Previously known as Hotel Serendib, Avani Bentota Resort and Spa as the property is now branded, ``offers an experience that is truly one of a kind and customer feedback that has been received so far has endorsed the property is uniformly excellent,’’ Esufally said.
He noted that occupancy levels are higher than predicted and the hotel is now able to command room rates comparable to other luxury beach resorts.
The refurbishing of the hotel had been completed within the stipulated budget and the property has been reopened as scheduled, he said.
Although group revenue had grown to over Rs.1 billion, group profit after-tax was down to Rs.79.9 million from Rs.129.3 million a year earlier due to the hotel remaining closed for six months for refurbishing.
Two other group hotels have also been partly or wholly closed for refurbishing during the period under review.
The Serendib group also owns the Avani Kalutara Resort, Club Hotel Dolphin and Hotel Sigiriya in addition to its Bentota property.
Avani Kalutara (Formerly known as Kani Lanka) which was acquired early 2011, is currently being refurbished and will be opened in time for the 2012 winter season, Esufally said.
The company intends investing Rs.600 million on this make over and funds have been earmarked for this purpose.
Esufally noted that the new Avani Bentota Resort and Spa was the first internationally branded hotel to commence operations in post-war Sri Lanka.
Avani is Minor International’s new brand which was launched globally with the opening of Avani Bentota.
"They also own and operate the famed ‘Anantara’ brand of hotels. Plans for the first Anantara hotel in Sri Lanka, adjoining Avani Kalutara are nearing completion," Esufally said.
In his message to shareholders, Esufally said that global trends in the tourism industry created challenges for the industry here in Sri Lanka. Asia was poised to become a major force in world tourism with China and India leading the way.
"The expectations of the travelers from this region are different to those of the European markets which Sri Lanka’s hospitality industry has been accustomed to. Their language, cuisine and habits vary, and as such, the industry needs to respond to the changing requirements of our visitors," he noted.
"Specialized products like theme parks, soft adventure and sports tourism need to be developed including restaurants, high end shopping malls and entertainment centres."
He said much of the credit for the group’s success during the year under review was due to the two subsidiaries, Hotel Dolphin with profit before-tax of Rs.98.5 million and Hotel Sigiriya with a PBT of Rs.52.5 million.
"These are the best results ever achieved by each of the properties in terms of revenue and net profit," Esufally said.
In a management discussion and analysis, the company said that the results were particularly remarkable given the six-month closure of their flagship hotel for refurbishing. The property was re-branded and reopened exactly on schedule in November.
"(This) is a record in an industry that is infamous for delays and postponements. In addition, and worthy of note, the renovation was completed within the stipulated budget of Rs.650 million."
On April 29, 2011, the company sub-divided each of its shares into five followed by a rights issue in May on the basis of one new share for every four held.
The three major shareholders of Serendib are Leisure Asia Investments Ltd (28.14%), Hemas Holdings (21.88%) and Lodging Investments (Labuan) Ltd (19.83%). Royal Ceramics has acquired 5.17% of the company and its Managing Director Mr. Nimal Perera owns 3.42%.
The Serendib voting share traded at a high of Rs.37.90 and a low of Rs.18 during the year under review against a trading range of Rs.36 to Rs.18.65 the previous year. Net assets per share had grown to Rs.14.18 from Rs.10.01 the previous year.
The directors of the company are: Messrs. A.N .Esufally (Chairman- Alternate V.H.A. Perera), D.T.R.de Silva (MD), J.C.L. de Mel, H.N Esufally (Alternate Ms. K.A.C. Wilson), W.M. de F. Arsakularatne, Prof. L.D.K.B. Gamage, E.J.D. Rajakarier, M.A. Jafferjee and R.N. Athukorala.