The Freight & Logistics Sector of the Group recorded a PAT of 1.11 Bn which was increase of 5.3% for the FY 2011/12. The other three key sectors – Travel & Leisure, International Trading & Manufacturing and Investments & Services - contributed a PAT of Rs. 114 Mn to the Group.
Group CEO of Expolanka Holdings PLC, Hanif Yusoof said, “Our freight and logistics sector was challenged by the headwinds of global trading and intense competition. This impacted freight volumes and prices across the industry thus limiting the anticipated growth. Our strategy was volume driven. We proactively ventured during the early part of 2012 into new potential markets, Hong Kong, China and USA, sought after by our existing customer base as well”.
In Expolanka’s travel and leisure sector, outbound travels retained the market leadership and made headway into growing opportunities. Classic Colombo made steady progress reinforcing its market share and control. The inbound tours, indeed, a key focus area, given the resurgence of tourism, post conflict, had an impressive year.
The Company’s international trading arm was very susceptible to the uncertain conditions in the global trading arena. Exports, especially tea witnessed a dip led mainly by the political pressures that prevailed in its key market, the Middle East. Commodity imports were no less affected by the price volatility and volumes in this scenario. The Company aimed at consolidating its existing product and customer base while seeking the best option in its value added range.
“The strategic investment sector of the Group, characteristically, went head-on seeking and securing the best investment opportunities the year could offer. We acquired the controlling stake of 50% in an investment of LKR 300 million in Norfolk Foods, a manufacturing and marketing company of processed food to avail the myriad advantages of a FMCG company. Our 22.73 percent buy in, through a private placement into Amana Takaful Maldives, which was subsequently listed on the Maldives Stock Exchange was also a definite strategic and a timely move for the Group”, Yusoof added.
Outlining the year that lay ahead Yusoof said that he saw the Company and its network consolidating and reinforcing its entrepreneurship, seeking and turning adversity into opportunity in taking the business to the next level. “Our strategic focus especially on asset allocation will be on bolstering our shareholder wealth. Return on equity will be our catalyst for growth. Our focus will mainly be on strengthening our existing operations and will aggressively think “out-of-the-box” to make a mark in terms of our brand identity, firm up our market share and leverage on our competiveness. Our aim is to reach out to optimum performance and maximize the value of our existing ventures, new investments, and acquisitions culminating in the best returns to our shareholders”.
Yusoof went on to say that in this context, the Company will primarily focus on freight and logistics, the highest revenue earner for the Group, with continued zeal, to expand and drive in its global footprint. “The stage is already set, with the nation’s aspiration of making Sri Lanka the foremost commercial hub in Asia. The upcoming new harbour and airport together with plans for star-class hotels, the recent legislation passed on free port hub with sweeping tax exemptions will give a boost to reach out to the goals set out for the freight and logistics companies within the Group. Our plan to rebrand this sector with a firm identity that gives out a true international “flavour” is appropriate and timely”, he concluded.