific. It is an industry leader in hotels, travel, maritime services, logistics, power generation and printing, with a significant presence in plantations, financial services, insurance, information technology and apparel.

From parochial partnerships to public ownership

23 Apr

Reference: Aitken Spence Coffee Table Book, Published 2012

The beginnings of Aitken Spence merge into the history of British Colonial Ceylon. Many dates are given, but for the purpose of a starting point, we have set the date at 1830, which takes us back to a business entity called Wilson & Archer, the parent company of Clark Spence, established in Galle that year. It was on September 1, 1868 that Clark & Spence entered into a formal partnership as merchants and commission agents in Galle. As this Company progressed in it’s trading, it expanded its base. Some history pages tell us that in 1871 it made an agreement with another Company whose partners were E. C. Britton and Edward Aitken. Over the next two years, the ownership of
the Company changed gradually, and soon it came to be known as Aitken Spence & Company. The recorded date of this entity’s official beginning is New Year’s Day, 1873.

The Company’s primary business at this stage was the export of gems, plumbago, hides, sapanwood, ebony, coffee, arrack, coconuts, coconut oil, coir yarn, coir rope, bristle fibre, citronella oil and the import of rice from Burma and
coal for ship bunkers. Business consisted very largely of the chartering of ships to carry these commodities.

P.W.G. Spence is said to have been a man of immense energy and great business acumen. He was constantly seeking new opportunities for the Company. In the early months of 1871, he went on an extensive tour of the UK, seeking
business contacts that would help push this fledgling Company ahead. On April 5, 1876, he recorded his firm’s appointment as sole agent of the prestigious Lloyd’s of London.

But agencies were not all the Company was looking for; P. W. G. Spence and Edward Aitken believed that good partnerships were what made a sound base for their business.

Looking at the Company’s early history and its partners, there are many names attached to it, such as W. B. Patterson, G. W. Suhren, A. S. Berwick and A. P. Waldock, amongst others. It is clear that from its inception the Company was constantly seeking new partnerships and reinventing its business culture, making bold decisions that made it stand out from the crowd. It is this spirit that has carried on through time in every partnership Aitken Spence entered into.

Aitken Spence became a private Company in 1952 and at that time the ownership model was for the directors of the Company to hold shares. The understanding at that time was, a shareholder leaving the Company had to sell
his shares to the remaining directors. This understanding was backed by provisions made in the Articles of Association.

With a Socialist government ruling Sri Lanka in 1972, the Company in a further diversification of its ownership, began a new practice. Shares when they become available were offered on par to executives, leading to the gradual
broad basing of Aitken Spence. The Company’s share capital increased over the years through regular bonus issues.

What was important to note during this period was that board directors did not buy a single share. They were all sold on par to executives, which established a bond between the upper levels of the Company and the executive staff, creating a sense of ownership all around.

In 1983, another significant change in ownership took place with Aitken Spence becoming a quoted company on the Colombo Stock Exchange.



The Partnering Spirit

22 Apr

Reference:  Aitken Spence Coffee Table Book, Published 2012

This is a story about strength of belief, trusted partnership, and a passion to excel.
It all began in the 19th Century, when two Scottish gentlemen shook hands on an agreement that sealed a partnership, forming the beginnings of Aitken Spence. Over the years,the Company has steadily evolved into a vast conglomerate with a reach into almost every sector of the Sri Lankan economy.

What began on the docks of port town, Galle on the southern tip of the British colony Ceylon, was the first small step of a long successful journey. The significance of these two Scottish men from different clans working out a business arrangement together, far away from home, has had a lasting impact on the ethos of Aitken Spence. To this day the company believes in the spirit of making long term partnerships and honouring them.

The handshake made in trust all those years ago has become the hallmark of how Aitken Spence does business to this day; mutual trust and commitment is carried through every partnership the Company enters into.

The strength of the Group’s partnerships lies foremost in the best practices itemploys in every sector of its operations. For Aitken Spence, sustainability and good governance are core values in driving business. Layer on layer, the Company’s management structure is designed and tailor-made to fit the diverse sectors it operates within.

Apart from its business counterparts, Aitken Spence considers its employees the Company’s greatest partners. With a workforce that operates from tea estates to factory floors of garment industries and a large executive cadre; Aitken Spence adheres to internally accepted corporate accountability standards. This includes for human rights; equal opportunity irrespective of gender, race or religion; freedom of association; and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.

The Group rigidly complies with ILO conventions on the employment of persons, which eliminates all forms of forced or compulsory labour, and strictly ensures that no employees below the minimum legal age are offered employment. These policies are not merely looked at as the letter of the law; they are an embodiment of the Aitken Spence culture.

The heart of the Group’s existence is in the partnerships it makes, be it in travel, cargo, power, hospitality, plantations or with governments. Over three centuries, Aitken Spence has grown into an entity that manages a vast landscape of diverse business, making partnerships and joint ventures, which are winning formulas for companies across the globe.


Aitken Spence Coffee Table Book

17 Oct
Aitken Spence Coffee Table Book is available for purchase. Dial 112308308 Ext.5251 for more details

Aitken Spence Coffee Table Book is available for purchase. Dial 112308308 Ext.5251 for more details