T. Ananda Krishnan
Ananda Krishnan due in SL
Maxis Malaysia boss T. Ananda Krishnan is
due in Sri Lanka this week in connection
with the NTT/SLT deal, market sources said.
Multi-billionaire Ananda Krishnan is a
Malaysian Tamil whose parents were from Sri
However, it's not clear whether Maxis, a
telecoms operator in Malaysia, will buy all
of NTT Japan's 35.2% stake in SLT, or settle
for only 25%, thereby ensuring that NTT
will continue to maintain the right of
appointing/having the CEO of their choice in
SLT, by ensuring that NTT will retain a
minimum 10% stake in SLT as per its
shareholder agreement, they said.
Last week NTT transferred all of its 35.2%
shareholding in SLT to the Colombo Stock
Exchange CDS, a move, which market sources
interpreted as a prelude to this Japanese
telecoms company preparing to divest its
holdings in SLT.
SLT has a total of 1.8 billion issued shares
with the government being its biggest
shareholder with a 49.2% stake. SLT, a
listed company, also has a public float of
15.3% of its equity.
The past few days have seen heavy trading in
SLT shares on speculation that Maxis will
trigger the Securities and Exchange
Commission's Mergers and Acquisitions Code
by buying NTT's 35.2% stake in SLT. If an
investor buys a minimum 30% stake in a
listed company, he triggers this Code,
thereby being liable to make an offer to
that company's remaining shareholders to buy
their stakes also in the company at its
highest traded price in the one year
preceding the date the Code was triggered.
SLT on Wednesday closed at Rs. 40.50 a
share, down 25 cents over its previous
closing price, on a volume of 6.2 million
shares. There was no trading on Thursday and
Friday on account of holidays.
Market speculation is that Maxis will
execute this deal at Rs. 42 a share.
NTT bought this 35.2% stake from the
government in 1997 (plus management control)
for US$ 225 million.
It has been reported that Maxis has been
eyeing NTT's stake in SLT since last year,
as part of its regional expansion drive. But
its buying was stalled after this issue went
to courts and was only revived earlier this
month, after the court gave NTT the
greenlight to sell its stake in SLT if it
SLT in the fourth quarter ended December 31,
2007 saw net income marginally increase by
5% year on year (YoY) to Rs. 11,329 million;
while earnings slumped by 17% YoY to Rs.
SLT, in 2007, on an overall basis saw net
income increase by 6% YoY to Rs. 43,234
million; while earnings increased by 4% to
Rs. 5,640 million.
Demand for higher rates dipping
With Central Bank (CB) preference for
shorter tenures, Monday's treasury bill
auction saw the CB accepting Rs. 6,985
million (70% of the amount offered for
re-issue) worth of bids for treasury bills
of 91 day tenure at the treasury bill
auction held for the re-issue of Rs. 10
billion worth of maturing treasury bills.
The weighted average yield rate (WAYR)
fetched for this tenure was 18.36%, four
basis points less than the WAYR fetched at
the previous auction.
"The market is shifting away from the
position of asking for higher rates," CB
sources who did not want to be named said.
Meanwhile, the WAYRs for treasury bills of
182 and 364 day tenures remained stagnant at
18.95% and 18.99% respectively. While the CB
accepted a total of Rs. 9,101 million worth
of bids from the market (for all three
tenures), the balance Rs. 899 million was
invested by captive funds and other
investors at WAYRs, the sources further
Tea production up 45%
Tea production last month increased by 45.4%
year on year (YoY) to 25.5 million kilos,
while overall production in the first two
months of the year increased by 33.3% YoY to
51.8 million kg.
Airlines agree to airport privatization
issued requests for proposals to operate
after a privatization plan was approved by
Delta, AirTran, ATA and Frontier.
Southwest, the airport's largest tenant,
agreed last year to privatization plans.
Federal guidelines required approval from
65% of airlines operating at Midway.
The agreements guarantee that airlines will
obtain 25-year leases from a new operator,
with landing fees and other charges frozen
for the first six years and increases then
limited to the rate of inflation.
Airlines can enforce quality standards for
terminal and airfield operations and approve
or reject the proposed operator. With 43
gates, five runways 13,500 parking spaces
and 43,000 square feet of concessions,
Midway revenues exceeded $130 million in
2006; there were 304,000 aircraft operations
in 2007. Talks continue with Northwest and
Continental, which have not signed
agreements. (Washington Aviation Summary)
wins ad competition
The Los Maestros student team from the
American University in Dubai (AUD) was
declared IAA InterAd XII World Champion in
the International Advertising Association's
(IAA) annual global student advertising
IAA plans to present the team with the IAA
InterAd Trophy as well as showcase its award
winning campaign recommendations at the 41st
IAA World Congress on April 9, in
The IAA InterAd XII client was Unilever. The
assignment challenged student teams
worldwide to identify ethnic multi-cultural
markets for promoting its AXE brand-male
grooming products and then develop
integrated marketing communication
strategies and creative executions for
furthering the brand's awareness and sales
within these segments.
IAA InterAd XII attracted 24 school teams
from 17 countries. Their entries were
initially judged within IAA's five
geographical areas by leading advertising
professionals with the regional winners
advanced to a global jury composed of senior
marketing communications executives
including representatives from Unilever and
Global Advertising Strategies.
The four other Regional winning schools
were:Charles Sturt University, Australia,
Ecole Superieure de Publicite, France,
Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana,
and The University of Georgia,USA.
Unilever employs more than 14,000 people in
the USA, generating nearly $11 billion in
sales in 2007.
"RD" chqs.not accepted from April
Commercial banks will bring in new
regulations from next month to prevent a
payee from representing a cheque that has
been returned with the remark "refer to
Sri Lanka Banks' Association (Guarantee)
Ltd., (SLBAGD) Secretary General Upali de
Silva told The Sunday Leader that this was
because cheque returns with the remark RD
has been valued at Rs. 500 million daily.
"This is intolerable," he said.
De Silva said that as such this was a move
to curb RD cheque returns and restore
confidence on the cheque leaf among the
Prior to this, a cheque returned with the
remark RD could be represented only once.
But the new regulation does away with this
facility as well.
RD simply means that the drawer has no
money, and further, no money is in the
pipeline either, to honour such cheques, de
He said that of the 230,000 cheques returned
monthly, nearly half or 100,000 of those
were returns with the "RD" remark. He said
that they have received numerous complaints
from traders (sellers) of such cheque
Some 3.7 million cheques are presented for
clearing every month, while daily, the value
of the cheques presented for clearing is Rs.
20 billion, said de Silva.
"Though a cheque returned with the remark RD
is a criminal offence, with the drawer being
liable to have a criminal case filed against
him, such actions filed by an aggrieved
payee in our country are few and far
between," de Silva said.
He said that all the 23 commercial banks
that operate in the country and which are
permitted to operate checking or current
accounts, are members of the SLBAGD.
He said that these new regulations have been
formed under the Payments and Settlements
He said that in a further move to prevent
those with a poor track record of opening
current accounts, the Credit Information
Bureau (CRIB) Act will be amended so that
information of those whose current accounts
have been closed due to "bad" conduct will
be lodged with the CRIB. CRIB is operated
by the Central Bank.
All lending institutions, that include
banks, are members of the CRIB, said de
Silva. He defined a bad account as cheques
written by its operators, knowing very well
that their account does not have money to
honour such a cheque.
Once the new law is passed, details of such
bad accounts will be known to all commercial
banks, said de Silva. They would then think
twice before entertaining new accounts from
such operators, he added.
De Silva said that at his instigation,
commercial banks have accepted the
responsibility of closing such current
accounts, where cheques have bounced at
least thrice, because of those accounts not
having funds to honour such cheques.
He said that it was because of such actions,
that the possibility of "higher" cheque
returns, despite operating in an economic
climate buffeted by the twin evils of a high
interest rate and a high inflationary regime
last year, was able to be contained vis-…-vis
De Silva further said that now all cheques
are cleared electronically, under the cheque
imaging and truncation system. This includes
cheques presented in difficult areas such as
He also said that hereafter only cheques
returned with the remark "Effects Not
Realised" (ENR), or where the payee's
endorsement is not clear, or, in regard to
post dated cheques, will be allowed to be
represented, but that too only once.
He said that though the issuing of post
dated cheques is also illegal, it has
nevertheless become a way of life in the
local banking industry, where even permanent
overdrafts have been opened by banks
covering at least a part of the value of
post dated cheques, in the case of good
Current a/cs vs. credit cards
The competitor to the current account
industry is the credit card industry, said
Sri Lanka Banks' Association (Guarantee)
Ltd., (SLBAGD) Secretary General Upali de
According to him, while the growth of the
current account industry has been
stagnating, mainly because of the high
interest rates offered on cash deposits, the
credit card industry however has been
Current accounts earn no interests.
Central Bank (CB) said that last year the
number of active credit cards in circulation
increased by 9.7% year on year (YoY) to
889,780; while outstanding credit card
balance during this period increased by
36.6% YoY to Rs. 28.8 billion. De Silva was
unable to furnish figures vis-…-vis the
current account industry immediately.
However, the CB in its 2006 Annual Report
said that demand deposits (ie moneys in
current accounts) grew by 11.1% YoY to Rs.
161.1 billion in 2006, while the value of
time and savings deposits maintained by
commercial banks in the period under review
grew by 19.1% to Rs. 1,021 billion. It
however didn't give the number of depositors
operating various bank accounts.
Reach, eu ntb
The European Chemicals regulation
Authorisation and Restriction of
Chemicals˙came into force on June 1, 2007.
The new regulation aims to improve the
protection of human health and the
environment while maintaining
competitiveness and enhancing the innovative
capability of the EU chemicals industry.
REACH will allow evaluation of substances
where there are grounds for concern and
foresees an authorisation system for the use
of substances of very high concern.
This applies to substances and articles that
cause cancer, infertility, genetic mutations
or birth defects and to those which are
persistent and accumulate in the
environment. The Authorisation system will
require companies to switch progressively to
safer alternatives where a suitable
alternative exists. All applications for an
authorisation need to include an analysis of
alternatives and a substitution plan where a
suitable alternative exists.
REACH will require a registration over a
period of 11 years of some 30,000 chemical
substances. The registration process
requires manufacturers and importers to
generate data for all chemicals
substances/articles produced or imported
into the EU above one ton per year.
Registrants must also identify appropriate
risk management measures and communicate
them to the users.
Enterprises, which manufacture or import
more than one ton of a chemical substance/
article per year will be required to
register it in a central database
administered by the new EU Chemicals Agency.
The Agency will provide IT tools and
guidance and member states will offer
helpdesk assistance to impacted companies.
REACH will give responsibility to industry
to manage the risks from chemicals and to
provide safety information that will be
passed down the supply chain.
REACH is a radical step forward in EU
chemicals management. Current use
restrictions will remain under REACH system.
REACH also ensures that animal testing is
kept to the minimum and that alternative
methods are encouraged.
CEOs get Rs. 500,000 +
The average monthly salary of a CEO of a
company whose annual turnover is between Rs.
500-1,500 million is Rs. 500,000; a
management consultant said.
Dinesh Weerakkody, managing director
Cornucopia Sri Lanka Ltd., a management
consultancy, speaking at a CIMA seminar on
compensatory or performance related pay on
Wednesday said that the sample in this
survey comprised some 8-9 companies involved
in activities such as banking,
manufacturing, fast moving consumer goods
and stock broking.
It was conducted in November 2007.
He said that the salary of an expatriate CEO
was four times this figure, at Rs. two
Weerakkody said that among some of the other
benefits that these CEOs derived from their
firms were possession of a car worth Rs.
8-26 million; employee share option plan
worth Rs. 750,000 annually; monthly housing
allowance of Rs. 100,000; monthly
entertainment allowance of Rs. 15,000 and
the provision of a further Rs. 100,000
annually as club expenses.
Justifying such hefty pay packets,
Weerakkody quoting Microsoft founder Bill
Gates said: "If 20 of my best people leave,
we will become a mediocre company."
He further said that it has been found that
40% of a firm's employees contribute to 70%
of its bottom line.
But it was found that only 23% of companies
in Colombo "pay to perform," while in
Bangalore it was a high 92%, said Weerakkody.
He however said that probably due to trade
union pressure only 12% of companies in
Asia implement compensatory pay that is
linked to performance.
Survey details further showed that what
motivated local managers to perform were
fixed pay, good car, respect from the boss,
job security, designation, feeling informed,
job satisfaction/challenging work, work/life
balance and overseas trips.
And what they liked most in compensation and
benefits: Base pay, car & petrol, mobile
phone, medical benefits, entertainment, rent
allowance, education allowance, bonuses and
Further, in a local survey of 2,700 youth
between the 19-24 age group, it was found
that their order of priorities in employment
were salary, car, designation, learning
opportunity, career and reputation of
Another mismatch was that while in Colombo
worker productivity was only four hours per
day, in an Indian sample it was found to be
a high six hours.
Weerakkody further said that while inflation
in Sri Lanka moved up by 17.5% last year on
a year on year basis (annual average change
as measured by the Colombo Consumers' Price
Index), overall salary increases moved at a
slower pace, at only 13%.
Nestles PAT up 46%
Nestle Lanka Ltd., in the fourth quarter
(4Q) ended December 31, 2007 saw earnings
increase by 45.7% year on year (YoY) to Rs.
However its cumulative net profit in 2007
marginally increased by 2.7% YoY to Rs.
Printers losses down 82%
Lake House Printers & Publishers Ltd., in
the third quarter (3Q) ended December 31,
2007 saw its losses decline by 82% YoY to Rs.
700,000. However, in the nine months ended
December 31, 2007 it made a Rs. six million
loss, compared with a Rs. 900,000 profit in
the corresponding period the previous year,
a 726.6% YoY decline.
Lankem Development's losses up 41%
Lankem Developments Ltd., in the 3Q ended
December 31, 2007 saw its losses increase by
41.1% YoY to Rs. 800,000. However,
cumulative net profit in the nine months
ended December 31, 2007 increased by 206.7%
YoY to Rs. 1.9 million.
Glass' PAT down 98%
Ceylon Glass Company Ltd., in the 3Q ended
December 31, 2007 saw earnings decline by
97.7% YoY to Rs. 1.5 million. Cumulative
earnings in the nine months ended December
31, 2007 declined by 35.5% YoY to Rs. 89.7
Lankem's earnings up 456%
Lankem Ceylon Ltd., in the 3Q ended December
31, 2007 saw earnings grow by 455.5% YoY to
Rs. 536.2 million while cumulative earnings
in the nine months ended December 31, 2007
increased by 73.7% YoY to Rs. 666.7 million.
Richard makes Rs. 88 mn., loss
Richard Pieris & Co., Ltd., in the 3Q ended
December 31, 2007 made a Rs. 87.6 million
loss compared with a Rs. 102.1 million net
profit in the corresponding Q the previous
year, a185.8% YoY decline since. Meanwhile,
the company's cumulative earnings in the
nine months ended December 31, 2007 declined
by 90.2% YoY to Rs. 46.8 million.
Chemicals' PAT up 629%
Union Chemicals Lanka Ltd., in the 4Q ended
December 31, 2007 saw earnings increase by
629.1% YoY to Rs. 11 million, while
cumulative net profit in the nine months
ended December 31, 2007 marginally declined
by 8.8% YoY to Rs.23.7 million.
Kapila's losses down 73%
Kapila Heavy Equipments Ltd., in the 3Q
ended December 31, 2007 was able to reduce
its losses by 72.5%, from Rs. 18 million to
Rs. 4.9 million YoY. However, its cumulative
losses in the nine months ended December 31,
2007 increased by 225.1% YoY to Rs. 19
Hotels' losses decline 18%
Associated Hotels Co., Ltd., in the 3Q ended
December 31, 2007 reduced its losses by
18.23% YoY to Rs. 6.49 million. Meanwhile,
the company's losses in the nine months
ended December 31, 2007 increased by 25.26%
YoY to Rs. 25.21 million.
Sunshine's PAT up 1,119%
Sunshine Holdings Ltd's 3Q earnings as at
end December 31, 2007 increased by 1,118.72%
YoY to Rs. 68.37 million while cumulative
earnings in the nine months ended December
31, 2007 increased by 91.43% YoY to Rs.
Eastern's PAT increase 51%
Eastern Merchants Ltd., in the 3Q ended
December 31, 2007, saw earnings increase by
50.6% YoY to Rs. 23.1 million.
However, in the nine months ended December
31, 2007, the company saw its earnings
decline by 25.09% YoY to Rs. 78.9 million.
Mushin at TMC
Former World Bank Vice President & Chief
Information Officer M. V. Muhsin will speak
on the topic "Way Forward-for Organisational
Leadership and Transformation" at Galle Face
Hotel on Thursday.
It's organized by The Management Club (TMC).
Mushin now works as a management consultant
of a Global Strategic Management Consultancy
outfit based in Washington. He has also been
the Group Financial Director of a Zambian
Conglomerate at one time, the highest
position a Sri Lankan has held in Zambia.
Fiscal Legislations Arising from Budget
2008" will be the topic of a seminar that
will be held at the Trans Asia Hotel on
Among the speakers are Inland Revenue (IR)
Commissioner General Sahampathi Angammana,
Ernst & Young Partner Ms. Lakmali
Nanayakkara, IR Commissioner H. M.
Premaratna Banda, Deputy Commissioner Ms.
Dhammika Gunatilaka and KPMG Ford Rhodes
Thornton & Co Tax & Regulatory Director
Panellists will comprise former IR
Commissioner General R. P. L. Weerasinghe,
M. S. M. T. Samaratunga, R. G. L. De Silva
and Dr. Sivaji Felix. It will be moderated
by Tax Consultant N.R. Gajendran.
at management confab
Indian High Commissioner Alok Prasad will
deliver the keynote address at Colombo
University's 4th annual management
conference that will be held at the Ceylon
Continental Hotel on April 2.
Among the other speakers are LAUGFS
Holdings Ltd., Chairman W.K.H. Wegapitiya,
Aitken Spence Plantations Managing Director
Dr. Rohan Fernando, ECO Power (Pvt) Ltd.,
Chief Executive Officer Dr. Romesh Dias
Bandaranayake, Jetwing Hotels Deputy
Chairman Hiran Cooray and Triad Advertising
Jt. Managing Directors Dilith Jayaweera &
Ms. Varuni Amunugama Fernando.
Dialog Telekom PLC has tied up with Arpico
to grant Dialog customers the facility of
making Dialog GSM, Dialog CDMA, Dialog TV,
Dialog Broadband and Internet bill payments
and Kit eZ Reloads at Arpico Supercentres.
This initiative is intended to enhance the
convenience of bill payments and Kit eZ
reloads for Dialog customers who visit these
Dialog Telekom PLC Group Chief Marketing
Officer Nushad Perera said, "This
partnership is yet another example of our
commitment to delivering the best to our
customers. By granting the convenience of
making Dialog bill payments and Kit eZ
reloads at Arpico Supercentres we seek to
enhance the services rendered to our
customers. We are glad to have partnered
with Arpico, and I'm confident that this
union will continue to benefit our customers
in the future."
This service is available at Arpico
Supercentres Hyde Park Corner, Battaramulla,
Dehiwela, Nawinna, Gampaha, Kandy,
Wellawatte and Kiribathgoda thereby
facilitating the process of bill payments
and reloads by creating new payment points
for Dialog customers.
Container ships have been increasing in size
noticeably in recent years and very large
container ships with load capacity exceeding
10,000 TEU (twenty foot container equivalent
units) have been completed worldwide.
Very large 8,000 TEU class container ships
have already been built to NK class. With
the increasing size of the hull, very thick
steel plates exceeding 70mm in thickness are
being used in the hull structure around the
Laboratory studies in recent years, however
have reported that brittle cracks that occur
in the welds of very thick steel plates in
fact propagate in straight lines without
swerving and may not stop even after
penetrating the parent material, which is
contrary to conventional wisdom. (Marine
DHL recently announced a two-year tie-up
with Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters'
Association (SLAEA) as its 'Preferred
Logistics Partner.' The agreement was inked
by DHL Sri Lanka Country Manager Martin
Dudek and SLAEA Chairman Noel Priyathilleke.
Diabetic patients can now maintain a
'virtual diary' that keeps track of their
blood sugar levels and other indicators on
the internet and receive SMS alerts on their
mobile phones if there is cause for alarm,
as a result of a sophisticated new online
Healthcare Data Management System developed
for the Ceylinco Diabetes Centre (CDC) by
Innovative Data Solutions (Pvt) Ltd., (IDS).
Branded as 'Health Alert,' the system links
the patients with CDC and consenting doctors
via SMS, and maintains records and graphical
illustrations of the state of their diabetes
control for easy access and review. Anybody
who owns a mobile phone can subscribe
through CDC to this new service which will
be offered for the first time in Sri Lanka.
On registration subscribers receive a User
ID, password and personal identification
number (PIN), using which they can
periodically send details such as blood
sugar reading, blood pressure and weight via
SMS or by updating via a personalized web
This data is stored in a Central Medical
Data Server managed by IDS and linked to
CDC. The stored data can be viewed by the
patient & his or her doctor.
Smart Spender, just 2%
Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) now offers
its credit cardholders a new repayment
scheme giving the cardholder the freedom to
buy goods or services from any establishment
locally or overseas and opt to settle a
transaction above Rs10,000 in either
3,6,9,12,18 or 24 monthly instalments at a
low interest rate of 2% per month.
This offer will be valid till May 31, 2008.
"At a time when interest rates are
increasing, we believe in supporting
cardholders by introducing 'innovative'
repayment plans and we hope that cardholders
will take advantage of this offer during the
festive season which is fast approaching.
With the introduction of Smart Spender, a
cardholder will be able to buy either goods
or services with no limitation on the
establishment at which the purchase is made,
be it locally or overseas and settle it
through a Smart Spender repayment plan,
enjoying an interest rate of just 2%," said
SCB Credit Cards Head Sheahan Arasaratnam.
The Smart Spender process for a Standard
Chartered Cardholder is simple; call the
24-hour hotline after performing a single
transaction which is over Rs10,000 during
the promotional period.
The cardholder needs to mention the outlet
at which the transaction took place and the
value of the transaction. After which he
will be requested to select his preferred
tenor ranging from 3,6,9,12,18 and 24
In order to provide value to its
cardholders, SCB has also partnered several
establishments for discounts up to 25%.
These year-round savings range from a
holiday in the cultural triangle to sunny
beaches, fine dinning to high fashion, home
furnishing to health spas and fun times for
kids to entertainment for the whole family.
SCB also offers its credit cardholders True
Value Bonus Points which give customers the
privilege of earning Rs. 1 for every Rs100
spent on purchases both locally and
Accumulated bonus points can be redeemed at
a range of participating outlets including
Odel, Hameedias, Mondi, Arpico, Hilton
Colombo, The Lagoon, Trans Asia Hotel, The
Mango Tree, Angsana City Club and Spa,
Sanctuary Spa and Vijitha Yapa Book shop to
name a few. Other key value added services
offered to Standard Chartered credit
cardholders include 0% Instant Instalment
Plans, Free Automatic Travel Insurance and
Phone Banking services, enabling customers
to pay their utility bills such as water,
electricity and mobile phone bills free of
charge, a range of insurance benefits and
Rise in commodity prices & inflation
Continuous rise in international food prices
as well as domestic supply constraints have
led to an increase in inflation higher than
the expected level, the Central Bank said.
However, with the dissipation of the impact
of these developments, inflation is expected
to decelerate towards the second half of the
The significant rise in international food
prices, further exacerbated by the
spiralling prices of crude oil has exerted
upward pressure on inflation of many
countries, particularly from the second half
In Sri Lanka too, inflation, as measured by
the point-to-point change in the New Colombo
Consumers' Price Index - CCPI (N), reached
21.6% in February compared with 20.8%
recorded in January 2008, while the annual
average inflation also moved up to 17% in
February, from 16.4% in January.
Reserve money, the operating target of the
monetary policy framework has been within a
tight growth path since 2007 achieving its
respective quarterly targets and is poised
to be well within the first quarter target
for 2008. The lagged effects of the more
disciplined movement in reserve money has
gradually been observed in broad money, the
growth of which has decelerated to 15.8% by
end January 2008, from the higher rates in
the range of 20-22% seen in 2007.
Deceleration in broad money supply has
resulted from a decline in domestic credit,
which comprises credit to both the public
and private sectors. The expansion in credit
to the private sector continued its
deceleration and reached 18.3% at end
January, while net credit to the government
from the banking sector has declined by Rs.
10.5 billion during the month. However, the
increased utilisation of credit by public
corporations, particularly the Ceylon
Petroleum Corporation, in the face of rising
international oil prices, remains a concern.
The increased inflow of foreign exchange so
far during 2008 has further strengthened
external reserves and stablised the exchange
rate. The Central Bank has absorbed around
US $ 357 million from the market.
Subsequently gross official reserves are
estimated to have increased to $ 3.6
billion, sufficient to finance 3.7 months of
Ecommerce for craftsmen
The Laksala website has been revamped to
enable online sales as well as for rural
handicraft suppliers to access their
accounts on orders, inventory and payments
without having to visit Colombo.
The Laksala website has been developed to
enable e-commerce. Rural handicraft
suppliers are in the process of being
trained to check their accounts via the
Laksala website free of charge at a Nenasala
closest to their home," said Information and
Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka
(ICTA) Senior Project Manager Dil Piyaratna.
"The ability to understand the demand for
items from the Laksala website will enable
craftsmen to cater to the demand with the
right quantity. They can plan their
inventory. Also gradually the craftsmen will
be able to sell their handicrafts online via
the Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Portal
directly to consumers," said ICTA Director
for Re-engineering Government, Wasantha
Laksala was selected as one of the projects
under ICTA's Re-engineering Government
Programme area's eServices initiative.
The objective of Laksala is to promote and
protect Sri Lankan handicrafts. Laksala
provides Sri Lankan craftsmen opportunities
and livelihood by purchasing and selling
their items. It also provides design ideas
and craftsmen skill improvement ideas via
the National Craft Council and National
By enabling Laksala to re-engineer their
operations and processes to be effective and
efficient via the use of ICT in this
competitive market, will enable them to
sustain the survival and development of Sri
Lankan craftsmen and the art of craft.
"This project can serve as the best model
where ICT could be used for socio-economic
development and poverty reduction," said
"We are very happy that the Laksala Head
Office functions have been automated and
three retail outlets, York Street, Thunmulla
and Kandy have been automated and customers
are receiving computerized bills. "
Around 150 Laksala staff members have
completed the International Computer Driving
License (ICDL) training and 25 staff members
have completed e-Citizen training.
ICTA in collaboration with the Sri Lanka
Handicrafts Board started the Laksala
Automation Project to provide an ICT
solution to the Laksala Head Office as well
as to computerize th retail outlets-York
Street, Thummulla and Kandy. iOM Lanka (Pvt)
Ltd used their Retailigence software
solution to enable Laksala's supplier
management, inventory control, distribution
management, sales automation, statistical
and trend analysis and provide management
information reports, all via ICT.
The project was launched recently by Rural
Industries and Self Employment Promotion
Minister S.B. Navinna.
Dhenu Dhenu at Abans
"Ganu-Dhenu" is a tradition of the Avuruddha,
where you give and receive gifts from near
and dear ones. Abans have gone a step
further to make "Ganu-Dhenu" into "Dhenu-Dhenu"
by offering huge discounts of upto 45% on a
wide range of products from the world's best
The LG range of energy saving appliances
that is expected to draw the attraction of
customers include LG Art Cool Inverter Air
Conditioner which is guaranteed to save
electricity upto 44% with Plasma Air
Purifying System which eliminates dust,
germs and bacteria and provides 99%
protection against Avian Flu.
The range of LG Door Cooling Refrigerators
save electricity by replenishing the cool
air lost every time the door is opened and
closed resulting in the compressor shutting
off quicker. The LG Steam Tromm large
capacity Washing Machines take in large
loads and minimize wash time and use
innovative steam technology for cleaner,
wrinkle-free, energy saving wash.
Murugesu & Neelakandan, lawyers to Tokyo
Cement Company (Lanka) PLC, in regard to the
article published last week under the
heading "Tokyo Cement plans to raise Rs.
1.2-1.5 bn., from rights issue" says that
neither their client nor any of its
directors or employees gave any press
release or information in respect of any
rights issue to the media.
They further said that their client is aware
that if any decision is taken in respect of
a rights issue they have to make an
announcement in accordance with Colombo
Stock Exchange rules.
If and when such a decision is taken our
client will make the announcement in an
appropriate manner, the letter further said.
TD comes with 50 litres free
Amana Takaful Insurance offers a respite for
the motor insurance war.
The unique Takaful concept brings Service
With the ever-increasing number of vehicles
on our roads adding fuel to the
bitter-battle among motor insurance
products-and things not about to slow down,
Amana Takaful Insurance (ATI) has recently
embarked on a press campaign for its unique
motor policy Total Drive, promising the
market peace-of-mind and unsurpassed
During the campaign period, customers
walking into ATI's Head Office to obtain a
"Total Drive" policy will receive upto 50
litres of free fuel, while those insuring
their very first car would be getting a free
medical cover for non-accidental medical
"The motor insurance industry is presently
at war, with the competition trying to
runover each other for a bigger share of the
market. The battle to stay on top ensures
that no company has a unique-edge over the
competition, with the result-all policies
offering the same benefits in the end," said
Total Drive Senior Brand Executive Safwan
When asked to comment on the Company's all
new strategy in taking Takaful to the
masses, he said: "We believe in good ethics,
and we are proud to say that we are the one
company that does not have to fight to stay
in business, while at the same time
surpassing the rest, in aspects of both
benefits and service."
Cricket commentator and senior citizen
Premasara Epasinghe voiced his opinion of
the policy: "There are all kinds of players.
The talented, the talkative, the list goes
on. Then you have the rare gems-world-class
players who let their skills shine but
remain unassuming and humble.
ATI's Total Drive is something of a rare
discovery: You won't hear it making loud
promises but it offers not only what the
industry does, but something more, too."
Epasinghe added, "ATI has a unique-edge over
competition: The company is the first in Sri
Lanka to offer a No Claim Bonus Protection
Cover. It guarantees a No Claim Bonus even
if the policyholder makes a claim and
currently ATI offers the highest no claim
bonus (for the 1st year) in the country. The
other uniqueness about the Total Drive
policy is the celebrated Surplus Refund
"It is where policyholders become a group of
individuals who mutually agree to help one
another in times of unforeseen loss. Based
on the equitable Takaful way of insurance,
premiums are pooled into a common fund out
of which all individuals' claims are
settled, and the surplus funds remaining at
the end of the period are refunded on a
pro-rata basis to non-claimant
Commenting on the Company's campaign to
create awareness about the benefits of the
Total Drive (TD) policy and its increasing
success in recent times, Hilme says, "ATI
stepped in at the right time to cater to a
public need. The Takaful concept is not
merely a concept of insurance, but is
actually a globally accepted way of life
that's based on the principles of caring and
togetherness. Our aim is to introduce Sri
Lanka to this unique concept so that both
individuals as well as organizations can
enjoy its benefits.
TD policy is especially popular amongst
corporates and is sought-after by
organizations looking to give their
employees the best benefits in the industry.
Catering to not just motor insurance needs,
we offer a complete range of life and
general policies too."
A comparison of the competing products does
give a thumbs-up to ATI's TD. Matching the
market's best, feature for feature and
offering even more, the policy is hailed as
the world's most rewarding motor insurance
ATI's operations have expanded to 16
branches islandwide including in the South
and East of Sri Lanka, also extending
overseas with the setting up of a
fully-fledged branch in the Maldives.
Policy covers child, spouse
Union Assurance has once again demonstrated
its commitment to provide the best solutions
for customer needs by introducing a new
product, the Child Health Benefit catering
to a strongly felt yet unfulfilled need for
"Thanks to medical science, most illnesses
which could not be cured are curable
nowadays, but medical expenses are
increasing day by day. Parents do all what
they could to protect their most precious
asset-children, and are continuously looking
out for ways to provide the best for them.
Health related expenses are unpredictable
and might drain your savings which are
really earmarked for children's education
and other future needs. Our intention is to
provide for unaffordable surgeries at an
The cover could be continued upto the age of
20. The flexibility is that the parent could
decide the extent of cover affordable to
them," a Union Assurance (UA) official said.
The Union Child Health benefit covers 244
major surgeries and also pays a daily
benefit in the event of hospitalization, be
it for sickness or accident. Payment would
be made even if the child is hospitalized in
a government hospital.
The benefit is offered as an additional
option to existing policyholders simply as
an add-on to current plans. New customers
could take this benefit along with any of
our life insurance plans such as Union
Advantage, Union Sisumaga, Union Parithyaga
or Union Jayamaga.
This benefit will supplement the range of
other solutions provided by Union Life to
cover Disability, Accident, Family Income,
Critical Illness, Hospital daily benefit,
Premium waiver and major surgery. All such
benefits are also offered to spouse within a
IT whiz kids to India
Computer Society of Sri Lanka (CSSL)
appreciates the interest shown by ESoft
Computer Studies pvt Ltd CEO Dr. Dayan
Rajapakshe for coming forward as the
strategic partner in organizing the 19th
National Schools' Software Competition(NSSC)
2008.This is a "Young Talent Search in
Computer Programming" to select teams to
represent Sri Lanka at the South East Asia
Regional Computer Confederation (SEARCC)
International Schools' Software
Competition-India 2008. CSSL is also
appreciative of the Information and
Communication Technology Agency's and the
Education Ministry's support in organizing
this event.CSSL, established in 1976, has
been playing a major role in promoting
Information Technology and professionalism
among those engaged in the field of ICT in
the country for the past 30 years. 'Make Sri
Lanka e-ready' is CSSL's theme in the years
ahead as announced by its president Dr
Prasanna Lokuge at the CSSL's recent AGM
held in Colombo.
In its commitment towards propagating ICT to
rural areas in the country and as a part of
the government initiatives to make a true
"e-Sri Lanka," CSSL has planned a number of
activities to facilitate ICT penetration
into rural areas this year. In accordance
with the theme announced, CSSL has decided
to conduct the NSSC islandwide, giving
opportunities for schools in rural areas to
participate in this event. CCSL is
conducting the National level School
Students Software competition for the 19th
consecutive year. This year is special as
CSSL has plans to give more publicity to
find students for the national competition,
especially from rural Sri Lanka.
"We have scheduled many workshops/student
camps outside Colombo district as awareness
programmes in order to encourage more
participation for the national competition
from other districts. Winners will
represent Sri Lanka at SEARCC International
software competitions which will be held in
India this year.
UK ups passenger charges 50%
The International Air Transport Association
(IATA) blasted as a failure the UK's Civil
Aviation Authority's (CAA's)decision to
allow costs (charges) at London airports to
rise by 50% between 2008 and 2013.
"Failure is the only word to describe the
CAA's decision," said IATA Director General
"The regulator already allowed a 50%
increase between 2003 and 2008 and now the
road is being paved with gold for a further
50% increase. Only an out-of-control
monopoly could think in such terms. And only
a phantom regulator that is the result of a
flawed structure could allow this to
happen," he said.
"Compare that to the 64% improvement in
labour productivity and 16% reduction in
non-fuel unit costs achieved by airlines
since 2001." "Economic regulation must
produce results that are measured by
improved efficiency and quality, not reward
excessive monopoly profits and
embarrassingly low service levels," said
Bisignani. "The bureaucrats have proved to
be impotent in defending the interests of
travelers against monopolies. This decision
impacts London's competitiveness as a world
If we don't fix London's dysfunctional
airports, the City's regular travellers will
find a more convenient home. Frankfurt, for
example, would be only too happy to welcome
them," said Bisignani.
The problems of a weak regulator and an
out-of-control monopoly are well-recognised.
The Government has seen fit to commission an
independent review of the CAA by Sir Joseph
The Competition Commission is investigating
breaking up the BAA monopoly. And the
Parliamentary Select Committee on Transport
is about to report on the future of BAA.
For Heathrow, the CAA has allowed charges
per passenger to rise by 23.5% from April 1,
2008, followed by increases of 7.5% plus
inflation for each of the following four
In the case of Gatwick, a similar 21% hike
from April 1, 2008 will be followed by
increases of 2% plus inflation for each of
the following four years.
In 2006 BAA generated an operating profit of
35% at Heathrow, which produced a net return
on capital invested of 15.3%-twice the level
of the cost of capital set by the regulator.
Singithi Kirikatiyo offers 3% more
HNBhas reintroducedthe new born baby scheme
with a number of new value additions.
The new scheme"Singithi Kirikatiyo" will be
a savings schemefor new borns. The launch
took place at Appollo Hospitals on
The interest rate offered for the "Singithi
Kirikatiyo" acccount is 3% above the normal
savings interest rate.
The bank intends to take this
schemeislandwide to include all key
hospitals and nursing homes by Tuesday.
Under the "Singithi Kirikatiyo" savings
scheme parents of new born babiesare given
the opportunity to open a "Singithi
Kirikatiyo" account by depositing Rs 1,000.
The bank in turn gifts another Rs 1,000 to
The scheme offers anumberof unique and
attractive benefits. In addition to the gift
of Rs 1,000 from the bank,an attractive Baby
Book is presented to the parents at the time
of opening the account. In addition to this
the baby will receive acomplimentary gift
pack from"Pears" at the time of opening the
Parents of new borns will be given a "Singithi
Kirikatiyo" voucher at the time of the birth
of their loved one which can be used within
a period of three months after the birth
ofthe baby along with a copy of the baby's
birth certificate and presentedat any HNB
customer Centre to open a "Singithi
Aspecial feature of this account is that for
each birthday (up to the 5th birthday),
thebabyisrewarded with special gifts
provided that a monthly deposit of Rs.1,000
is made by the parent on behalf of the
These monthly deposits should be continued
upto a period of five years. Parents also
have a choice of making lump sum payments on
behalf of their child if they choose to do
so. The gifts that the "Singithi Kirikatiyo"
accountholder will be entitled to, will
include soft toys, barbie dolls, battery
operated toys, schoolbags, caps and
HNB Singithi is the first branded financial
services product in Sri Lanka. The bank
developed and branded this product
afteridentifying the importance of
inculcating the savings habit among
With this intention the HNB Singithi savings
scheme was introduced in 1991. For the first
time in Sri Lanka this minor savings scheme
gave opportunity for parents to save for
their kids. Over a period of time the bank
soon realized that accessibility to the
product is important to further popularize
the product and took steps to take the
savings account to the very doorstep of the
Today the bank operates more than 150 school
banking units in the country. Going beyond
promoting the savings habit, the bank has
provided opportunity for schoolchildren to
master the skills and knowledge of running a
mini bank within the school premises.
Today the bank has distributed more than
500,000 Jumbo tills among children in the
country which act as mini banks to
popularize the savings habit.
Ceylinco, Elephant House unravel success
Ceylinco Insurance (Life) AGM-Marketing
Samitha Hemachandra said how Ceylinco Life
has become the market leader of the life
insurance sector through their marketing
communications strategy which focused mainly
on creating awareness and category
He was speaking at a recent Chartered
Institute of Marketing Sri Lanka Region (CIM
SLR) organized programme titled "Marketing
Communications: Bridging Theory and
Practice" under the CIM Knowledge Reel
series held at Park Premier, Excel World.
Hemachandra elaborated on some of the "above
the line" and "below the line" advertising
campaigns carried out by them and how these
campaigns have helped Ceylinco Life to
achieve their marketing and communications
The programme attracted over 220
participants who were predominantly
marketing students. It was designed to
provide practical insights into marketing
communications illustrated by two leading
brands in the country, Ceylinco Life and
Elephant House soft drinks.
Minds FCB Managing Director Rohan Rajaratnam
spoke of some of the advertising campaigns
designed by them for the Ceylinco Life brand
under the theme "Father's Love". He spoke
primarily of the creative concepts behind
each campaign and how it helped to achieve
the intended results.
John Keells Holdings Vice President S.
Srikanth presented the marketing
communications strategy adopted for Elephant
House soft drinks when it was bought over by
Keells in 1991.
He enlightened participants on some of the
"mind blowing" advertising campaigns carried
out for the brand. Srikanth said that one of
the biggest challenges faced by the brand
was the lack of competitiveness in the light
of changing consumer requirements and
attitudes, especially among youth who
represents the majority of the soft drinks
It was interesting to learn how the "old
fashioned" Elephant House soft drinks were
streamlined on the basis of different brand
variants and individually repositioned,
giving a new appeal to the brand. This
eventually turned out to be the brand's
success story. His presentation also
featured some of the corporate social
responsibility initiatives taken by the
company. The presentation also featured some
rare photographs of Elephant House soft
drinks; taking the participants on a journey
back in time to the inception of the brand
in 1894 under the ownership of The New
Colombo Ice Company. Srikanth did not forget
to mention the names of some of the
pioneering persons behind their success
Triad Advertising Joint Managing Director
Dilith Jayaweera gave an insight into the
practical aspect of advertising, saying that
the purpose of an advertising agency is idea
generation which cannot be taught in theory.
He encouraged students to think "out of the
box"-which he said was the success behind
The CIM Knowledge Reel series was initially
opened to CIM students. As a part of The
Institute's strategic intent towards
contributing to the development of the
marketing profession and to widen the
opportunities for non CIM members to mix
with the CIM community, the CIM Knowledge
Reel series is now open to all marketing
CIM is the world's largest professional body
for marketing and CIM SLR is the fastest
growing CIM body, with nearly 1,000 members
and 3,000 student members.
Dialog Telekom has been the exclusive event
sponsor of the CIM Knowledge Reel series
from its inception. This was the third
programme conducted under the series.
MTV/MBC signs up SLT
Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) is to provide a
"world class" transmission solution to MTV
Channel (Pvt) Ltd & MBC Networks (Pvt) Ltd.,
part of Capital Maharaja Organisation Ltd.
The solution will feature broadcast quality
digital audio and video transmission via
SLT's optical fibre infrastructure which
will interconnect MTV/MBC studios,
transmission stations and head office.
MTV/MBC Group Director Mano Wickramanayake
said; "I'm appreciative of the fact that a
Sri Lankan service provider is able to give
us the advantage of a world class
communication solution. Today's media is
driven by technology and hence we are
committed to use all of the platforms that
are available to improve our services to our
clients. We can now link our new head office
and studios in Braybrooke Place to our
studio in Depanama and to our main
transmission tower at Union Place and our
central transmission tower at Mount
Oliphant. This solution provided by SLT will
serve all seven of our media outlets. With
this solution, I'm confident that our
reliability factor will be improved."
The fibre technology and data transmission
system provided to MTV/MBC stations is the
most advanced transmission technology
currently available in the world.
As there is no conversion of digital video
signals to analogue signals for
transmission, ensures optimum quality of the
transmitted signal throughout, resulting in
good picture quality right through out their
SLT CEO Shoji Takahashi said: "We are
pleased to be able to provide a world class
communication solution to the Capital
Maharaja Organisation, one of the important
corporate customers of SLT to strengthen
their businesses. The internet and broadband
services have changed the way communications
flow. It gives everyone the opportunity to
receive necessary information as well as
communicate in a faster and effective
What we are providing is quite different
from a traditional communication solution,
because information is shared quickly. SLT
is eager to take the initiative to be the
pioneer in developing this new information
society in Sri Lanka. We consider Maharaja
Organisation as an important client in terms
of driving forward our broadband service."
Space saving Nova Launched
Epsi Computers (Pvt) Ltd., authorized
distributors for ASUS in Sri Lanka said
that Asus has released the new Asus 2L
desktop PC-Nova P22.
Space-saving Nova integrates an Intelr's
Desktop CoreT 2 Duo CPU, WiFi 802.11n and
Bluetooth 2.0 technology for robust
multitasking and communications. It does so
operating at a mere 25db (below human
hearing) for uninterrupted multimedia
enjoyment. With the embedded HiFi speakers,
this small marvel allows users to experience
digital multimedia at a whole new level.
Smallest 2L Dual Core Desktop PC
EPSI Computers Marketing head Rukshan
Jayawaredene said that with only 2L of space
taken, the Nova incorporates a robust Intelr
CoreT 2 Duo processor for efficient
multitasking and quality digital audio/video
enjoyment. Passing professional simulated
tests, Nova adheres to strict design and
adopts solid capacitors and a unique thermal
solution that integrates a unique L-shape
heat dissipation module, S-shape heat pipes
and three AI fans - providing you with quiet
and quality computing experiences at only
High Speed Connectivity with 802.11n &
Supporting the 802.11n wireless standard,
Nova's high transmission rate of 300Mbps
allows users to download a 30-minute HD
video in 44 seconds without any lag.The
embedded Bluetooth device also provides
effortless multimedia and data streaming
between the Nova and other peripherals like
notebooks and handhelds. To eliminate room
separation and to provide ultra portable
multimedia enjoyment at home, Asus is a
producer of high quality Digital Home
Embedded HiFi Speakers for Instant Music
Through the pair of built-in HiFi speakers
located at the front of Nova, users will
enjoy high quality music without the need
for extra speakers. For home theater
configurations, Nova also supports 5.1
channel speakers with Dolbyr Digital Live or
DTS connect technology.
Creative Vertical & Horizontal Placements
Nova fits into any environment with
ease-whether it is a working desk, a
bookshelf or a spacious living room. The
lively colour and the creative pen holder
handle, together with the touch sensor
button design reflect the user's
individualistic tastes and adds style to
surroundings.Nova P22 is suitable for those
who are space conscious and desire better
mobility and flexibility when working or
sharing digital content indoors. Slim and
lighter than a notebook, Nova can be carried
from one room to another at home to cater to
different needs or situations. Additionally,
its exuberant, trendy colour scheme,
streamlined design, touch sensor button and
stylish stand make it not only an enjoyable
home companion, but also a fashionable
interior decoration.ASUSTeK Computer Inc.
(TSE:2357) is a leading provider of 3C total
Its product portfolio includes notebooks,
motherboards, graphics cards, optical
drives, information appliances, desktop PCs,
servers, wireless solutions, mobile phones
and networking devices, with world-class
engineering and offices and subsidiaries
located in all corners of the world.
HP has 18.9% PC market share
Ranked no. 1 in the Sri Lanka PC market for
both notebooks and desktops in terms of unit
shipments, HP is all about innovations, high
customer trust that the brand enjoys and an
after sales service network that has helped
HP to maintain its market leadership in Sri
The company has enjoyed quarter-on-quarter
market leadership which entails a 41.1%
market share in notebooks PCs, 16.4% share
in desktops PCs and an 18.9% market share in
total PC clients.
The company has also been riding on the
mobility boom: The need for anytime anywhere
information has driven the segment to a key
inflection point. HP is ranked the leader in
the portable category with a 41.1% market
share according to Springboard Research AEC,
Q4 2007 Tracker. What's more its Compaq has
grown to become Sri Lanka's largest selling
brand of notebook PCs. The company also
hosted a successful campaign, "The Computer
is Personal Again" campaign which looked at
the personal relationship the user has with
his/her PC. The campaign has not only led to
the strengthening of the brand-connect for
HP, but has also redefined and re-invented
the "Personal" touch of the PC.
The "Personal Again" campaign has already
turned the fortunes in favour of HP within
only a year since its launch, both globally
as the largest pc-vendor in the world as
well as in Sri Lanka as the leader across
HP's focus on the market shows that Sri
Lanka is emerging as a high potential
marketplace for both consumer and commercial
segments. Emerging enterprises (SMBs)
driving large market growth share and a
growing penetration driven by increasingly
affordable price point and channel expansion
and by reaching out to customers (HP has
reached out the length and breadth of Sri
Lanka with 20 retail points with HP branding
and merchandising in 5 cities and towns), 40
HP commercial business partners, 90 HP
registered resellers, 5 authorized service
delivery partners with service centren in
Colombo and Kandy, 2 nationwide
distributors, 7 corporate resellers, 1 spare
parts depot in Colombo and 2 HP Experience
Zones in Colombo-solidifies its isdlandwide
The companies extensive channel activities
include focus on HP Premier Business
Partners and Business Partners to drive
their growth through Quarterly training and
continued support and offering unique
channel incentive programmes: Annual HP
Partners Forum, Thunderbirds Strikes, Sell
More and Earn More.
The company's product innovation and strong
technology portfolio is endless. HP,
globally and in Sri Lanka, has the strongest
and widest portfolio of technology products
spanning consumers and commercial segments.
HP applies new thinking and ideas to create
simple, valuable and trusted experiences
Under the company's market strategy, HP
strives to understand every buying point in
the marketplace, has better tools for
selling, thereby enabling partners to get
pricing information and decisions to
customers fast and builds a customer-centric
HP's dual-brand marketing strategy has
redefined Sri Lanka PC space, with our
mass-market brand Compaq Presario and the
'Ultimate Digital Experience' brand-HP
HP also sticks to a 'Made In Asia for Asia'
concept with the introduction of entry level
consumer desktop, the HP Pavilion g series
Desktop PC and the introduction of entry
level consumer notebook, the Compaq Presario
C700 Notebook PC.
HP also has credit to personalized business
solutions. HP offers expertise, cutting-edge
products, and customized solutions thus
enhancing security, productivity improvement
and total cost of ownership. And when it
comes to mobility, HP has a wide range of
business notebooks-driving security,
reliability and ease of use in each
Advisories have limited impact
Cosmos, Globus, Avalon
Waterways and Monograms make up the Globus
family of brands, one of the largest, most
experienced and trusted travel organizations
in the world.
For 80 years the Globus family of brands has
been providing vacations that address the
needs of today's diverse travellers. This
week, Gauri Jayaram of Group Voyagers India
speaks to The Sunday Leader about the
Group's 80th anniversary.
Q: Tell us about the company?
A: Globus is the flagship brand which
was started 80 years ago to address the
needs of budget travellers, but is now more
up market offering travellers destinations
which include Asia and Australia, just about
anywhere they want to travel. This year in
particular is a big year for us as we've
become the world's largest coach travel
company with 500,000 travellers who keep
Q: What are your operations like in Sri
A: We're an outbound travel company
and we've been the prime partner for over a
decade offering trips to all over the world,
including Europe and South America. Our
packages offer many flavours to travellers
and we have many repeat customers.
Q: Have the recent travel advisories
negatively impacted on business in Sri
A: It has affected business in the
sense that it's harder sometimes to get a
visa, but on a whole, no, business has not
been greatly affected. That being said, I
feel there's more growth that can be gained
from Sri Lanka and that we've not tapped
it's full potential.
Q: Does the company have any special offers
to repeat customers?
A: Promotions are coming up. They
should definitely stay tuned if they want to
go exploring the world! We have the best
products in the market for those who want to
experience the world and celebrations will
continue throughout the year, so many
customers will be able to reap the benefits.
Q: What sets Globus apart from other travel
A: We have just about every travel
package out there and suited to every
budget. We've always offered great value.
Q: In light of the 80th anniversary of the
company, will Globus be offering any special
discounts and packages to customers?
A: To mark the anniversary, Globus
and Cosmos in collaboration with Prime
Destinations, the leisure wing of Hemas
Travels are planning a flurry of activities
for Sri Lanka, including exclusive events
and offers for our travelers, and Sri
Lankans can now get a glimpse of what we
have to offer.
Q: What's the company's future plans?
A: Making sure there is more
information about our new brands and the new
destinations we've added. We also want to
cater to those who have a special interest
on wine tasting and music tours, so we'll
be expanding that way and of course we'll
always be looking into how we can address
the needs of all our customers.
Orange, no. 1 in SL
A relatively new comer to the category,
Orange Electric once again showed their
leadership and marketing strength by
securing the Number 1 brand position in the
bulb category, setting another milestone in
the company's history.
Chief Operating Officer-Lighting Rahman
Zubair speaking at the Channel Partners meet
held at Kandalama recently, confirmed the
brand's leadership position in bulbs, based
on the retail audit carried out by AC
He said that this was an achievement for the
company and the country as it was the 1st
time in the lighting industry that a local
brand was able to take the dominant position
from an international brand.
"This achievement indicates the Sri Lankan
public's confidence in the brand's quality,
and commitment to patronizing local brands."
He attributed the phenomenal growth of the
brand to the sales team's hard work and
dedication that went beyond the call of
Sales Representative-South Nalindra
Nanayakkara said: "During the 3 years the
sales force had nurtured the brand like a
tender sapling and was proud that the
efforts had now resulted in a great (oak)
Regional Sales Manager Rukman Hettiarchchi
said: "The main success factor for gaining
leadership during such a short timeframe
was due to discipline at all levels." He
said commitment and teamwork as a norm in
the division and working towards one common
goal contributed to this success.
Weerasiri Adikari-a pioneer distributor
said: "Orange Electric lighting always
ensured distributors' wealth was safeguarded
through the investment of brand growth."
Federation of the Visually Handicapped
adviser Dr. Wickrama Weerasooria in his
keynote address recognized the company and
the brand as a CSR partner that gave dignity
to charity. He said the organization's
agreement to donate a part of their sales
proceeds to the cause of the blind was a
model to other companies.
Orange Electric Lighting is the biggest
contributor to the Blind Federation. It has
contributed over Rs. 20 million towards this
cause since 2006. It was rewarding to the
company to know that it was instrumental in
restoring the sight to more than 1,000
deserving citizens of this country through
this CSR Partnership.
Zubair said: "this is a great milestone in
our journey. We celebrate this laurel but we
will not rest as the best is yet to come and
we have a responsibility to build a great
Sri Lankan brand that is socially
responsible to its country, customers, and
stakeholders." Orange Electric is a fully
owned Sri Lankan company that has built a
local electrical brand with a global
presence and has been awarded the
prestigious export award, the Sooriya Sinha
award and has achieved Superbrand Status for
its high quality products and brand building
Maruti No.1 for 5th year
Five years after wresting the crown for the
most popular brand new family vehicle,
import statistics reveal that Suzuki Maruti
continues to hold its position at top of the
The phenomenon indicates a change in
perspective among vehicle owners who had
previously preferred reconditioned vehicles
to brand new.
While the Maruti 800 continues to be the
first preference of the price conscious
buyer, the Maruti- Suzuki Alto and
particularly the Special Edition version
introduced two years ago continues to be in
demand, with consumers snapping up the 30
Special Edition version cars available every
A name synonymous with vehicle marketing
over the past 50 years, Associated Motorways
plc have been quick to see the rise in
demand and have reacted swiftly to meet the
demand, leveraging additional support and
boldly making capital investments in the
The company invested in six custom-built
showrooms spread across the island and a
dedicated service centre in Colombo.
A company spokesperson said that Suzuki
Maruti cars have benefited from the higher
fuel efficiency and proven reliability
offered by the brand. Reconditioned cars
were all the rage a few years back, but with
the rise in fuel prices and roads
congestion, consumers have been quick to see
the benefit of the Suzuki Maruti range.
The saving on fuel is now quite substantial
and the resale price that Suzuki Maruti
owners enjoy have contributed to the demand
for the vehicles. Parking, a growing problem
in the city is another consideration and
consumers are pleased that the Suzuki Maruti
range offers a solution to all these
AMW currently offers other benefits to
buyers, making the Suzuki Maruti (SM) car an
attractive buy. Free registration & number
plates plus other concessions when leasing a
vehicle have become part of the standard
price package offered on SM vehicles. All of
these factors have contributed towards the
increased demand for SM Alto in particular.
Indeed, the Alto has grown to become the
number one selling family vehicle in the SM
range, the spokesperson confirmed.
Globalisation & Opportunities
CIMA Sri Lanka CEO forum to be held at the
Cinnamon Grand on Tuesday will feature
Singapore based GlaxoSmithKline Senior Vice
President & Asia Pacific Regional Director
V. Thyagarajan responsible for
GlaxoSmithKline operations in Asia Pacific.
He will speak on 'Globalisation and
opportunities it present to Asia."
Thyagarajan will also share his experience
on how India and China are gaining from
globalisation, with emphasis on the
Singapore Model within the globalisation
context and its relevance to Sri Lanka.
Following the presentation there will be a
panel discussion moderated by Janashakthi
Insurance Co..Ltd., Managing Director
Prakash Schaffter. An eminent group of
speakers have confirmed their participation
at the panel discussions.
They are, Colombo Stock Exchange Chairman &
DFCC Bank Chief Executive Nihal Fonseka,
Dialog Telekom Chief Executive Officer Dr.
Hans Wijayasuriya, Virtusa (Pvt) Ltd.
Managing Director Keith Modder and Bodyline
(Pvt) Ltd., Managing Director Dave
CIMA Srilanka Division President Aruna
Fernando said that CEO breakfast meetings
are organized as part of CIMA's continuing
endeavour to update the business community
on emerging developments in the field of
finance and management.
He said: "Our CEO fora are attended by CEOs
from Sri Lanka's premier blue chip
companies, providing an opportunity for high
profile networking and strengthening CIMA's
HSBC in Super 10
HSBC received a gold award and was adjudged
one of the best employers at the recently
concluded HRM awards super 10.
Ceylon Tobacco Company, Commercial Bank,
DFCC Bank, Hatton National Bank, Keells
Hotel Management Services, MAS Intimates
Pvt. Ltd., Sampath Bank, Sri Lankan Airlines
and Virtusa were amongst the Super 10
Companies to receive this prestigious Gold
award this year
This year's nominations included 47
companies and 20 companies were subsequently
chosen for the second round.
The awards ceremony was organised by The
Association of Human Resources Professionals
and Hewitt Associates to benchmark best HR
systems and processes in Sri Lanka.
The awards conducted to international
standards were based on the theme of
"celebrating the people factor in business
growth" and was open to all employers in the
country. A judges panel together with a
Hewitt's Associates panel was responsible in
making this awards ceremony a success.
Hewitt's then interviewed all company heads,
business leaders, HR heads and HR teams
respectively to understand and determine how
HR supports and partners business to achieve
These findings were later passed through to
the judges panel for their final review
where company identifications were not
revealed to ensure fair decision making.
The panel comprised PIM International
Centre-Emirates Managing Director Prof.
Guanapala Nanayakkara, Aditya Birla Group
Director Dr. Santrupt B. Misra, South Africa
Public Services Commission Commissioner Dr.
Norman Maharaja, World Bank's former HR
Senior Adviser John Lavelle, CIMA Sri Lanka
President Aruna Fernando and Employers
Federation of Ceylon Director General Ravi
Designed to showcase excellence in human
resources practice, the awards were aimed
not only to reward outstanding achievement,
but also to stimulate higher aspirations
across the industry.
HSBC's participation in HRM awards 2007 was
a result of the bank's quest to support the
country's employment need and attract more
Sri Lankans to the banking industry in
Furthermore, this initiative helped
organisations move in the right direction
and create competitive advantages through
their people proactive systems.
HSBC Sri Lanka Human Resources Head Ravi
Jayasekera said: "This prestigious award is
a confirmation of the success of the bank's
strategy, for it reveals the outcome of our
significant efforts directed towards
investing in human capital and enhancing
their role in the banking industry."
Sampath Bank Ltd., has declared a dividend
of Rs. 3 per share. Excluding dividend (XD)
date is May 12, 2008 and payment date May
National Development Bank PLC has declared a
final dividend of Rs. 6 per share for the
financial year 2006/07. AGM on April
29,2008; XD date on April 30 and payment
date on May 7, 2008.
Nations Trust Bank has declared a Rs. 1
first and final dividend. XD date is on
March 31 and payment date on April 4.
John Keells Holdings PLC has declared a
third interim dividend of Rs. 1 with dates
to be notified.
Dipped Products PLC has declared an interim
tax free dividend of Rs. 1.50 a share. XD
date was on March 10, 2008 and payment date
Stafford Hotels PLC has declared a 50 cents
interim dividend. XD date was on March 11,
2008 and payment date March 25.
CDB raises Rs. 75 mn
Ceylinco Development Bank Ltd. (CDB), the
development banking arm of Ceylinco group,
successfully concluded its public offer of
7.5 mn., unquoted ordinary shares of Rs. 10
each, raising Rs. 75 mn., recently.
One thousand two hundred and forty six
applications were received for the full
subscription of the issue. This fresh
infusion of capital will help CDB to achieve
key multiple objectives of the issue: To
expand the capital base in line with
business growth, meeting regulatory
commitments and broadbasing the shareholder
structure as said in the share issue
As per the unaudited accounts of year ended
December 31, 2007, CDB's total asset base
reflects a figure of over Rs. 5 bn., revenue
stands at over Rs. 1 bn., whilst a Rs. 49 mn.,
net profit has been recorded. CDB operates
with a branch network of 26 covering major
cities of the country.