The leading blue-chip conglomerate, Aitken Spence PLC has reported an impressive growth of 388% from its earnings before interest expense, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of Rs. 2.9 billion compared to Rs. 595 million in 2Q of the previous year.
In a statement Aitken Spence said during the 2Q the Group’s non-tourism sectors recorded a growth of 35% from its EBITDA of Rs. 2 billion against Rs. 1 billion during the 2Q of the previous year. The Group’s tourism sector reached a significant triple-digit growth of 188% from its EBITDA of Rs. 824 million as against a loss of Rs. 940 million during the 2Q of the previous year.
The Group’s maritime and freight logistics sector contributed the highest profitability with improved performances from the Cargo GSA, freight forwarding and overseas port management operations. The sector recorded a 57% increase in profit-before-tax (PBT) for the six months ended 30 September.
The Group’s strategic investments sector recorded a compelling performance driven by a triple-digit growth of 107% in PBT for the six months ended 30 September. The newly commenced waste-to-energy power plant and the recently acquired Waltrim mini-hydropower plants enhanced the profitability of the sector alongside the plantations segment that provided a substantial boost to the Group’s strategic investments sector.
The plantations segment commenced commercial production of strawberries with three other varieties of berries to be launched under the brand ‘Berry Much’ – another first in Sri Lanka to cultivate and market the full range of berries.
The Group’s services sector recorded an 83% growth in PBT led by the money transfer and elevator agency operations for the six months ended 30 September.
The Group’s tourism sector showed a significant improvement as they recorded a decrease in losses of 54% for the six months ended 30 September, amidst the pandemic related travel restrictions. The hotels segment in the Maldives witnessed higher occupancy volumes and is on an encouraging trajectory.
The hotels segment continued its efforts to heighten health and safety combined with unique and curated experiences for guests. More than 95% of Aitken Spence Hotels associates have been successfully vaccinated.
In line with creating unique experiences for guests, during the quarter, Heritance Aarah in the Maldives launched a village experience to celebrate the illustrious culture and heritage of the island. This is the first of its kind in the Maldives.
The destination management segment focused more on outbound tourism to capitalise on seasonal and international sporting events. Aitken Spence Travels was appointed an official travel agent for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 in Oman and UAE. Another achievement for the segment was vaccinating 100% of the Group’s travels segment frontline staff to ensure both personal and organisational safety.
Aitken Spence has been reinventing its businesses with its priorities focused on re-strategising its operations and business models while strengthening resilience. With this objective, the Group embarked on a business and process transformation drive across all business segments in early 2020, prior to the downturn effects from the pandemic. The results have been reassuring as it has increased productivity whilst eliminating redundant and protracted business processes, enabling greater motivation for employees with relevant upskilling where necessary.
The Group recorded a growth of 156% in Profit Before Tax (PBT) of Rs. 734 million during the 2Q of 2021 compared to a loss of Rs. 1.3 billion in the 2Q of the previous year. This is an outstanding performance considering the downturn in the tourism business. The non-tourism sectors reported a PBT of Rs. 1.4 billion for the 2Q and Rs. 2.7 billion for the six months ended 30 September 2021.
“Aitken Spence performance has been improving each quarter despite the pandemic. The driving factors are the Group’s integrated strategies led by the top management and our hardworking and committed teams that have executed them well by demonstrating purposeful leadership. Moreover, the diversification of our businesses and our international presence in eight countries, have been key contributing factors to achieving a compelling performance during 2Q amidst many setbacks particularly impacting the tourism sector. This is encouraging as it shows strong resilience, and we will continue to keep rising above this turbulent environment,” said Aitken Spence PLC Deputy Chairman and Managing Director Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake.
Listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange since 1983, Aitken Spence is anchored to a heritage of excellence spanning over 150 years and driven by more than 12,000 employees across 16 industries in eight countries: Sri Lanka, Maldives, Fiji, India, Oman, Myanmar, Mozambique and Bangladesh.