22. Aitken Spence
Aitken Spence ranks at number 22 in the Business Today TOP 30. With Chairman, Harry Jayawardena's strategic direction and guidance the company has been able to steer through the challenging operating environment of the financial year. Revenue declined to 26 billion rupees, a contraction of 26.4 per cent.
While the share price of Aitken Spence remained at a depressed level the Company is positive that they will be able to perform better with the new economic direction the country has taken. Having been in business for 150 years, the Company has always been able to remain relevant and agile, adapting to any situation.
The main challenges during the financial year was the end of the power purchase agreement of the Embilipitiya power plant, operational and exchanges losses in the hotel investment in India and poor performance of the resorts in the Maldives. In order to overcome these setbacks various investments were made targeting long term growth.
The tourism sector achieved a growth of 1.9 per cent in revenue to record 17.2 billion rupees. Profit before tax saw a decline of 34.2 per cent. Increases in profitability of the Sri Lankan hotels was seen during the year, the key resorts being Heritance Kandalama and Heritance Tea Factory, which contributed significantly to the sector. Properties in the coastal region are experiencing intense competition. RIU Hotel in Ahungalla, which is a joint venture with RIU Hotels and Resorts Spain was launched this year.
Maritime and logistics recorded a post tax profit of one billion rupees, an increase of 69.7 per cent, which was above industry average. With customers requiring complete solutions from reputed operators, Aitken Spence is in a good position to expand further. As such the sector acquired a 20 per cent equity stake in Fiji Ports Corporation.
The Group's plantations segment recorded a positive performance due to its strategic diversification, both into non-traditional crops and into other businesses. The apparel manufacturing segment saw an increase in revenue and volumes. The overall sector recorded a revenue growth of 5.5 per cent to achieve a revenue of 1.1 billion rupees, with a PAT of 124.1 million rupees.
As a diversified conglomerate that has been a major stakeholder in the private sector of Sri Lanka, Aitken Spence will need to continue investing in all segments to enable positive growth.