Financial Times

Aitken Spence reports highest ever pre-tax profit


While most groups including John Keells Holdings (JKH) have reported a drop in profits for many reasons including the global financial crisis, Aitken Spence PLC said it recorded the highest-ever net profit of Rs. 3.1 billion and Rs Rs. 3.4 billion, before taxes.

The diversified conglomerate’s net profits attributable to shareholders rose 10.8% to Rs. 2 billion in the year ending 31st March 2009, the company said. The audited annual results of the respected blue-chip released to the Colombo Stock Exchange on Friday reflected revenue increasing by 6.5% to Rs. 29.3 billion. Earnings per share rose 10.8% to Rs. 75.37.

Aitken Spence Deputy Chairman/Managing Director J M S Brito said that the evolution of the company continued during the year under review despite increasing challenges posed by the global economic environment. “The Group ended the year on a positive note with its major sectors performing creditably amidst the global turmoil. Our steady momentum can be attributed to an excellent management culture that embraces constructive change, seeking new paths of success while staying focused on our vision,” he said.

The company said there were encouraging performances in maritime transport, integrated logistics, power, printing and inward remittances during the year while the returns from plantations and garments were below expectations. While stating that the Group would continue to focus on aggressive expansion in Asia and the Middle East in the year ahead, Mr. Brito affirmed the company’s enthusiastic willingness to partner in the development of the North and East.

“We are excited at the prospects for the newly liberated areas and the many opportunities that may arise for Aitken Spence to partner the government and non-government agencies in rehabilitating, reconstructing and developing the North and East,” he said.

Profits from the tourism sector declined mainly due to the slump in tourist arrivals due to the global recession combined with negative travel advisories and high inflation during the first nine months. The company notes that the encouraging performances in the overseas expansions helped offset losses in Sri Lankan hotels. During the year under review Aitken Spence expanded its hotels portfolio in three countries with the addition of Adaaran Prestige Vadoo in the Maldives, Heritance Madurai, Hotel Athithi in Puducherry in India and Desert Nights Camp in Oman.

During the year the company’s maritime transport division expanded its operations in South Africa. Aitken Spence announced that it is presently exploring a number of opportunities in the African and Asian continent for maritime services.

Aitken Spence PLC board consists of Harry Jayawardena (Chairman), Rajan Brito (Deputy Chairman/Managing Director), R.M. Fernando, G.M.Perera, G.C. Wickramasinghe, C.H.Gomez, S Deva Aditya and V.M. Fernando.

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