Garment exports to USA down
US$ 90 mn., in IH
Apparel industry earnings in the first half
of the year amounted to US$ 1,524 million; a
marginal US$ eight million increase over the
corresponding period last year.
Industry sources attributed two reasons for
the slowdown in apparel export earnings:
Successful price competition from low cost
producer countries like Vietnam and China,
in particular to the US market and also due
to the slowdown in the US economy, where
growth this year is expected to come down
from the targeted 2.4% to 1.4%.
The US and EU markets contribute more than
90% to garment sector export earnings, with
these two economies taking approximately 50%
each of exports made to those regions.
Earnings from exports to the US region in
the period under review fell by US$ 90
million to US$ 710 million year on year (YoY),
while those to the EU region however grew by
12% YoY to US$ 727 million in the same
Sources attributed the growth to the EU
region to the GSP Plus facility which
enables Sri Lanka to export garments to that
region on a duty free basis, whereas the
normal duty for such exports is 12%.
however enjoys no duty concessions in
exports made the US market, where the normal
import duty is 14%.
The GSP + facility to the EU region which
expires at the year end being renewed for
another three years however is under a cloud
due to Sri Lanka's dubious human rights (HR)
The GSP + facility is linked to the
compliance of some 27 conventions, some of
which are linked to the protection of HR.
Over 7,000 items are covered under the GSP +
concession, but the garment sector looms
large due to the sheer values gained because
of this facility.
number one export earner.
Another product that has made gains due to
the GSP+ concession is fish exports to the
has time till October 31 to make its
application to the EU for the renewal of the
GSP + facility for a further three years
from 2009, with the EU notifying the list of
new beneficiary countries by December 15.
Sources said that the procedure followed by
the EU in putting on notice "errant"
developing countries seeking this facility
is to give the relevant stakeholders a
period of four months to state their case
before a formal decision is taken by the EU
either to reject or accept the GSP +
In the interim period, that country which is
under a cloud may however continue to make
exports to the EU region on a duty free
The EU is yet to put out their notification
The garment industry provides direct
employment to between 280-300,000; and
indirect employment to another 750,000.
Statistics compiled by the industry show
that a family unit, usually comprising four
members, directly benefit when one of their
members is employed in this trade.
The average monthly emoluments of a garment
sector employee are estimated at US$ 160,
more than four times the amount their
counterpart in Bangladesh earns (US$ 35).
There are some 400 garment factories in
operation in the country, which however
suffer a dearth in labour, with some
15-20,000 vacancies in the sector remaining
The industry is currently running a campaign
to entice female juki operators, the main
source of demand, to join the industry.
Last year apparel exports brought in US$ 3.2
billion to the country, with the industry
expecting this status quo to be maintained
this year as well. Some of the larger
companies such as Brandix and MAS Holdings
employ some 25,000 and 35,000 respectively.
City hotel enjoys 90% occupancy
"Chutneys," Cinnamon Grand's Rs. 40 million
Indian restaurant opened on Wednesday.
"Its scheduled opening is a miracle," Rohan
Karr, General Manager of this Five Star 500
room city hotel told reporters.
"We got the crockery from India only on
Tuesday and it was cleared in a record 24
hours, whereas it usually takes three days
to clear," he said.
The invitations had already been out as the
shipment was expected early this month, only
to be delayed at the Indian end, said Karr.
"However, God answered my prayers," he said.
While other hotels are going through a lean
patch due to the country situation, not so
Cinnamon Grand, which is currently enjoying
a 90% occupation. This difference is as
stark as chalk and cheese, when considering
the fact that its chief competitor, the Five
Star Colombo Hilton Hotel which carries an
international brand name, allegedly having
only a 30% occupancy rate on 300 rooms.
Cinnamon Grand's room charges are US$ 105
net of taxes, said Karr.
"However, on an overall basis, occupancy
levels so far for the year has been on an
average 50%, whereas, in the comparative
period last year it was higher, at 60%," he
said. Karr said that the majority of his
resident guests were from the corporate
sector, mainly from the West and Japan.
CB manoeuvres to bring rates down
Central Bank (CB) intervention to bring down
interest rates was visible at last week's
Treasury Bill (T Bill) auction which saw
CB manipulation particularly in regard to T
Bills of 91 and 364 day tenures.
T Bill auctions are a form of government
"The CB's original announcement that they
would be offering a total of Rs. one billion
worth of maturing T Bills of 91 day tenure
to the market was cut down by half with only
Rs. 500 million ultimately offered to the
market at this auction.
This parcel received Rs. 3,933 million
worth of offers, eight times as much as that
which was ultimately accepted from the
market by the CB, with the majority of the
rejected offers asking for rates way above
the weighted average yield ( WAY) of 16.73%
ultimately fetched at this auction, 38 basis
points (bp) less than the WAY commanded at
the previous week's auction.
However, CB intervention in a similar
fashion in the longer tenure T Bills of a
364 day maturity failed to bring down those
rates, with the WAY of this tenure
stagnating at 18.67%.
T Bills of a 364 day tenure had Rs. 4,518
million worth of offers made, of which only
a tenth of that value (Rs. 455 million) was
allowed by the CB to be subscribed by the
market. CB's original announcement said that
Rs. 2,500 million worth of maturing T Bills
of 364 day tenure were being offered to the
market. Market sources said that rates would
take a natural downward spiral if the market
was assured that the government was winning
the war. They however expected rates, at
least of the 91 day tenure to come down
further at this week's auction (though the
amounts to be offered are yet to be
announced.) due to expected CB intervention.
Meanwhile, T Bills of 182 day maturity saw
only a third (Rs. 2,100 million) of the
offers received (Rs. 6,526 million) being
allowed to be subscribed by the market,
which saw this WAY come down by 7 bp to
CB's original announcement said that Rs.
2,100 million of this tenure were being
offered to the market.
Last week's auction was for the re-issue of
a total of Rs. 5,500 million worth of
maturing T Bills, of which only Rs. 3,055
million was accepted from the market and the
balance (Rs. 2,445 million) rejected, a term
interpreted by the market that the
CB/government got captive funds to invest in
the same, at rates lower than that which the
market was demanding.
Sources said that the CB's tight monetary
policy appears to be paying off, with
inflation, till recently which was in the
high 29-30% levels seemingly tapering off.
State bank borrowings push-up rates
Overnight (O/N) call money market rates (CMRs),
the rates at which commercial banks lend to
each other for a day shot up by 100 basis
points at Friday's' trading due to
borrowings from state banks in particular,
market sources said.
As a result, O/N CMRs which were in the
13-13« % range on Thursday, shot up to 14-14
«% levels on Friday. State bank borrowings
from the market are generally to meet
government's expenditure requirments. They
expected rates to be on the ascent when the
market opens for trading tomorrow.
Inflation hits soft drinks sector
The soft drinks industry is one of several
victims due to the country's high inflation,
with a leading carbonated drinks
manufacturer suffering a retardation in
terms of volume growth, though its recently
introduced fruit juice product has captured
25% of the market in seven months.
Dusty Alahakoon, Marketing Head, Coca Cola
Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd., told The Sunday
Leader that its soft drinks' consumption has
come down in volume terms in the first six
months of this year on a year on year basis,
though in value terms it has grown due to
However, its entry into the ready to drink
fruit juice industry in December had
resulted in it capturing a 25% market share
since. He attributed this success to
targeting the Swabasha speaking people of
this country reaping dividends. This sector
is enjoying a 4-5% annual growth, which,
however is small compared to neighbouring
which is enjoying a 10-15% annual growth in
the "ready to drink" segment, he said.
He attributed the growth in this sector
(although marginal in the local context)
compared to the soft drinks sector, due to
milk and fruit drinks being considered as
essentials in the consumers' mindset.
Alahakoon valued the carbonated drinks
market at Rs. 10 billion annually and in
volume terms at 165 million litres. He was
however unable to give a value to the ready
to drink segment, but in volume terms
identified it at 20 million litres, much
less than the soft drinks segment.
The other segment, the cordial drinks
market, is much bigger than the ready to
drink market, he added.
Open economy boosts tea exports
The advent of the open economy has resulted
in value added tea exports increasing from
nought to 35% in the space of 31 years, a
tea exporter said.
Anselm B. Perera, an executive committee
member of the Tea Exporters Association
(TEA) told reporters on Wednesday that
before the era of liberalization that took
place in 1977, 100% of Sri Lanka's tea
exports were in bulk form.
He attributed this to the industry being
precluded from importing vital machinery
needed for value addition due to import
controls that existed at that time.
However, after the economy was liberalized
in 1977, the industry was able to infuse US$
600 million by making the necessary
machinery imports and improve infrastructure
and training, he said.
tea exports go in value added form, with
10-15% of those being Sri Lankan brands, the
industry told reporters.
"Our aim is to export 100% of our tea in
value added form," said Perera. He however
gave no time frame to achieve this target.
Meanwhile, the Tea export sector envisages a
50% year on year (YoY) growth in earnings
this year to US$ 1.8 billion.
Members of TEA told reporters that first
half (1H) earnings this year was up by US$
174 million YoY compared to the
corresponding period last year.
They were however unable to give an exact
breakdown of tea export earnings fetched in
the 1H of last year and this year other than
saying that in the 1H of this year 156.3
million kilos of tea were exported at an
average price of US$ 4.40 per kg., whereas
in the corresponding 1H last year the
quantity exported was 143.9 million kg at an
average price of US$ 3.17 a kg.
This works out to an earnings figure of US$
688 million in the 1H of this year as
opposed to US$ 456 million in the
corresponding 1H last year, a YoY increase
of US$ 232 million.
They attributed this success to marketing,
where they said that Ceylon Tea prices were
nearly three times as much as that of
Romesh Moraes, another executive committee
member of TEA said that just two years ago
the average auction price at the Colombo
Auctions was a mere US$ 1.70 compared to
today's price of US$ 3.84.
Last year tea exports grossed the US$ 1.2
billion mark on a volume of 300 million kg.
"Our target for this year is US$ 1.8
billion," TEA Chairman Jayantha Keragala
The industry also wants the government to
invest a greater part of the cess money on
tea promotion. At present, of the Rs. 1.2
billion cess money collected annually, only
Rs. 30 million is used for promotional work,
He said that the cess is collected on the
basis of Rs. 4 for every kg. of tea
Another bogey was high bank interest rates,
currently at 20% plus, "where the industry
is forced to work within those norms," he
Ceylon Tea is exported to some 145
countries, with the top buyer to date being
Dubai, followed by the CIS.
Dubai property at Col. 7 prices
AMG International, a group of companies
headed by Sri Lankan entrepreneur Anthony
Malik Gunasekera has made history by being
the first Sri Lankan owned company in Dubai
to offer Sri Lankans a way of buying their
own homes in
The Sunday Leader spoke to AMG International
CEO Anthony Malik Gunasekera who said that
this exciting new offer is one he sees many
Sri Lankan expatriates living in Dubai
taking advantage of as rent in the fast
paced city has increased by 120% in the last
few years forcing many who work in Dubai to
live in cheaper areas such as Sharjah &
Ajman-with traffic, a three hour drive away
from Dubai city.
He said that many of the nicer apartments in
great neighbourhoods like Jumeira sell at
more or less the same prices as houses and
apartments in Colombo 07 and that within a
span of 10 to 15 years, which is the usual
contract period of foreign workers,
expatriates can own their home.
Explaining the mechanics, Gunasekera said
that AMG International buys properties from
the Dubai government and retail markets it.
Each property comes with a bank backing.
But AMG International's operations go beyond
Dubai and real estate. The company has an
office in the
which promotes Dubai to Sri Lankans living
in Europe, thanks to a team of professionals
at AMG headed by Director General Manager
The company's other operations include
exporting foliage from Sri Lanka (AMG
International Ceylon Ltd.) and also
supplying Dubai's demanding hotel industry
with hospitality and specialty services (AMG
Hotels Supplies Division).
Talking about its other operations,
Gunasekera said, "We bought a 50 acre estate
in Matale to grow 'everything' and we're
looking at exporting to other countries as
well. This is a BOI venture and there's a
huge demand in Dubai for foliage and Dubai
is going green. At the moment the bulk of
foliage comes from
Africa so I thought why not make use of what
Sri Lanka has to offer? As for the hotel
supplies, with the airports expanding and
with more visitors to the city, the hotel
industry has also boomed and there's a great
demand for linen and toiletries, most of
which I source from Sri Lanka.
Talking about the venture, Gunasekera said,
"Many people living in Dubai spend at least
60% of their salary on rent, but now, thanks
to foreigners being allowed to buy
properties, they can buy their own apartment
and even sell it for a profit should they
want to leave to another country. It's a
great investment opportunity and one that
will only benefit buyers as the property
market is soaring, growing at 20% per annum,
the highest in the world."
Dubai is a fast growing city and has a variety of investment
opportunities. Tourism, one of the major
attractions of the city has a 16% growth
rate per annum, three times the world
tourism growth rate. Gunasekera explained
that investors enjoy tax-free benefits and
an investor friendly government under the
visionary thinking of UAE Prime Minister and
ruler of Dubai Sheik Mohamed Bin Rashid Al
Maktoum. Homebuyers are also entitled to a
lifetime resident visa.
Dubai has also been rated one of the safest
places in the world.
AMG International started in 2004, entered
the market at just the right time, said
Gunasekera, "We're a new company, but then
again everything in Dubai is new, the city
changes its face with each passing day, it's
growing and expanding and developing at a
frenzied rate when just 30 years ago it was
nothing but barren desert which is amazing.
It's a land of opportunity to everyone."
Talking about his vision for the company and
future plans, Gunasekera said that someday
he hopes to make AMG International the No. 1
Sri Lankan Company in the world and is
planning on opening offices in
Australia. "I consider myself a patriotic
Sri Lankan and I hope that others will
follow suit in being more entrepreneurial
because the rest of the world has much to
offer and I believe that our people are some
of the smartest in the world," he said."
Medical insurance for all
Ceylinco Medi Spots, introduced under the
Ceylinco National Health Policy, the unique
health insurance scheme launched recently by
Ceylinco Insurance General, has succeeded in
setting a new standard in healthcare
insurance in the country, says a Ceylinco
Pointing out the popularity of the project,
he says that the unique concept of making
primary healthcare facilities available at a
nominal annual fee, has encouraged customers
to make use of the facility without any
hesitation. For just Rs 500 per year,
Ceylinco Health Policy offers an individual
unlimited number of medical consultations at
no extra charge for the whole year from the
Ceylinco Medi Spot in the area.
Ceylinco Medi Spots opened in areas of Galle,
Panadura, Embilipitiya, Katunayake and
have proven to be popular among the people.
In response to its success, three more
Ceylinco Medi Spots will be opened by
Ceylinco Insurance in Badulla, Anuradhapura
and Negombo by the end of this month
The Ceylinco National Health Policy designed
to meet the primary medical needs of the
entire family also offers cover for
children-a child under 18 is able to make
use of unlimited number of medical
consultations at a Ceylinco Medi Spot for an
entire year for a mere Rs 250.
The customer is assured of qualified medical
personnel, doctors and trained nurses who
provide treatment, diagnose illnesses and
are able to administer certain drugs and
provide dressings for specific injuries at
Ceylinco Medi Spot. Upon payment of the
annual fee, every Ceylinco National Health
Policy customer is given a special card
which needs to be produced at the Ceylinco
Medi Spot to obtain free medical service for
the whole year.
Deshamanya Dr. Lalith Kotelawala's vision
of making primary healthcare facilities
available to a wider populace at very little
cost is taking root through the Ceylinco
National Health Policy, says Ceylinco
Insurance General Chief Executive Director
Ajith Gunewardena who adds that as the
network of Ceylinco Medi Spots expands, the
entire country will be able to make use of
excellent primary medical care facilities
" For us at Ceylinco Insurance General,
providing unique and customer-focused
concepts is what makes us successful. We
understand the needs of the customer and
believe in catering to those needs."
Given the success of Ceylinco National
Health Policy, Gunewardena believes that
Ceylinco Medi Spots are taking healthcare
facilities available to the people to a new
height of quality.
" Ceylinco Medi Spots, by offering primary
healthcare so easily, are also complementing
the services offered by state hospitals,"
adds Gunewardena. When the policy was
launched early this year, Health Minister
Nimal Siripala de Silva complimented the
concept as an innovative step.
Ceylinco Insurance General which
revolutionized the insurance industry with
their now iconic VIP On the Spot claim
settlement, plans to do the same with the
Ceylinco National Health Policy and its
network of Ceylinco Medi Spots, having
embarked on a course of re-defining the
concept of health insurance in Sri Lanka.
AmEx teams up with Allianz
American Express (AmEx), the Credit Card
acquired and issued in Sri Lanka solely by
Nations Trust Bank PLC (NTB) announced the
tie up with Allianz Insurance Lanka Ltd., in
a bid to enhance the insurance cover offered
to Green, Gold and Corporate Card members.
In addition to the existing benefits such as
personal accident cover, trip delay or
cancellation and loss of baggage, the
enhanced offers will provide increased
facilities offering overseas travel,
security, protection for the main card
member and his/her family.
Card members may also now for the first time
in Sri Lanka enjoy four new unique features
available exclusively for AmEx card
members:- Golfer's Hole-in-One: In
celebration of achieving a hole in one
during a tournament played outside Sri
Lanka, card members stand the chance to
have their expenses reimbursed by AmEx,
subject to a maximum limit of USD 250. The
tournament should be played at a golf course
recognized by the United States Golfer's
Grand Prix Checkered Flag: When a card
member buys tickets to the Formula One/Grand
Prix races and should the event be cancelled
due to adverse weather, AmEx will reimburse
the Tickets up to USD 1,000. Tennis Winning
Sets: In the event of cancellations of the
semi-finals or finals of tennis
championships such as the Wimbledon, US
Open, Australian Open or the French Open,
AmEx will reimburse the card member's
ticket up to the value of USD 750.
World Cup Specials: AmEx will reimburse the
ticket up to USD 500 for cancellations of
any World Cup semi finals/finals match for
rugby, soccer or cricket.
Commenting on these new services, NTB DGM
Consumer Banking Ms. Renuka Fernando said,
"We are pleased to offer our card members
enhanced insurance covers in addition to
these exciting new privileges and we are
certain these unmatched offers will be of
great value especially to those interested
in sports. As a premium card in the market,
our goal is to continuously offer innovative
new services and privileges making AmEx
simply the best card in your wallet." she
Diversifies into migration
is a new venture launched by WIDAC Holdings
in affiliation with Ashmore Brown &
The agreement was signed recently in Sydney
by WIDAC Holdings Chairman Primal
Wijayanayake and Ashmore Brown & Associates
President Ray Brown, registered migration
agent for Australia Immigration, for WIDAC
to represent Ashmore Brown for a
professional service on all migration issues
WIDAC Holdings - records a 20 year history
of corporate governance and has made a name
as the leading company in commercial
interior design representing international
brands such as Luumar and Corian and others.
The company's three directors are Primal
Wijayanayake, (Chairman) Chandi Alles
(Managing Director) and Ravi Jayatilleke.
As part of their diversification plans WIDAC
has launched "Immigration Australia"
offering professional Australian Immigration
Consultancy, with their joint venture with
Ashmore Brown. The office is located at
Rosmead Place, Colombo.
Australia's migration agents are amongst the
most professional in the world and Ashmore
Brown is a market leader and a premier
migration consultancy firm operating in
Australia with core offices in Sydney &
Brisbane, branches in South Africa and
"reps": in other countries.
It is the policy of Ashmore Brown to accept
clients only where it is satisfied that
there are realistic prospects of a
successful application. The company is a
registered migration agent in Australa,
Com Bank's NPLs up 5.23%
Commercial Bank Group reported moderate
growth for the first half of 2008 in tough
market conditions that have impacted the
sector in general.
The Bank's gross non-performing loans and
advances ratio rose to 5.23% as at June 30,
2008 from 3.02% as at December 31, 2007,
mainly as a result of classification of
loans and advances as non-performing as
required by a recent Central Bank of
direction and also due to the macro-economic
environment prevailing in the country.
Total Group deposits which stood at Rs.
183.1 billion as at December 31, 2007 rose
to Rs. 191.5 billion as at June 30, 2008,
recording a 4.59% growth.
Total Group gross advances which stood at Rs.
181.1 billion as at December 31, 2007 grew
to Rs.185.2 billion as at June 30, 2008,
recording a marginal 2.3% growth.
The prevailing inflationary situation and
high interest rate regime, coupled with the
current macro-economic outlook restricted
the high growth trend of advances which was
experienced by the Bank over the past few
years, Commercial Bank's Chief Financial
Officer Nandika Buddhipala said.
Another significant development was that net
provisions for bad and doubtful debts rose
by Rs.349.6 million to Rs. 795.7 million,
recording a 78.37% increase, mainly due to
sector specific provisions made in 2008
Further, a Rs. 282.7 million general
provision on performing and overdue loans as
against Rs.245.7 million provided for the
corresponding period in 2007 also
contributed to the increase in net
provisions for bad and doubtful debts and
advances in 2008 first half. "This
additional provision was to conform with the
new provisioning requirements stipulated by
the Central Bank," said Buddhipala.
Total Group assets grew by 2.91% to reach Rs
276.2 billion as at June 30, 2008, from
Rs.268.4 billion as at December 31, 2007.
Taken separately, Commercial Bank reported a
Rs. 3,783.2 million pre-tax profit for 2008
first half, reflecting a Rs. 400.1 million
or 11.83% growth over the first half of last
Bank's post-tax profit amounted to Rs.2,259
million as against Rs.1,981.9 million
reported for the corresponding period in
2007, reflecting a Rs. 277.1 million or
In results released to the Colombo Stock
Exchange recently, the Group reported a Rs
3,656.9 million pre-tax profit for the six
months ended June 30, 2008, a Rs. 234.8
million or 6.86% growth over the
corresponding period in 2007.
Group post-tax profit for same period at Rs.
2,118.2 million was up 5.52%.
Group net interest income rose Rs.647.2
million or 11.94%, while "Other Income" at
Rs. 1,846 million recorded a Rs.566 million
or 44.22% increase. "The increase in other
income was primarily due to a Rs. 405
million profit earned by the Bank on the
sale of its stake in the shares of
Commercial Leasing Company PLC in May 2008,"
The Group's foreign exchange income rose by
Rs. 253.2 million or 30.75% during 2008
first half, mainly due to higher gains
realised from forward foreign exchange deals
done in 2008.
The Group's tax on profit on ordinary
activities published in the 2007 first half
results has been re-stated as Rs. 1,414.8
million in the comparative column of the
Income Statement of 2007.
This was due to reversal of a deferred tax
asset recognised on statutory general
provisions made as per the new provisioning
requirement of the Central Bank which was
reversed in preparing the 2007 Annual
Report. If the re-statement of the tax on
profit on ordinary activities was not
reflected, profit after tax for 2007 first
half would have been Rs. 2,173.3 million,
marginally higher than the post-tax profit
achieved in the period under review.
Meanwhile, Group non-interest expenses
recorded a Rs 577.7 million or 19.94%
increase in the period reviewed.
Trade deficit up 92%
Exports amounted to US$ 654.6 million in
June 2008; a 1.9% decline compared to June
However, cumulative exports earnings from
January-June 2008 recorded a 9.8% increase
to US$ 3,888 million. Despite the decline in
earnings from some industrial exports,
namely, food and beverages; garments and
textiles; and machinery and equipment,
earnings from agricultural exports increased
by 34.6% YoY, given the significant increase
in commodity prices in international markets
and the premium prices fetched by 'Ceylon
Tea' in key markets.
Thus, the growth in earnings from tea,
coconut and minor agricultural products
negated the impact of the decline in
industrial export earnings to some extent.
Agricultural exports are expected to
continue to perform better, in terms of
volumes as well as prices, and industrial
exports are expected to rebound from the
one-off decline in June.
Imports in June 2008 amounted to
US$ 1,159 million; a 39.4% increase.
However, non-oil imports amounting to US$
819 million recorded a slower growth of
16.9%. While intermediate goods accounted
for about 73% of the growth in expenditure
on imports in June 2008, imports of
petroleum products accounted for 87% of the
increase in this sector.
Import expenditure is expected to be lower
during the rest of the year as petroleum
prices continue to dwindle. Fertilizer and
diamonds were among the other intermediate
imports that increased in June, 2008.
Consumer goods imports expenditure grew by
29.6% largely due to higher expenditure on
food imports. Investment goods imports grew
by 17.7%, with machinery and equipment and
building materials imports expanding. Higher
growth in investment goods reflect the
implementation of large scale infrastructure
development projects funded by capital flows
to the Government and the private sector by
way of foreign direct investment.
Cumulative import expenditure in the first
six months of 2008 amounted to US$ 6,972
million; a 35.6% increase over the
corresponding period last year. Non-oil
imports during that period amounted to US$
5,180 million, which is a 23.8% increase
over the corresponding period last year.
These developments in external
trade resulted in a deficit in the trade
balance amounting to US$ 504 million for
June 2008. In the first six months of 2008
the deficit in the trade balance amounted to
US$ 3,084 million compared to the US$ 1,603
million deficit in the corresponding period
last year, a 92.4% YoY increase.
However, private remittances during the
period January-June 2008 which amounted to
US$ 1,460 million, and the higher capital
and financial flows more than offset the
deficit in the current account, as a result
of which the overall balance of payments
recorded a US$ 390 million surplus by
end-June 2008. Consequently gross official
reserves increased to US$ 3,433 million by
end June, 2008, up from U.S$ 3,062.5 million
in December 2007, sufficient to finance
around 3.1 months of imports.
SL invites textile investments
By Muzaffar Qureshi
Pakistani investors have been offered to set
up textile units in Sri Lanka where there is
no load-shedding and an easy access is
available to markets in the USA and EU.
The offer was made by High Commissioner of
Sri Lanka Dr W B Dorakumbore at a meeting
with Sindh Industries Minister Rauf Siddiqui
at the latter's office on Tuesday.
Responding to the offer, the minister
stressed the need for a joint strategy for
industrialisation based on export-oriented
joint ventures, especially in the textile
sector to be set up in both the countries.
The high commissioner called for efforts for
increasing bilateral trade between the two
countries from the existing level of $300
million to $1 billion under the Free Trade
Agreement (FTA) between them. He said that
the existing trade balance was in Pakistan's
favour which could be corrected by more
imports to Pakistan.
He said that
could import tea, coconut oil and betel leaf
while Pakistan exports to his country
include yarn, grey cloth, basmati rice and
fruits, especially mango.
The Sri Lankan envoy urged the Pakistan
government to reduce import duty on betel
leaf which has been raised in the new budget
from Rs150 to Rs200 per kg.
to send a larger trade delegation to the
SAARC fair scheduled to be held in Colombo
from Aug 28 to 31.
He said that the Pakistani delegation should
comprise at least 50 businessmen as India is
sending about 100 businessmen to the fair.
Earlier on a directive from the Sindh
minister, the Trade Development Authority of
Pakistan (TDAP) increased the size of trade
delegation for SAARC fair from 10 to 14.
He said that the Sindh province had great
potential for promoting tourism as it has
ancient religious places for Hindus and
Buddhists. These sites are mostly situated
in Tharparkar, Jacobabad and Sukkur. It
could be a good source of revenue generation
for the Sindh government.
At present about 300,000 to 400,000 tourists
go to India for a visit to ancient religious
sites. If the Sindh province publicises its
ancient Hindu and Buddhist sites, it can
attract about 100,000 pilgrims from Sri
Dialog's PAT down 78%
Dialog Telekom PLC Group in the 2Q ended
June 30, 2008 saw PAT decline by 78% YoY to
Rs. 537.9 million. The company in the 1H
ended June 30, 2008 saw PAT decline by 66.3%
YoY to Rs. 1,643 million.
Dialog Telekom Group performance derived
from a consolidation of the performance of
Dialog Telekom and its subsidiaries DBN and
DTV displayed YoY Revenue growth of 13% and
a PAT of Rs.1.64 bn. for the 1H of the year
ended 30 June 2008.
The Group in the 1H of the year saw revenue
grow by 13% YoY to Rs. 18.3 billion, while
PAT in the period under review fell by 66%
YoY to Rs. 1.6 billion.
The company per se saw revenue in the 1H of
the year grow by 6% YoY to Rs. 16.6 billion,
while PAT diminished by 59% YoY to Rs. 2.2
billion. The Company added 1.15 mn. (net)
new subscribers YoY resulting in the
Company's cellular subscriber base
increasing by 31% to 4.81 mn. as at June
30, 2008. The prepaid segment increased by
34% to 4.22 mn. In parallel, the post- paid
subscriber base witnessed a 14% growth to
0.59 mn. The company recorded a mobile
subscriber base of 4.8 million customers as
at the end of Q2 2008, representing a 31%
growth YoY. Revenue growth over the same
period was however relatively modest at 6%.
Revenue growth was mitigated in the main due
to tariff reductions and other affordability
enhancement strategies adopted by the
company during Q4 2007 in the backdrop of
suppressed price-usage elasticity levels
arising from inflation related pressures on
consumer spending power. Those resulted in a
59% PAT reduction on a YoY basis.
Kegalle Plantations PAT up 51%
Kegalle Plantations PLC in the first quarter
(1Q) ended June 30, 2008 saw profit after
tax (PAT) increase by 51.2% year on year (YoY)
to Rs. 153.7 million.
Nawaloka makes turnaround
Nawaloka Hospitals in the 1Q ended June 30,
2008 made a Rs. 4.8 million PAT compared to
a Rs. 25.4 million in the corresponding Q
CIC's PAT up 523%
CIC in the 1Q ended June 30, 2008 saw PAT
increase by 522.6% YoY to Rs. 358.6 million.
Property Development's PAT down 16%
Associated Property Development in the 1Q
ended June 30,, 2008 saw PAT decline by
16.4% YoY to Rs. 2.2 million.
Richard Pieris PAT up 413%
Richard Pieris & Co., PLC in the 1Q ended
June 30, 2008 saw PAT increase by 412.8% YoY
to Rs. 308.6 million.
Hayleys MGT PAT down 21%
Hayleys MGT in the 1Q ended June 30, 2008
saw PAT decline by 21.4% YoY to Rs. 76.4
Hayleys Exports' makes Rs. 12 mn., loss
Hayleys Exports' in the 1Q ended June 30,
2008 made a Rs. 11.8 million loss compared
to a Rs. 5.7 million PAT in the
corresponding Q the previous year.
Talawakelle makes turnaround
Talawakelle Plantations in the 2Q ended June
30, 2008 made a Rs. 40.3 million PAT
compared to a Rs. 19.2 million loss in the
corresponding Q the previous year. The
company in the first half (1H) ended June
30, 2008 saw PAT grow by 1,045.6% YoY to Rs.
Tea Services PAT up 30%
Ceylon Tea Services in the 1Q ended June 30,
2008 saw PAT grow by 29.9% YoY to Rs. 197.3
Overseas Realty's PAT up 99%
Overseas Realty in the 2Q ended June 30,
2008 saw PAT grow by 99.1% YoY to Rs. 135.6
million. The company in the 1H ended June
30, 2008 saw PAT grow by 99% YoY to Rs.
LB's PAT up 657%
LB Finance in the 1Q ended June 30, 2008 saw
PAT grow by 656.8% YoY to Rs. 70.7 million.
Pan Asia's PAT up 4%
Pan Asia Bank in the 2Q ended June 30, 2008
saw PAT grow by 3.8% YoY to Rs. 46.3
million. The Bank in the 1H ended June 30,
2008 saw PAT grow by 25.2% YoY to Rs. 112.7
Royal Ceramics PAT up 44%
Royal Ceramics Lanka in the 1Q ended June
30, 2008 saw PAT grow by 43.8% YoY to Rs. 77
HNB Assurance PAT up 4%
HNB Assurance PLC in the 1H of the year
ended June 30, 2008 saw PAT grow by 4%,
while turnover grew by 33% to Rs. 861. 3
million. Gross written premium (GWP) grew by
19% to Rs. 417.5 million while GWP from Life
Insurance grew by 51% to Rs. 443.8 million.
These were despite the continuing decline in
premium rates due to heightened competition
and escalating cost claims.
The company has embarked on a new initiative
to offer life insurance products to the
customers of its parent bank HNB by placing
a bancassurance officer at selected branches
of the bank. (Sources: John Keells Stock
Brokers & others)
Only 2% NPL ratio
On the way to reaching a successful
milestone in November when the organisation
marks 25 years, Bartleet Finance today
boasts of an astounding Rs.2 billion in
market valuation considering that the
initial capital was just Rs one million-the
success achieved through a steady growth in
business and not through the infusion of
At present the company has to its credit a
fixed deposit base of Rs.2.4 billion with
the projected target of Rs.3 billion set to
be achieved by the year end.
In reply to a question on how Bartleet
Finance has managed to remain steady in the
face of stiff competition and a volatile
market, Managing Director Susantha Fernando
said that such growth and success are the
result of many key steps taken to maintain
its position in the financial sector.
"Our success can be attributed to many
factors-the personalised service we offer
our customers, the advanced technology that
plays a prominent role in the day to day
operations, prudent management, and the fact
that the name Bartleet has an indisputable
reputation." He added however that the
success of Bartleet Finance has been
independent of the parent company and also
noted that their default rate (non
performing loans) is only around 2%, whereas
even in banks the default rate is well above
Assistant General Manager, Fixed Deposits
Sanjeewa Seneviratne, commenting on the
'Service at your doorstep' product said that
Bartleet Finance is the only registered
finance company (RFC) in Sri Lanka that
offers such a service to their clients with
regard to fixed deposits and leasing. "A
team of executives has been assigned to
cover our clients' financial requirements at
their home or office, including signing of
applications, interest payments, renewals
and deposits withdrawals. We reach out to
our clients, and that pays," he saidFernando
said that their lending base had increased
by 22% year-to-year and at present stands at
Rs.3 billion. "We have achieved an annual
profit of around Rs.100 million during the
past three years and we hope to work towards
achieving Rs.500 million in the nest three
years. We also intend to double our fixed
deposit base to Rs.5 billion within the same
period, and I can confidently say that we
are well poised to achieving these targets
that we have set," he added.
As part of its plans to celebrate its 25th
anniversary, Bartleet Finance has set some
ambitious targets and considering its strong
performance over the years the company is on
track to achieving these goals. "One of our
goals is to become the most efficient
finance company in Sri Lanka. We also aim to
offer our shareholders a good return and
enhance customer confidence in their fixed
deposits, the base of which exceeds Rs.1.3
billion and the number of deposit holders
exceeding 3000," Fernando said.
On the subject of competition in a fierce
market and in the face of current economic
conditions, Fernando said that they are not
worried about competition as Bartleets is
recognised as a solid entity with the parent
company in existence for over 104 years.
"Bartleet Finance has a very stringent
collection policy, which policy is to be
further strengthened by the installation of
a software system that will facilitate to
keep track of their collection officers on
the field, island wide.
While the Central Bank has granted the
company permission to open 12 branches, at
this point in time, Bartleet Finance has
opened only six, adopting a policy of being
cautious in this regard. These branches are
located in Kalutara, Matara, Embilipitiya,
Negombo, Polonnaruwa and Bandarawela.
The company in addition to these branches
operates five service centres. which are
located in Hambantota, Balangoda, Horana,
Galle and Panadura, and overseen by the
Commenting on the service centre in
Hambantota opened two months ago where the
focus was on leasing, Fernando said that in
this short period, their forecast has
doubled, proving once again that the
stringent policies adopted by the company
continues to reap benefits.
"In fact Embilipitiya is considered one of
the bad collection areas in the financial
sector, but our Embilipitiya branch has the
best collection record out of all our
branches. But I must add that all our
branches perform well and their collections
are above average," Fernando said.
Having conducted promotional campaigns, one
that has to be mentioned is the 'Service at
your doorstep' campaign which has proved to
be successful since its launch some months
ago. And to mark its 25th anniversary,
Bartleet Finance has launched yet another
promotional campaign targeting fixed
deposits, lending products and leasing.
. Seneviratne added that they offer an
interest rate of 21% on one year, monthly
Stressing on the security that comes with
investing in reputed and RFCs, Seneviratne
said that they follow the Central Bank's
requirement of publicising their credit
ratings. "Bartleet Finance has achieved a
commendable BBB- rating by an independent
rating agency in Malaysia.
Being part of the Bartleet conglomerate
which has been built on three
pillars-strength, stability and expertise,
little wonder then that Bartleet Finance has
achieved the success that it has over the
past 25 years.
The directors of the company are M. Eraj
Wijesinghe (Chairman), Sunil Wijesinghe
(Deputy Chairman), Susantha Fernando
(Managing Director), Deshabandu J.F.A. Soza,
Dr. P.N. Thenabadu, D.L.H. Ganlath, Buwaneka
Subasinghe and Susantha de Alwis.
Top biscuit manufacturer
Maliban has been rated
top biscuit manufacturer by LMD.
According to, Maliban Biscuits Chairman
A.G.R. Samaraweera, the Company's key
strength right throughout it's long history
has been it's emphasis on quality.
"From the inception Maliban has focused on
quality which has in turn built trust and
loyalty amongst generations of consumers.
This has been possible because the House of
Maliban has always been a brand close to the
consumers heart and the LMD rating is a
further reinforcement of our commitment to
giving the consumer a quality, great tasting
range of biscuits which are on par with any
The House of Maliban has been rated No 28
amongst the Most Respected Companies in Sri
Lanka by LMD, in addition to being rated the
top biscuit manufacturer, surpassing many
Advisor to Maliban Biscuits Nirosh De Silva
said, "The ratings have been given solely
on the quality of the manufacturing process
and the ingredients used, reinstating the
fact that Maliban biscuits are made with the
world's finest ingredients."
Recently Maliban re launched their all time
favourite cream cracker with a new taste as
well as new packaging, positioning it as a
'Lifestyle Cracker' catering to all ages.
The new cracker which is both crunchier and
tastier, is enriched with vitamins and
minerals and has no transfat, no animal fat
and no preservatives.
Maliban Biscuits Marketing Head Kumerini
Candappa said that great brands are founded
on a simple promise and the LMD rating
underlines their commitment to the customer
of providing a quality product which is in
keeping with consumer trends and
international standards, whilst being
Maliban biscuits are currently being
exported to over 20 countries in five
"Maliban is a brand that has a wide global
presence as we started exports as early as
1963," said De Silva.
He added that most of Maliban's machinery
and technology was of European origin,
despite the fact that this involved a higher
"Today we are one of the few major food
businesses that have the ISO 22,000
certification that relates to food safety.
We were also the first biscuit manufacturer
to be awarded Super Brand status and today
we have been rated the top biscuit
manufacturer. House of Maliban has indeed
proved that it can withstand the test of
time and we are confident of bettering our
performance, expanding our product range and
continuing to cater to all our customers
from the ages of 8 - 80," said Samaraweera.
The flag-bearer of the world's most
rewarding concept of insurance in Sri Lanka,
Amana Takaful Insurance (ATI), recently held
its annual awards ceremony, recognizing 'Takaful
Ambassadors' who contributed to its
continued leadership in Takaful insurance.
Themed 'Rewarding those who challenged their
limits,' the ceremony saw many excellent
performers walking away with several awards,
from sales excellence to operation and
Director/CEO of Amana Takaful Insurance and
the livewire behind the company's continued
success.Ehsan Zaheed recalled the short yet
colourful past of the Company as it embarked
on its history-making journey as Sri Lanka's
pioneer of the internationally-acclaimed
Takaful concept of insurance. He pointed out
the many obstacles that the company has
faced and successfully overcome over the
years, and that have added to its
"The environment around us has changed and
continues to change almost on a daily basis
and poses many challenges," he said. "Our
staff will be the key driving force in ATI's
success and their continued personal, as
well as career development will be a
priority", he added.
Amana Takaful Life CEO/General Manger Reyaz
Jeffrey expressed his pleasure at the
company's emergence as the market-leader in
Takaful insurance in Sri Lanka. "Although we
can be proud today for the inroads we have
made in a fiercely competitive industry, we
do not take it as a milestone to stop and
celebrate. It's a milestone that will help
us take the next step forward, and that is
to establish a superior status in
insurance industry," said Jeffrey who heads
the Company's Life Insurance operation.
Amana Takaful Insurance HR Consultant
Munshif Hussain, discussed the uniqueness of
the 'Takaful Mission' and its role in the
company's present and future success.
7th Frontier (Pvt) Ltd., Managing Director .Dinesh
Watawana stressed the potential presented by
the uniqueness of the Takaful concept.
Key award winners for General Insurance
were.M.G..M. Ansari for Overall Best
Production-Account Managers Category with
Thasleen Ammon and Omar Mustafa coming in as
In the Senior category Shabeer Sherifdeen (Pettah)
won Overall Best Production and Luqman Nizam
(Pettah) the same in the junior category.
Award for the Best Life Insurance
collections was bagged by H..M..M..Irshad (Pettah)
with.Shakir Mohomed (Metro) and.M. J. M.
Jehan (Matale) emerging as runners-up.
The awards for Highest New Business Life
Insurance were bagged by.I..B.Chaminda (Kalutara
branch), whilst.M. Z.M..Rushdi (Metro)
bagged the award for Highest MCFP.
Best Outstation Performance: Mazad Mohamed (Kandy
branch) and the award for Best portfolio
mix-Riyaz Madani (Pettah).
Best Branch Manager for 2007-M.L.Basheer (Puttalam)
and Best Branch for 2007 (Puttalam).
Amana Takaful Insurance is today the
premierTakaful insurance provider in Sri
Lanka, offering both life and general
insurance. Providing a variety of unique
policies, the Company has grown from
strength to strength in a short space of
time with phenomenal growth and a rapidly
expanding client base that is attracted by
the Takaful system. ATI so far has a network
of 18 branches in Sri Lanka and one in
Free ICT training
Now you can get a basic qualification in
"Fundamentals of IT" when you buy any LG
Desktop Computer from Abans.
The offer is valid till September 30 and
entitles all those who buy an LG Desktop
Computer from Any Abans Showroom, Nexxt@Abans
Showrooms, JVC/Haier Showrooms, A to Z
Showrooms and all Abans authorized dealers
to enter a draw where 50 lucky winners would
be eligible to a 15 hour comprehensive
course at the end of which certificates will
be awarded by LG to all participants.
The programme will be conducted in
collaboration with Microsoft Sri Lanka and
Abans IT Service Department and is an effort
to mutually contribute towards ICT
To be entitled to take part in the draw,
customers who have bought LG Desktop
Computers in August and September 2008 from
any of the above mentioned showrooms will
have to produce a copy of the invoice to the
By luck of the draw, 50 customers will be
entitled to participate in the IT course.
Winners will be notified of the date on
which the course begins. A customer winning
the draw could nominate another person if
he/she does not wish to participate in the
The course is an excellent opportunity for
computer owners to derive additional
information about computer software and
hardware and also maintenance and upgrading
tips for computers. Tutors for the course
will be qualified personnel from Microsoft
Sri Lanka and Abans IT Service Department.
Abans uses only genuine and licensed
software. LG desktop computers are available
with a comprehensive on site service where
qualified IT technicians visit customers for
personalized service. Every computer sold at
any of the showrooms mentioned above carry
Abans' trusted hallmark of guaranteed
quality, performance and
Hyatt Colombo to be ready in 2010
Ceylinco Homes International, developers of
Celestial Residencies-Sri Lanka's most
prestigious water front residencies and
Hyatt Regency Colombo, announced the visit
of Hyatt International Technical Services
Inc., Vice President Malcolm Turner to
Colombo to review the progress of Hyatt Regency Colombo.
On reviewing work at site and the completion
of the superstructure of the hotel, Hyatt
International Technical Services Inc is now
programming the hotel's interior fitout.
Situated at a prime location, Ceylinco
Celestial Residencies will be perched atop
the Hyatt Regency Colombo. This latest
addition to the Hyatt international chain of
hotels and the finest of them all will
feature futuristic design by world renowned
experts and is expected to be opened to the
world in 2010.
Turner said: "We have a great amount of
confidence in Sri Lanka as an island and
Colombo as a city, because of its people,
the culture and the history is so perfect
for this hotel to be one of the rising stars
in this part of the world and we believe by
the time the Hyatt Regency Colombo opens to
the public, the city and the country will be
ripe and ready for one of the best hotels in
The Hyatt Regency Colombo with 180 "keys,"
made up of King rooms, Twin rooms, Junior
suites, Executive suites and Presidential
suites, will also include an exclusive
Regency Club floor and is sure to benefit
from the extensive expertise of the Hyatt
Investors should take note of the fact that
international specialists and consultants
involved in the project have developed some
high profile award winning properties in
Asia Pacific and beyond and are now sharing
their expertise and adding value to the
Turner commented that Hyatt has a strong
reputation in the world to creating dynamic
bars and restaurants and are trying to
create something different and far more
dynamic than has yet to be seen in Colombo.
To this end the grand ballroom which opens
out to the sea and sky will host over a
1,000 guests, the largest in the country
which will be designed by the interior &
restaurant specialists Bilkey Llineas; the
"water" themed multi cuisine restaurant will
be designed by Super Potato. Renowned
landscape architect Belt Collins will sculpt
the infinity pool and terrace overlooking
the Indian Ocean. Globally acclaimed
kitchen consultants TriArch will provide
state-of-the-art amenities for all
restaurants. Hyatt International Technical
Services will ensure the services sync with
the design to clockwork perfection while
being on par with the highest standards.
Ceylinco Consolidated Chairman Deshamanya
Dr. Lalith Kotelawala partnering Hyatt
International in this venture and the
visionary behind this impressive development
says, "in building this mammoth structure
our intention is to encourage and develop
local talent and thereby give an opportunity
to many Sri Lankans to be associated with
this project as they have the knowledge,
expertise and all it takes to match world
class construction. This will also
stimulate the economy as well as generate
direct and indirect employment
"Celestial Residencies/Hyatt Regency Colombo
is rising on a premium water front location
and investors will have the fortune of
investing in the tallest structure in
Colombo," said Ceylinco Homes Group Deputy
Chairperson Mrs. Padmini Karunanayake.
"Construction has been going on steadily,"
said Deputy Chief Executive Director
Cryshantha Jayawardhana and announced that
construction has now reached level 14. "This
is a significant landmark for the project
because from this point on construction on
the superstructure of the apartments will
start," he added.
Ceylinco Homes, the developing company with
an impeccable record of delivering superior
quality properties with strong brand
recognition and benchmarking quality and
innovative in luxury property development in
Sri Lanka is the only property developer to
be awarded the prestigious "Superbrand"
DHL offers new products
DHL, the world's leading express and
logistics company is looking at expanding
its business within the SAARC region with an
integrated product portfolio that will
bolster transportation and trade between
DHL is the first logistics player to foray
into the SAARC segment and plans to service
the estimated _120m Express market share in
This set of innovative logistics solutions
will help in quicker transit times, better
customer service through online track and
trace, one invoice, door-to-door delivery
and special SAARC zone pricing. This unique
package lets you choose your destination,
mode of delivery and delivery date with
products like Express Worldwide DOC-fastest
international door-to-to door delivery of
documents subject to customs clearance,
Express Worldwide NDOC-fastest international
door-to-to door delivery of parcels subject
to customs clearance and an economical
product that offers better cost management.
This is beneficial to customers who are
looking at expanding into newer markets.
These services use DHL's enhanced
infrastructural support to gain direct
connections to key SAARC
directions-Pakistan, Sri Lanka & Bangladesh.
DHL also deploys its own fleet of aircraft
and vehicles for the fastest on time
DHL Express South Asia Senior VP & Area
Director Malcolm Monteiro said, "As a trade
facilitator and a leader in the logistics
business, we believe in the business
potential within the SAARC region. With
increasing logistics spends, it is only
prudent that trade lanes be further
It has been observed that trade can
significantly increase once trade barriers
are lifted. According to an AT Kearney study
in 2007, with implementation of NAFTA, ASEAN
& EU in 2003, trade grew significantly by
44%, 49% & 63% respectively since
DHL Express Sri Lanka Country Manager Martin
Dudek, said, "Developing trade lanes and
improving inter-connectivity, not only air
connectivity, but by land and sea amongst
SAARC countries is of great importance. The
utility of greater connectivity would be
economically significant and would benefit
Sri Lanka. And as the world's leading air
express company we are planning to introduce
a series of integrated products and services
to suit these needs of the region."
During the last few years, DHL Express has
made significant investments of over EUR 2.5
million towards the development and
upgrading of its network infrastructure
in Sri Lanka, including a purpose-built
40,000-square-feet Country Office and
Service Centre with state-of-the-art
shipment-handling and security systems,
including digital surveillance systems,
access control, a Quality Control Centre and
a larger shipment-processing area aimed at
providing a seamless express and logistics
service solution to Sri Lankan exporters.
Emirates' new eco programme
Emirates has unveiled a series of new
initiatives to further improve the
environmental performance of its operations
The programme, branded Emvironment includes
the adoption of a new environmental policy
for the Emirates Group; a global staff
awareness campaign; and internal goals to
reduce energy consumption and waste, as well
as increase recycling and training.
Emirates has also launched a new section on
its website that features information on the
Group's management of environmental issues.
Emirates Airline and Group Chairman/Chief
Executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum,
said: "Emirates is committed to acting
responsibly and sustainably in the interests
of our customers and business, the
environment and the 100-plus destinations we
serve worldwide. Our environmental
commitment began well before it was
considered fashionable when we sponsored the
creation of the Dubai Desert Conservation
Reserve in 1997."
He added: "Emirates is investing billions of
dollars in new aircraft that demonstrate our
environmental leadership through the most
fuel- and emission-efficient fleet possible.
Our A380s are the world's most eco-efficient
commercial aircraft. Emvironment's aim is to
make our organisation as sustainable as
possible and we intend to keep our
stakeholders informed on progress and future
Emvironment will focus on reducing already
low levels of per passenger fuel-burn and
emissions and driving eco-efficiency
throughout the organisation by reducing,
recycling and reusing resources.
Emirates invests heavily in new research and
technologies to address the world's
environmental challenges. For example, the
airline helped to pioneer Flextrack with
to use onboard navigational technology that
saves time, fuel and emissions.
Kitchens at Emirates Flight Catering are
among the most eco-efficient in the world
and recycle over 100 tonnes of paper,
plastic and aluminium a month.
Emirates' Senior Vice President Public and
Environmental Affairs Andrew Parker, said:
"From an environmental perspective Emirates
has much to be proud of, particularly our
advanced fleet and use of technology to
minimise our footprint.
While much of this work has been underway
for many years, the new Emvironment
programme will provide a strategic
underpinning to further improve our
We intend to do more to demonstrate industry
leadership, including the adoption of higher
standards in fuel burn; onboard weight
reduction; procurement; resource
consumption; and recycling. On ground, this
particularly means more efficient use of
energy and water."
Commercial aviation, which accounts for 2%
of the world's carbon dioxide emissions has
made significant progress in reducing its
Next year Emirates will open one of the
world's most environmentally ambitious
conservation resorts, the 4000-acre Wolgan
Valley Resort & Spa in Blue Mountains,
The project involves restoring vast tracks
of distressed farming land back to its
native state and reintroducing endangered
fauna and flora. The US$69 million resort
will only occupy about 1% of the total land
Gateway Graduate School
Gateway, Sri Lanka's
leading educational organization with over a
decade in this field, launched their
Graduate School of Education in the presence
of a distinguished gathering.
The School was opened by Chief Guest Dr
Peter Hayes, High Commissioner for UK, while
the Guest of Honour was Ms. Gill Westaway,
Director British Council.
Also present was Manager Academic support of
NCC Education Andrew Rennie.
Gateway Graduate School,
in partnership with NCC Education UK, will
initially offer a choice of two career
pathways to complete degrees from
here in Sri Lanka.
Situated in proximity to
Rajagiriya, just 100 yards from Parliament
Road, the Campus consists of
state-of-the-art facilities for modern
teaching, sports and recreation.
Speaking at the opening, Gateway Group
Chairman R.I.T. Alles said that over the
years Gateway has built a reputation for
being not just one of the largest
educational organizations in Sri Lanka, but
one of the most trusted as well.
"We have the distinction of producing
educational programmes that have been
certified or endorsed by leading training
providers in the UK, while we also carry out
specialized programmes in association with
strategic partners in the UK. We have
invested heavily in education over the
years-in excess of R 1 billion with teacher
training taking pride of place.
Today our staff strength exceeds 800 and we
are proud to welcome on board as the
Governor of the
Gateway Graduate School,
Vidya Jyothi Emeritus Professor Dayantha
Wijayasekera; who, as a former Vice
Chancellor of Moratuwa University and the
Open University of Sri Lanka, brings a
wealth of experience.
Director Gateway Group, Dr Harsha Alles, in
his presentation on the Graduate School said
that students would be able to receive their
degree at the University convocation in the
UK. "Undergraduates will also have the
option of transferring to universities in
UK, USA or Australia at the end of every
academic year. The three year programme of
study is structured for students to receive
industry recognized qualifications at the
end of every year. We also hope to offer
degrees in varying specialties from a number
of universities in time to come."
215 gallons of blood donated
Demonstrating good citizenship, employees of
Sri Lanka's top apparel exporter Brandix
donated 1,721 pints of blood to the National
Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) through a
Group-wide initiative encompassing 19
Brandix Chief Peoples Officer Nigel Forbes
said: "The volume of blood donated this year
was more than triple the collection last
year, and in layman's terms, was more than
215 gallons. There could be no better
expression of compassion for the needs of
A certificate of appreciation was presented
by NBTS to Brandix in acknowledgement of
this initiative recently. The certificate
was received on behalf of the donors by
Group Human Resources Manager Sujith
Jayasekera and two Sintesi associates, the
Brandix Group company which had the most
successful collection campaign.
Nahil on tourism
On Benchmark today will be the new Chairman
of Ceylon Continental Hotel Nahil Wijesuriya
on the state of
hotels and how to make city tourism work.
The same edition of the business programme
will have the "rising price of food and the
need to cushion consumers from the cost of
living" in 'Talking Point.'
Plus, the 'Voice Of Business' speaks out on
what's bugging the bourse these days and
guesses how long the bears will dominate
trading on the Colombo Stock Exchange.
Redefining mobile computing
Redefine mobile computing with the new ASUS
R2E Notebook-R2E Ultra Mobile PC that
satisfies every "on-the-go computing need
Epsi Computers, authorized distributors for
ASUS in Sri Lanka announced that Asus
brings innovative notebook designing to a
new level with the latest R2E notebook.
The R2E Ultra Mobile PC satisfies every
on-the-go computing need and more; offering
all the advantages with a highly versatile
platform based on the functionality of a
conventional laptop and the
user-friendliness of touch panel input on an
intelligent digital writing pad. With its
7-inch LCD screen, the R2E packs all these
features in the size of a paperback novel!
With the ASUS SunRead glare-proof panel,
users can use the R2E to lead the way even
when navigating the great outdoors in the
Commentinhg on the launch of this new
product, Group Product Manager Sankha
Jayaratne said that this innovative notebook
achieves a fine balance between being
feature rich and compact at the same time.
"We believe that an innovation such as the
ASUS R2E will provide notebook users in Sri
Lanka with a unique solution to their ever
increasing on-the-go computing needs."
Global Positioning System (GPS) for Anywhere
Connection: Navigate and explore with
built-in GPS. The retractable mechanism
stores the antenna away when not in use.
Together with Internet access, positioning
is possible even off road. Multiple
programmes can run simultaneously for
accurate turn-by-turn directions for the
driver while passengers get to enjoy live TV
or movie and music playback.
Digital Entertainment On-the-Go: The R2E
packs in a great number of multimedia
features for personal entertainment
anywhere. There's easy media access anytime
with live TV enjoyment with an external
antenna and a remote controller. For a
comfortable viewing experience, the ASUS
SunRead glare-proof panel displays images
and words sharply for a clear view in bright
Security Management for Protected Computing
and Privacy Protection: In order to provide
business travellers with peace of mind, the
R2E offers total data protection that meets
the evolving security needs with both
software and hardware solutions. This
notebook offers a smart balance of mobility
and performance with a comprehensive
security feature that protects the notebook
and its stored information. Data security is
uncompromised with a built-in AuthenTec
fingerprint scanner with TruePrint
technology that reads from the live layer of
skin, preventing common skin surface
conditions from impairing scanner accuracy.
Embedded TPM is a hardware solution that
helps to avoid attacks by hackers looking to
capture passwords and encryption keys to
Freedom to navigate with confidence by just
the touch of a finger: Asus R2E with
satellite GPS provides a comprehensive
travel guide owing to which users no longer
need to deal with paper maps or ask for
directions. The incorporated GPS antenna
with a foldable mechanism allows convenient
storage when not in use. Ultimately, the R2E
empowers users to go further, do more.
Do more with a Smaller and Lighter Design:
The feature-rich R2E is packed with
computing, multimedia and connectivity
functions. Built-in Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR
(Enhanced Data Rate), Wireless LAN 802.11
a/b/g and a high-resolution webcam, offer
extensive high-speed connections and
wire-free video communication.
Intuitive User Experience: The R2E runs on
Genuine Windows Vista Edition with Microsoft
Origami Experience Pack software and
ergonomic hardware interface designs. With
complete function keys laid out on both
sides of the front panel, users enjoy
comfortable operation to a full set of
control keys, including mouse, scroll
buttons, hot keys as well as an on-screen
keypad, all at the finger tips.
Handwritten Input with ASUS InfoPen:
Increase productivity and efficiency with
handwritten input capability. Together with
Asus InfoPen software, users can record and
edit images or documents as easy as on a
piece of paper with colour and highlighter
options. The DigiPen stylus also has an
eraser end and mouse control buttons so that
users can now navigate a wide range of
applications with single-handed ease.
Easier and Safer Digital Data Transmission:
Secure digital media slot is also integrated
into the new R2E notebook PC. It gives users
the immediate benefit of easy file sharing
with different devices and users, while
opening the door for future technologies
like secure digital I/O. Secure digital
helps Asus products work better together.
R2E Specifications:-CPU: Intel Stealey A110
(800MHz); LCD: 7" WVGA (Touch Panel) (Sun
Readable); VGA: Intel 945GU; Web Cam: 1.3 M
Camera; Operating System: Genuine Windows
Vista Premium; Memory: 1 GB DDR II (1GBx1);
HDD: 100G PATA; Card Reader & Other
features: FP Reader + GPS (WO/Map) and Free
Accessories: USB Keyboard + Car Charger +
Link Cable + Car Bag
Asus is a leading company in the new digital
era. With a global staff of more than 8,000
and a world-class R&D design team, the
company's turnover for 2007 was US dollars
6.9 billion. Asus ranks among the top 10 IT
companies in BusinessWeek's "InfoTech 100,"
and has been on the listing for 11
consecutive years. Asus was also selected by
Wall Street Journal Asia as No.1 in quality
and service in Taiwan.
The Logistics Academy (Pvt.) Ltd., that
operates from Maharagama are supply chain
specialists, logisticians and educationists.
They are professionals of "best practice
solutions" in warehousing.
The academy identifies and finds solutions
to warehouse key poor performance indicators
(KPPI), an unproductive and damaging
warehouse cancer that needs to be
Being complacent about warehouse operations
performance may place on risk customer
A statement advises a warehouse operator
that before planning an evaluation of
control procedure for eventual best
practice, an operator must identify its
KPPIs-a sure path to total losses.
This is where the
"Warehouse Interest Section" provides the
operator with solutions, it said.
Some of its consultancy works has roped in
customers such as Richard Pieris
Distributors Ltd.; Asama Engineering
Talawatugoda; Brown & Co; Goodwill Lanka;
Kelani Tyres; Forbes & Walker and Sri Lanka
Freight Forwarders' Association.