The leading blue-chip conglomerate, Aitken Spence PLC reported a cumulative Profit Before Tax (PBT) of Rs. 10.3 Bn for the nine months ended 31st December 2022, which was a significant growth of 213.7% over last year. The highest contribution to the Group’s profit before tax was from the Maritime & Freight Logistics sector which accounted for 68.4% of Group PBT.
The Group’s earnings (inclusive of equity accounted investees) before interest expenses, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) for the nine months ended 31st December 2022 was an exceptional performance of Rs. 24.0 Bn showcasing a growth of 144.9%. However, the translation of which to PBT was dampened by the 182.2% increase in finance cost to Rs. 8.3 Bn, due to the high interest rate regime which prevailed during the reporting period.
Despite the 192.7% increase in the income tax charge for the nine months, the Groups’ Profit After Tax (PAT) increased to Rs 7.3 Bn, a growth of 223.1%.
Income tax expense for the nine months ended 31st December 2022 increased to Rs 2.9 Bn, stemming mainly from the significant increase in corporate tax rates that was implemented effective 1st October 2022.
The Group’s Maritime and Freight Logistics sector’s stellar performance of a cumulative PBT of Rs. 7.0 Bn was led by the growth witnessed by freight, airline cargo GSA, integrated container and ship agency segments. This was followed by the Group’s Strategic Investment sector that recorded a cumulative PBT of Rs. 3.6 Bn with a growth of 395.1% mainly owing to the improved performances of the Group’s apparel manufacturing and printing and packaging segments and, the foreign exchange gains recorded by the holding company. However, the excessive delays faced in the settlement of dues from the Government in the power generation segment is causing a strain on the Group’s finances with unwarranted finance cost being borne by the sector. Despite this Aitken Spence has been operating its 10MW waste-to-energy power plant based in Kerawalapitiya as halting operations would mean that the country’s Colombo District will once again be faced with a severe garbage crisis that could potentially lead to social and environmental problems.
The Group’s Services sector also recorded a strong cumulative PBT of Rs. 566.9 Mn with a double-digit growth. The Group’s Tourism sector recorded a loss of Rs. 944.1 Mn for the nine months ended 31st December 2022, mainly due to the challenges faced by the Sri Lankan hotel segment.
It is crucial that there are targeted marketing campaigns for key tourist generating source markets. Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) together with industry experts have identified seven countries based on the ability and potential to generate tourism and bring the much-needed foreign revenue into the country. The Group’s Destination Management segment carried out independent campaigns and through such campaigns introduced new source markets to Sri Lanka such as charter flights from Uzbekistan which commenced recently.
During the Q3, the Group recorded a PBT of Rs. 1.7 Bn which was dampened due to the constraints faced by the renewable energy and the hotels segments.
“The Aitken Spence Group has witnessed a positive recovery despite facing many setbacks, particularly in the renewable energy segment. Our performance in the cumulative first nine months goes beyond our expectations as we are committed to continually make our business models more sustainable for our people, communities, and our environment,” commented Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director Aitken Spence PLC.
In the company’s continuous journey to become a better place to work, an employee engagement survey is being carried out to better understand employee experience, morale, and their perceptions of a leading employer.
The Group’s initiative on ‘Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I)’ under the theme ‘Freedom to be me’ was launched at the Spensonian Convention. As a progressive step in this direction, parental leave was enhanced, including the duration of maternal leave been extended to 100 days and the introduction of paternal leave.
In fostering an innovative and dynamic work culture, the Group had its first ‘Spence Hackathon’. Seven teams from the Group – including the overseas companies – embraced the challenge to develop nine transformative solutions for identified business problems and were evaluated by a panel of industry experts. More recently, ‘SpenceInnova’ was launched for which individuals and teams submit their innovative initiatives that will be evaluated by internal and external industry experts. Driven by its robust culture of transformation, the company has these innovative initiatives to mould their talent for the future.
On the sustainability front, Aitken Spence was adjudged winner of the Diversified Holdings sector and winner of the award for Demonstrated Resilient Practices for Covid-19 Context at the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Awards 2022 organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. The company also won the highest number of awards at this event and was ranked once again among the Ten Best Corporate Citizens: the only company in Sri Lanka to be in this prestigious ranking for an unprecedented 17consecutive years.
Listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange since 1983, Aitken Spence is anchored to a heritage of excellence spanning over 150 years and driven by a team of more than 12,500 across 16 industries in 8 countries: Sri Lanka, Maldives, Fiji, India, Oman, Myanmar, Mozambique and Bangladesh.