Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sri Lanka's Serendib Hotels boosted by online sales

Feb 07, 2013 (LBO) - Serendib Hotels Plc, a unit of Sri Lanka's Hemas group which reported a surge in profits in the peak December quarter said occupancy was boosted by online sales and profits were helped by cost controls.

 European visitors led by Germany were the mainstay at Serendib group hotels.

"However, it is also encouraging to note that the arrivals from emerging markets have shown a significant growth, especially from South Asia and the Middle East," managing director Ranil de Silva told shareholders.

"[An i]ncrease in direct web bookings and sales through on-line travel agents have also contributed to the excellent performance of the Group."

Avani Bentota Resort & Spa had won a 'Gold Circle' award for excellence in on-line distribution from

The group manages a 401 room chain made up of Avani Bentota Resort & Spa, Avani Kalutara Resort, Club Hotel Dolphin and Hotel Sigiriya in Sri Lanka's central region.

Serendib Hotels, reported profits of 68.0 million rupees for the December 2012 quarter up 278 percent from a year earlier, with its flagship Avani Bentora Resort and Spa re-opening after refurbishment.

The group reported earnings of 61 cents per share. For the nine months to December the group reported earnings of 94 cents per share on total profits of 104 million rupees.

The stock closed at 23.40 rupees Wednesday, down 1.30 rupees.

In the December quarter revenues rose 57 percent to 360 million rupees, cost of sales rose 29 percent to 74 million rupees, allowing the group to grow gross profits 66 percent to 285 million rupees.

Though tourist arrivals rose 17 percent De Silva said it was not seen in increased occupancy at the industry in general.

"Nevertheless, our hotels were able to achieve the revenue targets due to sound revenue management practices and well established relations with Tour Operators," he said.

Club Hotel Dolphin which brought 61 percent of pre-tax profits of the group had occupancy rates of 85 percent, Avani Bentota Resort and Spa had 62 percent and Hotel Sigiriya 65 percent.

The average occupancy rates of hotels tracked by the state tourism office fell to 76.2 percent in November 2012 from 90.3 percent a year earlier. In October occupancy fell to 73.2 percent from 80.8 percent a year earlier.

De Silva said there outlook for the final quarter appeared to be challenging due to a perception of Sri Lanka being overpriced compared to competing Asian destinations.

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