Aitken Spence non-tourism sectors record Rs. 5 b PBT in 2020-2021 | Sunday Observer

Aitken Spence non-tourism sectors record Rs. 5 b PBT in 2020-2021

5 June, 2021

During a turbulent financial year that was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, Aitken Spence Group’s non-tourism sectors delivered the highest ever profit before tax of Rs. 5.01 billion for the twelve months ending March 31, 2021 compared to Rs. 4.2 billion last year and partially offsetting the impact of the Group’s Tourism portfolio which recorded its worst year ever due to the devastating impact of the pandemic.

The Group’s non-tourism sectors overcame multiple challenges including business disruptions, health and safety risks faced by the Spensonians and the overall slowing down of economic activity to record a growth in profit before tax of 55% in the fourth quarter and 18.9% in the financial year,compared to the corresponding periods in the previous year.

The Maritime and Freight Logistics sector which has operations across five countries contributed 51.2% of the Group’s non-tourism profit before tax by recording Rs. 2.6 billion. The cargo general sales agencies represented by the Group performed exceptionally well which benefitted from increased freight rates and innovative marketing efforts. The Group’s integrated logistics segment witnessed a growth in profits due to strategic shifts implemented in its business activities. The sector established new strategic partnerships.

The Strategic Investments sector was the second highest contributor towards the Group’s performance with a profit before tax of Rs. 2.1 billion which is a growth of 23.3% year-on-year. The country’s first ever waste-to-energy power plant commenced in February 2021 with a healthy contribution during these months of operation. The Group recently invested in three more renewable energy projects, expanding its portfolio in hydropower in the pursuit of meeting rising energy demands, sustainable development, access to clean energy and lowering the national carbon footprint. The Group’s investment in plantations provided a substantial boost to the overall earnings of the sector.The Services sector recorded a profit before tax of Rs. 392 million which is a growth of 31.8% year-on-year. The money transfer segment responded to a change in customer needs by facilitating a door-step delivery solution with no additional cost and a direct to bank facility, which resulted in an increase in remittances handled and a record year of performance for the business unit. The Insurance segment was able to record a marginal increase in profitability compared to the previous year through innovative solutions despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. The Elevators segment had an improved year.The resorts of the Group in the Maldives recorded a promising revival with the gradual reopening of the resorts from the third quarter of the financial year, with the segment recording a profit from operations for the fourth quarter.

Overall, the Group recorded a loss before tax of Rs. 2.8 billion with the tourism sector reporting a loss of Rs. 7.8 billion for the year. Nevertheless, the Group’s resilience despite its large exposure to the tourism sector is commendable at a time when some of the world’s largest tour operators and air lines required Government bailouts to keep afloat.