Sri Lanka downturn cushioned by Maldives profits of top leisure firms

June 15, 2007 (LBO) – Two of Sri Lanka’s leisure sector players have managed to cushion a downturn in tourism on the island, with profits from resorts they own in the Maldives. . John Keells Holdings, one of the biggest capitalised firms in the Colombo bourse, and Aitken Spence, have been expanding in to the Maldive Islands in recent years.

The investments have helped prop up their bottom line at a time when their Sri Lankan hotel properties have been hard hit by an intensifying internal conflict.

The violence has prompted travel warnings in key Western markets and led to a sharp downturn in arrivals to the island.

John Keells Holdings said revenues from its leisure sector grew by 39.5 pct to 7.6 billion rupees in the financial year ended March 31, 2007.

This was mainly a result of increased revenues from its Maldivian operations, the firm told shareholders.

The addition of two new properties, Dhonveli and Ellaidhoo, helped boost performance with both resorts doing well in their first year under the group’s portfolio.

“Despite the adverse situation in Sri Lanka impacting the leisure industry, the earnings before interest and tax of the Leisure