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Aitken Spence achieves 44% growth in 3Q PBT from non-tourism sectors

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Aitken Spence PLC non-tourism multi-industry sectors reported a Profit-Before-Tax (PBT) of Rs. 1.3 Bn in 3Q, a growth of 44% compared to the previous year in the midst of challenging economic conditions. These sectors also reported an EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest Expense, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation) of Rs. 1.7 Bn compared to Rs. 1.4 Bn of EBITDA recorded during the third quarter of previous year.

An Aitken Spence press release said: ‘The overall contribution from the non-tourism sectors was notable during the second lockdown period of the country. Companies in the maritime and freight logistics, power, money transfer, elevator agency, printing and packaging, and plantation sectors performed exceptionally well compared to last year with an increase in PBT for the quarter while maintaining positive performance during the nine months ending 31st December 2020.

‘The Group’s latest iconic venture, Sri Lanka’s first waste-to-energy project with an investment of approximately Rs. 15 Bn will be formally launched this month by the Prime Minister. This project will provide a sustainable solution to the Colombo city’s waste management problem while adding renewable energy to the country’s energy profile.

‘Outstanding performance was seen from the strategic investments sector that recorded a profit before tax growth of 248%. The Group’s plantations segment recorded an excellent performance during the quarter with a substantial profit growth. During the quarter Elpitiya Plantations PLC clinched the award for Best Integrated Report – Plantations sector at the CMA Excellence in Integrated Reporting Awards 2020. The company was also presented with a certificate of Merit.

‘The printing and packaging segment recorded a significant improvement in its performance generating healthy profits during the quarter compared to the negative returns generated in the third quarter of the previous financial year. Furthermore, the maritime and freight logistics sector also performed remarkably to record a 10% increase in profits before tax for the period.

‘The Group’s tourism sector EBITDA for 3Q was a loss of Rs. 447.2 mn. However, subsequent to the reopening of Maldives, the hotels segment is gradually recovering alongside the local tourists handled by the Sri Lankan tourism sector. Amidst many challenges, Aitken Spence Hotels were awarded at the prestigious Luxury Lifestyle Awards – Heritance Aarah (Maldives) named the winner in the category of the Best All-Inclusive Resort in Asia and Desert Nights Camp (Oman) winner of the Best Luxury Hotel in Oman.

‘The destination management arm of the Group Aitken Spence Travels recently facilitated the first of many weekly charter flights from Kazakhstan an arrangement that will continue until April and which is expected to generate significant foreign exchange earnings to the country.

‘The Group recorded a loss from operations of Rs. 0.2 bn for the third quarter compared to the profit from operations of Rs. 1.8 bn recorded in the same quarter of the previous year. The Profit-Before-Tax (PBT) for the third quarter was a loss of Rs. 0.5 bn compared to a profit of Rs. 1.2 bn in the previous year, which was due to the pandemic weighing on the tourism sector.

‘Aitken Spence was the only Group that had two companies – Aitken Spence PLC and Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC in the top 10 ranking in LMD’s Most Awarded. Aitken Spence PLC was recognised among the 10 Best Integrated Reports at the CMA Excellence in Integrated Awards 2020.

“Amidst the challenges faced this year and especially during the third quarter of 2020-2021, the innovative and pragmatic thinking that we had introduced during the initial months of the pandemic came to fruition whilst seeing a remarkable growth in the non-tourism sections. We expect a stronger resilience in the next quarter and financial year,” said Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC.

‘Listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange since 1983, Aitken Spence is a blue-chip conglomerate anchored to a heritage of excellence spanning over 150 years. Driven by over 13,000 employees and has a strong regional presence across 9 countries, in hotels, travels, maritime, freight and logistics solutions, plantations, power generation, insurance, printing, apparel and other services.’



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LOLC Al-Falaah unveils pioneering Wadi’ah Gold-Storage Facility with multiple customer benefits

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Sri Lanka’s most awarded and trusted Alternate Financial services brand, LOLC Al-Falaah recently unveiled their ground-breaking new product – the Wadi’ah Gold Loan Facility. This is the 1st time a Finance company in Sri Lanka is offering this facility. Al-Falaah Wadi’ah is a unique gold storage option offered to Al-Falaah’s valued customer base. All gold articles are tested for quality and authenticity using state-of-the art equipment by the company’s experienced staff without causing any damage to the jewellery. A unique ‘Gold Storage Certificate’ with the description of articles, including weight, quality and quantity along with the market value will be issued to the customer when obtaining this facility.

Speaking about the new product, Mr. Shiraz Refai, Deputy General Manager of LOLC Al-Falaah said, “Gold is a favourite investment option at all levels within the concentrated community. The metal is usually pawned, sold or exchanged when in need of cash. As the conventional Pawning options and Gold Loan offering has limitations to cater to the specific needs, as well as contradict with certain beliefs of the community, a concept acceptable and practiced in the industry is introduced by LOLC’s Alternate Financial Services Unit to its valued customer segment”.

Accordingly, a unique feature has been introduced to the Al-Falaah Wadi’ah Gold Storage facility offering the Customer the benefit of obtaining an interest-free maximum Cash-Advance in the industry at zero mark-up against the gold storage certificate value for any emergencies. In addition, for the convenience of the customers, the Gold storage facility period is extended from 3, 6 and 12 months without any requirement for a deposit and the custodial fees are comparatively competitive. The stored gold articles will also be offered a free Takaful cover with a reassurance of highest safety and security.

The Al-Falaah Wadi’ah gold storage facility will be initially available at selected branches including Wellawatta, Akkaraipattu, Kalmunai, Pottuvil, Grandpass, Maradana, Mawanella, Matara, Nawalapitiya and Negombo. Al-Falaah aims to make the facility available across all LOLC Finance branches and dedicated Al-Falaah centers island-wide by the end of the 1st quarter of 2021.

Commenting on the new Al-Falaah Wadi’ah Gold loan facility, Nishantha Jayasekera, Chief Manager, SME Unit & Head of Gold Loan Business of LOLC Finance said, “The main aim of this facility is to give financial-access to the grass-root level clients who do not have direct access to banking & finance, but require small cash advances to develop daily businesses and self-employment. Through this product and its value added features, we hope to cover all segments of the population”.

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LANKATILES donates high-end ventilator to Colombo North Teaching Hospital

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A Rs. 4.3 million ventilator has been donated to the Coronary Care Unit of the Colombo North Teaching Hospital, Ragama, by LANKATILES, the country’s leading tile manufacturer.

The machine was described as a high-end, world-class piece of equipment suitable for all patient groups.

Present at the official hand-over were Mr Mahendra Jayasekera, Managing Director of Lanka Walltiles PLC and Lanka Tiles PLC, Dr. S. P. A. Liyanage Ranaweera, Director of Colombo North Teaching Hospital, and Dr. Sanjeewa Rajapakse, Consultant Cardiologist of the hospital.

At a time when state-of-the-art equipment is urgently needed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, LANKATILES reaffirmed its commitment to help frontline hospital staff in their efforts at reducing the spread of the virus and easing patient numbers.

The company said this was a commitment it is ready to stand by at all times in the interests of the country.

 

 

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Sampath Bank hosts Central Bank’s ‘MatarataQR’ event to promote QR code use

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Matara, April 3rd, 2021: Sampath Bank PLC recently hosted the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s (CBSL) MatarataQR event, in a bid to drive awareness and increase acceptance and usage of LANKAQR, the common Quick Response (QR) code standard for the country that was introduced in 2020.

Encouraging consumers to adopt the use of QR codes in their day-to-day transactions, the event was held at the Sanath Jayasuriya Grounds in Matara under the patronage of the Chief Guest, Dullas Alahapperuma, Minister of Power and Guest of Honour, D. Kumaratunga, Director – Payments and Settlements, Central Bank of Sri Lanka; along with senior officials from the CBSL, other commercial banks and financial institutions. Sampath Bank was represented by Nanda Fernando – Managing Director; Tharaka Ranwala – Senior DGM – Operations / Group Chief Marketing Officer and Ajith Salgado – Group Chief Information Officer.

At the event, the Bank actively promoted its ‘WePay’ mobile wallet which helped attract more customers while also onboarding new merchants. A 25% cash back was on offer for payments at over 200 merchants in Matara on the day, made via the LANKAQR enabled WePay digital mobile payment app.

“We are very proud to partner with the Central Bank to host this event that will highlight the safety, convenience and speed of getting onboard the LANKAQR payment standard to the people of Matara. These benefits, coupled with the advanced digital banking solutions offered by Sampath Bank, make it a simple choice to migrate to digital payment technology and we warmly invite the merchants in Matara to come experience the benefits of adopting this new method of payments,” said Nanda Fernando, Managing Director, Sampath Bank PLC.

Sampath Bank is a 100% local bank that has deeply rooted itself in the lives of the people of Sri Lanka. Established in 1987, the bank has become a state-of-the-art financial institution that continues to be a market leader today thanks to its constant innovation and customer focused approach to business. It has introduced many firsts to the Sri Lankan banking sector including introducing ATMs to Sri Lanka, extended banking hours and slip-less banking to name a few. The Bank is steadily transforming itself into a ‘tech company engaged in banking,’ from the traditional approach of a bank engaged in technology.

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