Aitken Spence posts Rs. 2.8b profit for 2007/08
Deputy Chairman / MD
J M S Brito
Aitken Spence posted a remarkable 26% growth in profits attributable
to shareholders over the previous year, despite an adverse and
challenging environment faced by both the national and global economies.
In its annual results released to the Colombo Stock Exchange for the
financial year 2007/08, the diversified bluechip revealed its annual
profit-after-tax figure rising 24% to Rs 2.8 b and group revenue surging
39% to Rs 27.5 b.
"Our pioneering spirit and vision enabled us to forge strategic
alliances and achieve sustained growth. Through evolution and
innovation, Aitken Spence has successfully gained greater profitability
and market growth", Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken
Spence & Co. PLC, J M S Brito said.
Earnings per Share stood at Rs 68 while the Return on Equity was a
The Group which has invested extensively in the Sri Lankan tourism
industry saw restricted profitability and potential returns from its
"However, we strongly believe in the country's great potential and
remain optimistic on the dawn of peace. The Sri Lankan economy has
proven to be resilient and we see opportunities to continue investing
heavily." Brite said.
He continued, "Despite growing difficulties, the Sri Lankan hotels
operations posted a noteworthy decline in losses during the year which
was a creditable achievement bearing in mind the low occupancies and the
high debt service cost burdening the hotel properties.
The lack of high yield travellers compounded by intense competition
amongst beach properties, rising wages and energy costs further
Aitken Spence strengthened its overseas operations in the hospitality
sector with the commencement of hotel management ventures in growing
markets of India and Oman, in addition to new investments in the
The Group's destination management division, another industry leader,
performed commendably by innovatively targeting emerging markets where
travellers were less susceptible to adverse international publicity.
The company noted that external factors such as rising global energy
prices translated into higher operational costs especially for
businesses dependent on transportation related services.
Given escalating costs in utilities and transport, the integrated
logistics and freight forwarding divisions of the Group posted a
commendable year of profitability, outperforming their competition
through differentiation by means of enhanced quality and value added
"The suspension of the multi country consolidation activity outside
the Port of Colombo adversely affected our integrated logistics
division. This is an issue of concern as not only has this eliminated a
stream of revenue to the division but to the entire country whilst
having an adverse impact on the hub status of the Port of Colombo",
During the year under review, Aitken Spence, recognising the role of
human resources as its key driver of growth now and in the future, has
taken decisive steps to benchmark itself as a model employer with
initiatives that would permeate throughout the Group.
The company continued to embed the values of its brand identity with
a strong focus on living the brand.
"For the future, we would continue to explore opportunities in growth
areas of the economy, in the true spirit of dynamism and innovation that
we have inherited through our 140 years of existence", Brito said.