Colombo, 30 May 2011: Propelled by strong growth in hotels and inbound tourism, Aitken Spence PLC’s net profit attributable to shareholders rose by 23% to Rs. 2.5 billion, from Rs. 2.1 billion last year, revealed the leading diversified conglomerates results for the financial year ended 31st March 2011 released to the Colombo Stock Exchange on Monday. Net profit before tax increased by 13.8% from Rs. 3.4 billion to Rs. 3.8 billion recorded last year.
Net revenue for the year rose 4% to Rs. 24.73 billion, from Rs. 23.80 billion a year ago, largely driven by growth in the tourism, cargo logistics and manufacturing sectors. Company reported an impressive growth in earnings per share of 23% to Rs. 6.25, up from Rs. 5.07 during the previous year.
Aitken Spence announced an outstanding dividend per share of Rs. 1, which is a rise of 50% from Rs. 0.67 last year. The Company’s share price showed a growth of 77.2% compared to the previous year to close the year at Rs. 162.30.
In his review, Chairman of Aitken Spence PLC, Deshamanya D H S Jayawardena said, “I welcome the spirited and upbeat sentiment in the economy and believe that the next few years will bring the transformation of Sri Lanka to a truly competitive emerging economy. For Aitken Spence, our advantage will be on our home ground and this will be reflected in our interests within Sri Lankan economy. I can say with certainly that we will invest to expand our existing positions of strength while also aggressively exploring fresh opportunities for diversification in to growth sectors of the economy.
Deputy Chairman and Managing Director, J M S Brito stated, “There is a positive sentiment and increased investor confidence in the Sri Lankan economy, which was strengthened by the improvements witnessed in the global economy. These factors created the right environment for many of the sectors to perform exceptionally well in 2010/11, having fully emerged from the shadow of a prolonged war.”
He added, “As a mainstay of the Sri Lankan economy, Aitken Spence will seek further growth opportunities in the local economy, particularly in the tourism, logistics, agriculture and IT sectors, while consolidating our operations overseas during the coming year. The Group’s strategy of diversification with our core business will continue, as this has paid rich dividends over the years.”
Having fully refurbished properties, the Group was able to take advantage of the tourism boom, with its three premier Heritance properties in Sri Lanka recording an outstanding performance. The company states that its resort portfolio will be expanded in the short-term through several new expansions; Heritance Ayurveda Mahagedara will be opened next month, while construction has begun on the Six Senses property in Ahungalla, targeted to launch in 2013. The Golden Sun Resort Kalutara is now closed for refurbishment until December 2011 and this development will see the resort being uplifted to a four-star property. Construction of an additional 100 rooms will commence in mid 2011 to increase the total room inventory of this property to 200. Brown’s Beach Hotel, is currently being demolished with plans afoot for a brand new 200-room luxury resort. In a bid to cater to the high-end MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences & exhibitions) segment, a state-of-the-art conference hall will be constructed during the year over the Dambulla wing of Heritance Kandalama. Plans are also being drawn up to develop 100 acres of beach front property in Nilaveli, with the aim of harnessing the property’s maximum value. In April 2011 the Group acquired the ownership of Hilltop Hotel in which previously the Group had only a minority stake.
The destination management business posted robust growth as tour operators increased volumes, and traditional markets as well as new markets responded positively to the new era of peace.
During the third quarter, the Aitken Spence- China Merchant Holdings (International) consortium was awarded a Letter of Intent by the