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Sri Lanka's Aitken Spence net up 56-pct
15 Nov, 2012 06:41:16
Nov 15, 2012 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's Aitken Spence group, which has interests in tourism, logistics and power generation said profits in the September 2012 quarter grew 56 percent to 731 million rupees from a year earlier.
The group reported earnings of 1.80 rupees per share for the quarter, in results filed with the Colombo Stock Exchange under new accounting rules. \

Earnings for the six months ended September was 3.38 rupees per share on total profits of 1.37 billion rupees which was up 53 percent.

Group revenues rose 31 percent to 9.8 billion rupees during the quarter, from a year earlier. Net finance expenses rose to 212 million rupees (finance expenses 349 million rupees and finance income 212 million rupees) from 39.6 million rupees a year earlier.

"Our growth has been fuelled by an outstanding performance by our tourism sector," chairman Harry Jayawardena said in a statement.

"We strongly believe that given the right conditions to operate, the private sector in Sri Lanka could be the primary driver for sustained high growth in the Sri Lankan economy.

"We welcome the steps undertaken and promised by the government to encourage private sector investment in the country."

Last year however Sri Lanka expropriated several private businesses through a controversial law which trespassed on the separation of powers between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

Aitken Spence claims to be the largest resort operator in Sri Lanka and also has hotels in the Maldives. The says Aitken Spence Travels, a joint venture with TUI, an international travel group is Sri Lanka's largest inbound tour operator.

"In the present global context of turbulence and uncertainty, we see a clear opportunity for Sri Lanka to position itself strongly as a preferred destination for high-value travellers," Jayewardena said.

"Hence, we believe that a robust private sector-led destination promotion strategy that underscores the country’s unique set of diverse attractions would help Sri Lanka’s brand positioning internationally."

The group said pre-tax profits from tourism in the half year rose to 986 million rupees from 483 million rupees.

Pre-tax profits from logistics fell to 307 million rupees from 456 million rupees and pre-tax profits from services edged up to 91 million rupees from 88.7 million rupees.

Profits from strategic investments, which also includes power generation and some overseas hotel operations rose to 687 million rupees from 340 million rupees.

The group said it had commissioned a wind and hydro power plant and won a tender for a 200 MegaWatts plant in Bangladesh.

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