JKH mulls more hotel investments overseas- The Sunday Times

As John Keells Holdings (JKH) celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2020, the group is not looking at any grand ceremony to mark this significant milestone for Sri Lanka’s largest, 14,000-strong listed conglomerate. However on the business side the organisation is setting its sights on investing and managing more hotel properties overseas (outside the Maldives) while focusing on the environment and expanding solar power use across its businesses.

“We are looking for investment opportunities in hotels in other countries. I cannot say where, but we are looking,” Group chairperson Krishan Balendra told the Business Times in an interview, when asked about expanding the company’s portfolio of hotels.

Speaking on the group’s focus this year, he said they want to convert as many of their supermarkets as possible to solar. So far 53 are solar powered while seven more would come on stream by end January. The company has 106 supermarkets with 25-30 more to be opened this year. “We are also hoping to convert to glass bottles from plastic bottles in all our hotels as this year’s commitment around the environment,” he said.

Reflecting on the beginnings of the company, he said Edwin John moved to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) from the UK in 1870 and set up with his brother a produce broking firm. Then in 1878 he set up his own company called E. John and Co. They continued as tea, rubber and even did coffee broking. In the 1960s, they bought Keell and Waldock and the merged entity became John Keells PLC. The group started diversifying acquiring Mackinnons and Walkers Tours, going into shipping and as a travel business and later got into hotels. For the record the 150- room iconic Bentota Beach hotel was re-opened on Thursday as Cinnamon Bentota Beach after a 4.5 billion-rupee facelift which included building two new wings.

Read full article on: http://www.sundaytimes.lk/200119/business-times/jkh-mulls-more-hotel-investments-overseas-387987.html

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