Aitken Spence
History

It was 1st September 1868, a day when two Scottish merchants; Thomas Clark and Patrick Garden Spence met in the port town of Galle and signed a partnership. That was the beginning of what is today; a blue chip conglomerate. The rich history is dotted with milestones, partnerships, industry firsts and accolades, all of which reflect the pioneering spirit that continues to propel Aitken Spence forward.

  • 1868
    • Two Scottish merchants, Thomas Clark and Patrick Gordon Spence met in the port town of Galle and signed a partnership
  • 1873
    • Name of the partnership in Colombo was changed to ‘Aitken Spence Company’ after two brothers Edwards and S.R. Aitken joins Thomas Clark and G. Spence.
  • 1876
    • Appointed as agent for Lloyds of London. Opened an office in Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • 1952
    • Partnership transformed into a Private Ltd Liability Company
  • 1968
    • Aitken Spence Eustours Limited
  • 1970
    • Aitken Spence Estates and Agencies Ltd.
  • 1972
    • General Sales Agency of Singapore Airlines in Sri Lanka and later in the Maldives
  • 1973
    • The first resort hotel of Aitken Spence ‘Neptune Hotel’ designed by the renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa.
  • 1975
    • AS Hotel Holdings -Maiden attempt in managing Hotels – Pearl Beach in Sri Lanka
  • 1977
    • The Company which is an IATA agent moved into inbound and outbound travel, with this Aitken Spence Travels Ltd was incorporated
  • 1978
    • Aitken Spence Travels secures partnership with TUI.
    • Garments Sector established.
  • 1981
    • Triton Hotel
  • 1983
    • The Company shares were quoted for the first time on the Colombo Stock Exchange with an issued share capital of 51 million. Aitken Spence became a PLC
  • 1985
    • Printing business which was successfully carried out as a division of the Company is separated as Aitken Spence Printing (Pvt) Ltd
    • Ace Containers (Pvt) Ltd is incorporated, taking over the inland container terminal at Mattakkuliya , Sri Lanka
  • 1989
    • Joint Venture with OTIS
    • Garments wins the Zeeman’s Award – The first in the country to win the award
  • 1991
    • Establishment of the Ace Airways Helicopter Operations
  • 1993
    • Entrance into the Maldivian tourism sector with the acquisition of Bathala Island resort establishes Aitken Spence as the pioneers in this field.
  • 1994
    • Commences commercial operations of Heritance Kandalama Hotel one of the worlds defining ecologically conscious hotels and becomes the first in the world to receive LEED certification.
    • Acquisition of Hyundai Merchant Marine agency
  • 1995
    • The first theme hotel in Sri Lanka ‘The Tea Factory’ commences operations. The hotel is awarded the ‘Building Conservation award’ by the Royal Institution of Charted Surveyors London.
  • 1997
    • Completion of Rannalhi-Maldives with 16 water bungalows
    • Purchased Elpitiya Plantations and established Estates Department
  • 1999
    • Aitken Spence Travels certified ISO 9001:2000 – The first travels company in Sri Lanka to receive the certification
  • 2001
    • Aitken Spence Travels wins the Green Globe 21 Certification – The first travels company in the country to receive such a standard
  • 2002
    • Completion of the 20 MW power plant in Matara Power Plant
    • Aitken Spence become a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact
  • 2003
    • Partnership with GTECH
  • 2004
    • 50/50 Joint Venture with TUI
  • 2005
    • Adaaran Prestige Water Villa
    • Twenty exclusive luxury water villas at the Meedhupparu Island in the Maldives is launched
    • 100 MW Power plant at Embilipitiya is completed and commences its commercial operations
    • Launch of the ‘Heritance’ brand of Hotels
    • Aitken Spence was rebranded
  • 2006
    • Management of Ports outside Sri Lanka- Durban
    • Securing of Management of 5 Indian Properties
    • Strategic investment in MMBL and became principal agent to Western Union
  • 2007
    • The Company obtains management of four hotel properties in Oman becoming the first hospitality company from Sri Lanka to enter the Middle East.
    • Joint organizer of the largest conference ever held in the country ICAAP
    • Establishment of the ‘Aitken Spence Hospitality School’
    • Maldives properties were rebranded – “Adaaran”
  • 2008
    • Opens ‘Adaaran Prestige Vadoo’
    • Fifty luxury villas in close proximity to Male atoll
  • 2009
    • Acquisition of the management of two more Indian properties
    • Establishment of Adaaran centre for hospitality studies
    • Acquires Logilink (Pvt) Ltd a container freight station operation in Sri Lanka
  • 2010
    • Commissioned a 2.5 MW Hydro power plant in Matale
    • Nautical & Engineering College (CINEC), Sri Lanka’s largest private sector maritime and higher education campus
  • 2011
    • Neptue is transformed to Ayurvedha Maha Gedara
    • Partnered with Atmosfair, Germany, to embark on a venture that will reduce the carbon emissions of the hotels
    • Aitken Spence Shipping had their first ever passenger vessel to call at the Hambantota port
    • Entered into an agreement with China Merchants Holdings (International) Company Limited to construct the South Container Terminal of the Colombo Port Expansion Project
    • General sales agency for Qatar Airways
    • General Sales Agency- Sri Lankan airlines
  • 2012
    • Aitken Spence Travels joined the Worldcome umbrella branding
    • Adjudged as the ‘Best Corporate Citizen 2012’ by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce
    • Launched ‘Empowering Sri Lanka First,’ (ESLF) an English and Computer literacy teaching programme for children as its flagship corporate community engagement initiative.
  • 2013
    • Took over management of two ports in Fiji – first-ever Public-Private partnership by a Sri Lankan company overseas
    • Handling inbound and outbound for Emirates Holidays in Sri Lanka
    • Entered into an agreement with the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI) to set up a five-star luxury resort in Ahungalla which will be managed by RIU Hotels, Spain.
  • 2014
    • Aitken Spence Logistics opens its new Container Repair and Rigging Facility
    • Partners with EcoCorp Asia, to take nanotechnology to local industries.
    • Partnersh with Emirates Holidays, the largest airline tour operator in the Middle East.
  • 2015
    • Royal Spence Aviation (Pvt) Ltd. was appointed as the Passenger General Sales Agent (GSA) for Turkish Airlines (TK).