World Affairs










S. Jeyavarman

Close ended unit trusts to be listed

Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) has formulated draft regulations to enable close ended unit trust funds to list in the CSE.

Unit Trust Association of Sri Lanka (UTASL) President S. Jeyavarman told The Sunday Leader that there were a few technicalities that needed to be ironed out after which the necessary regulations will be in place by the end of the first quarter to enable such funds to list in the Exchange.

He said that one of the advantages in listing close ended unit trust funds is that it provides the investor a quick exit mechanism, without having to wait for the fund to mature to obtain his proceeds.

But in the case of open ended funds, the industry daily provides two way quotes, making it possible for the investor to exit whenever he wishes to.

The industry is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

He said that currently there were only two close ended funds operated in the market, the Rs. one billion strong NAMAL Flexi Income Fund (NFF) and the Rs. 36 million strong NAMAL Amana Equities Fund (NEF) that was opened last November.

Both are operated by National Asset Management Ltd (NAMAL), which CEO is Jeyavarman. It is controlled by business magnate Don Harold Stassen Jayawardena.

He said that when they opened NFF, a fixed income investment fund of  a two year tenure, with investments in corporate debt and government securities, they promised investors a 14% return, but in the current high interest rate environment, they will  now receive a 17-18% return on maturity, he said.

In addition the industry operates some 11 open ended unit trust funds. The industry players are NAMAL with a total of six funds (two open and four closed), Eagle (3), Vanik (1), Ceybank (2) and CT Fund (1).

Jeyavarman said that there were around 24,000 investors in the unit trust industry, with the composition being 20% institutional investors which provide 80% of the total value of the fund, while the rest were individual investors.

He valued the industry at Rs. six billion, up from the Rs. 4.5 billion in 2006. He expected the industry to grow by another Rs. 1-1« billion before the year end, mainly aided by two new close-ended funds which he hopes to launch in the second quarter of this year.

 Jeyavarman hopes to rake in Rs. one billion from a close ended fund dedicated to invest in government securities with a bent on treasury bonds by targeting institutional funds. This fund which will be of a four year tenure will be listed in the CSE by a way of an introduction, he said.

In addition, the industry is growing at the rate of Rs. 20-30 million monthly, he said.

Jeyawarman further said that they will also open a fund dedicated to invest in lease backed securities also in the second quarter. He said that investments in leased backed  securities currently give a higher return than investments in government securities. While investments in leased back securities give an investor a 21% return, investments in government treasuries give an investor only an 18% yield, he said. In addition, the lessees have to pay a 30% interest to the leasing companies.

Listing of the least backed securities fund will hinge on the number of investors that fund would be able to attract, he said, adding that such a dedicated fund was a first timer in the market, with investors not well acquainted with it.

Jeyavarman said that he also plans to list the NEF which is of a five year tenure by way of an introduction once the necessary regulations are in place. He however said that it was not worth the while listing the NFF, a two year fund, which matures in March 2009.

No to steep rate declines

The government will not allow interest rates to fall steeply as that will be detrimental in trying to control inflation, Central Bank (CB) Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said.

In an inter-active discussion on the economy at the Institute of Chartered Accountants on Thursday, he said that a steep fall in rates would fuel credit demand, which in turn would cause inflationary pressure.

In the past few weeks treasury bill rates have come down from 21.5% to 18%, as the CB gave a signal to the market that they want rates to come down.

CB has maintained a tight monetary policy in order to arrest inflation which is in the 20% levels, he said.

He said that 40% of inflation last year was imported inflation caused by rising oil and commodity prices.

The government paid $ 2.4 billion to import 30 million barrels of oil last year, but this year it will go upto between $ 2.8-2.9 billion, said Cabraal.

He said that the trade deficit is $ four billion because of high imports. Last year the country spent $ 328 million on vehicle imports. Vehicle importer David Pieris had told him that every minute he sells a motor-bike and every 10 minutes a Bajaj three-wheeler.

In response to a question on the high cost of living (CoL), he said that the high CoL could be overcome by increasing productivity.

When The Sunday Leader asked him whether the government intends to use the $ 300 million loan that it plans to raise to pay past borrowings, he said that he will answer that question later.

Earlier, Cabraal said that part of the $ 500 million raised through a sovereign bond issue last year was used to pay past debts. However, Cabraal, prior to the raising of this sovereign bond issue told reporters that the monies so raised would be used to fund infrastructure development projects.

Cabraal said that the country could raise money either by taxes, borrowings or privatization. Privatisation however was not government policy. As such the government was pursuing the first two options, while also including a third option, public-private partnerships.

Regarding the rupee, he said that whereas in the past the CB used to be offloading US dollars to the market in order to shore up the rupee, now the reverse was taking place, with the CB having to intervene by buying dollars from the market in order to prevent the rupee from appreciating further.

He said that foreign exchange reserves in the last 45 days had risen by $ 200 million to $ three billion, sufficient to finance three months of imports.

Cabraal estimated the country's GDP at $ 32 billion.

He said that public debt as a percentage of GDP had come down from 89.2% to 86% last year. It was expected to further come down to 82% by the year end.

"So when the country grows, the country's ability to pay grows," Cabraal said.

He said that the rupee appreciation last year helped the government to make a Rs. two billion gain in foreign debt payment.

He said that in order to increase remittances from $ 2.5 billion to $ three billion this year, the National Savings Bank has made arrangements with over 14,000 post offices in Italy to make it easy for Sri Lankans in Italy to remit money home.

NCE warns of 43% tariff hike

National Chamber of Exporters (NCE) member council which met last week  were of the view that if the proposed hike in electricity tariffs of around 43% were to be implemented, it would have disastrous consequences on export enterprises which are vital to sustain Sri Lanka's economy.

Council members made the following observations: Existing electricity tariffs of Sri Lanka are known to be the highest among competitor countries in the region.India provides subsidised power to vital sectors of her exporters.

Furthermore power is provided free to certain sectors especially in Tamil Nadu. In Sri Lanka electricity cost is high due to inefficiencies and mismanagement of the power sector. This includes a 20% loss in power transmission, while the norm for transmission losses is not more than 12%, "and power piracy."

Industries which serve the domestic market will be able to pass on the cost of increased tariffs to local consumers. However export enterprises cannot do so as they will be priced out of international markets in which they already face severe competition to sustain themselves.

There is a need for an energy plan as well as policies for alternative energy sources to be worked out to overcome any need to increase prevailing electricity tariffs.

In view of the above, NCE council members were of the view that any proposal to increase electricity tariffs should be differed till the year end to enable stakeholders specially in the export sector to plan and propose for implementation alternative strategies to prevent any hike in electricity tariffs.

The Council was of the view that failure to do so would have repercussions on the export sector which could result in the closure of many enterprises which would not be able to remain competitive in international markets resulting in the loss of foreign exchange earnings to the country as well as loss of employment to many.

The Council therefore requests the Government to give consideration to their concerns and differ implementing any increase of the prevailing electricity tariffs.

Plantations to drive bourse

The benchmark ASPI came down by 6.18 points on Friday's trading (over Thursday) to close at 2,510.79 points while the more sensitive MPI marginally gained by 1.03 points to close the week at 3,153.75 points.

Turnover recorded on Friday was Rs. 270.7 million.

Meanwhile, Colombo Fort Land (CFL), the holding company of Kotagala Plantations and listed in the Default Board made gains on the back of expected high earnings from Kotagala. CFL was up Rs. 2.25 to close at Rs. 21.50 per share on Friday. However, Kotagala was down Rs. 3.75 to close at Rs. 64.50 on Friday.

Kotagala in the 3rd quarter ended December 31, 2007 saw revenue grow by 80.1% year on year (YoY) to Rs. 857 million, while profit after tax (PAT) during this period grew by 259.9% YoY to Rs. 243.7 million.

The company in the nine months ended December 31, 2007 saw revenue grow by 27.4% YoY to Rs. two billion, while earnings during this period increased by 57% to Rs. 455 million.In the past few days plantation stocks have been driving the market up.

High earnings of tea and rubber have been attributed to this hype, though in general, plantation stocks are poor dividend paymasters.

Sources expected the market to make gains in the new week beginning tomorrow driven by this hype on plantation stocks and related accounts such as CFL, Richard Pieris and Distilleries, with the latter being the holding company of Balangoda and Madulsima Plantations.

There may be some downside on account of profit taking, but on the whole the market is expected to be buoyant in the new week, barring any slip-up in the security situation, the sources said.

House of Tiles at Mount

True Value Products' (TVP') new state of the art showroom is now located in Mount Lavinia and is probably the best showroom of tiles and bathroom fittings according to TVP Chairman Fayaz Mohamed.

Plans were in the pipeline for some time according to Mohamed who said that this new showroom, one of many more to come, offers shoppers a new experience in shopping for tiles and bathroom fittings.

Speaking to The Sunday Leader Mohamed said, "Go to any other showroom and it's cramped and not very comfortable for shoppers and this has made shopping for these kinds of accessories not something that people look forward to."

From residential houses to high rise apartments and luxury villas to the rich and famous, TVP tiles and bathroom fittings have adorned them all.

The new showroom offers spacious shopping in air conditioned comfort and a wide range of designs, colours and products on display.

Since TVP' inception four years ago, the company has focused its efforts on being a leader in the tiles industry.

So far, the company has offered state of the art surfacing solutions to both the home and commercial builders with products and services that transcend the highest quality, ensuring customer satisfaction by matching expectations.

Mohamed, says that when it come to providing high quality, long lasting and most of all unique designs in tiles, the majority of Sri Lanka's tile merchants lack professionalism.

He said, "There's a lot more to choosing tiles than just the look and feel of the product. Anyone can't tell the difference between a branded high quality and long lasting tile and an ordinary one, and that's where we excel. The tiles we import are manufactured to European Standards and what's more is that we give certification and our products come with warranties."

Mohamed said that very few people in the tile industry had a proper vision, and that TVP' sole aim is to provide customers with quality products that come in innovative designs, sizes, and colours and are not commonly available.

For such a young company, TVP has grown in strength over the past three years due to their unwavering standards of products.  Monalisa is TVP' leading brand currently and this brand is on display at the new showroom. This brand of tiles imported from China is on par with leading ceramic brands in the international market.

Mohamed said, "We have standards and we stick by them. We focus on specialized tile products and also building material. You get the best and the worse products in any country, but when it comes to our tiles, we ensure we provide our customers with the best. The composition in tiles are important, you can buy cheap tiles from all over the place now, but they may crack or break or even lose their colour after a while which means they'll have to be replaced eventually."

While prices may not be cheap, TVP offers their products at competitive rates. From individual clients to corporate giants, TVP' tiles have grown popular over the past  few years though word of mouth. "It's the best publicity we can ask for. It's important to us to keep our customers happy, and provide with the best possible products at affordable rices. It not only keeps them coming back, but keeps our customer base growing at an amazing rate."

With quality and good price that TVP come in, it also offers customers a variety to choose from. A stroll round TVP' Mt. Lavinia showroom will show you an unbelievable array of products. 

TVP also has a dealer network-in Ratnapura, Galle, Matara and Bandarawela and will soon be in Kandy and Wennapuwa. 

The Company is focused on creating a range of tiles, which can compete with the best in the industry.

To ensure that its collections are internationally acceptable, Monalisa tiles are designed and conform to international standards. TVP has captured a majority of the Sri Lankan market. But don't take our word, visit their Mt. Lavinia showroom.

Health fair at Panadura

Organised by Ceylinco Healthcare Services Ltd., (CHSL), the company that manages centres of excellence for the prevention and management of diabetes and for screening and treatment of cancer, the Ceylinco Health Fair takes place at the Panadura Town Hall premises on March 1.

Intended as an extension of its efforts to promote prevention and early treatment of these diseases and to create an awareness in suburban areas of the services it provides, the fair will provide a range of free medical and lifestyle related information to visitors.

The Ceylinco Diabetes Centre and the Ceylinco Healthcare Centre will each have their designated stalls at which specialist doctors would be available for discussions and to seek advice and information.

On offer to visitors free are blood glucose and body mass index checks, eye tests and advice on key areas such as diet plans, exercise, foot and breast care and information on well man and well woman clinics.

Presentations lined up for the day cover subjects such as 'Correct use of medication in chronic diseases,' 'Diabetes and complications' and 'Common cancers in Sri Lanka.'

These will be made by leading medical professionals. A cookery demonstration by chef Loiyd Opatha and a demonstration and talk on exercise have also been scheduled.

Online promo

Passengers who book tickets online for travel with Emirates can now win air tickets to destinations in three different regions following the launch of a new online booking promotion by this carrier.

Prizes include Economy Class return tickets to London, Dubai and Singapore.

To participate in the grand draw for these prizes, passengers should have booked online, ticketed and flown the "first" sector on or before March 31, 2008.

Liquidity to ease pressure

The rupee dipped by 10 cents on Friday to be trading at Rs. 107.95 (buying)/ Rs. 108 (selling) to the US dollar as importer pressure was witnessed in the market, sources said.

Meanwhile, with the market having a Rs. five billion surplus on Friday, overnight call money market rates, the rates at which commercial banks lend to each other for a day, came down by 100 basis points over Thursday's close to finish the week at 16%.

Due to this liquidity, sources expected pressure on rates to decline further when the market opens for trading tomorrow.


5 offers  for $ 300 mn., loan

Central Bank (CB) received five bids when they closed their request for proposals (RFPs) for a $ 300 million syndicated loan from international banks on Thursday, according to unconfirmed reports.

A steering committee headed by Deputy Central Bank Governor W.A. Wijewardena is expected to make their recommendations to the government in this regard this week.

CB asked for bids of a three year tenure in this loan call, with one of the key deciding factors in choosing the successful bidder being the interest charged on the loan. Last October the CB raised US$ 500 million from a sovereign bond issue of a five year tenure at an annual interest rate of 8.25% asked by the market.


Dismissed with costs

Colombo High Court Judge Upali Abeyratne dismissed with costs the application made by Lanka Hospitals Corporation Ltd., (the owning company of Apollo Hospitals Ltd.,) to set the majority arbitration award made against it by retired judge A.S. Wijetunga and Mohan Peiris (PC).

The award made in favour of Airtech Engineering (Pvt.) Ltd., was for a sum of Rs. 13 million in connection with air-conditioning work done.

Nihal Fernando (PC) with Rajendra Jayasinghe appeared for Lanka Hospitals, while V.K. Choksy appeared for Airtech.


9.7% credit card growth

The number of active credit cards in circulation last year increased by 9.7% year on year to 889,780. Outstanding credit card balance during this period increased by 36.6% to Rs. 28.8 billion.



Colombo Dockyard PLC has declared a first and final dividend of Rs. 3 per share. Shareholders' meeting on March 25, 2008; excluding dividend date March 26 and payment date March 31, 2008.


SLT 4th qtr. PAT down 17%

Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) in the 4th quarter ended December 31, 2007 saw Group revenue marginally up by 5% year on year (YoY) to Rs. 11.3 billion, while net profit was down 17% to Rs. 1.3 billion.

SLT for the full year saw revenue grow by 6% YoY to Rs. 43.2 billion, while net profit for the year was marginally up 4% to Rs. 5.6 billion. 

ANC hosts NCUK degree programmes

ANC, the leading higher education provider in Sri Lanka for US and Australian based undergraduate university programmes, launched UK university undergraduate transfer programmes in Sri Lanka on Thursday  in collaboration with the Northern Consortium United Kingdom (NCUK).

 A BOI approved tertiary education institution under the umbrella of Ceylinco Education Group (CEG), ANC's foray into the UK university academic sphere now completes the triad of most sought after destinations by Sri Lankan students vying for higher education opportunities abroad. 

"What we have done ensures that the best university education options in the world are available in Sri Lanka," said CEG Deputy Chairman Jagath Alwis at the signing of the agreement between ANC and NCUK, which also had guests from the UK universities and the Northern Consortium present.

 "ANC's objective has been to give youth a chance at embarking on world class university education, taking into consideration the cost effectiveness and the wide and diverse curriculum we can offer right here in Sri Lanka."  In partnership with NCUK which has 11 owner universities within its purview, Alwis said that the UK undergraduate transfer programmes will benefit parents and youth by offering a fast-track and cost-effective UK university education at a reduced rate. "Our UK partner universities include 11 UK universities, four of which belong to the elite Russell Group of UK universities.  We are offering Sri Lankan students access to top UK universities at an affordable cost."

The NCUK has a 20 year history of delivering UK university undergraduate transfer programmes worldwide.  The 11 NCUK founder universities own the International Foundation Year and International Diploma programmes which will be delivered at ANC.  The owner universities collectively monitor the academic content and delivery of programmes to ensure they comply with UK's Quality Assurance Agency standards and deliver a comparable experience to that in the UK.  

NCUK CEO Jean Krasocki, said: "NCUK's pedigree is unrivalled in the UK and throughout our  20 year history over 13,500 students have progressed from our programmes to degrees in the UK.  Many of these students have obtained outstanding degree results and made a great contribution to their local societies and economies.  In ANC, we have found a Sri Lankan partner of quality and experience in delivering education with global opportunities.  Together, ANC and the NCUK are creating a rewarding UK academic and cultural experience here in Sri Lanka - an experience valued both by students and the universities that welcome them on transfer."

The NCUK programmes will be offered at ANC under the brand name ANC-UK.  The programmes will include an International Foundation Year (IFY) programme which can be completed in one year and is equivalent to A/levels and an International Diploma (IDip) Programme offered in business, engineering, computer science and IT, which is equivalent to the first year of bachelor degree programmes.

 Entry to the IFY programme is from O' levels and to the IDip from A levels.  Students can progress to a range of degrees at many UK universities following the IFY programme, but it is anticipated that most will continue on to the IDip and enter year 2 of one of over 200 honours degree programmes at  NCUK owner universities.

  On successful completion of either programme, progression is guaranteed.  Students can graduate after 2 years in the UK or can take a sandwich programme which incorporates a year's internship in between the second and final years and graduate after 3 years.  Either way, students will graduate with a degree, having saved significant time and costs. 

ANC CEO Dr. Punarjeeva Karunanayake said that the time and cost savings gained by undertaking these programmes should not be under-estimated.  "Students save time and money and enter the workplace early."   Karunanayake also added that while minimum entry criteria are applicable, the selection of the university will be subject to individual performance.  "At the end of the day, we want to give the best to our students and it is important that their competencies, knowledge levels, abilities and strengths are matched to the right degree programme."

NCUK owner universities include Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Bradford, Salford, Sheffield Hallam, Liverpool John Moores, Huddersfield, Leeds Metropolitan and Manchester Metropolitan universities. 

NCUK partner universities, also recognize the NCUK IFY programme for entry into the first year of their degree programmes.  These NCUK partner universities include Bristol, Aston, Southampton, Sussex, Birmingham, Kent, Portsmouth and Kingston universities and Queen Mary-University of London.

Enfakid, "complete" child nutrient

Mead Johnson is represented in Sri Lanka by A. Baur & Company-a company that is well over 110 years old.

This would appear appropriate as Baurs has been associated with healthy growth, since the company was initially into providing special fertilizer to the agriculture industry. Over the years, the planned diversification took the firm into many areas - pharmaceuticals not being the least.

Baurs is proud to be associated with a prestigious name like Mead Johnson (MJ) and spares no effort to live up to the goal of not only giving infants and children the best start in life, but also staying alongside them because those little bodies have to last a lifetime.

MJ needs no introduction. It has steadfastly stayed dedicated to its vision: "To be the world's leading provider of science-based paediatric nutrition and services, providing infants and children with the best possible start in life" for over 100 years. The beginnings centre on a child-Edward Mead Johnson's infant son who was unable to digest his feedings.

This prompted Johnson to concentrate on developing a product to counter this ailment which was considered dangerous at the turn of the twentieth century.  His efforts were successful  and he formed a company-Mead Johnson & Company in 1905, which hasn't looked back since.

A century and more on, research and development remain top priority and continue to make substantial contributions to pharmaceutical and nutritional science with over 100 highly successful brands across 110 countries. The range of products that enjoy a high degree of popularity in Sri Lanka include Sustagen, Enfagrow, Enfamama and Enfakid.

MJ, the world's first choice in child nutrition, continues its 'caring' touch with 'Enfakid,' formulated with toddlers of 3 years and above in mind. This new nutritional formula contains  the ingredients to supplement the energy little ones will expend as they begin to 'discover' in their way, a world of wonders. More importantly, 'Enfakid' also contains the essential ingredient, DHA+ARA in quantities recommended by the World Health Organization for developing their little brains, which will help build a growing IQ.

Enfakid also boosts brain development with the increased quantity of Choline, while other nutrients comprise Iron for red blood cell formation, Zinc for growth, Protein to build and repair body tissues (essential for growth and development) and Calcium for strong bones and teeth.

Epsi launches thinnest notebook

Apple recently unveiled MacBook Air, the worlds thinnest notebook.

The Macbook Air measures 0.16 inches at its thinnest point, while its maximum height of 0.76 inches is less than the thinnest point on competing notebooks.

 Epsi Computers (authorized re-seller for Apple in Sri Lanka) Marketing Head Rukshan Jayawardena said that the MacBook Air has a 13.3" LED-backlit widescreen display, a backlit keyboard, a built-in sight video camera for video conferencing and a track pad with multi-touch gesture support so users can pinch, rotate and swipe.

 He added the Macbook Air (MBA) is powered by a 1.6 GHz or 1.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 4MB L2 cache, and includes as standard features 2GB of memory, an 80GB 1.8-inch hard drive and the latest 802.11n Wi-Fi technology and Bluetooth 2.1.

Jayawardena added that MBA is available at Epsi iStores.

"We built the world's thinnest notebook without sacrificing a full-size keyboard or a full-size 13-inch display," said Apples CEO Steve Jobs. "When you first see MBA, it's hard to believe it's a high-performance notebook with a full-size keyboard and display. But it is.

The MBA has a 13.3" LED backlit glossy widescreen display that is energy efficient, and its spacious trackpad offers multi-touch gesture support for pinch, rotate and swipe, making it more intuitive than ever to browse and rotate photos or zoom into web pages "in Safari."

MBA features a full-size keyboard design in a sleek and durable aluminium enclosure. The backlit keyboard makes it ideal for dimly lit environments such as airplanes, studios or conference halls, and a built-in ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the brightness of the keys as well as the display brightness for optimal visibility.

MBA delivers up to five hours of battery life for wireless productivity and includes AirPort Extreme.. 802.11n Wi-Fi networking, which delivers up to five times the performance and twice the range of 802.11g.* Apples Migration Assistant software now enables users to quickly transfer files, applications and preferences from your old Mac.. to MBA right over your wireless network.

MBA is powered by Intel Core 2 Duo processors running at 1.6 GHz or 1.8 GHz and includes as standard 2GB of memory and an 80GB 1.8-inch hard drive. An optional 64GB solid state drive contains no moving parts for added durability. Every MBA includes a micro-DVI port so users can connect to Apple's 20" or 23" Cinema Displays to extend their desktop or connect to projectors and other displays via DVI, VGA, Composite and S-video adapters.

MBA includes USB 2.0 for plugging in peripherals or charging an iPod‹.. or iPhone, a headphone jack and Apple's acclaimed MagSafe Power Adapter designed especially for mobile users.

Every MBA comes with iLife..08, the  significant update ever to Apples award-winning suite of digital lifestyle applications, featuring a major new version of iPhoto..and a completely reinvented iMovie, both seamlessly integrated with the new Mac Web Gallery for online photo and video sharing. The new MBA also comes with Leopard, the sixth major release of the world's most advanced operating system. Leopard introduces Time Machine, to automatically back up everything on a Mac; a redesigned Finder that lets users  browse and share files between multiple Macs; Quick Look, a new way to see files without opening an application; Spaces, a feature used to create groups of applications and instantly switch between them; a new desktop with Stacks to access files from the Dock and major enhancements to Mail and Chat..Mac members can use the new Back to My Mac feature to browse and access files on their home computer from an MBA over the Internet while out on the road.

The new MBA embodies Apple's continuing environmental progress with its aluminium enclosure, a material desired by recyclers; Apple's first mercury-free LCD display with arsenic-free glass and brominated flame retardant-free material for the majority of circuit boards as well as PVC free internal cables. In addition MBA consumes the least amount of power of any Mac, and its retail box made from 100% post-consumer recycled material is 56% smaller by volume than the previously smallest MacBook packaging.

VP helps pay mobile phone bills

Seylan Bank which enjoys an enviable reputation for its numerous innovations in the banking industry has launched a novel, convenient and easy way to pay Dialog mobile phone bills-be it settling post-paid bills or topping up a pre-paid connection.

V-PAY (VP) enables registered users to pay Dialog bills anywhere, anytime. All that's needed is a Seylan Visa Debit/Credit or any Bank Visa Credit Card.

With an SMS from the registered phone with VP, they can settle the bills or top-up the phone instantly and the amount will be deducted from their account.

To register for this facility, go to the nearest Seylan branch and fill out the application form. The facility will be activated instantly.

Seylan is offering a special incentive to those who register for VP before April 30, 2008. If they settle a bill or top-up to the value of Rs.1,000, they can enter a draw which offers Rs.250,000 as a Grand Prize and additional prizes of 5 mobile phones.

It is foolproof, as the settlement or topping up can be carried out only if the phone number matches the credit or debit card registered with VP. That makes VP a safe way to pay mobile phone bills, not forgetting the convenience and ease of paying anywhere, anytime.

Launch of anti cancer drugs

 Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (India) Ltd. (SPIL) launched three high-tech anti-cancer drugs recently in Sri Lanka. They are   Luprolide, Cabergolin and  Gemcitabine. With these launches, Sun Pharma has entered the anti-cancer market.

SPIL, the 5th largest pharmaceutical group both in India and Sri Lanka is an internationally acclaimed Pharma group having 16 state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities across 3 continents and marketing presence in 30 countries.

This aggressive group known for its innovative and research based marketing approach is led by its charismatic chairman Dilip Shanghvi-the recipient of many national and international awards. The latest award bestowed upon Shanghvi  is " The First Generation Entrepreneur of The Year"  award  in the CNBC  "India Business Leader" awards 2007.

SPIL has the distinction of being honoured  among  " The Top 50 Companies Of Asia " by Business Week. After using a stringent methodology of elimination, Sun Pharma found itself rubbing shoulders with some of the giants in the business field in Asia including Japan.   The icing on the cake was that SPIL is one of only two pharmaceutical companies from Asia to figure among the Top 50  Group.

18 years ago, in 1990, Sun Pharma products were launched in Sri-Lanka through Harcourts (Pvt) Ltd. It was a coincidence that the Sri Lanka launch was Sun Pharma's first venture into international marketing for Ahamed Rheyas, Chairman Harcourts Group. SPIL was his first venture into establishing his company as a pharmaceuticals  importer.

Angizem was the first product and the first branded generic of Diltiazem marketed in Sri Lanka. Subsequently many more brands in the "specialities" like Cardiology, Neuropsychiatry  and gastro-enterology  were introduced  in Sri-Lanka.

Not much water has flown down the Mahaweli river since then   and both these industry leaders, Shanghvi and Rheyas have stamped their niche identities on their respective national canvases.

SunPharma's International marketing operations are headed by Abhay Gandhi and the local operation is under S.K.Roy, the Deputy General Manager. Team Sun Pharma of Harcourts is headed by Delanjan Welikala, Marketing Manager, who is assisted by Senior Divisional Manager Irfan Rasheed, two deputy managers and coordinators  and 30 medical reps.

Sun Pharma already has in its portfolio specialized drugs for psycho-neurological problems, cardiac and gastro-intestinal segments. With the entry of the anti-cancer drugs segment, SPIL opens up a new vista for its future developments. The three drugs which are SPIL's initial offering in this segment are: Luprolide for advanced prostrate cancer, Cabergolin for micro/macro pituitary adenomas and Gemcitabine for Grade II and Grade III lung cancers.                

 These products are available to patients through Harcourts Super Drugs chain stores at a reasonable price. A special cell has been established  under a product specialist to render prompt information and service to patients.

Sun Pharma has lined up many more products to be launched in the anti-cancer segment in due course of time. As is the wont of SPIL, when they are into something they go the whole hog into it. It will not be an understatement to say that before long  SPIL will be a dominant force in anti-cancer therapy.

AAI partners CIMA

Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) Sri Lanka Division awarded the CIMA Training Partner Certificate to Asian Alliance Insurance PLC  recently.

CIMA has accredited over 1,500 business organizations such as Microsoft, Ernst & Young, HSBC and Unilever worldwide. The CIMA Training Scheme aims to raise the standard of training support provided to CIMA students and recognizes those organizations which provide training in accordance with CIMA's Quality Standards for Chartered Management Accountants.

i10 wins it all

It's raining awards for Hyundai i10 which has bagged the most prestigious award, including the BS Motoring 'Car of the year' Award, the CNBC-TV18 'Car of the Year 2008' Award and the NDTV Car a Bike Award for 'Compact Car of the Year 2008' as well as 'Car of the Year 2008.'

 Hyundai's i10 has captured the entire gamut of the prestigious of Indian automobile award with its distinction and performance.

Over the last seven years, the awards have proved to be the benchmarks for auto excellence in India and are recognized as the trusted word on automobile for consumers, manufacturers and auto experts alike.

 The 'Car of the Year' awards put to test the latest cars in India to find a car that satisfies customers' needs. Hyundai i10 came out with flying colours, taking it away once again.

HMIL Managing Director H S Lheem said, "At a time when the market is crowded with a slew of new products, Hyundai i10 has emerged a clear winner. i10's victory denotes the acceptance and popularity of the Hyundai Motor India as a brand that has raced ahead of its customers by its excellence in technology and performance, eye for detailing and finesse in design.

It's an honour for us to receive these awards as Hyundai i10 was launched recently and we have received overwhelming response from our customers, dealers and the media across India."

The i10 won various counts, including build quality, ride, handling, driverbility, comfort and safety features. It evidenced a  blend of compelling price tag above-average fuel efficiency. It has won accolades for its overall dynamics as well as the liberating space on the inside. Some of its features-like the centre-console mounted gear lever and the overall fit and finish - added to the positive impression.

All the awards won by Hyundai's i10 are instituted to recognize the honour excellence in the automotive field. The CNBC-TV18 Autocar Awards are decided by a pre-eminent panel of judges comprising acknowledged experts from the racing fraternity and senior industry members, as also knowledgeable auto enthusiasts from CII ACMA and SIAM. The BS Motoring Awards, are adjudged by a jury who evaluate the cars on 21 parameters, including price, fuel-efficiency and safety, along with acceleration numbers. And the NDTV's Car and Bike Awards are adjudged by experts associated with NDTV Profit and Car and Bike India.

Hyundai has a track record in India with Santro winning the awards in 1998, Getz in 2005 and Verna in 2006. i10 keeps the Hyundai flag flying high by its winning edge performance.

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