Strong Dec. quarter at Trans Asia with uptrend continuing

Trans Asia Hotels PLC has posted a strong December quarter with profit after-tax nearly doubling to Rs.46.2 million from Rs.23.9 million a year earlier although, cumulatively, the company’s 9-month result was sharply down 91% to Rs.5 million from Rs.56.2 million a year earlier.

"This was because of the closure of the hotel following damage caused by a LTTE air attack in the vicinity of the property," a company spokesman explained. "But we re-opened in September and the upward trend seen in the December quarter is getting better."

Third quarter revenue was up 27% to Rs.401.9 million while cumulatively 9-month revenue was down 33% to Rs.602.2 million.

The company recovered substantial damage costs from its insurer and also seized the opportunity of the need for urgent repairs following the damage caused by the air attack to refurbish the entire property and give the hotel, now branded Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo, a completely new look.

Trans Asia has also been successful in trimming 9-month finance expenses 34% to Rs.9.4 million and also achieved a marginal 2% decrease in its administrative expenses for the period to Rs.286.2 million although the December quarter saw a 15% increase in these charges.

The nine-month result translated to an earning per share of Rs.0.10, down from Rs.1.12 a year earlier while the December quarter’s earnings per share translated to Rs.0.92 from Rs.0.48 a year earlier.

Trans Asia had a stated capital of slightly over Rs.1.1 billion, a revaluation reserve of over Rs.1.4 billion and retained earnings of Rs.1.7 billion in its books as at December 31, 2009.

The company’s total assets topped Rs.5 billion as at December 31, 2009 while its total liabilities were running at Rs.776.2 million.

John Keells Holdings PLC with 48.64% and Asian Hotels and Properties, a JKH subsidiary, with 43.41%, are the dominant shareholders of Trans Asia with the third biggest shareholder being Mercantile Investments (2.03%) with that company’s Chairman, Mr. George Ondaatjie, owning 0.13% in his personal account.

For the nine months under review the bulk of the total revenue (Rs.559.3 million) came from the hotel operation while investment property brought in Rs.43 million.

Trans Asia paid a first and final dividend of Re.1 per share for the financial year ending March 31, 2009 and July 19, 2009.

The directors of the company are: Messrs. S.C. Ratnayake, A.D. Gunewardena, J.R.F. Peiris, D.S.J. Pelpola, N.L. Gooneratne, Mrs. R.L. Nanayakkara and A.R. Gunasekara.

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