Tag Archives: Aitken Spence

TUI – World’s Largest Tourism Group to Boost Destination Sri Lanka

3 Mar
TUI_CEO_Fritz Joussen

Fritz Joussen, Group CEO – TUI Group

A high profile delegation of TUI, the world’s number one integrated tourism Group, headed by the Group CEO Fritz Joussen will be visiting Sri Lanka today (Thursday). Organized by its joint venture partner Aitken Spence Travels, this would be the first time that Fritz Joussen will be visiting Sri Lanka. Joussen will be accompanied by other TUI top-level executives including: the CEO of TUI Germany, Managing Director of Product and Purchasing, CEO of TUI Nordic and Managing Director of TUI UK and Ireland on this visit. This visit highlights the focus on destination Sri Lanka and is a major endorsement from the global tourism giant.

TUI provides services along the entire tourism value chain for its 30 million plus customers from 31 source markets travelling to 180 destinations. It employs over 77,000 people in 130 countries. The group owns over 300 hotels & resorts with 210,000 beds, operating 136 aircrafts and 12 cruise ships. The company boasts revenues of €20.1 Billion in turnover and an operating result of €1.069 Billion. The TUI Group’s share is listed on the London Stock Exchange in the FTSE index and in the regulated market of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

The TUI group is an equal share partner of Aitken Spence Travels, the largest travel company in Sri Lanka. TUI enjoys a relationship of thirty five years with Aitken Spence, promoting Sri Lanka as a destination across a wide variety of source markets, especially in Europe. The partnership will be further strengthened with the commencement of planned charters from UK and Scandinavia, planned to start in the near future, along with the expected increase in arrivals from Germany and the Benelux region. The Lankan tourism industry will benefit greatly from these initiatives, adding traction to the tourism master plan of the country.

The TUI team is scheduled to meet the Prime Minister Hon. Ranil Wickramasinghe, the Minister of Tourism Hon. John Amarathunga and with other key tourism industry officials during their one-day stay.

The delegation will also make visit to 501-room RIU Ahungalla – a joint venture with Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings, which is currently under development. In addition, the TUI team will also visit other hotels that would be featured in its brochures. RIU Ahungalla once completed will be Sri Lanka’s largest beach hotel with 501 rooms. The hotel will offer a new segment of “all inclusive,” a first of its kind to Sri Lankan consumers and will extend its wings to its brand loyal customers travelling the globe. The TUI Charter operation will definitely generate more opportunities for other hotels to generate more business due to the increase in arrivals.

“TUI has continued to express interest in Sri Lanka as an important destination in the region. This historic visit is a result of a longstanding commitment and the growing openness in Sri Lanka. The overall increase of business from TUI will create opportunities for the growth of inbound numbers and the potential development of Sri Lanka’s tourism product that this visit may facilitate”, said Nalin Jayasundara, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Travels and a respected industry veteran.

As the country’s biggest tour operator, Aitken Spence Travels handles an annual volume of over 125,000 inbound tourists, and continuously strives to contribute to the growth of inbound volumes to the country.

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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.

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

30 Jan

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

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

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

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

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

Aitken Spence Printing Brings Sri Lanka’s First Carbon Neutral Six Colour Offset Press

7 Jan

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Heidelberg XL 75 machine in operation at Aitken Spence Priting premises

Industry pioneer Aitken Spence Printing recently installed the Heidelberg XL 75, the first CO2 free printing press in Sri Lanka, strengthening its position as the leading sustainable printing and packaging services provider in the region.

The high energy efficiency and the careful use of resources makes German-made Heidelberg XL 75 the most eco-friendly machine in its class. The CO2 footprint of the printing press is calculated according to cradle to gate and additionally the transport to the customer. It is based on a detailed analysis of energy consumption and transport needs, as well as on the percentage of the various materials with their specific CO2 footprint. In this case, not only the CO2 emissions caused during the production at Heidelberg is taken into consideration, but also those of the suppliers.

“We are committed to give our customers the printing and packaging solutions that will allow them to exceed stakeholder expectations in reliability, quality and sustainability. This machine increases our capacity and improves our level of agility in terms of handling low volume, high variety customer orders”, said Prasanna Karunathilake, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Printing.

The company which counts six decades in the industry, brought international recognition to Sri Lanka by being the first in the region to operate from a LEED Gold Certified facility with its processes certified as carbon neutral. Aitken Spence was selected as one of the best five sustainable vendors at the Fonterra 2014 Global Vendor Awards in New Zealand.

In procurement, the company sources environmentally friendly, heavy metal free and Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified materials, while materials are disposed by recycling and reusing. Mr. Karunathilake added: “Our focus is on sustainability. Our sustainability initiatives embodied holistic approach of printing, which encompasses innovation, people, facility, products, processes, technology, logistics and marketing. We believe that sustainability is not a simple list of discrete actions, but a continual improvement process, a culture and a way of pulling together the entire supply chain towards Green. We will be moving towards the ambitious goal of developing an integrated green supply chain, in line with the global movement for sustainable value chains”.

Aitken Spence Travels hosts Top Travel agents from Egypt

10 Dec

Aitken Spence Travels hosts Top Travel agents from Egypt

Top travel agents from Egypt were hosted in Sri Lanka by Aitken Spence Travels for a five-day educational tour in collaboration with the Sri Lankan Embassy in Cairo and airline partner Emirates Airlines recently. The objective of the familiarization visit was to give them a first-hand experience of the product on offer and ensure that all the agents are educated well in selling Sri Lanka as a leisure destination in Egypt.

Commenting about the destination and what they had experienced, the agents were full of praise at the natural beauty Sri Lanka has to offer. The varied attractions of lush green natural vegetation, misty cool green hill country, the abundant wild life and of course the sun kissed golden sandy beaches were greatly appreciated by the group. The group was of the opinion that Sri Lanka has a better product to offer than regional locations such as Bangkok, Malaysia & Singapore.

We will work closely with the travel agencies in Egypt to popularize Sri Lanka as a preferred leisure destination for Egyptian travelers. Sri Lanka being one of the safest destinations in the world along with its tropical attractions and easy access to visas with traditional Sri Lankan hospitality will be an ideal getaway to the Egyptian traveler.

Aitken Spence Travels the winner of the Presidential award for 3 consecutive years and the only DMC to enter the Hall of Fame as well as being the recipient of Sri Lanka Tourism Award for Professional Conference Organizer. The company was also the proud recipient of the prestigious PATA gold award in 2014 under the Environment – Ecotourism Project for an innovative excursion program developed together with the Elpitiya plantations.

Aitken Spence Travels is fully diversified in to every aspect of tourism related activities namely; Leisure, Eco, Adventure, MICE and Cruise. It is considered as the leader in destination management in Sri Lanka with its creative and innovative tours and services.

Aitken Spence Travels hosts President of the Lebanese Travel Agents Association to Sri Lanka

4 Dec
Lebanese Travel Agents Visiting Sigiriya

The President of the Lebanese Travel Agents Association, Mr. Jean Abboud along with other Lebanese tour agents visiting Sigiriya.

The President of the Lebanese Travel Agents Association, Mr. Jean Abboud along with a group of high profile Lebanese tour agents on an educational tour to Sri Lanka was welcomed and hosted by Aitken Spence Travels recently. The group’s main objective was to update themselves about the destination and explore possibilities of developing new tours based on their 14-year relationship with the company.

As the market leader that penetrated the Lebanese market way back in 2001, Aitken Spence Travels has enjoyed the first mover advantage and handles the bulk of the inbound Lebanese travelers to Sri Lanka. The country recorded over 3,700 Lebanese travelers last year and this number is currently growing at 20 per cent.

The Lebanese travelers prefer to travel to Sri Lanka specifically during Eid, Easter, Christmas and summer holidays which usually fall during June, July & August. Many honeymooners and groups prefer Sri Lanka as a destination and enjoy the many new attractions the country has to offer including shopping at all international branded stores.

Commenting on his visit to Sri Lanka President of the Lebanese Travel Agents Association, Mr. Jean Abboud said “I have been in love with Sri Lanka since my first visit way back in 2001. I could safely say that this is my second home. You have a beautiful country which is a tropical destination to many Lebanese who enjoy attractions such as the abundance of beautiful nature, the rich culture, the sandy beaches and the varied wild life Sri Lanka has to offer. So we need to look at creating more and more new tours highlighting these products to attract travelers from Lebanon that would further strengthen and grow the market”

“We have invested heavily in this market ever since we entered it. All our efforts through promotions, airline promotions and educating the agents has paid rich dividends in reaching the current position. We will not relay on our current laurels and will ensure that we further strengthen the relationships and develop more tours that would help us tap in to untapped potential travelers of Lebanon” stated Mr. Darell de Crusz AVP Marketing of Aitken Spence Travels.

Aitken Spence Travels the winner of the Presidential award for 3 consecutive years and the only DMC to enter the Hall of Fame as well as being the recipient of Sri Lanka Tourism Award for Professional Conference Organizer. The company was also the proud recipient of the prestigious PATA gold award in 2014 under the Environment – Ecotourism Project for an innovative excursion program developed together with the Elpitiya Plantations.

Aitken Spence Travels is fully diversified in to every aspect of tourism related activities namely; Leisure, Eco, Adventure, MICE and Cruise. It is considered as the leader in destination management in Sri Lanka with its creative and innovative tours and services. Partnered with the world’s largest tourism integrated company, TUI group, with over three decades of experience, the company is backed by a reputation of being the most professional in the business.

Aitken Spence Hosts WACO International Conference in Colombo

3 Dec
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From left to right: Mr. Rohantha Peiris – Managing Director, Aitken Spence Cargo, Mr. Jerome Brohier – Vice President, Aitken Spence Cargo, Waco board members Mr. Shinji Kitamura , Mr. Kristjan Palsson , Mr. Rajan Brito – Deputy Chairman and Managing Director, Aitken Spence PLC, Mr. Thomas Reuter – Waco board member, Mr. Stephen Knight – Chairman,Waco, Mr. Richard Charles – Executive Director,Waco, Mr. Arthur A. Da Silva – Vice Chairman, Waco & Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake – Chairman & CEO Aitken Spence Maritime & Logistics and Director of Aitken Spence PLC.

Aitken Spence Cargo hosted the 83rd General meeting of WACO, the world’s foremost independent global freight management & logistics networkrecently, for the first time in Sri Lanka.

With 64 countries in attendance, the event gives the network global partners the opportunity to meet during the bilateral meetings and discuss future plans and strategies as well as review past initiatives.Aitken Spence Cargo was the host member and is the WACO representative in Sri Lanka since 2002.

An exclusive network consisting of independent freight management companies, Waco was founded in 1973. Its current membership is from 104 countries in over 450 locations employing over 30,000 freight professionals handling over 2 million shipments per year with an annual turnover of USD 4 billion. The company is an association owned by its members with its corporate head office in Zurich and operational management in London.

Aitken Spence Maritime & Logistics Chairman & CEO and Director of Aitken Spence PLC Dr.Parakrama Dissanayake spoke on “Global Container Shipping – Challenges / Trends and Implications on Indian Sub-Continent Transhipment Hubs”, as the keynote speaker.

Members of the Board of WACO led by its Chairman Stephen Knight, at a meeting with Aitken Spence representatives led by its Deputy Chairman and Managing Director J M S Brito discussed opportunities arising from the new government’sagenda for infrastructure development and initiatives in propelling Sri Lanka as a maritime hub.

Aitken Spence is Sri Lanka’s largest integrated logistics services provider. Aitken Spence Cargo is considered as the company that pioneered freight forwarding in the country, now providing total freight and logistics solutions with offices in 15 locations. It has offices in Bangladesh, Maldives and Pakistan. Aitken Spence Cargo represents Qatar Airways Cargo in Sri Lanka, TNT Express in Sri Lanka & Maldives, while also representing SriLankan Airlines Cargo in theMaldives and Bangladesh.

KIA Project Performance Awards Ceremony at Aitken Spence Technologies

30 Jun

The KIA Project Performance Awards Ceremony was held at Aitken Spence Technologies with the presence of senior dignitaries Dr. Rohan Fernando – Director Aitken Spence PLC and Head of Business Development Division, Vipula Gunatilleka – Director and Chief Corporate Officer Aitken Spence & Managing Director Aitken Spence Technologies, Andrew Perera – Chief Operating Officer KIA Motors (Lanka) and Dhammika Dasa – Chief Operating Officer Aitken Spence Technologies.

The Awards Ceremony was based on the team evaluations which took place after the KIA Project Go-Live in February. The Project was the implementation of the fully integrated Oracle ERP solution which automates the entire process from the quotation up to post sales servicing. The solution is designed to bring Oracle best practices which will streamline KIA processes. The implemented best practice integrated solution to improve efficiency of supply chain and finance operation of KIA.

The Implementation team, comprised of Functional Consultants, Technical Consultants and Database Administrators, was evaluated on members’ knowledge, efficiencies and practice of company values. The evaluation process included a 360° assessment involving the Project Manager, Client and Team.

Silver Level awards were awarded to Sayuru Jayasinghe, Nimesha Muthunayake and Amila Kodithuwakku; while Gold Level award were won by Mayura Kalupahana.

Mohomed Sakaf was awarded with the Diamond Level Award for Best Performing Oracle Consultant.

Dr. Rohan Fernando addressed the gathering emphasizing on the talent and hard work of the team and the readiness to take on future challenges. He commended Aitken Spence Technologies for their exceptional performance and vision to move forward.

Andrew Perera delivered Key Note Address on the ‘Emerging Role of the ERP Consultants’ while Vipula Gunatilleka addressed on the vision of Aitken Spence Technologies moving forward amidst changing times.

Aitken Spence Technologies commences Oracle E-Business Suite R12 Project for Aitken Spence Logistics

22 Jun

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Aitken Spence Technologies together with Aitken Spence Logistics – Sri Lanka’s leading integrated logistics provider has successfully initiated the commencement of R12 Oracle E-Business Suite modules to the Company’s Logistics facility in Mabole, Wattala on the 11th of June 2015.

The Oracle E-Business Suite modules include Warehouse Management, Service Contracts, Depot Repair, Enterprise Asset Management, Inventory, Purchasing and Receivables. The implementation of the R12 Oracle E-Business Suite enables Aitken Spence Logistics to adapt readily to their industry’s ever changing requirements, and enhance their customer satisfaction by providing tailor made solutions; while bringing greater efficiency through streamlined business processes.

Project Steering committee members, Project Managers and Oracle Consultants stated the key objective of the project were highlighted with the Automating of Container Tracking Function (Depot), Container Repair Function, Functions of the Container Freight Station and Asset Management Function. The deployment of system has allowed integrated solution which enables the company to rectify any errors and cater to the changing needs of Aitken Spence Logistics, increasing the customer satisfaction and retention.

Project commencement meeting was held at Aitken Spence Logistics premises with the presence of its project steering committee members; Vipula Gunatilleka Chief Corporate Officer – Aitken Spence Group Ltd & Managing Director – Aitken Spence Technologies, Nilantha Wakwella Managing Director – Aitken Spence Logistics, Dhammika Dasa Chief Operating Officer – Aitken Spence Technologies, A.M.M Amir Vice-President – Aitken Spence Logistics, Fahad Cader General Manager Aitken Spence Technologies, Sharmilal Anthony Assistant Vice-President – Aitken Spence Logistics and Chinthaka Abeykoon Manager for IT – Aitken Spence Logistics were present.

Ajith Ranatunge Audit Manager – Aitken Spence Logistics, Rifkhan Ahamed Senior Oracle Functional Consultant and Anas Marikkar Senior Oracle Functional Consultant were also present.

Aitken Spence Technologies and Aitken Spence Logistics arms of Aitken Spence PLC – Sri Lanka’s leading and most respected corporate entities has 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.

The project is scheduled to go live in January 2016, bringing about efficiencies through optimum usage of Oracle E-Business Suite and further complement its integrated logistics solutions.

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.