EconomyNext – Sri Lanka’s John Keells Holdings said net profit rose 28 percent to 4.33 billion rupees in the third quarter ending December 31, 2014 from a year ago with gains in container handling, insurance and consumer foods and retail offsetting a downturn in hotels.
It reported a capital gain of 593 million rupees from the sale of the group’s stake in Access Engineering and a 77 percent increase in net finance income to 2.2 billion rupees as finance costs fell 47 percent.
A stock exchange filing said JKH sales for the quarter rose nine percent to 25.47 billion rupees from the year before.
Diluted earnings per share for the quarter rose to 4.26 rupees from 3.41 rupees.
In the first nine months profit rose 30 percent to 9.13 billion rupees from the year before with revenue up seven percent to 68.92 billion rupees.
JKH Chairman Susantha Ratnayake said pre-tax profits of the group’s transportation business rose 35 percent to 727 million rupees from the previous year.
The increase in profitability was mainly attributable to the performance of South Asia Gateway Terminals, where overall volumes and domestic throughput increased over the same period of the last financial year.
"The contraction in margins arising out of an increasingly competitive operating environment negatively impacted the performance of the bunkering business," Ratnayake said.
The leisure industry group pre-tax profit fell nine percent to 1.40 billion rupees in the third quarter from the year before despite the island’s tourist arrivals rising almost 20 percent to 1.53 million in 2014.
"The economic volatility in Russia and the continuing unrest in Ukraine had a significant negative impact on the occupancies of both the Maldivian and Sri Lankan resorts in the peak booking periods of November and December," Ratnayake said.
"The performance of the Sri Lankan resorts was further impacted by the timing of the presidential election which was held in January 2015."
But the Sri Lankan resorts increased profitability, aided by the growth in tourist arrivals from key external markets such as China, United Kingdom and the Middle East, as well as a "healthy" contribution from local tourists, Ratnayake said.