Aitken Spence PLC saw its September (2Q17) quarter net profit jumping by almost 50 percent to Rs.540.4 million or Rs.1.33 a share from a year ago as the group’s thermal power segment yet again started adding financial muscle to the group performance while the marine and logistics sector also contributed, the interim results released to the stock exchange showed. The Aitken Spence share ended 20 cents or 0.29 percent lower at Rs.69.80 at Friday’s market close.
Aitken Spence’s power sector continued to trouble the group performance since the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) entered into between the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and Aitken Spence for its 100 Mega Watt Ace Power Embilipitiya (Pvt) Ltd came to an end by March 31, 2015.
For the financial year ended on March 31, 2016 Aitken Spence group’s earnings fell 43 percent while the strategic Investments segment of the group, which includes the said power plant, turned a massive loss of Rs.510.1 million. The segment revenue fell to Rs.5.9 billion from Rs.15.2 billion a year ago.
However the recent back-to-back countrywide blackouts forced the CEB to renew the PPA with Ace Power Embilipitiya (Pvt) Ltd for one year from April 6, 2016 amid questions raised by the regulator, Public Utilities Commission, regarding the need for expensive thermal power to meet emergencies.
Since the renewal of the PPA, the strategic investments segment of the group was able increase its revenues by 175 percent or Rs.4.85 billion to Rs.7.65 billion.
Business magnate Harry Jayawardena’s investment vehicle, Melstacorp Limited held 43.96 percent stake in the Aitken Spence group followed by Rubicond Enterprises Limited with another 16.25 percent stake.
This strategic investment segment also turned a net profit of Rs.423 million from a loss of Rs.44 million during the first half of last financial year. “Resumption of operations at the company’s thermal power plant contributed to the increase in revenue from the strategic investments sector, while the new segments in the freight and port management activities contributed to the increase in the maritime & logistics sector revenue,” Aitken Spence said in a statement. Further the group has also made substantial investments over the years to establish a portfolio of thermal, wind, hydro and especially renewable energy production, and expects growth in this area of engagement both in the local and foreign markets.
Meanwhile, the group increased its top-line by 70 percent during the quarter to Rs.9.85 billion from a year ago while for the six months revenue was Rs.17.38 billion, an increase of little over 50 percent. The group’s maritime and logistics sector increased its six months revenue by 27 percent Year-on-Year (YoY) to Rs.4.82 billion while sector bottom-line rose 76 percent yoy to Rs.754.9 million.
Aitken Spence group has interest in to hotels, travel, maritime services, logistic solutions and power generation, plantations, printing, garments, financial services, insurance and information technology.
The tourism sector, group’s largest segment by revenue turned a net loss of Rs.194.6 million from a profit of Rs.681.9 million a year ago but the sector revenues grew 10 percent YoY to Rs.8.24 billion.
“Increase in revenue during the quarter from the tourism sector was mainly driven by new additions, Al Falaj hotel (Oman), Turyaa Chennai (India) and the new wing of Turyaa Kalutara.
The interest and start-up costs of new hotel projects in Sri Lanka and overseas affected the bottom line of the sector.
Closure of a multitude of rooms in a few resorts in the Maldives for refurbishment coupled with lower demand from key source markets negatively affected the returns from the Maldives leisure segment.
However, the company is confident that the Maldives tourism sector would pick up in the short to medium term,” the company said.
The state-controlled private sector pension fund, Employees’ Provident Fund held 5.07 percent stake in the group being the fourth largest shareholder.
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