to buy ship, expand hotel chain
The diversified Aitken Spence conglomerate plans to spend Rs 1 billion
to upgrade two of its hotels next year, is looking to build new
hotels here and abroad and considering investing in coal power.
blue chip company, which has just announced a net profit of over
a billion rupees last year, is also looking at buying a cargo ship
as part of its efforts to improve the under-performing shipping
has also struck a deal with a US firm to build an islandwide network
for transactions processing whose total cost is $12 million (around
Rs 1.2 billion). Senior company officials said its core areas of
business in future would be tourism, infrastructure, shipping and
company statement said Aitken Spence and Company Ltd has become
the latest blue chip to join the "Billion Rupee Profit Club"
with net profit attributable to ordinary shareholders jumping 143
percent to Rs. 1.27 billion from Rs. 525 million in 2002/3 in the
financial year ended March 31, 2004. Group turnover rose 30 percent
to Rs. 9.1 billion.
said the company would spend Rs 1 billion to refurbish its Kandalama
and Triton hotels during the off-season next year. "We're doing
a big refurbishing programme to re-position them to cater to more
up-market tourists and get better prices," a company official
refurbished, the hotels will have spas and there will be fewer rooms
but they (rooms) would be bigger. The company also plans to build
a boutique hotel on a nine-acre plot of land next to Triton, again
to cater to up-market tourists.
it has yet no definite plans for its 100 acres of land at Nilaveli,
on the east coast north of Trincomalee. Officials said the idea
is to build a hotel for mass tourism when mass tourism comes back
to the region but that any investment decision would have to wait
for an improvement in the investment climate and a lasting peace.
Spence wants to capitalize on the success of its three Maldivian
hotels, which made a big contribution to profits, by building a
fourth and is bidding for one of the 11 islands currently on offer.
from Maldivian hotels were around 20-25 percent but much lower from
the Sri Lankan hotels. The company is also seriously looking at
investing in a hotel in South India now that the climate is becoming
better with the launch of more flights to Colombo by domestic Indian
takes time to find the correct match," one official said. "We
specialise in resort hotels so we must find a hotel to add to our
Sri Lankan hotels." Aitken Spence has ventured into IT infrastructure
as part of its thrust into the infrastructure sector with a tie-up
with GTECH Global Services of the US to build a network for transactions
aim is to network the whole country and use it for transaction processing
such as bill payments. We will offer the network to other companies
like telephone firms." The total cost of the project is $12
million and Aitken Spence will contribute $3 million of which it
has already invested $1.7 million.
is also looking at investing in coal power projects following the
investment in its third power plant, a 100 MW plant in Embilipitya
with Caterpillar USA. The company, which started off shipping in
Galle in 1868, wants to rebuild its shipping sector and has hired
former SLPA chairman Parakrama Dissanayake to head it. It is in
talks with partners to acquire a cargo ship.
freight forwarding operations in Bangladesh are to be expanded and
extended to India. Group chairman Harry Jayawardena told shareholders
in his annual report that Earnings Per Share were up by 141 percent
to Rs. 47.36 last year with a return on equity of 22.6 percent.