Feb 12, Colombo: Aitken Spence PLC recorded a steady financial performance for the nine months ending on 31st December 2017 with a 14.1 percent year-on-year growth in profits before tax from Rs. 2.8 billion to Rs. 3.3 billion. The leading conglomerate recorded an increase in revenue by 18.4 percent from Rs. 30.5 billion to Rs. 36.2 billion for the nine-month time period.
The diversified group's profits-before-tax increased by 4.2 percent from Rs.1.4 billion to Rs. 1.5 billion in the third quarter, over the previous year, while revenue decreased by 6.8 percent to Rs. 12.3 billion.
Earnings per share for the nine months increased by 5.5 percent to Rs. 4.31 while it reduced by 6.6 percent to Rs. 2 for the third quarter, year-on-year.
Aitken Spence Travels posted enhanced performance with several initiatives to increase the tourist arrivals to the country. A joint venture with TUI - the world's leading travel company - Aitken Spence Travels is the largest inbound tourism operator in Sri Lanka.
Maldives hotels segment performance has been improving with Heritance Aarah currently under construction, due to open by next winter.
In spite of strong performances by the flagship Heritance Kandalama, Heritance Tea Factory and Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara, Sri Lankan hotel segment performance faced challenges. The segment's profits were boosted by the sale of M.P.S. Hotels (Pvt) Ltd during the period under review.
In September 2017, Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC, a Group company, divested its entire holding in its fully owned subsidiary M.P.S. Hotels (Pvt) Ltd that owned Hotel Hilltop in Kandy. The resultant gain on disposal of this investment is reflected under other operating income.
The company is optimistic about the fourth quarter performance of the Sri Lankan hotel sector.
During the quarter under review, Aitken Spence signed the waste supply agreement with the Colombo Municipal Council and the power purchase agreement with the Ceylon Electricity Board for its waste-to-energy project in Muthurajawela. The company is pleased that the venture would help address two of the key challenges facing urban development in the country, by absorbing 700 tonnes of municipal waste per day and adding 10 megawatts of energy to the national grid.
The company expects the project to begin operations in October 2019.
During the nine months under review the maritime and integrated logistics segments performed creditably, strengthened by a stronger performance by the shipping agency businesses, while the freight forwarding segment's performance faced several challenges and did not perform up to expectations.
The Group's plantations segment represented by Elpitiya Plantations and the elevator agency that represents OTIS in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, recorded improved performances.