John Keells Holdings

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John Keells Holdings PLC
Traded as CSEJKH.N0000
Industry Transportation
Consumer Foods and Retail
Financial Services and BPO and Information Technology
Headquarters Colombo, Sri Lanka
Key people
Susantha Ratnayake -Chairman/CEO
Ajith Gunewardene -Deputy Chairman
Ronnie Peiris -Group Finance Director
Franklyn Amerasinghe-Director
Tarun Das -Director
Dr. Indrajit Coomarsawamy -Director
Ashroff Omar - Director
Amal Cabraal - Director
Nihal Fonseka - Director
Ms.Premila Perera - Director
Revenue Increase 89, 256 million Sri Lankan rupee (2014)
Number of employees
Website Official Website

John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH) is Sri Lanka’s largest listed conglomerate in the Colombo Stock Exchange. From managing the largest number of hotel rooms in Sri Lanka to owning the largest private-sector-owned transportation business in the country, providing port and marine fuel services to IT solutions, manufacturing of food and beverages to running a chain of supermarkets, tea broking to stock broking, banking to real estate, JKH has made its presence felt in virtually every major sphere of the economy. Since its modest beginnings as a produce and exchange broker in the early 1870s, JKH has been known to constantly re-invent, re-align and reposition itself in exploring new avenues of growth, and is widely considered as a benchmark of the local economy.

JKH is a full member of the World Economic Forum, and having issued Global Depository Receipts on the Luxemburg Stock Exchange, was the first Sri Lankan company to be listed overseas. As a Member of the Global Compact – the UN-sponsored international corporate citizenship initiative – JKH is also committed to sustainable development and greater social responsibility in a multi-stakeholder context. JKH has been ranked first in LMD's "Most Respected Entities in Sri Lanka" survey for a record nine years including in 2014 and assigned an AA+ (lka) credit rating by Fitch Ratings Lanka Ltd.


The origins of John Keells Holdings lie in a produce and exchange broking business started by two Englishmen, Edwin and George John, in Colombo, Ceylon, in the early 1870s. E. John & Co. was one of a handful of broking companies that helped build tea production and export into the mainstay of the colonial Ceylonese economy. In 1948, the year of Ceylon's Independence, E. John & Co. merged with two London-based broking companies to form the private limited company of E. John, Thompson, White & Co. Ltd. Business opportunities in a fledgling post-Independence economy spurred growth and expansion throughout the Fifties and Sixties. The name that is now synonymous with Sri Lankan business leadership came into existence following the acquisition of another Colombo broking company, Keell & Waldock Ltd, in 1960, the resulting entity being named John Keell Thompson White Ltd.[1] As Ceylon modernized, becoming the Republic of Sri Lanka in 1972, social and political change helped drive John Keells' expansion and diversification. The growing economic importance of travel and tourism was reflected in the acquisition of Walkers Tours & Travels, the leading inbound tour company of the time, and the Mackinnons' Group, which had extensive interests in shipping.[1] Thus began a process of diversification that has resulted in today's 70-member conglomerate. The parent firm, now known as John Keells PLC, became a public quoted company in 1974. The merged entity was known as John Keell Thompson White Ltd.

In October 1986 a newly incorporated John Keells Holdings Ltd. (JKH) acquired a controlling stake in John Keells Limited and obtained a quotation on the Colombo Stock Exchange Colombo Stock Exchange amidst a heavily over-subscribed public share issue.[1]

Recent History[edit]

Trans-Ware Logistics was established in collaboration with the Keppel Group of Singapore and the Malaysian International Shipping Corporation, to operate a state-of-the-art integrated container depot.
P&O Nedlloyd Keells was created, as the agency for P&O Nedlloyd shipping lines.
RPK Management Services, a 50:50 JV with Richard Pieris, acquired controlling interests in Kegalle Plantations and Maskeliya Plantations, which together own over 20,000 hectares (42 estates) of tea and rubber plantations.

Acquired Velidhu Resort Hotel (an 80-roomed island resort) in the Maldives – JKH’s first major investment abroad.

Keells Plantation Management Services acquired controlling interest in Namunukula Plantations, which owns nearly 12,000 hectares (20 estates) of tea and rubber plantations.

Incorporated John Keells Computer Services (JKCS), to take over the operations of John Keells Software, also adding P&O Nedlloyd’s of UK and Emirates Airlines of Dubai to its clientele.

JKH entered into a JV with Central Finance and the IFC to set up a commercial bank, Nations Trust Bank (NTB), which subsequently acquired the business of the Colombo branch of the Overseas Trust Bank of Hong Kong.
Hakuraa Island Resort, JKH’s second hotel in the Maldives, commenced operations with 70 water-bungalows.

South Asia Gateway Terminals (SAGT), the largest private sector investment in Sri Lanka, commenced operations to own, operate and develop the Queen Elizabeth Quay at the Port of Colombo. In alliance with several international and multilateral organisations, JKH was the largest local shareholder with a 26.25% stake.
JKH and NTB launched the country's first networked loyalty card, Nexus.

Matheson Keells Air Services, a Joint Venture between JKH and Matheson Bosanquet Enterprises commenced operations, representing Leisure Cargo and Air 2000 and was based in Goa, India.
Mack Air Services Maldives was established in a Joint Venture, to function as a GSA for American Airlines, Air 2000, Gulf Air, Leisure Cargo and Jet Airways in the Maldives.
Mr. Vivendra Lintotawela succeeded Mr. Ken Balendra as Chairman of JKH.

JKH became the only Sri Lankan Company to be selected amongst the World’s best 200 small companies by Forbes Global Magazine.

JKH acquired Lanka Marine Services, the only bunkering facility at the Port of Colombo.
Nations Trust Bank acquired the local operations of American Express.

JKH acquired a controlling stake in Asian Hotels and Properties Limited, in the largest ever transaction in the Colombo Stock Exchange.
JKH sold its 50% stake in RPK Management Services.

JKH acquired a controlling stake in Mercantile Leasing Limited; JKH launched TRI (Tide Relief Initiative) to partner the government in Tsunami relief efforts.
Resort Hotels were restructured under John Keells Hotels Limited (KHL)
the first wave of SAP ERP was launched group wide 45 days ahead of schedule.

JKH announced the merger of Nations Trust Bank with Mercantile Leasing Limited.
KHL acquired Yala Village.
JKH entered into a BPO joint venture with Raman Roy Associates of India.
Mr. Susantha Ratnayake succeeded Mr. Vivendra Lintotawela as Chairman of JKH.

The Group acquired a lease on Dhonveli Beach and Spa and Ellaidhoo Tourist Resort in the Maldives.
JKH acquired 20 per cent of Associated Motorways PLC.
JKH increased its stake in South Asia Gateway Terminals (Pvt) Limited by 7.5 per cent to 33.75 per cent.
The Group exited its restaurant businesses with the sale of majority stakes in Keells Restaurants (Pvt) Limited and Crescat Restaurants (Pvt) Limited. John Keells Holdings Ltd was renamed as John Keells Holdings PLC.

The Group's first ‘Cinnamon’ Resort in the Maldives, ‘Cinnamon Island Alidhoo’, commenced operations.
The lease held by the Group in the Velidhu Island of the Maldives, expired.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group, signed a long-term funding arrangement amounting to US$75 million to support the Group's expansion plans. 74 per cent stake Keells Business Systems Ltd was divested.

JKH acquired a further 8.44 per cent in South Asia Gateway Terminals (Pvt) Limited and also increased stakes in Union Assurance PLC, Ceylon Cold Stores PLC, John Keells PLC and Keells Food Products PLC.
The privatisation of Lanka Marine Services (Pvt) Ltd was declared null and void as per judgement delivered by the Supreme Court.
The stake in Associated Motorways PLC was divested.
Acquired a 44 per cent stake in Quatrro Finance & Accounting Solutions.

The market capitalization exceeded US$1 billion.
JKH increased its effective stake of UA to 80.6 per cent.
JKH purchased a 24.6 per cent stake in Central Hospital (Private) Limited.
At the conclusion of the KHL 1:3 rights issue, JKH owned 82.9 per cent of KHL.
JKH was ranked first by the Business Today magazine’s ’Top 10’ award.
TransAsia Hotel was re-branded and re-launched as Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo.
The group released its first stand-alone Sustainability Report for 2008/09 in adherence to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI-G3) framework.

The Group divested the head lease of Alidhoo Island and purchased the head lease of Dhonveli Island.
Construction commenced on a 200-room hotel in Beruwela.
The 'OnThree20' a 475 unit apartment complex project was launched.
JKH was ranked first in LMD magazine's Most Respected Entities in Sri Lanka survey for 2010 & in Business Today magazine's Top 20.

JKH was ranked first in the LMD Magazine’s “Most Respected Entities in Sri Lanka” survey for 2011 and “Top 50” of Sri Lanka’s leading listed companies for 2010/11.
JKH secured the number one spot in the Business Today magazine’s “Top 20” rankings. Construction of “The Emperor” apartment project at Crescat City, Colombo was completed.
Chaaya Tranz Hikkaduwa (formerly known as Coral Gardens ) and Chaaya Wild Yala (formerly known as Yala Village ) were re-opened after refurbishment.

2012 - 13
JKH was ranked first in the LMD Magazine's "Most Respected Entities in Sri Lanka" survey for 2012 for the seventh time since the inception of the survey in 2005.
Fitch Ratings reaffirmed John Keells Holdings PLC's National Long-Term rating at "AAA(lka)" with a "Stable" outlook.
JKH secured the number one spot in the Business Today Magazine's "Top 20" rankings for the eighth time since 1999.
John Keells Holdings PLC was adjudged the winner of the Gold Award in the "Overall Excellence in Financial Reporting" category at the 48th Annual Report Awards competition organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka.
JKH was awarded the Golden Peacock Global Award for Sustainability and Walkers Tours launched Asia's first Carbon Neutral Fleet.
Lakeside Colombo topped the Brand Finance list as the "Most Valued Hospitality Brand" in Sri Lanka and the 200 room five star resort hotel "Cinnamon Bey" opened.
The Group invested Rs.224 million during the financial year in the associate company Saffron Aviation (Pvt) Ltd which is the parent company of a domestic airline operating under the brand name "Cinnamon Air".
John Keells Foundation announced the first free corporate digital art gallery for Sri Lankan artists to showcase their work throughout the year.

2013 - 14
The market capital of John Keells Holdings PLC exceeded US$2 billion for the first time it its history.
Was recognized as one of the 15 great places to work in Sri Lanka through a survey conducted by the Great Place to Work Institute in partnership with LMD and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
JKH also announced the proposed development of a luxury multi/mixed use integrated resorts project "Waterfront".
Keells Super launched the first ever mobile commerce enabled online store in Sri Lanka.
Fitch Ratings reaffirmed John Keells Holdings PLC's National Long-Term rating at "AAA(lka)" with a "Stable" outlook.
JKH remains at the number one position in the LMD Magazine's "Most Respected Entities in Sri Lanka" survey for 2013 for the eighth time since the inception of the survey in 2005, topped the list of LMD 100 the nation's premier rankings of listed companies and also topped the list of Business Today Magazine's list of Sri Lanka's Top 25 Companies in Sri Lanka.
Chairman Mr. Susantha Ratnayake was recognised as LMD's Sri Lankan of the Year for 2013.
JKH was adjudged the winner of the Silver Award in the "Overall Excellence in Financial Reporting" category in the 49th Annual Report Awards competition organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka and won the "Overall Sustainability Reporting Award" at the 10th Annual ACCA Sri Lanka Sustainability Reporting Awards 2014.


External links[edit]