The owning company of the Hotel Taj Samudra in Colombo, Taj Lanka Hotels PLC will change its name to Tal Lanka Hotels PLC if a resolution to this effect is approved by shareholders at an AGM of the company to be held on September 28.
Taj Asia Limited, the controlling shareholder of Taj Lanka with 58.14% of its equity, changed its name to Tal Hotels and Resorts Limited with effect from July 27 this year, the annual report reveals.
The company’s Chairman, Mr. Anil P. Goel said that the year ended March 31, 2009 was a difficult one for the hotel industry with the Taj Samudra operating under even tougher conditions.
They had posted an operating loss of Rs.44.8 million for this period against a profit of Rs.4.8 million the previous year with the net loss after finance charges and income tax rising to Rs.143.5 million from the previous year’s loss of Rs.30.3 million.
"The instances of ethnic conflict in the North and the East and the widespread media coverage contributed to the dismal performance of the industry during the year under review," he said.
"Further, due to the overall recession worldwide during the year, coupled with inflation the cost of living has gone up significantly. These have contributed adversely to the cost of operations."
The year had seen an exchange loss pushing up finance cost to Rs.91.3 million from Rs.29.9 million during the previous year.
Despite these setbacks, the renovation program of the Taj Samudra property continued with four floors, the swimming pool, banquet and fitness centre facilities renovated. The hotel’s brand new Coffee Shop had already become very popular, Goel said.
The next phase of renovation will cover the remaining floors, restaurants and lobby.
Goel was hopeful on the basis of market information that tourism will stabilize with the coming winter season. The end of war has made it possible to correct adverse travel advisories, negative publicity and/or related issues.
Taj Lanka has a stated capital of nearly Rs.1.4 billion, a revaluation reserve of Rs.1.1 billion and accumulated losses of Rs.1.45 billion in its books. Non current liabilities include Rs.556.1 million borrowings, with Rs.186.5 million borrowings classified as a current liability.
Total liabilities were running at nearly Rs.1.2 billion against total assets of Rs.2.2 billion.
Net assets per share were down to Rs.7.51 during the year under review from Rs.8.53 a year earlier while the Taj share traded at a high of Rs.11.75 and a low of Rs.6.50 during the year under review against a trading range of Rs.11.50 to Rs.7 the previous year.
Taj Asia with 58.14% followed by the Indian Hotels Company with 24.62% and Mrs. Jane Elizabeth de Silva with 2.04% are the major shareholders of the company.
The directors of Taj Lanka Hotels are: Messrs. Anil P. Goel (Chairman), U.L. Kadurugamuwa, B.K. Chaudhary, Tilak de Zoysa, Ms. D.M. Harris, Dr. G. Sundaram, R.H. Prakekh, Vish Govindasamy, J.P. Kanoria, Arun K. Chaudhary (Resigned 26.04.2009), J. Daboo (Resigned 15.05.2009),R.K. Chaudhary (w.e.f. 12.05.2009) and V.V. Singh (w.e.f. 29.05.2009).