Ceylon Hotels Corporation to refurbish two top properties

Ceylon Hotels Corporation PLC (CHC), a member of the Galle Face group of companies, plans to invest heavily ahead of the widely expected tourism boom despite substantial accumulated losses in its balance sheet. The company’s Chairman, Mr. Lakshman Samarasinghe, said in the recently released annual report for the year ended March 31, 2010 that the CHC has now commenced refurbishing Tissa Resort which will cost approximately Rs.200 million in time for the World Cup and Lihiniya Surf Hotel which will cost approximately Rs.300 million.

“At Tissa all rooms will be upgraded to 4-star level while the kitchen, public areas will be refurbished. A new mechanized laundry, sewer and water treatment plants will be installed. A computerization system will also be installed,” Samarasinghe said. “At Lihiniya Surf all 88 rooms will be upgraded to 4-star level while public areas will be refurbished and air-conditioned. There will be a fully equipped kitchen while a fully mechanized laundry and a computerized system will be installed.”

He said that hotel, rest houses and eateries and snack bars after refurbishment will be re-branded as CHC Prestige, CHC Heritage, CHC Rest and CHC Avanhala.

The company has already begun investing in its string of well located rest houses countrywide with ten rooms at Tissamaharama refurbished at a cost of Rs.6.4 million with substantial investment at the Kitulgala Rest House too.

The Ambepussa Rest House and Avanhala was re-launched in July/August last year after a Rs.9 million refurbishment and the company has recruited an experienced hotelier as Vice President Strategy and Development, directly in charge of refurbishing CHC properties.

During the year under review CHC posted a group loss of Rs.39.1 million, down from a loss of Rs.86.6 million a year earlier while at company level, the bottom line read a loss of Rs.39.4 million against a loss of Rs.89.6 million the previous year.

Revenue was up both at group and company level to Rs.535.9 million and Rs.325.8 million from the previous year’s Rs.486 million and Rs.318.1 million.

CHC has a stated capital of Rs.1.22 billion, reserves of Rs.4 billion and accumulated losses of Rs.268.7 million.

Total assets were running at Rs.6.49 billion while total liabilities stood at Rs.763.5 million.

As at March 31, 2010, group net assets per share stood at Rs.27.57, down from Rs.28.32 a year earlier while the company’s net assets per share stood at Rs.8.59, down from Rs.8.98 the previous year.

Curlew (Pvt) Ltd with 52.54%, the Galle Face Hotel Co. Ltd with 34.73% (in two accounts) and Cyril Gardiner Ltd with 3.39% are the major shareholders of CHC. Curlew too is a Gardiner company.

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