Sri Lanka leisure firm in Maldives shrugs off blast fallout

Oct 05, 2007 (LBO) – John Keells Holdings (JKH), Sri Lanka’s top leisure group which is buying up a rival chain in the island, says its Maldives units are not affected by a recent bombing and is going ahead with re-branding its atoll resorts. The group’s leisure division has just concluded a deal offering to buy up three hotels with 490 rooms which will boost its total capacity to over 2600 rooms in both Sri Lanka and the Maldive Islands.

The group has 850 rooms in Colombo through its Cinnamon Grand and Trans Asia hotels and controls about 40 percent of the 5-star category accommodation in the Sri Lankan capital.

Outside the capital, including in the central hills and Sri Lanka beach areas Keells operates 700 rooms.

“We are very confident of the prospects for tourism in Sri Lanka,” says JKH director Ajith Gunewardene.

“The completion of this acquisition it would strengthen our position on the beach which could considered the best in the West Coast [of Sri Lanka].”

The group also has 500 rooms in the Maldive Islands which is a premium market.

Sri Lankan hotels have lost money as an internal conflict intensified from 2006 and Keells as well as Aitken Spence have found their leisure profits boosted by atoll reven