John Keells Holdings PLC reported a 5 per cent growth in group revenue during the first quarter of the year (2019/20) of Rs.31.74 billion compared to the Rs.30.16 billion recorded in the previous financial year.

The Transportation, Consumer Foods and Retail industry groups continued their growth momentum from the previous quarter despite the disruptions post the Easter Sunday terror attacks which occurred early in the quarter, the company said on Thursday.

The Transportation industry group EBITDA of Rs.1.06 billion for Q1 of FY2019/20 was a 14 per cent increase over the adjusted EBITDA of Rs.929 million for the first quarter of 2018/19. The gains were attributable to the strong performance of the group’s ports and shipping business, South Asia Gateway Terminals, which enjoyed higher volumes and an improved volume mix. Profitability of the group’s bunkering business, Lanka Marine Services, was impacted by the significant variation in base fuel prices during the months of May and June, while the logistics business recorded a strong increase in throughput of 30 per cent in its facilities.

Consumer Foods industry group witnessed growth on account of improved performance in the Beverages and Frozen Confectionery businesses, driven by double digit growth in volumes and improved margins as a result of higher operating leverage. The Consumer Foods industry group EBITDA of Rs.843 million in the first quarter of 2019/20 is an increase of 61 per cent over the adjusted EBITDA for the first quarter of the previous financial year.

Retail recorded a robust revenue growth of 20 per cent which was driven by a strong performance in the supermarkets business, supported by the rebranding initiative, expansion of outlets and a pick-up in average basket values. Retail recorded an EBITDA of Rs.1.09 billion compared with the adjusted EBITDA of Rs.573 million in the same period last year.

The group’s Sri Lankan leisure business was significantly impacted by the Easter Sunday terror attacks and EBITDA for the first quarter of 2019/20 was a negative Rs.332 million, compared to the Rs.228 million (adjusted) recorded in 2018/19 Q1. “The group is encouraged that forward bookings for the Sri Lankan hotels have witnessed an upward trend in recent weeks, reaching levels of approximately 75 per cent compared to the bookings received at the same time last year, indicating signs of recovery,” the company said.

In the Property Industry Group, the Cinnamon Life project marked a key milestone in its construction in June 2019, with the topping-off of all its six buildings. Construction is now focused on the installation of the façade, mechanical and electrical services and interior works.