Security Hit

May 23, 2007 (LBO) – Alpha Airports, a UK firm which owns and operates the duty free liquor franchise at Colombo airport has warned of a downturn in business in a stock exchange filing. The company whose parent is listed in the London Stock Exchange said its airport retail stores in the UK grew 8 percent.

Its US operations were also growing but contract losses in Turkey and security worries in Sri Lanka limited growth outside UK to 3 percent.

Commenting on the outlook for this year, Alpha told shareholders there were also delays in starting Indian operations.

“The issues in Delhi and the heightened security situation in Sri Lanka are expected to be factors in the full year results but at this stage it is too early to assess their full impact,” the company said.

“Elsewhere, our trading outlook remains in line with our expectations.”

The lucrative monopoly duty-free liquor franchise at Colombo’s Katunayake airport, a former government owned business named Orient Lanka was privatized in the 1990’s.

Tourist arrival to the island has been falling since the conflict with the Tamil Tigers escalated.

Following an air raid by Tamil Tiger light aircraft to th