Dec 12, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Jetwing Symphony’s long-awaited initial public offering (IPO) of will open up for subscription on December 14.
The company will issue 50.2 million shares or a 10 percent stake through a book-building process from and out of the offer price bands of 18 rupees, 17 rupees, 16 rupees and 15 rupees , to raise between 753 million rupees to 904 million rupees.
Speaking to Lanka Business Online the Chairman of Jetwing Hotels Limited and Director of Jetwing Symphony Limited, Hiran Cooray said……
Q: Can you explain why Jetwing Symphony was set up as an investment arm and how it will foster investment growth in the Sri Lankan leisure market? Please explain detail.
A: The founder of Jetwing Hotels, the late Mr. Herbert Cooray envisioned his company to be a family owned entity. In keeping with this dream, as the next generation looks to take the Jetwing brand to the next level, the decision was made to form a new company that may focus solely on the future development of the leisure and tourism sectors, and be pioneers in the industry when it comes to quality, service and experiences. Jetwing Symphony therefore will function as the source through which all newprojects will be rooted and directly owned, whilst Jetwing Hotels will function as the management company behind these hotels. We recognize that this is an invaluable opportunity to any investor, as we bring to the table decades of experience and the goodwill that comes with a globally recognized brand of this caliber that is famous for its novel experiences, luxurious escapes, and a steadfast commitment to the environment and local communities.
What does your company hope to achieve from this IPO? Please explain in detail
A: For the past four decades, we have been in Sri Lankan hospitality as a family entity through Jetwing Hotels Ltd. Jetwing Symphony however will be our investment arm for our new projects and we present the public with a unique
opportunity to invest in the future of Sri Lankan hospitality. What we will achieve from this is the overall development of tourism as a nation with Jetwing Symphony being at the forefront of the tourism and leisure industry in Sri Lanka, constantly raising the bar and challenging its peers. To achieve this vision, we will be raising between 753 million to 904 million rupees, which will be allocated towards strengthening the existing balance sheet and for the
development of new projects such as Jetwing Kandy Gallery.
Q: Can you please elaborate on the projects that Jetwing Symphony is working on and what level of completion they are at?
A: At present, our existing properties under Jetwing Symphony include; Jetwing Yala, Jetwing Kaduruketha, Jetwing Lake, Jetwing Colombo Seven, and the recently opened Jetwing Surf. Our next focus is on Jetwing Kandy Gallery, a 22 room boutique hotel a short drive from the city of Kandy which we hope to complete by mid 2019. Alongside which, on the East of the country we will launch Jetwing Reef (Uppuveli) a star class resort, the first of its kind in the region.
In addition to the major growth prospects within the country itself, as the pioneers in the leisure industry, we plan to move internationally and step into the global market by bringing the world renowned Sri Lankan hospitality to countries such as Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar.
Q: What are the challenges for the company and industry in the current local economic context?
A: Right now, the main challenge I see is complacency in terms of marketing. We are still riding on the safety and security factor that the end of the war brought us. Visitors today come because of that, but we need to be proactive more in terms of targeted marketing, promotional activities, and infrastructure development to connect diverse areas of the country that may attract tourists and develop the brand ‘Sri Lanka’ in the global market as not only a place for the backpackers but the high end tourists and the thrill seekers who long for the unique activities and experiences
we have to offer. This is something that we have identified as a challenge for the industry at large and have taken what we believe are some necessary steps to resolve. In addition, we need youth encouraged to learn how to communicate in English and even other languages. We have identified the potential of the youth of this nation, especially in rural areas, which led to the creation of the Jetwing Youth Development Project (JYDP). JYDP is completely free for all participants, and over the years we have transformed the lives of thousands around the country. The possibilities are endless. Imagine what a nation-wide programme could accomplish?
Q: What is your vision for the leisure sector in Sri Lanka?
A: I still hold to my father’s vision – one where hospitality is one of the top three earners of revenue for the country. We definitely have the potential and the product, whereas we lack in proper marketing and infrastructure to support. Sri Lanka is a 5 star destination, one capable of attracting visitors from all over the world whilst benefitting our people and helping them grow tremendously.
Q: Are you happy with the 2018 Budget proposals? especially the ones pertaining
to the industry?
A: Overall, I’d say yes. More than anything, there is a clear link and continuation of the 2017 budget’s tax system for the industry, which provides consistency and a sense of stability. In addition, the newly introduced tourist refund scheme like in Singapore, which encourages visitors to purchase goods here is an incentive to the industry as a whole. I believe that these factors will further foster the growth and expansion of Jetwing Symphony as a whole.