John Keells Holdings PLC, the diversified conglomerate widely regarded as the strongest entity quoted on the Colombo Stock Exchange, Thursday announced a second interim dividend of 50 cents a share, on top of the first interim of one-rupee paid in November last year despite a group loss of Rs. 1.7 billion in the first half of the current financial year.
Analysts said that JKH’s strong balance sheet with a revenue reserve of nearly Rs. 65 billion had made this payment possible.
JKH Chairman Krishan Balendra said in his chairman’s review of the September quarter that the “group will follow its dividend policy which corresponds with the growth in profits, whilst ensuring that the company maintains adequate funds to ensure business continuity given the unprecedented nature of the current circumstances.”
He explained the dividend despite the negative bottom line to “the faster than anticipated recovery following the resumption of business activity in the country and the strong growth momentum witnessed across our group businesses with the exception of leisure.”
The declaration of this dividend reflects the cash generation capability of the Group’s diverse portfolio of businesses, he said.
The leisure segment of their business took the hardest blow with an EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest Tax, Depreciation and Amortization) of Rs. 2.6 billion in the first half of the current financial year.
Discussing this, he said although the Sri Lankan airport remains closed to-date for foreign arrivals, the resumption of domestic travel continued during the quarter, with all properties in the Sri Lankan Resorts segment recording an encouraging increase in month-on-month occupancy.
Despite the challenging operating environment, the City Hotels sector also exhibited a better than anticipated performance, primarily driven by the food and beverage and banqueting segments. However, the recent cluster outbreak of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka will impede this recovery should the current situation prevail, he warned.
Balendra summary of key operational and financial highlights of the September quarter was:
• The underlying performance of the Transportation, Consumer Foods, Retail and Financial Services industry groups continued its growth momentum witnessed in the latter part of the previous quarter, demonstrating a faster than anticipated recovery following the resumption of business activity in the country post the easing of lockdowns in May 2020.
• Group EBITDA excluding the Leisure industry group was Rs.4.50 billion during the second quarter of the year under review, which is a 15 per cent increase against the previous year [2019/20 Q2: Rs.3.91 billion].
• Given the strong recovery momentum in business activity and the generation of cash profits by the Group, a second interim dividend of Rs.0.50 per share, amounting to a payout of Rs.659 million, was declared to be paid on or before 7 December 2020. The declaration of this dividend reflects the cash generation capability of the Group’s diverse portfolio of businesses.
• The Leisure industry group continued to be impacted by the closure of the airport in Sri Lanka, although this has been mitigated, to an extent, by a resumption in domestic tourism, recovery in the banqueting, food and beverage segments and the opening of the airport in the Maldives in mid-July.
• The Frozen Confectionery, Beverage and Convenience Foods businesses recorded double-digit growth in EBITDA against the corresponding period of the previous quarter, continuing the trajectory witnessed in June.
• The Supermarket business continued its positive momentum with a strong rebound in sales and EBITDA, driven by the contribution from new outlets towards revenue growth and a pick-up in same store footfall post the easing of lockdown measures witnessed in the first quarter.
• Pace of construction at ‘Cinnamon Life’ continued to gain traction during the quarter. Post ascertaining the impact of COVID-19 on the overall timelines of the project to manage deliverables and the re-sequencing of work, it is expected that the hand-over of the residential apartments and office tower will commence on a staggered basis from the fourth quarter of 2020/21 onwards.
NSB introduces special credit scheme for shrimp farming industry
National Savings Bank (NSB), in collaboration with one of its fully owned subsidiary, Sri Lanka Savings Bank(SLSB), has planned to introduce a special loan scheme to offer credit facilities under a lower interest rate with a view to accelerating the development of shrimp farming industry in Sri Lanka.
Shrimp farming industry in Sri Lanka, which came into being around 30 years ago, could be identified as a higher value generating sector among the industries based on aquaculture in the country.
With the objective of achieving a sustainable development in shrimp farming industry in the country, Sri Lanka Aquaculture Development Alliance has been established 15 years back and the permanent members of this organization will be able to obtain loan facilities within a value range of Rs. one Million to Rs. 100 Million under this loan scheme.
This Alliance comprises of 18 farmers’ societies, breeding center societies, seafood societies and shrimp feed societies in Puttlam District, in which the shrimp farming industry is mainly centralized. The Alliance operates the shrimp farming industry, in coordination with the National Aquaculture Development Authority of Sri Lanka, the main state sponsored organization mandated for the task of development of the aquaculture and inland fisheries sector in Sri Lanka and other government institutions. Further, the membership of this alliance represents the entire shrimp farming industry of the country.
Lanka Realty Investments acquires controlling shares of On’ally Holdings
CSE turnover almost Rs 3.5 billion
By Hiran H.Senewiratne
Lanka Realty Investments Plc has acquired 50.8 percent of the issued capital of Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) listed On’ally Holdings Plc for Rs 1.42 billion.
With the transaction Renula Capital and Lanka Reality Investments share prices appreciated significantly yesterday, stock market analysts said.
On’ally Holdings Plc announced that Lanka Realty Investments Plc has acquired 50.8 percent ( 47,244,050 shares) of the issued capital (93,003,087 shares) of the company with the purchase of shares made on 3rd December 2020 at a price of Rs.30.20 per share.
Meanwhile, in a separate filing Renuka Capital Plc announced that it has sold and disposed of 40,754,820 Ordinary Shares (43.821 percent ) held by the Company in On’ally Holdings Plc to Lanka Realty Investments Plc at a value of Rs.30.20 per share on the CSE. Renuka Capital PLC is the second largest shareholder of On’ally Holdings Plc.
The turnover stood at Rs 3.44 billion with two crossings mainly; On’ally Holdings crossing which contributed 42 percent to the turnover and Access Engineering. On’ ally 47.2 million shares crossed for Rs 1.43 billion and its share price was Rs 32.20 and Access Engineering one million shares crossed for Rs 25 million and its share price was Rs 25.
With the transaction Renuka Capital share price appreciated by more than 50 percent or Rs 2.50 . Its share price startered trading at Rs 5 and at the end of the day it moved upto Rs 7.50. Lanka Reality share Price share price moved up by 13 percent or Rs 4.60. It’s share price startered trading at Rs 34.40 and at the end of the day it moved up to Rs 39.
In the retail market top five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were JKH Rs 141.5 million (945,000 shares traded), Expolanka Rs 135.7 million (5.2 million shares traded), Melstacorp Rs 128 million (three million shares traded), Access Engineering Rs 123.3 million (4.9 million shares traded) and Renuka Capital Plc Rs 121.7 million (18.5 million shares traded).
Amid those developments both indices moved upwards i.e. All Share Price Index up by 17.26 points and S and P SL20 up by 8.81 points up. The share volume that transacted during the day was 22487. According to stockbrokers that market sluggish and the latter part of the day it picked up following the major crossing.
SLT and Mobitel launch Green Premier League 2020
SLT and Mobitel together began an exemplary green initiative project simultaneously with Sri Lankan Premier League (LPL) 2020 called “SLT – Mobitel Green Premier League” (GPL), as a sustainable environmental conservation project. According to the winning score of each team in every match of the LPL, SLT and Mobitel will take necessary actions to plant the equivalent number of plants as forest restoration at Rajawaka forest reserve in Kalthota, Balangoda. Thus, by the end of the LPL tournament, SLT and Mobitel will have taken the necessary actions to plant possibly around 4000 plants in the forest reserve and would have arranged a sustainable maintenance program with the Forest Department in accordance with UN sustainable developments goals. This would be a pioneer project within the context of any cricket premier league in the world!
From the 26th of November 2020 till the 16th of December 2020, SLT and Mobitel will be conducting this remarkable initiative aiming to increase the forest cover in Sri Lanka by planting these trees in 6 hectares in Rajawaka Forest reserve, which has identified as a rich biodiversity site and also the major water catchment area for the Samanalawewa reservoir. With an island-wide reach as the national telecommunications service provider, SLT hopes to inspire sports fans and the youth of the country to undertake their own steps towards environmental conservation and sustainability. SLT will continuously monitor this project in the next two years with the support of the Forest department to ensure the desired outcomes.
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