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FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » DAILY CHRONICLE™ » CT Holdings expect interest cost to build up as mega plans are unrolled

CT Holdings expect interest cost to build up as mega plans are unrolled

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Redbulls

Redbulls
Director - Equity Analytics
Director - Equity Analytics
CT Holdings PLC, among the bigger quoted conglomerates, has grown both group revenue and after-tax profits strongly in the year ended March 31, 2012 with revenue up 26% to Rs.59.28 billion and the after-tax profit up 17.04% to Rs.2.33 billion.

The group, together with an international partner, is investing heavily on real estate development utilizing existing resources, venturing into banking, converting the Cargills building into a luxury hotel and massively expanding capacity at the McCallum Brewery acquired last year.

Profit attributable to equity holders of the company was up 34.13% to Rs.1.16 billion, the recently released annual report disclosed. This translated to an earning of Rs.6.39 per share, up from Rs.5.07 the previous year at group level and to Rs.2.37, up from Rs.1.33 a year earlier at company level.

The CT Holdings conglomerate is into retail and fast moving consumer goods (Cargills), Plantations (Horana Plantations) industrial goods (Lanka Walltiles and Lanka Floor Tiles), entertainment (the group’s roots are in film exhibition), real estate (CT Land and Development) and financial services (CT Smith Stockbrokers).

The company’s Chairman, Mr. Anthony Page said that during the latter part of the previous financial year, the group had begun an investment program with a view to expanding its operations in sectors complementary to the current areas of operation.

"The focus areas also mirrored the sectors identified as targeted growth sectors in the new economic environment in the country and comprised a mix of direct investments and external acquisitions," he said.

This investment program had continued in stages during the year under review and will go on next year as well.

"Although some of the investments are yet to reach the targeted volume levels, we are confident that the results in the following years would justify the plans now being rolled out,’’ Page said.

He reported that the group had identified further areas of growth and profitability that could be successfully achieved through international tie-ups and joint ventures with such linkages to internationally reputed companies/organizations bringing advanced technical knowhow, management practices and capital to develop and market products and services offered by the group.

"The group took a first step in this direction with the conditional joint venture agreement being signed with Edmonton Pte Ltd a subsidiary of Keppel Land (Singapore) which is the property arm of Keppel Corporation, one of Singapore’s largest multinational groups with key businesses in offshore and marine, infrastructure and property. We expect important benefits from this tie up in the future years," he said.

In terms of profitability and revenue, the CTH group had hit record highs. Page explained that although investments funded internally and with borrowings place a burden on the group’s short-term operating results, they were confident that such investments would bring improved results in the next two to three years.

The year under review saw the holding company raising Rs.2.68 billion through a private placement and a rights issue with Rs.261 million raised used to settle borrowings at holding company level.

"Due to the delay in the roll out of the planned property projects, remaining amounts have been temporarily deployed with subsidiaries with interest being levied at prevailing deposit rates,’’ he said.

The directors have proposed a final dividend of Rs.1.40 per share net of withholding tax on top of an interim 65 cents per share paid last January to give the shareholders a total return of Rs.2.05 per share.

"We look back with great satisfaction at the results of the current year which was achieved while embarking on our investment program, the challenges arising from increased borrowings costs, the uncertainties of the global economic and political environment," Page said.

"The steady increase in capacity of the production facilities within the group and increasing volumes give us much hope for the future. Further, the group is well placed to be a key player in the steadily improving local economy with increasing demand for food, housing materials and entertainment. We look forward with optimism to the future."

He added that they were well placed to be a key player in the steadily improving local economy with increase in demand for food, housing materials and entertainment and the outlook was good.

In an Operations Review, the report said that in the next two years the group would be investing substantially in a new commercial bank, the Cargills Agriculture and Commercial Bank, which is sponsored by Cargills and CT Holdings PLC.

Plans for redeveloping the historic Cargills property in Fort into a six-storey hotel would be initiated in collaboration with internationally renowned partners, the report said.

"These investments would also be initially funded through internally generated funds and borrowings which may result in an increased interest expense over the next two years. Steps are being taken to effectively manage the capital structure of the proposed investments and the level of the group debt," the review said.

Cargills has a stated capital of Rs.3.19 billion, group reserves of Rs.4.8 billion and retained earnings of Rs.4.27 billion in its books. At company level reserves were Rs.906.8 million and retained earnings Rs.1.69 billion.

Total assets of the group stood at Rs.43.3 billion and total liabilities at Rs.23.37 billion.

Odeon Holdings (Ceylon) (Pvt) Limited with 41.62% is the major shareholder of CT Holdings followed by Mr. Anthony Page (8.66%), Mr. Ranjit Page (5.96%), Mrs. T. Selvaratnam (5.58%), Sir Chittampalan A. Gardiner Trust (5.02%), Mr. Joseph Page (4.27%), Ms. M.M. Page (4.23%), the EPF (2.50%), up from 2.9% the previous year, is the eighth largest shareholder and Melstacorp (Pvt) Limited subsidiary of Distilleries had acquired 0.81% stake during the year under review.

The company’s share closed at Rs.150.10 on March 31, 2012 with a high of Rs.220 and a low of Rs.135.

The directors of the company are: Messrs. Anthony A. Page (Chairman), Louis Page (Deputy Chairman), Ranjit Page (MD), J.B.L. de Silva, Sunil Mendis, Joseph Page, Priya Edirisinghe, R. Selvaskandan and Mrs. Cecilia Muttukumaru.
http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=63162

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