Enclosed please find a SriLankan Airlines press release ...
Big increase in SriLankan Airlines profits
SriLankan Airlines nearly doubled its Net Profit for the financial year 2003/04, with a bold expansion programme that created and exploited opportunities in the international and domestic travel markets.
The Net Profit of the company after taxation was Rs. 4,555.14 million, reflecting a 94.97% increase compared to the previous year's Rs. 2,336.38 million.
The SriLankan Airlines Group, consisting of the airline and its subsidiary SriLankan Catering Services, recorded an increase of 75.87% in Net Profit After Taxation to Rs. 5,635.51 million.
"This is only a beginning, and we expect continued strong growth in the group in the years to come.” said Mr. Balapatabendi. “We will continue to increase services to India with Ahmadabad targeted to be our 11th destination this winter.”
Company Earnings Per Share increased 94.97%, from 45.40 to 88.51, while Group Earnings Per Share increased 75.86%, from 62.27 to 109.51.
"We expect this trend to continue, as we tap into the vast potential in India and further exploit our existing markets," Tim Clark, Managing Director of SriLankan Airlines said. “We have taken advantage of the liberalization of several bilateral agreements, particularly India, and expanded our services accordingly.”
For the year 2003/2004, the company recorded a gross profit of Rs. 9,445.39 million, compared to the previous year's Rs. 7,018.29 million, reflecting an improvement of 35% in its operating performance. Group gross profit increased by Rs. 2,720.85 million to Rs. 11,009.34 million, up by 33%.
"The year 2003/04 has been as exciting as it was challenging - exciting because of the many new products and services that SriLankan Airlines launched, many the result of innovative strategies from our management team, and challenging because the international airline industry continued to be buffeted by factors such as increased fuel prices, continued concern of air travel due to the threat of terrorism, and the tail end of the SARS scare," said Peter Hill, Chief Executive Officer of SriLankan.
For the year 2003/2004, total operating revenue of the company amounted to Rs. 45,397.54 million, increased by Rs. 9,162.50 million, or 25.3%, from 2002/2003, primarily due to higher passenger numbers and yield. The total revenue of the group was Rs. 46,191.34 million, up by Rs. 9 ,294.46 million, or 25.2%, from the previous year.
"SriLankan Catering joined the billion-rupee club this year, with a net profit of Rs. 1.08 billion, which is an increase of 24.5% from Rs. 868 million during the previous financial year. There aren't many companies in this country which are generating a net profit of over a billion and we are extremely proud of this achievement," said Dilip Nijhawan, CEO, SriLankan Catering (Private) Limited. "Incidentally the depreciation of the rupee in the previous financial year was insignificant at 0.28 cents and therefore the figures are purely a reflection of our performance. It's a great feeling."
The airline launched a large number of new projects in the year under review. These included SriLankan Air Taxi, an amphibious domestic service that now serves 10 destinations. New services were launched to two destinations in India - Kochi and Hyderabad - and services were resumed to Karachi.
The airline, which began the financial year with 11 aircraft, increased its fleet to 17 with the acquisition of two Airbus A340s, two Airbus A320s, an Antonov AN12F freighter, and an amphibious Cessna Caravan floatplane.
The number of passengers carried during the year increased to 2.06 million (up 14.3%) from 1.81 million carried in the previous year. Cargo carriage increased from 47,650 tonnes to 54,943 tonnes (up 15.3%).
SriLankan also continued with its strategy of taking its services to the doorstep of customers by opening new ticket offices in Jaffna, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Vavuniya, and Colombo’s World Trade Centre, increasing its number of ticket offices in the island to 12.
The airline continued to add to its accolades during the year under review. These included "Best Overall Inflight Entertainment 2003" for a fleet size of 20 or less from the World Airline Entertainment Association, First Runner-Up for "Best Cabin Staff 2003" in Skytrax's global passenger survey, “Best Economy Class Service” among 62 airlines by the German magazine Reise & Preise (Travel & Price), and "Best Airline in Central Asia" from Skytrax for the third consecutive year.
SriLankan Cargo won a Taiki Akimoto 5S Merit Award for efficiency at Colombo Airport’s Cargo Centre. SriLankan’s marketing efforts were also rewarded with the prestigious “Campaign of the Year” award from the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing.
Skywards, the frequent flyer programme of SriLankan and its strategic partner Emirates, won six Freddie Awards, the airline industry’s equivalent of the Oscars, including “Programme of the Year.”
The airline expects traffic through Colombo to continue increasing rapidly, and is already involved in projects to exploit these opportunities. These include a project to double capacity at the Cargo Centre, the construction of a new Business Class Lounge, and a new 25 million US dollar Flight Kitchen which would quadruple the capacity of SriLankan Catering.
Corporate Communications Department
September 22nd, 2004