-

Royal Ceramics Lanka Plc, which was one of the two Sri Lankan companies to be featured in this year’s Forbes ‘Asia’s 200 Best Under a Billion’ list, clinched a surprise award announced at last night’s ceremony in Hong Kong by being honoured for achieving the best return on investment short term in Asia.

Rocell Managing Director Nimal Perera told Daily FT that the second award wasn’t announced previously, but was presented at the ceremony held at Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong. Perera said Rocell was congratulated by Forbes Asia for this rare honour by a Sri Lankan company. Apart from Royal Ceramics, the other Sri Lankan company to be included in this year’s ‘Best Under a Billion’ list was Colombo Dockyard though it wasn’t present at last night’s ceremony to collect the award.

Rocell was among the 151 new entrants in this year’s list, which ranks top performing small and mid-size companies with sales below US$ 1 billion in Asia. Forbes surveyed 22,500 publicly listed companies in the Asia-Pacific for this year’s ranking. The inclusion is based on outstanding performance on criteria such as earnings, sales growth and shareholder return on equity in the previous 12 months and over three years.

Analysts attributed the ranking to Rocell’s adherence to the best manufacturing methods and management practices used in the production of the best quality products. Analysts said the entry of Royal Ceramics, which is 100% home grown and relatively new in the corporate league, is significant. The inclusion reflects the strong improvement in the performance of Royal Ceramics set up in 1990 and revamped by biggest shareholder Deputy Chairman Dhammika Perera and Managing Director Nimal Perera, they added.

In the 2009/10 financial year, Royal Ceramics performed its best-ever by nearly doubling its consolidated pre-tax profits to cross the Rs. 1 billion mark, joining the league of top tier performers.

Royal Ceramics saw the Group’s gross turnover grow by over 16% to Rs. 4.96 billion and net figure up by 19% to Rs. 4.45 billion. Pre-tax profit amounted to Rs. 1,001 million, up by 86% over 2008/9 while profit after tax grew by 86% to Rs. 944.3 million in 2009/10. Total assets grew by 4.6% to Rs. 6.5 billion and shareholder funds by 27% to Rs. 3.8 billion. Market value of its shares rose by 311% to Rs. 113 at the end of the 2009/10 financial year.

Significant improvement in 2009/10 financial year is being sustained in the new financial year as well. Rocell reported 189% increase in its bottom line to Rs 382.4 million in the first quarter ended 30 June 2010 whilst group revenue rose by 58% to Rs. 1.28 billion.

Rocell has earned its place among Asia’s top performers and this certainly bodes well for the future.