| JKH issues statement on confident outlook Subsequent to rating downgrade by Fitch, John Keells Holdings PLC Group Finance Director Ronnie Peiris issued the following statement.
John Keells Holdings (JKH) has been one of the largest investors in Sri Lanka, particularly in the post-conflict period where the Group has invested heavily in its existing portfolio of businesses in addition to its investment in the Waterfront Integrated Resort Project.
The recent investments of JKH are in industries with high growth prospects having considered the risk/reward factors, particularly in the current context of a post-conflict Sri Lanka with a strong economic growth outlook. The proactive steps taken by JKH in the past 10 years through aggressive investments, particularly in areas such as leisure, consumer foods and retail, property and financial services, have borne fruit and have resulted in a balanced portfolio and a diverse stream of healthy cash flows.
Whilst the transportation business has seen a moderation in its performance over the past few years as anticipated, JKH is of the view that SAGT will benefit from the overall prospects for the Port of Colombo where volumes are bound to increase in the medium term with the commissioning of deep-water berths in the south port. SAGT’s current performance continues to be well above the Group’s hurdle rates.
The Waterfront Project, the construction of which began in March 2014, is in progress with piling work currently underway. The pre-sales of the residential apartments and commercial spaces have been beyond expectations. While the project is well funded, with contingencies inbuilt at the project level itself, JKH’s current, and expected, financial strength is more than sufficient in meeting any unanticipated obligations.