Business Times

JKH wants to expand in hotel sector

John Keells Holdings (JKH) is looking at several new investments to expand its involvement in the hotel and leisure sector. JKH Deputy Chairman Ajith Gunawardena said he expects the winter tourist season stretching from after Christmas to Easter to be positive. Ongoing projects for the company in this sector include refurbishing a hotel in Trincomalee. “We will possibly look at a few more,” Mr. Gunawardena said. “These are still early days and we are looking at potential designs.”

Mr. Gunawardena said the company also recently refurbished the Trans Asia Hotel in Colombo which reopened its doors as the Cinnamon Lakeside in September 2009. Asked about the group’s investment in the Asiri Group-controlled, Central Hospital Ltd this week, he said, “this is essentially a strategic investment and there are no (immediate) plans to enter this sector (with more investments).”

JKH took a 24.6% stake valued at Rs 900 million in the new hospital coming up at Norris Canal Road through the conglomerate’s Capital Investments Division. In the meantime, Aureos South Asia Fund, a regional equity manager, also invested Rs 366 million for a 10% stake in the same hospital.

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