To buy shares at a premium of Rs. 117
IFC committed to invest
Rs. 1.5 bn., in Sampath
International Finance Corporation (IFC), the
World Bank's private sector development arm
is still committed to buy a 14.5% stake in
Sampath Bank PLC at a premium price of Rs.
117 a share despite a downturn in the
market, where Sampath's shares are currently
trading at a low Rs. 94.75 a share, informed
sources who did not want to be named told
The Sunday Leader.
However, the Bank's net asset value per
share (NAV) is still higher than its
proposed rights price, as well as IFC's
investment price, with an NAV at Rs. 130 a
share, they said.
IFC's total commitment in this instance
amounts to Rs. 1.5 billion.
This investment is to take place subject to
Sampath Bank shareholder approval, and after
the conclusion of the Bank's proposed rights
share issue, where it's offering its
existing shareholders one new share for
every four shares held at a price of Rs. 100
Sampath Bank at present has 68.9 million
shares, with the Bank proposing to raise
more than Rs. 1.7 billion through this
rights issue in order to meet its Tier 1
The Bank's shares are generally illiquid,
with four powerhouses, namely Harry
Jayawardena and Dhammika Perera (two
business magnates), Chinkara an offshore
fund and a few other offshore funds
connected to it, and the Bank's own Employee
Share Option Plan (ESOP) controlled by the
Bank's Board, cumulatively holding over a
50% equity stake in the Bank.
The agreement that the Bank has reached with
IFC in regard to the latter's proposed
investment is that in the event that the
rights issue is fully subscribed, IFC would
buy a 14.5% stake in the Bank on the basis
of its expanded share capital at Rs. 117 a
share, leading to a total investment
commitment of Rs. 1.5 billion.
However, in the event the rights share issue
is not fully taken-up, they would buy the
shares not subscribed at the rights share
price of Rs. 100 a share, and the balance at
Rs. 117 a share, to make-up their 14.5%
equity stake in the bank. That course of
action however would dilute their original
investment commitment of Rs. 1.5 billion in
IFC is an underwriter of sorts to the rights
issue, they said. IFC has also sounded the
Bank that they want two Board seats. In the
event they come on board, they may help
Sampath to go regional because of their
international stature, the sources said.
They alleged that it was IFC's backing that
helped Commercial Bank to go regional, by
acquiring a bank in Bangladesh. IFC has an
equity stake in Commercial Bank.
IFC's Investment Head in Colombo Jeetendra
Marcelline was not immediately available for
Meanwhile, at the time Sampath made its
original rights share issue application,
which was in May, the Bank's shares were
trading at Rs. 113.50 a share, Rs. 18.75
more than its currently traded price of Rs.
94.75 a share.
As its shares are at present trading below
its proposed rights issue price, the Bank
recently wrote to the Colombo Stock Exchange
(CSE), asking for a deferment of this issue
on the grounds that their proposed rights
issue share price had fallen below its
market share price.
The CSE in response asked Sampath for how
long they wanted this deferment, and what
was the reaction of IFC to this proposed
deferment of their rights issue.
Meanwhile Sampath in their reply made last
week, rescinded their decision, seeking for
a postponement, and wrote back to the CSE,
that they would be going ahead with this
rights share issue, as originally planned.
Launch of ebased industry curricula
An ICT based curricula covering four
disciplines, namely agriculture, apparel,
media and tourism was launched in
This curriculum is available both in the
"soft" and "hard" copy format, Mrs. Harshi
Hewage de Silva, Project Director Unlimited
Potential Partnership (UPP), the
organization that is spearheading this
programme told The Sunday Leader.
UPP is implemented through a tripartite
partnership comprising USAID, Microsoft and
Infoshare (Guarantee) Ltd., a locally based
ICT company. Those curricula were formulated
by getting inputs from resource persons in
the relevant industries, both public and
private. Those resource persons were also
feted at that occasion.
The curricula will be launched in over 40
training institutions, including the State
run vocational training institutes as well
as privately run training institutes. They
will cover 11,000 students by 2010, she
In as much as "chalk and board" are
necessary ingredients for conventional
learning, the more expensive, namely ICT
related infrastructure like computers and
internet connectivity are essential
ingredients for the teaching and learning of
curricula which are ebased, seemingly the
road ahead in future learning techniques.
"The necessary ICT infrastructure including
internet connectivity and computers are
available in those over 40 training
institutions that will be implementing this
programme," de Silva however said.
USAID Country Director Rebecca Cohn speaking
at the launch said that the reason why those
four industry categories were chosen for the
esyllabi project was because 39% of employed
Sri Lankans belonged to those sectors.
Meanwhile, de Silva said that the project
would be expanded to include the
construction sector as well. She admitted
that English was as important as ICT
learning, but added that that ambit did not
come within their purview. "We are
essentially a technologically (ICT) driven
organization," said de Silva.
Sri Lanka (Pvt)
Ltd., Country Manager Sriyan de Silva
Wijeyaratne in his speech said that they are
in this project to build capacity, adding
that Microsoft believed that ICT was a
Shortage of Sambha
Trade requests President to up the control
price of Sambha rice.
Currently the controlled price of Sambha is
Rs. 70 a kilo. However the market is facing
a shortage of this variety of rice at
Old Moor Street President K.Palaniandy told
The Sunday Leader that an increase of
between Rs. 10-20 a kg would make it
profitable for those in the supply chain
once more to trade in Sambha.
In a letter to the President written on
Friday, Palaniandy said that the benefits of
such an increase would be two fold: A
superior quality rice available to the
consumer at a "marginally" increased price
and an immediate saving in foreign exchange
as the draw off on the imported varieties
Palaniandy in his letter had however pointed
out to the President the adequate stocks of
imported varieties such as Ponni rice from
India and Basmati from Pakistan available in
the market, but selling high at prices
ranging from Rs. 120-150 a kg., beyond the
reach of the average consumer.
In the case of Sambha, the preferred variety
of the average consumer, the quality
available has deteriorated considerably, he
said. The attributable reason for this is
the high cost of labour incurred by paddy
millers in processing, ie polishing, washing
and separating broken rice.
The consequences of the foregoing are that
millers have no option but to process paddy
in a slipshod manner at the expense of the
consumer, Palaniandy told the President. As
such he requests the aforementioned moderate
increases for Sambha to get over the crisis.
JKH, Dialog, take hits
Foreigners staying away from the bourse are
having a negative impact on the market which
returned a poor Rs. 93.1 million turnover on
Friday, authoritative sources said.
They said that a chief reason for this is
that the two stocks in which foreigners were
interested, namely Dialog and John Keells
Holding (JKH), going though a bad patch
"Dialog's poor earnings in the last quarter
and the imbroglio that John Keells Holding (JKH)
has got into on account of its subsidiary
Lanka Marine Services, have sent negative
signals to foreign investors," they said.
Dialog's shares which at one time hit a
record Rs. 27, is now trading at a low Rs.
10.75, they said, similarly JKH at Rs. 89,
down Rs. 1.25 over Thursday's close. Those
who wanted to invest in JKH at Rs. 90, are
now thinking twice, expecting this share to
fall further, they said.
High inflation, and with it high interest
rates, are also having a negative effect on
the market. They further said that investors
are yet to see the light of a distant dawn
as far as the war is concerned.
"We have seen such 'progress' in the
warfront before," they said, alluding to the
present military situation. "If, however
Prabhakaran is killed, then that will
definitely have an impact on the bourse,"
The market sees a lack of direction, the
Foreign purchases on Friday were an
insignificant Rs. 11.2 million, while
foreign sales: Rs. 13.2 million.
In the past three months it were locals who
were dominating the bourse, but they have
run out of steam, the sources said. They
were doing their trading on margins, but
with settlements coming into play and with
no demand, they are forced to sell at a
loss, the sources said.
It is the same story as far as foreign
investments are concerned. "In their case
however they cannot exit because of the low
prices that the stocks they invested in now
command," the sources said.
There are no expected foreign investments
coming, now that locals have lost steam,
they said. There doesn't seem to be a light
at the end of the tunnel, at least as far as
the near future is concerned for the market,
the sources further said.
It is only retail play that the market is
currently witnessing, that too on second
tier stocks, they said.
CB strategy to fail
Central Bank's (CB's) strategy of trying to
bring down interest rates by offering only
the six months and one year maturing
Treasury Bills (T Bills) to the market may
come to a dead end at this week's auction
due to the high inflationary scenario
prevailing in the economy, market sources
The CB, for the third consecutive week,
abstained from offering the shorter tenure
91 day T Bills to the market last week in
order to get interest rates down on the
other two tenures.
As a result of this manipulation, the
weighted average yields (WAYs) for T Bills
of 182 day tenure fell by 30 basis points (bp)
to 17.45% (vis--vis the WAY commanded at the
previous week's auction) at Wednesday's T
Bill primary auction.
Meanwhile, the WAY on 364 day T Bills at
this auction fell by 16 bp to 18.34%.
This auction was for the re-issue of Rs.
8,000 million maturing T Bills, of which Rs.
6,634 million was accepted from the market
and the balance (Rs. 1,366 million)
rejected, a term interpreted by the market
that the CB got captive funds to invest in
the same at interest rates that were lower
than that which the market was demanding.
However, market sources envisaged, that with
moving average inflation still in the 20%
highs (despite the Census and Statistics
Department recently introducing a diluted
Colombo Consumer Price Index to measure
inflation), WAYs of 182 and 364 day T Bills
would not come down beyond five basis points
at this week's auction.
The CB on Friday said that they will be
offering for reissue Rs. 9,000 million worth
of maturing T Bills to the market on
Wednesday, with the splits being Rs. 4,000
million worth of maturing T Bills of a 182
day tenure and Rs. 5,000 million worth of
maturing T bills of 364 day tenure. The CB,
for the fourth consecutive week will not be
offering T Bills of a 91 day maturity to the
market at this auction.
Govt., shopping for dollars
State owned People's Bank was continuously
buying US dollars from the market last week,
but Central Bank intervention prevented the
dollar from going beyond the Rs. 107/90
levels, market sources said.
They said that the government allowing
foreigners to invest in rupee denominated
bank accounts were having a salutary effect
in preventing the rupee from depreciating.
The attraction to invest in those accounts
(known as Foreign Investment Deposit
Accounts) is due to the high interest rates
that such accounts command, which are closer
to 20% and beyond, they said.
The sources further said that such buying by
a state bank generally signals that they are
making such investments on behalf of the
government, either to settle a defence or
petroleum bill, or both.
They expected such borrowings to continue
this week as well. However, trading in the
past week was low, with daily volumes in
general ranging from between Rs.15-30
million, in contrast to the usual daily
volumes which are between Rs. 50-100
Meanwhile, overnight call money market
rates, the rates at which banks borrow from
each other for a day, remained on high for
the fourth consecutive week last week,
closing the week at the 17-18 % levels.
Sources attributed these high interest rates
to government borrowings.
They further said that in secondary market
activity, 2010 maturing Treasury Bonds (T
Bonds) were being traded at the 17.90%
levels, while those maturing in 2012 were
being traded 50 basis points lower, at the
17.40% levels, with market expectations that
rates would come down due to investor
perception in certain quarters that the
government is winning the war against LTTE
Unawareness hits BPO industry
The local IT-BPO industry has set a target
to become a US$ 2bn.,industry employing over
100,000 people by 2012.
"However, one of the key issues is that not
many of our youth are aware of the IT-BPO
industry and how to get themselves qualified
to get in to these high paying jobs. Neither
our parents are informed enough to guide
their children to this high growth field,"
said Software Exporters Association Vice
Chairman Madu Ratnayake.
"With a good human resource capacity
development plan, we can create a
significant social impact by way of
employment for educated masses and help Sri
Lanka become a player in the new knowledge
economy," he said. Growth is primarily
limited due to the lack of required numbers
of trained IT/BPO professionals in the
country, Ratnayake said.
In India over two million people are
employed in the IT-BPO industry and they
generate over US$ 64 billion in annual
revenue and grows over 30% year on year.
Many other countries, who have taken a
focused approach to develop their IT-BPO
Industry has derived similar employment and
foreign income benefits.
The local industry, Government and academia
are getting together and driving a number of
initiatives to get more people to in to the
IT-BPO industry, he said.
Meanwhile, a Cabinet Sub Committee chaired
by Public Administration Minister Karu
Jayasuriya has been appointed to grow the
The latest addition to Asian Alliance's
network of star employees is Leelaratne
Piyasena, a professional expert in the
fields of Education, Banking, Real Estate,
Insurance and Telecoms.
He is the organization's new Deputy General
Manager, Training and Knowledge Management.
Having joined the Insurance Industry as a
part time agent in 1983, he began his career
in 1990 at C.T.C. Eagle Insurance Company;
initially joining the company as the
District manager-Matara. He then progressed
to Regional manager-Colombo and Zonal
Manager-Metro, Head of Sales Training and
Development in 1996 and initiated the
setting up of the Eagle Training and
In 2005 Piyasena was appointed as the Chief
Knowledge Officer of C.T.C Eagle and he
gained exposure as a Trainer in Allied
Dunbar U.K., Eagle Star U.K. and Hong Kong,
Japan, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai
and India during his tenure at Eagle.
Asian Alliance Insurance CEO Ramal Jasinghe
said, "Knowledge Management is a
multi-billion dollar worldwide market. As an
organization that is continually innovating
and looking ahead, we seek to place a
greater focus on knowledge management as an
asset and the development and cultivation of
the channels through which knowledge,
information and signal flow. We have
confidence that Piyasena will prove an
invaluable asset in helping us grow and move
forward by leading the responsibility of
training and knowledge management towards
enhancing organizational results."
Another rewards programme
American Express (AmEx) issued in Sri Lanka
by Nations Trust Bank PLC (NTB), has
introduced Cathay Pacific's Asia Miles and
Mackinnons American Express Travel (MAET) to
its Membership Rewards programme.
AmEx card members will now be able to
transfer their Membership Rewards points
into Asia Miles at a 1 for 1 conversion
rate. Access to Asia Miles offers the
ability to redeem points for flight awards
with Cathay Pacific Airways, American
Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Japan
Airlines, Qantas, and all One World alliance
partners as well as a range of lifestyle
Card members also have the flexibility of
redeeming their Membership Reward points for
travel vouchers from MAET. Travel vouchers
can be redeemed for any bookings-hotel, car
hire, cruise and flights that can bee made
"We are delighted to offer our cardmembers
new and exciting redemption opportunities
through our Membership Rewards programme.
Partnering with Cathy Pacific's Asia Miles
and MAET increases choice and flexibility
for cardmembers; making AmEx the best value
option," said NTB's DGM Consumer Banking Ms.
MAET CEO Trevor Rajaratnam said, "MAET is
delighted to be a redemption partner on the
AmEx Membership Rewards programme. The
programme reiterates the value and strength
of the AmEx brand in an era where consumers
constantly seek value additions. We are
excited to welcome customers redeeming
Membership Rewards points for a host of
travel products and services.''
The AmEx Membership Rewards Programme is one
of the strongest and most recognized loyalty
programmes in the world. The programme
offers cardmembers in Sri Lanka the
opportunity to earn 1 Membership Reward
Point for every Rs100 spent using the AmEx
card. Membership Rewards points do not
expire and may be accumulated for
USD 500 mn., fuel bill
SriLankan is projecting a fuel bill of USD
500 million for the current year at present
prices, which accounts for 50% of its
overall costs, the airline in a statement
released last week said.
"Fuel is our biggest cost factor by far,"
the airline's Chief Financial Officer S. A.
The price of a barrel of crude oil has
surged 85% during the last 12 months and
reached a high of USD 143 in July this year
from last year's USD 75, although is now on
a declining trend.
The airline has already come up with several
imaginative methods to reduce fuel
consumption, one of these is "RNAV
Approaches," where aircraft make continuous
descent approaches into Bandaranaike
International Airport (BIA). Discussions
have been held with the Civil Aviation
Authority and air traffic controllers to
implement this programme, which would save
100-200 kilogrammes of fuel on every
Another measure already implemented is to
use diesel-powered Ground Power Units to
supply power to internal systems and
air-conditioning on all aircraft while they
are parked at BIA, instead of using
Auxiliary Power Units of the aircraft
themselves which use aviation fuel. This
move is saving 130-200 kg of aviation fuel
Other initiatives include "Flap 3" landings;
single engine taxi between terminals and
runways; minimised use of reverse thrust
during landings; flying shorter routes
whenever possible; and re-evaluation of the
airline's choice of alternate airports.
There is also a new Re-despatch Procedure,
which is saving 1,200 kg of fuel on every
Colombo and all flights are being closely
monitored to obtain maximum usage of tail
Double for Blue Diamonds
Blue Diamonds Jewellery Worldwide PLC
achieved a historic 'double' on Tuesday.
While Ceylinco Consolidated Chairman
Deshamanya Dr. Lalilth Kotelawala received
the prestigious Presidential Export Award
2006 for outstanding export performance in
the Gem & Jewellery sector, Deputy
Chairperson Dr (Mrs.). Sicille P. C.
Kotelawala, proudly exhibited the world's
only life size cricket ball at the exclusive
ORHOPA International Gem & Jewellery
Exhibition in Paris.
The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, in
association with the Customs Department will
organise a Seminar on Export & Import
Procedures at Hotel Trans Asia, Colombo on
This is an ideal opportunity to learn
import/export procedures from trade experts.
Toshiba sets the pulse
A new breed that pushes the technological
advantage and functional ease, way beyond
has just hit the market, characteristically,
Toshiba, is the pulse setter
THE e-Studio Solutions suite is a multitude
of easy to use cost saving software tools
that enhance the functionality of the studio
hardware to the highest levels of
"John Keells Office Automation (Pvt) Ltd, (JKOA)
expects these to create the next wave of
high performance office applications which
will revolutionise the way we work," said
Vice President /CEO Chandima Perera.
Toshiba solutions suite includes the
following: :Toshiba e-Bridge Re-Rite is a
unique OCR solution that integrates with
Toshiba MFPs to enable a one-touch automatic
OCR and conversion of paper documents into
editable digital documents that can be sent
to shared network folders, email addresses
or FTP sites.
Toshiba e-Bridge Fleet Management Software
delivers centralized management on a
client-server based software for a complete
view of counter and status reading from
multifunction systems and printers through
the network. Completely written in Java,
automatic report generation and distributed
by email, it can be produced with ease from
any personal computer with a web browser or
on the network.
"Toshiba e-Bridge Job Build expands the
capabilities of your Toshiba e-Studio MFP by
allowing it to combine multiple documents of
various file types, paper types and
documents settings into a single print job."
Printing of multiple copies of each set is
made quickly and easily. There is reduction
in costs by switching between colour and
Black-and-White printing within the same job
as needed. Time is eliminated from sorting
and hand collating.
"Toshiba e-Bridge Job Separator further
enhances your Toshiba e-Studio MFP by
allowing it to simply and easily perform
batch printing from any Windows application,
It can be done by allowing the user to
create multiple sets of a job, divided by a
separation page." Much time could be saved
from sorting large sets of documents into
Toshiba e-Bridge ID Gate is a contactless IC
card reader. Simply use for authentication
logon process by holding an access card to
tap onto the card reader. It offers easy and
security to user instantly to access the MFP
without needing to remember or type any
password on the MFP's panel.
The authentication also collaborates with
e-BRIDGE functions such as user counter,
user log and private print.
"Innofax manages all fax communications
between your customers and the contact
Faxes will be routed to agents based on
their skill sets and tracked within the
system. Web based user interface is designed
with the familiar look and feel of an email
client, providing a low learning curve for
users and administrators. Combined with its
search facility, users can easily search and
retrieve past faxes.
Innofax is complete, all-in-one fax server
and fax management system. "Simply plug in
the power, Ethernet and fax lines and you
are ready to go!" No messy installation of
fax server software, fax card drivers, OS,
patches, anti-virus or server and fax
hardware incompatibilities to worry about.
"DocuPointe Suite operates as an output
management solution/document management
electronic form solution/printing solution
to help you meet your exact document
production needs, increase productivity,
maximize value and reduce costs."
With such power packed features, the Toshiba
e-Studio range of products will now deliver
best in class performance to meet an
organization's complete document management
With a solid history of being the first to
innovate technology, JKOA is ready to prove
how, yet again, said Perera.
Sampath surges ahead
Sampath Bank group which consists of the
Bank, its subsidiary and associate companies
recorded a post tax profit of Rs.699.7
million for the first half (1H) of 2008 as
against Rs.592 million for the corresponding
period in 2007.
This represented a Rs.107.7 mn., or 18.2%
growth. The bank per se recorded a Rs.639.1
million post-tax profit in the period under
review compared to Rs.544.7 million in 1H
2007, which reflected a Rs. 94.4 million or
17.3 %. Growth. Group and Bank corporate
taxes for 1H 2007 in the comparative columns
were restated as Rs.815.2 million and Rs.
809.5 million respectively due to reversal
of the Deferred Tax Asset recognized on the
Statutory General Provision on loan losses,
made as per the new Central Bank
Both Group and Bank pre-tax profit in 2008
1H recorded 6.1% and 7.4% decreases
respectively as compared to the
corresponding period in 2007. This was
largely due the drop in exchange profit by
67.4%, which in turn is primarily attributed
to the drop in revaluation gains on the
FCBU's retained profits kept in US Dollars
resulting from the Sri Lankan Rupee
appreciation against the US Dollar. However
it is significant to note that despite the
adverse effect of this factor, both the
Group and the Bank have recorded impressive
growth in pre-tax profits in second quarter
(2Q) 2008 over the corresponding period in
2007 which amounted to 24.5% and 18%
The above results were achieved despite the
increase in the charge on Financial VAT in
2008 arising from a change in the method of
calculation of this tax.
The main contributory factor for the above
improvement in financial results was the
increase in net interest income from the
bank's fund based operations which recorded
a 14.8 % growth as compared to the previous
year. Despite a moderate 3.1% growth in
total deposits and 4.5% in total advances
during the half year period under review,
which was very much in line with the
industry trends during the period, this
significant improvement in net interest
income was achieved mainly through better
management of interest margins in a volatile
market. This was amply demonstrated by the
bank's net interest margin which stood at
4.14% in 2007, improving to 4.44% in 1H
Net charge on loan loss provisions rose only
by moderate amounts of Rs.37.8 million and
Rs. 22.7 million respectively at the Group
and Bank levels despite the general increase
in loan loss provisions in the industry.
This includes a 1 % general provision made
as a prudential measure against the pawning
advances, though such a provision was not
Sampath Bank which always adopted prudential
norms beyond the country's minimum
regulatory standards, arranged to classify
non-performing advances as at December31,
2007 in accordance with the Central Bank's
proposed new guidelines, even before they
became mandatory. The success in bank's
recovery efforts too contributed to keep the
net charge on provision for loan losses at
Apart from the increase in net interest
income, the bank's other income representing
commission and fee-based income too recorded
satisfactory increases of 14.6% and 13.9%
over 2007 at the Group and Bank levels
respectively. Non-interest operating
expenses however recorded a 25% increase
during the period, in line with the market's
Lankabangla Finance Ltd, Sampath Bank's
overseas Associate Company continued to
perform well. The current market value of
this investment is over Rs. three billion as
against a Rs. 146.2 million investment cost.
With total assets over Rs.137.8 billion and
a branch network of 112 coupled with 156
ATMs built within a relatively shorter
period of 21 years, Sampath Bank is the
fourth largest private sector bank in the
country. Fitch Credit Rating Agency recently
reaffirmed Sampath Bank's credit rating at
AA-(lka). Sampath Bank also continued with
its branch expansion programme in 2008 by
opening seven branches, including three in
the Eastern Province.
Sexy LG Scarlet
Abans recently launched the unique LG
Scarlet, the sophisticated and classy 2008
LCD TV, which transforms sheer design and
innovative technology into a revolution in
The LG Scarlet is not merely a top of the
range feature-packed LCD, it is classy
fashion icon to adorn your home.
The LG Scarlet adds revolutionary beauty to
the LG LCD TV range. The striking Scarlet
Colour of the elegant cabinet will uniquely
decorate your home and reflect your
outstanding sense of style and the Power
LED's changing colours will infuse a more
futuristic lifestyle. The absence of the
traditional speaker grills project a sleek
and impressive design and also enables you
to enjoy a deeper and broader sound field.
It delivers the highest level of
true-to-nature picture and sound, an
experience you will never forget. It's
state-of-the-art sound system is tuned
personally by Mark Levinson, recognized as
one of the maestros of the Audio industry
and is renowned to sound experts and
audiophiles alike for his obsession with
pure, natural sound.
LG Scarlet's Artificial Intelligence Sensor
frees you from the need to make annoying
picture adjustments by automatically
adjusting to optimized value and helping to
conserve power consumption in the true
spirit of plug and play.
Its unique AV Mode will satisfy your desire
for delicate and sophisticated picture
quality while its USB 2.0 allows you to
connect various types of devices through a
USB port to enjoy unrivalled multimedia
moving picture, music and photo.
LCD TVs have brighter screens than
traditional TVs which tend to cause
eye-strain, particularly after long hours of
viewing, while colours on the screen can
appear to be distorted by a change of
surrounding colour temperature. LG Scarlet's
Intelligent Sensor uses 4,096 RGB sensing
steps to optimize the picture quality by
constantly analysing the brightness, colour,
contrast, sharpness and white balance of the
surrounding area, reducing unnecessary
brightness and completely eliminating
LG Scarlet LCD TV's are available in 32" and
42" screen size from all Abans Showrooms
islandwide. They come with the Abans
guarantee of quality with quick and
efficient aftersales-service. Abans also
offers attractive interest-free instalment
terms to make the products extremely
An overseas university degree is the best
"gift" parents can give their child.
It is also the best investment a parent can
make on behalf of their child. However,
International University Education is an
With globalization and the "world becoming
flat," more and more parents want to provide
their children with an International
University Degree that is globally
recognized. Even though many may have this
dream for their children, only a few can
make this dream a reality since they cannot
afford or do not have the means to fund
their child's higher education.
Having realized this need amongst the Sri
Lankan community at large, 10 of the leading
financial institutions consisting of the top
banks and finance companies joined hands and
organized a Student Loans Fair to offer
student loans for International University
Banks and financial institutions
participated that participated were HSBC,
HNB, Commercial Bank, Bank of Ceylon,
Sampath Bank, Nations Trust Bank, NDB Bank,
Seylan Bank, Sanasa Development Bank and The
HSBC Marketing Head Rienzie Martinesz said,
"HSBC is a global bank that believes in
creating opportunities across all borders.
Through this fair which is organised for the
very first time in
we hope to provide students with financial
solutions to fulfil their career aspirations
and realise their dreams."
Hatton National Bank's Consumer Banking &
Housing Finance Senior Manager N. Premarajah
said, "It gives us great pleasure in
participating in this Student Loans fair.
The event will indeed increase the awareness
among the Students throughout the Island,
emphasizing the International educations
available and the financial assistance
provided to reach their goals.
Very importantly, a unique feature of
"Student Graduateship" Loans is that it will
provide finance assistance to students
islandwide to make their dreams come true."
"Joining hands in the country's pursuit of
a "knowledge based economy", we believe that
knowledge is the most valuable wealth that
one could acquire in life. Towards this end,
we have taken a special interest in
introducing Loans for Education to our range
of Personal Loan products offered to the
Commercial Bank's Personal Loans & Leasing
Head N. Kapuwatte said, " May this fair
successfully provide the stepping stone to a
vast number of students in their journey
towards higher education and professional
Sri Lanka Institute of Mrketing's (SLIM's)
course objectives are: To understand
marketing is an essential management
process, provide a basic orientation of the
practice and philosophy of marketing
management, initiate further education in
marketing to Diploma and Postgraduate levels
and provide a basic entry qualification and
confidence to pursue a career in marketing.
The Preliminary Certificate in Marketing is
one of the world's best short courses in
marketing. It is a course which provides
basic theoretical knowledge through 40 hours
of classroom coaching over a period of three
months, conducted during weekends, and
evenings on weekdays. It also carries a
practical assignment where students
translate their classroom learning into real
world practical applications.
The course was introduced in 1988 and has
been improved many times to meet the
constant requirements of the dynamic
marketing environment. The programme was
also re-launched with improved syllabus
content together with the introduction of a
standard text book.
It is targeted at students who are 16+ and
who wish to pursue a marketing career,
junior marketers who require a basic
marketing qualification, middle level
marketers who need theoretical inputs on
marketing and other working adults who wish
to gain knowledge on marketing
Students are expected to register for the
programme through the coaching centres of
or other study centres islandwide. A
comprehensive study kit along with a
recommended study text and course manual
will be provided free of charge to each
student upon registration.
Students are evaluated through a written
practical assignment as well as a final
exam. In order to pass the exam, a student
will have to be successful both at the exam
and the assignment.
Assignments are structured to allow students
to apply their learning to practical
situations making the programme unique.
Students will be provided detailed
guidelines to handle assignments. The exam
will comprise two papers. The first will be
a one hour multiple choice exam (MCQ),
whilst the second will be a two and half
hour written exam.
Results are issued to candidates within one
month of the final evaluation and will be
issued on a results sheet certified by the
SLIM Education Council.
All PCM students who secure an ordinary pass
and above, subject to a viva will have the
opportunity to enrol into the SLIM
Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing without
having to sit for an entrance exam. A
student who obtains a Merit Pass (B grade)
would be exempted from the Subject
"Essentials of Marketing" at the Certificate
Level of this diploma.
Singer to raise Rs. 600 mn.,
Singer (Sri Lanka) PLC, the nation's leading
retailer of consumer durables has issued
three million unsecured, listed, redeemable
four and five year Rs. 100 debentures, with
the issue closing on September 24, 2008.
The debentures will be issued with a range
of interest rate options and all eight
options available will allow investors to
obtain an excellent return on their
investment. Investors will be able to choose
from interest options including a flat -
19.5% upwards interest rate per annum, a
floating interest rate equivalent to six
months of the gross Treasury Bill rate with
an addition of a 1.65% upwards interest per
annum or a floating interest rate equivalent
to the Average Weighted Prime Lending Rate (AWPLR)
with an addition of 2.50% per annum, in the
case of four year or five year debentures.
The debentures provide the investor an
opportunity to earn a regular cash flow of
interest payments on a semi-annual basis up
to a fixed period of four or five years as
the case maybe. Capital gains could be
realized according to the interest rate
fluctuations in the market as the debentures
are listed-it provides the investor with an
exit option. Also the debentures could be
used as collateral when obtaining loan
facilities from financial institutions.
The minimum investment is Rs. one million
for 10,000 debentures. Any investment over
the minimum should be in multiples of Rs.
500,000. The debenture issue is managed by
First Capital Markets Ltd. Trustees to the
Issue is Deutsche Bank AG, Colombo branch,
while Nithya Partners are acting as the
lawyers to the Issue. The debentures will be
listed on the Main Board of the Colombo
In the event the issue is oversubscribed,
the company has options to issue a further
three million debentures in three tranches
of one million debentures each, totalling up
to a maximum of six million debentures.
Fitch Rating Lanka Ltd., has affirmed A+ (lka)
rating for this issue.
Singer hopes to raise over Rs. 300 million
through the issue and the additional capital
will be utilized to fund debenture
redemptions and to convert short-term
borrowings into long-term. The remainder of
the proceeds from the issue will be used to
finance the expansion of the firm's highly
successful hire purchase (HP) scheme &
expansion of distribution networks.
Singer has been present in Sri Lanka since
1877 and currently operates the widest
network of household durable sales outlets
in the country. In addition to the Singer
brand, the company also distributes a range
of products from leading international
brands including Hitachi, Samsung, Phillips,
Panasonic, Whirlpool, Honda Tefal, TCL and
Since Singer introduced its HP scheme which
allows customers to pay for their purchases
in instalments, the company's turnover has
increased dramatically. Singer currently
sells 55% of its goods on HP. At present the
scheme enjoys a default rate of under 2%.
The capital the company raises through this
issue will help Singer expand its already
successful HP scheme and allow the company
to realise greater profits in future.
Luxury apartment, 1 kg., gold, won
Mrs M.A Rajasingham was the lucky winner of
the Super Draw Prize of a luxury apartment
in Colombo, while T Sanathanan won the Grand
Draw Prize of 1 Kg., of Gold in Hatton
National Bank's (HNB) recently concluded HNB
Pathum Udanya 2007Super and Grand Draw
HNB Pathum Udanaya is a prize draw for NRFC,
RFC and Singithi Surakum accountholders.
This year the Bank launched the Pathum
Udanya 2008 scheme with exciting prizes
which include a Super Prize of US $ 100,000
and a Grand Prize of a week's all expenses
paid world tour for the whole family.
Singer's CSR to Tantrimalai kids
As part of its corporate social
responsibility (CSR) programme, Singer Sri
Lanka is making a concerted effort to assist
underprivileged students in rural schools.
While education is a necessity, many rural
schools are unable to provide their students
with even the most basic facilities. However
it's not only the schools that struggle to
provide their students with adequate
facilities, families often cannot afford to
buy their children the simple utensils-pens,
colour pencils, erasers and stationery they
require to participate in classes.
Singer has undertaken to provide 400
schoolbags to Wimalagana Maha Vidyalaya.
They constitute the school's entire
population. Since 2005 Singer has been
providing bags for children at the school
and to date the company has provided over a
1,000 bags. Tantrimalai which borders the
Vavuniya district has been badly affected by
the ethnic conflict and many of the school's
students have lost their parents in the
To these extremely vulnerable children, in a
remote and impoverished area, something as
simple as a schoolbag can make a difference.
The children are now able to carry their
text books to school more comfortably
without straining their arms. In an area
like Tantrimalai a little extra comfort is
particularly relevant as many children walk
several miles a day simply to reach the
All over the island Singer is committed to
helping both underprivileged children and
the schools they attend. In Kapugama, Matara,
children in the local primary school had to
spend their lunch breaks in a rundown
playground and amuse themselves amongst
broken, unsafe and rusted swings, and
However, earlier this year, Singer undertook
to restore the playground and students can
now enjoy their breaks and lunchtimes in a
safe and pleasant environment. Also, 70
children were presented with schoolbags in
the school's Primary Section.
In appreciation of the contribution made by
Singer, children at the Kapugama School
recently held a special assembly where they
sang and performed traditional dances, to
thank the company for its support.
Established in 1877 Singer has put
corporate social responsibility-or more
simply the idea that companies must give
something back to the communities, societies
and countries in which they operate, at the
heart of its business and is committed to
helping children receive the education they
In Kandalama the company has begun a three
year project-the 1st stage of this project
was to instal a drip irrigation system to
help students understand and gain experience
about small plot agriculture. The 2nd stage
of this project will be to add a new floor
to the existing building of the D. S.
Senanayake Maha Vidyalaya. The second stage
of this project is currently under approvals
stage. In Kandy Singer is helping Hilllwood
College refurbish its home economics
laboratories. Once the projects are
complete, students in both schools will have
access to the modern facilities and
equipment they need.
Pointing out that Singer has been
established in Sri Lanka for 130 years,
Singer Sri Lanka Chairman Hemaka Amarasuriya
made it clear that Singer now sees itself as
a Sri Lankan company, with a genuine stake
in the future of the island. "CSR is a vital
part of our business, but we don't see our
initiatives as charity, rather, by giving
the children the tools they need to study
and chart their own futures, we are making
an investment in their future and the future
of the country, which ultimately is our
The Garden of Eden
a place that enraptures you with its every
feature, a brainchild of the Superbrand
status Ceylinco Homes International, is a
stately gated complex at Thalawathugoda that
blends the best of nature with aesthetic
homes that reflect paradise itself.
Located in close proximity to the Parliament
and the scheduled Katunayake-Matara highway,
Thalawathugoda has been identified as a key
real estate growth area. Despite being in
such close reach of Colombo city, Eden
Gardens however is situated in a beautiful
Flanked by a thriving rubber plantation on
one side and a massive expanse of green on
is a veritable throwback to stately country
life complete with all possible modern
Spread across 13 acres of land, the homes
are available in four distinctive
styles-Cedar, Maple, Ebony and Pine. The
extent of plots range from 12-20 perches and
the villas boast 2,000-3,500 sq. ft., in
area. Eden Gardens has risen even more in
prominence over the last couple of years,
because, compared to real estate projects by
sundry developers in the country, this
project has proved its mettle.
Today the complex is peopled by high ranking
professionals, CEOs and directors of leading
companies as well as expatriates who have
recognized the financial value this project
offers. Since the laying of the project's
foundation stone in 2004, to its completion
in 2006, right uptil today, the value of an
Eden Garden home has appreciated 100%.
What's more, the impeccable maintenance of
the property has generated a further
interest in recent months.
The most interesting and indeed delightful
aspect of the project is that owning an Eden
Gardens home has been made a simple and
uncomplicated process. All the prospective
buyers need to do is pick up the phone and
call the efficient sales team at Eden
Gardens and they will be on hand to answer
every query and solve any problem. Special
payment packages are customized to suit the
convenience of every buyer to ensure that he
is supremely satisfied by his decision.
Not only that, Seylan Bank, a Ceylinco Group
company, is offering an amazingly low 17%
interest housing loan to buyers wishing to
buy an Eden Gardens home, an offer that no
discerning investor can refuse!
This not-to-be-missed opportunity is
available for a short period of time,
causing a throng of potential buyers to
seriously explore the prospects of owning an
Eden Gardens home.
Homeowners would love to gift their families
the luxury of space and Eden Gardens is a
refreshing change from boxy interiors that
promise more than they deliver.
Here, the interior of each home optimizes
space to the maximum with generous sized
bedrooms and bathrooms enhanced with chic
ceramic tiles and imported high quality
fittings. High wooden ceilings and large
French windows allow for maximum circulation
of light and air, while individual turfed
gardens add beauty to the exteriors.
The open plan design of the complex inspires
camaraderie and companionship, whilst at the
same time strictly ensuring privacy for each
home. Eden Gardens is akin to living in a
mini city of one's own, complete with a
clubhouse, swimming pool, gymnasium, squash
and badminton courts, jogging track,
children's play area and a mini market.
24-hour security is provided by
professionally trained security guards.
Completely child safe, children are free to
roam safely within the gated complex with
high boundary walls. Adults too can unwind
with some sporting activity or take long
walks along its picturesque boulevards.
homes have appreciated the international
designs by renowned Australian architects
Steven Menzies of Harvie and Ambignano Group
in collaboration with Design Consortium
Ltd., who are responsible for the
structural, mechanical and electrical
engineering aspects of the project.
Not surprising that this project has
attracted expatriates and the Sri Lankan
Diaspora who have perceived it as a sound
and secure investment, backed as it is by
the solid credentials of the country's
diversified conglomerate, Ceylinco
Consolidated. Very few homes at Eden Gardens
are now up for grabs for those buyers who
missed out on it earlier and investors would
be wise to view the project and assess its
has something for everyone. For young
families, it offers a multitude of play and
sport options to tie in with their upwardly
mobile lifestyles; for retired couples, it
offers the right touch of tranquility and
serenity tinged with companionship; for
expatriates, it offers the comfort of world
class luxury living amidst a country
setting. Most of all, it is fast becoming a
landmark real estate project in the history
Ceylinco Homes Director/General Manager
Lalith Meegoda announced the company will
organize a special viewing of the enchanting
Eden Gardens homes shortly to an exclusive
Eagle's NPBT down by half
Eagle Insurance PLC recorded a Rs. 3,341
million consolidated revenue in the first
six months of 2008, a 25% year on year (yoy)
Group gross written premium income in 1st
half (1H) 2008 grew by 17% yoy to Rs. 2,994
million. Life and general insurance premiums
of Rs. 1,922 million and Rs. 1,071 million
grew by 12% and 28% yoy. The Group recorded
a net profit before tax of Rs. 49 million in
the 1st half of the year, compared to the
profit of Rs. 96 million in the
corresponding period in 2007.
The decrease was mainly due to higher claims
costs incurred by the general insurance
business. As in previous years, these half
year profits do not include a contribution
from long term life insurance business which
are determined annually after the actuarial
valuation at the year end and are therefore
only included in the full year results.
The company's 24/7 call centre, Eagle Care,
is now fully operational and the company
further strengthened its support for motor
customers in the 1H of the year with the
expansion of its motor claims network to key
strategic locations in the island.
Eagle held its Poson Safety Campaign for the
15th consecutive year in conjunction with
the Sri Lanka Police, Navy and the Life
Saving Association and the support of 630
lifeguards. This campaign was aimed at
safeguarding the lives of devotees from
drowning when bathing in nearby reservoirs
while on pilgrimage to Anuradhapura. This
endeavour has helped in reducing the rate of
drowning victims to zero among the one
million pilgrims in this year's Poson
Continuing Eagle's strategic partnership
with the National Civilian Bravery
Foundation, the 15th Civilian Bravery Awards
ceremony was successfully conducted at the
BMICH. By showing public support for acts of
human compassion and bravery, Eagle hopes to
encourage the nation to appreciate and value
selfless actions. This year's Budal Na (Gold
Medal) recipient was Dr. Charitha Prabath
Seneviratne who helped save numerous victims
at The Nugegoda Bomb blast in 2007.
Commenting on the company's achievement,
Managing Director Deepal Sooriyaarachchi
said: "We are committed to delivering our
promise to all our stakeholders, who have
placed their trust in us."
Encouraging Sooriyaarachchi, company
Chairman Bert Paterson said: "Despite a very
challenging business environment, the Board
remains confident that the company will
continue to deliver on its promises because
of the strategies that we have implemented
and the actions we have taken."
Emirates' dedicated terminal
With the announcement of the phased opening
of Terminal Three [T3] from October 14, the
spotlight has now turned firmly on Emirates'
much-anticipated move to its dedicated new
home in Dubai.
EK843 Dubai-Doha, an Airbus A330-200 will be
the first Emirates flight to be flagged off
from the new terminal.
In a carefully orchestrated move, the first
phase of Emirates' operations from T3 will
launch all flights to the GCC* and the
Americas-40 flights a day, around 15% of the
airline's total services. Phase Two will
include flights to the rest of the Middle
East and Africa as well, increasing
operations to 99 flights daily, 37% of all
Flights to Europe will take-off in the next
phase, escalating operations to 168 daily
flights or 60% of all Emirates' services.
The fourth and final phase will include
flights to the Indian Subcontinent, East
Asia and Australasia and bring the total to
269 daily flights. Each phase will start
after receiving a "clean operational chit"
from the previous one to ensure customers
enjoy a smooth, seamless Emirates
Trials and testing at T3 continue at a
feverish pace to iron out operational
creases and remove any system bugs before
the soft opening. The next major passenger
trial is scheduled for September 27.
Emirates Airline & Group Chairman and Chief
Executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum,
said: "October 14 marks another red-letter
day on the Emirates calendar.
Emirates is effectively throwing open the
doors of its new home,inviting cherished
customers to enjoy the spacious luxury and
state-of-the-art facilities; relax in the
soothing ambience and travel globally with
family and friends in total comfort.
With five dedicated A380 gates, our flagship
fleet will soon be flying from its rightful
Emirates' dedicated terminal is planned as a
lifestyle destination in its own right and
Ahmed added, "Emirates is poised to spread
its wings even further globally, and our
dedicated terminal will be the perfect
launch pad for escalating our growth. Our
passengers consider Emirates synonymous with
world-class service excellence, and with the
new terminal, we will extend and reinforce
that association both on the ground and in
With a total built-up area of 515,000 m2,
the gargantuan terminal has more than 250
check-in counters at Departures including
126 for Economy Class passengers; 32 for
First and Business; 60 Self Service Kiosks
both with and without baggage; 10 dedicated
counters for Skywards premium members and 18
counters for outsized baggage located right
in the car park.
Emirates has designed an entire floor of
luxurious, themed lounges in the 10-storied
concourse for its premium passengers, with a
capacity for more than 2,000; serving the
finest international cuisine and offering
full-fledged spa facilities. Lounges for
unaccompanied minors and special needs
passengers are designed to take the stress
Passengers at T3 will be spoilt for choice
when it comes to food and beverages-from
coffee shops and fast food to seafood and
tapas-this airport has it all. And then
there's the duty free and retail shopping
meandering a course of 15,500 m2, running
the gamut of top brands worldwide and
designed to satisfy the palate of the most
fastidious of shoppers, from fashionistas
and gizmo-lovers to bookworms.
Emirates Group staff has been trained in the
new advanced systems and
facilities at T3. Ahmed said: "Our staff is
eager and ready to welcome passengers to our
brand new home. With any new facility, and
especially one as mammoth as the new
terminal, some teething problems can occur,
but we do have robust back-up plans in
place. The continuing trials and
the phased opening will go a long way in
minimising unforeseen disruptions."
From this month, Emirates and its travel
trade network will proactively inform
passengers of the change in the Terminal,
which will also be reflected in the
reservations and ticketing systems and
Top rating for Com. Bank Bangla
Commercial Bank's operations in Bangladesh
have been awarded a rating of AA+ (Double A
plus) for long term credit, an upgrade from
the previous rating of AA by Credit Rating
Information and Services Ltd. (CRISL).
Commercial Bank acquired Credit Agricole
lndosuez's (Cal's) operations in Bangladesh
in 2003 and this was the first acquisition
of a foreign bank by a Sri Lankan Bank.
Since then, Commercial Bank's operations in
Bangladesh have grown to nine branches
including three booths.
Meanwhile, the short-term credit rating of
CRISL for Commercial Bank Bangladesh is
ST-1, the Bank announced recently. These
ratings were based on the Bank's 2007
"The previous rating of AA for long term was
enhanced to AA+ by CRISL based on the bank's
asset quality, capital adequacy, liquidity,
diversification in product lines, IT
infrastructure and corporate governance,"
said Commercial Bank's Country Manager in
Bangladesh S. Renganathan.
He explained that banks rated AA+ are of
high credit quality with a sound credit
profile, offering higher safety in the long
term while ST-1 represents the highest
certainty on timely repayment of liabilities
in the short term, almost like risk-free
Government short term obligations.
"Commercial Bank's operations in Bangladesh
are rated as stable on account of steady
business growth, stable financial and
operating performance as well as consistent
fundamentals," Renganathan added.
More and More corporate or organizational
leaders with an eye on professionalism and
productivity are seeing the value of Project
Management Institute, USA's (PMI's) Project
Management Professional (PMP) certification
for their project management practitioners.
They know that a broad base of PMP-certified
practitioners give their companies a
competitive edge by having true
professionalism in project management.
"If you are already one on the top
practitioners in your field, now make it
official by earning the prestigious PMP
certification credential granted by PMI. The
PMI Certification Programme department
maintains ISO 9001 certification in quality
management systems underscoring its
commitment to excellence for a credential
that is globally recognized and valued by
project management practitioners and their
employers, a press release said.
PMI's certification examination development
is state of the art and is based on global
standards in certification examination
development. PMP exam questions are
developed by individuals around the world
who already hold the credential. These
factors set PMP apart from other
certification programmes, and they
contribute to the global transferability of
The letters "PMP" following your name
communicate a solid project management
foundation that can be readily applied in
the workplace. Thousands of project
professionals have found that the PMP
credential makes a significant difference to
current and potential employers. Join this
elite group and enhance your career today.
The aim of the latest project management
training programme to be conducted in Sri
Lanka is to offer the necessary training for
you obtain the PMP certification.
Informatics Education Ltd,
worldwide has forged a strategic alliance
with PMI to offer highest quality project
management training through their
professional certification Training division
and Professional and Skills Development
Centre (PSD). Next Project Management course
in Sri Lanka would be conducted at Singapore
Informatics Professional & Skills
Development centre, the only registered
education provider with PMI, USA, from Sept.
25-27 & Oct.3-4, 2008 by Dr. Madhu Fernando,
Founder/Director & Former CEO PMI Sri Lankan
Chapter. She would be supported by Ajith
Ranasinghe (PMP) and Anura Kuragama-PMI
Local Chapter representative. "PMP looks
great after your name.. and even better to