AITKEN SPENCE PLC

AITKEN SPENCE PLC

Previous company name
AITKEN SPENCE & CO., LTD.
Name change date
6/4/2008
Company Overview
Aitken Spence & Co., Ltd. is a diversified blue-chip conglomerate with major interests in hotels and tourism, logistic solutions and power generation. In addition, the company has a significant presence in plantations, insurance, financial services, IT, printing and garments. The company was founded in 1868 and was originally named as Clark Spence & Company. It is headquartered in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
In the tourism sector, Aitken Spence represents many leading international tour operators including TUI AG, the world’s leading tourism and travel services group. Aitken Spence is the leading resort operator in Sri Lanka with nine properties and the fourth largest hotel operator in the Maldives with eight properties.
The logistics arm of Aitken Spence is the leader in integrated logistics and a dominant player in freight forwarding in Sri Lanka with a growing regional presence. The company has been in the maritime transport sector since its inception and represents many major international shipping and freight forwarding principals including Hyundai Merchant Marine and Hapag-Lloyd. The company’s power plants that contribute to 12% of the national grid were joint ventures with Caterpillar Power Ventures of USA and Wдrtsilд of Finland. In addition, Aitken Spence represents TNT Express and OTIS- the world’s leader in elevator products.
Business Summary
The Company is a holding company that directly or indirectly owns investments in companies which form the Aitken Spence Group. In addition to the above the Company provides management and related services to its group companies. The Company operates in four business segments: tourism, cargo logistics, strategic investments and services.
Description and history
The Company is a holding company that directly or indirectly owns investments in companies which form the Aitken Spence Group. In addition to the above the Company provides management and related services to its group companies. The Company operates in four business segments: tourism, cargo logistics, strategic investments and services.

Additionally, the Group is also the representative of OTIS elevators for Sri Lanka and the Maldives and has been the principal Agents for Lloyds of London in Sri Lanka and the Maldives since 1876 and acts as chief consultants for a large number of local insurance companies as well as over 200 companies worldwide.

HISTORY:

The eleven story Vauxhall Tower in Colombo houses the elegant office complex that is the headquarters of one of Sri Lanka’s most renowned and respected names in business – Aitken Spence and Company Ltd. A far cry from its origins as Clark Spence & Company in Galle, which commenced business activities 135 years ago. – The brainchild of two English entrepreneurs, Thomas Clark and Patrick Gordon Spence.
Following its appointment in 1876 as an agent for Lloyds of London – perhaps the single most famous name in marine insurance then. Now, the Company obtains agencies for a number of international shipping firms.

An indicator of the firm’s growing prosperity was its move to the heart of Colombo’s commercial district Fort, where it purchased the building owned by Freudenberg and renamed it ‘Lloyd?s Building’, which was subsequently sold in the 1950s.
During the 1920s and 30s Aitken Spence cut loose its times in trading due to the adverse effects of the depression and intensified its interests in shipping and insurance where it soon became a leading player in the field. Around this time the Company also became an agency house for plantation companies.

Following the advent of the island’s independence in 1948 (and the end of the Second World War) the firm was transformed into a private limited company. Under the guidance of its first ever Sri Lankan Chairman E.L. Van Langenberg in 1952, the Company diversified into other areas of business as diverse as industrial printing, light engineering and travel obtaining IATA membership.

In 1968, the Company became a wholly Sri Lankan owned business venture – exactly 100 years after its inception. Further diversification followed hard on the heels of the nationalization of industries in the early 1970s into areas of business hitherto unexplored by the Company. These included freight forwarding, garment manufacture and most importantly tourism, industries which directly or indirectly contributed towards the country’s foreign exchange earnings and offered new employment opportunities. During the period of economic liberalization the Company was converted to a public listed company in 1983, with an issued share capital of Rs. 51 million.

Tourism remains a mainstay of the Company’s business to this day and is epitomized by two remarkable hotels, among others built by the Company. The Kandalama Hotel is noted for its ecologically conscious outlook – a fact that was underlined when the hotel achieved the prestigious ‘Green Globe 21’ certification in 1999. The Tea Factory located at Kandapola on the outskirts of Nuwara Eliya is an old tea factory that was ingeniously converted into a theme hotel and stands out distinctively in Sri Lanka’s hospitality industry. The Group’s investment in hotels and tourism has expanded beyond the shores of Sri Lanka to the Maldive Islands. The Company manages the Bathala Island Resort and Club Rannalhi.

With the liberalization of the insurance industry of the Company returned to this sector with a substantial stake in Union Assurance Ltd., which has rapidly become one of the market leaders in the Sri Lankan insurance industry. Following the development of the Colombo Port, Aitken Spence has rapidly claimed its stake as a front runner in inland container operations, integrated warehousing, shipping and freight forwarding, the core of the Group’s cargo logistics sector today.

In response to the government’s privatization programme, the Company re-entered the plantation business with strategic investments in two of the privatized regional plantation companies. More recently, the Company took the opportunity to venture into infrastructure development, having bid for and being awarded letters of intent to operate two 20 MW power plants in Horana and Mathara.

Yet another example of the Company’s international outlook was its success in raising Rs. 730 million with a placement of shares in 1998, among major foreign and local investors including the international Finance Corporation and the Commonwealth Development Corporation.
Following the success of the resorts in the Maldives, a third resort comprising 215 rooms is already on operation in the South Maalhosmadulu Atoll. With this investment the Group would control 5% of the total resort bed capacity in the Maldives.

Originally named as Clark Spence & Company

Business Line
A diversified blue-chip conglomerate with major interests in hotels and tourism, logistic solutions and power generation
Subsidiary
ACE AVIATION SERVICES (PVT) LTD.
Advisor
KPMG FORD, RHODES, THORNTON & COMPANY
IPO date
1983
US SIC Code
7011
Company Address
Aitken Spence Towers
305, Vauxhall Street
City province or state postal code
02, COLOMBO
Phone: +94 11 2 308 308
Fax: +94 11 2 445 406
Country address: SRI LANKA
Website url: www.aitkenspence.com