50% less than SLT
Lanka Bell, a Rs. eight billion turnover
telecoms operator, in a bid to increase its
customer base, is paying 50 cents for every
one minute on an international call that
terminates through a Lanka Bell connection.
This concession follows the company slashing
its call rates by 40% recently in order to
"Our call rates are now 50% less than that
of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT)," Lanka Bell
Managing Director Prasad Samarasinghe told
The Sunday Leader.
All international calls terminating at the
local end are entitled to receive a
commission from the international operator
from which end such calls originate.
In a distorted scenario of local market
operations, Lanka Bell allegedly does pay a
termination commission to Sri Lanka Telecom
(SLT) on calls originating from Lanka Bell
connections to that of SLT's. However,
allegedly the vice-versa does not take
Meanwhile, referring to their newest IDD
concession, a Lanka Bell spokesman told
reporters on Wednesday : "We are paying our
subscribers for incoming IDD calls,"
This may result in some subscribers earning
as much as Rs. 1,500 monthly, chipped in
The company in under four years, from 2005
to the present has seen its customer base
grow from 50,000to 1.1 million. Samarasinghe
attributed this success to the fact that
their's is a wholly owned Sri Lankan
2005 was also the year that the company
introduced to the market CDMA telephony
connections, a telecoms solution, which,
just like mobile phones are portable (though
the law precludes users from using it like a
portable mobile phone, having the usage of
such phones strait-jacketed to the
geographical area of registration, similar
to a fixed line phone) and does not need
wires to stay connected.
Lanka Bell is a subsidiary of the publicly
listed Distilleries Corporation, the latter
company being controlled by business magnate
Don Harold Stassen Jayawardena. Lanka Bell
per se is not a listed company.
Samarrasinghe told reporters on Wednesday
that the company in the six months ended
September 30, 2008 saw turnover grow by 5%
year on year while earnings however remained
He attributed these developments to the
slashing of tariffs in order to be
competitive, in addition to the ripple
effects of the company's US$ 30 million
investment in FLAG, the world's longest
undersea cable that provides global
connectivity and which is of 60,000
kilometres in length.
"Our finance costs are as large as our
profits," Samarasinghe said.
He said that despite Central Bank statistics
that showed that telecoms penetration in the
country was over 60%, his company however
was still providing new connections every
This is because some customers have more
than one connection, he said. "I'm sure that
other telecoms operators like us are growing
monthly, this shows that there is still a
way to go before saturation is reached,"
The company has virtual islandwide
connectivity, except in Jaffna and in the
uncleared areas of the North, and some parts
in the East.
Govt., brings new regulations to curb dollar
Pressure on $ to go beyond Rs. 110 levels
Despite the government allowing the US
dollar to gain by Rs 2 in spot trading on
Thursday, there is pressure for it to make
further inroads, market sources who did not
want to be named told The Sunday Leader.
Previously the government was defending the
rupee-at Rs. 108 to the dollar at the
expense of depleting the country's foreign
There is however uncertainty in the market
in which way the government would allow the
rupee to go, with pressure building up for
it to dip further, they said.
The weakness of the rupee has been
compounded with dollar inflows into the
country (other than traditional remittances
and export proceeds) drying up due to the
global credit crunch and foreigners who have
invested in the Treasury Bill and Bond
markets as well as in the Colombo Stock
Exchange (CSE) withdrawing their
investments, thereby causing further
pressure on the local currency.
On Thursday the Government removed this peg
which resulted in the dollar shooting-up by
Rs. 2 (1.9%) to Rs. 110, before government
intervention through the State owned
commercial bank-Bank of Ceylon (BoC),
prevented it from appreciating further.
One of the popular ways such Government
intervention takes place is the Central Bank
(CB), the Government's principal agent for
such transactions, offering dollars to the
market via sub agents such as the BoC at the
Rs. 110 levels in spot trading, like what is
currently happening, thereby preventing the
dollar from appreciating further.
Previously, i.e upto Wednesday, the
government prevented the dollar from going
beyond the Rs. 108 levels.
But this resulted in the country's foreign
reserves being depleted by 25% in the short
space of two months, the sources said.
CB's foreign reserves fell from US$ 3.4
billion to US$ 2.6 billion in that two month
span, they said.
But on Thursday, the Government temporarily
removed this peg, but reintroduced it a few
hours later, by capping the dollar at the
new price of Rs. 110 to the dollar, to
prevent the local currency from depreciating
"However, there is still pressure for the
dollar to make further gains vis-…-vis the
rupee, " the sources said.
For instance, People's Bank (PB), the
government's other State controlled
commercial bank was buying dollars from the
BoC at the Rs. 110 levels on Friday, akin to
a scenario of "robbing Peter to pay Paul,"
while the market too was buying dollars at
those prices from the BoC, thereby causing
pressure on the exchange rate, they said.
Such transactions by the two State
controlled banks are widely believed by the
market as actions, other than meeting their
own needs to also fulfil Government
The Treasury maintains accounts with both
the PB and BoC.
Meanwhile the government on Friday brought
in further restrictions to prevent forex
Those included increasing margins on letters
of credit opened for vehicle imports from
100% to 200%; 100% margins imposed on
forward dollar bookings (previously there
were no margins) and overnight inter-bank
dollar transactions being restricted to 50%
of the overnight value.
Garments to feel credit crunch in 1.5 years
The local garment industry will feel the
credit crunch in the UK in another 18
months, an industry academic warned.
Ms. Carmel Kelly, a lecturer in fashion
designs from the UK told reporters on
Thursday that the
consumer was still buying garments,
complemented by orders already made, and
which are being honoured.
However the industry would feel the pinch in
another 18 months, when new orders would be
slow to take-off. UK is Sri Lanka's biggest
garments importer in the EU region.
Kelly has been seconded by the London School
of Fashion to help Moratuwa University (MU)
to introduce a degree in fashion design, a
path which MU embarked upon in 2002. Since
the inception of this four year
undergraduate programme, 80 graduates have
passed out, Dr (Ms.) Nirmali de Silva, MU's
Course Director told The Sunday Leader.
On Tuesday, a further 40 graduates would
pass out, taking the number of students
armed with a Bachelor of Designs degree
since the inception of this course to 120,
she said. De Silva further said that MU is
the only local university offering degrees
in fashion design.
Qualifications required to do this course is
similar to having the necessary A'Level
qualifications to enter MU to do an
engineering degree, she added.
The 40 graduates that will pass out on
Tuesday will be the fourth intake that would
be passing out since the inauguration of
this degree programme.
Some of the designs made by these newly
passed out graduates will also be modelled
at Galle Face Hotel on that day.
Such designs have also been modelled in the
past, with success as items of commercial
value, said de Silva. Those designs are not
necessarily intimate wear, for which Sri
Lanka has gained a niche market, but also
includes spring wear, summer wear and such
like, Kelly said.
Other designs such as swimwear and
sportswear and active wear were also gaining
ground as major exports from Sri Lanka,
reporters were told.
MU's relationship with this
School dates back to the inauguration of
this degree programme. This contract however
expires next year.
"Our graduates have found employment in
leading garment exporting firms in the
country as well as among its top retailers,"
said de Silva.
They command starting salaries ranging from
Rs. 35,000-50,000; she said. Passed out
designers are not necessarily directly
involved in the designs departments of those
firms which employ them, said Kelly. Some of
them are employed in other departments, like
Supply Chain Management, she said.
FMCG, good business
Barcoding, process automation and corner
stores business will take DPJH, an unquoted
company, to be a Rs. 700 million company by
the year end, up from Rs. 500 million last
Group profit after tax is expected to pass
Rs.100 million in financial year (fy)
2008/09, up from Rs.70 million in 2007/08.
DPJH Chairman Prasantha Jayamanna (34) told
The Sunday Leader that operating corner
stores is good business, bringing in a
turnover of between Rs. 1.5-3 million per
mensem, per corner store.
The company currently operates 20 such
corner stores (up from five at the beginning
of the year), all located in the city, which
will be increased to 25 before the year end.
"Is the current business climate of high
interest rates and high inflation compounded
by the war conducive to business
expansion?" this reporter asked Jayamanna.
In reply, Jayamanna said that high inflation
and high interest rates were bug-bears.
"We are one of the few countries where banks
are among the top 10 companies," he alleged.
One can just imagine the profits they earn,
Jayamanna further said that despite economic
liberalization, parts of the country's
economy, just like that of India's, is not
exposed to globalisation.
That provides an insulation.
Therefore, despite the gloom and doom
scenario, that part of the economy is still
keeping business ticking, said Jayamanna.
The war is not an excuse for business
downturn, opined Jayamanna.
Look at Israel, despite constant attacks
that economy is booming, he said.
Certain sophisticated technological
equipment developed by Israel is even
exported to the USA, Jayamanna said.
What is important is to have the right
mindset, like disbelieving that that which
is foreign is always superior to local
products, he said.
Jayamanna, besides venturing out into corner
stores and providing barcoding solutions to
local businesses (his clients include
Brandix, MAS Holdings, Dilmah, Cargills and
Keells Super and the fish export industry)
has also exported this technology to
"Agora, one of the biggest supermarket
chains in Bangladesh imports our barcoding
technology," said Jayamanna.
"Each time they open a supermarket branch,
that's an additional Rs. 2-3million income
for us," he said.
How about exporting your barcoding
technology to India? This reporter asked
There are cheaper sources there, so it's
difficult to compete, he replied.
Is India's barcoding technology a threat,
where they could steal clients like Agora?
"We win on quality," replied Jayamanna, so
there is no threat.
DPJH which employs 300, also exports its
barcoding technology to the Maldives fishing
industry, some garment industries in Africa,
as well as to Doha, Qatar.
Contact centre solution
Singer (Sri Lanka) Plc, a leading
electronics and home appliances retailer in
the region signed up Duo Software to
implement the DuoContact Contact Centre
DuoContact developed by Duo Software
revolutionizes the way a Contact Centre
operates through the adoption of an IP based
contact centre solution which eliminates the
need for a traditional PABX.
DuoContact is a unified contact centre
solution which incorporates functional
aspects of a contact centre including
Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Automatic
Call Distributor (ACD), CRM and a Predictive
The unified solution ensures lower ownership
cost of a complete contact centre solution,
and is designed to enhance productivity of
agents and empower them to deliver superior
customer experience by providing a single
interactive and intuitive interface to
access information with regard to the
customer and the contact centre.
Singer Sri Lanka Contact Centre Manager
Rohan Rogers said, "Duo Software was
selected after an evaluation of their
product and the extent to which Singer's
objectives are met by this solution.
DuoContact was found to have the
functionality required to operate a world
class contact centre and we are confident
that this solution will help us deliver high
standards of service to our customers."
Duo Software CEO Muhunthan Canagey said, "We
are proud to be associated with Singer and
are pleased to deliver a solution that meets
their needs in terms of superior service
delivery and contact centre management.
We look forward to working with Singer to
implement the solution, while helping them
continuously improve ways in which they
Duo Software is a provider of Subscriber
Management, Billing, Contact Centre
Management, CRM and Enterprise Resource
Management solutions. Duo Software marks a
global presence with offices in regions
across four continents and continues to
expand its presence.
Singer continues to enhance its
contactability with its consumer base
widespread among every nook & corner of the
island & will hasten the speed of problem
resolution through Duo Contact applications
through its Contact centre located in
CB buys T. Bills from market
Central Bank's (CB's) Thursday's auction for
the purchase of a total of Rs. six billion
worth of maturing Treasury Bills (T. Bills)
from the market saw the Government's
principal agent for such transactions buying
only Rs. 183 million worth of such maturing
What were offered to the market were to buy
three parcels of maturing T. Bills of Rs.
2,000 million in value each. They were of
tenures of 70 days (maturing on January 9,
2009), 77 days (maturing on January 16,
2009) and 84 days (maturing on January 23,
CB accepted bids for the purchase of Rs. 15
million worth of T. Bills in regard to the
70 day maturity T. Bill parcel (the value of
bids received was also Rs. 15 million for
that tenure) at a weighted average yield
(WAY) of 17.50%.
In respect of the 77 day maturity T. Bill
parcel, CB accepted for the purchase of Rs.
168 million worth of such T. Bills offered
by the market at a WAY of 17.05% (the value
of bids received was Rs 218 million), while
in the case of the T. Bill parcel of 84 day
maturity, CB received bids for the sale of
T. Bills from the market of only Rs. 63
million, which auction the CB rejected.
Imaginary bail out
With Dankotuwa Porcelain plc exporting over
60% to the European market and dependent on
the GSP+ duty concessions, the removal of
GSP+ is most likely to cause substantial
order losses, particularly at a time when
there is a reported downturn in consumer
spending for durable household goods.
Although the government speaks of a bailout
package if GSP+ is not extended, it is
unlikely that this mechanism will work
efficiently. At a time when the government
itself has cash flow difficulties and cannot
deliver VAT refunds expeditiously, it is
inconceivable how the government could
administer a bail out package where
companies would receives regular cash
inflows to meet salaries and raw materials.
If the government does not seriously address
the three issues of exchange rate, energy
cost and GSP+ it is likely to lose foreign
exchange earnings through a reduction of
export income. Dankotuwa earned foreign
exchange equivalent to US Dollars 10.2
million last year and has already earned USD
8.3 million for the nine months of this
The recent appreciation of the rupee
against the Euro and Pound is causing
substantial revenue losses to Dankotuwa.
For the past 25 years the cost escalations
driven by high inflation in Sri Lanka was
mitigated by the rupee depreciation.
The Company suffered a significant hit when
the rupee appreciated against major
currencies, particularly the Euro soon after
the tsunami when the massive inflows
appreciated the Sri Lanka rupee.
However, the GSP+ came to the rescue and we
were able to obtain some price increases
with the argument that for the European
customers the duty was reduced to zero.
The Company has been doing its best to cut
cost, improve productivity and improve
quality and obtain higher prices and emerged
to a breakeven level in the third quarter of
this year. However, if the current rupee
appreciation is not reversed the future
would be uncertain.
Dankotuwa produces one of the finest
porcelains in the world and therefore,
markets it only to quality conscious
customers at relatively high prices.
However, there are emerging competitors in
the Asian Region who are gradually
challenging the Dankotuwa quality and for
whom energy is much cheaper. While
worldwide energy prices have come down and
for many manufacturers energy costs have
reduced, it is only in Sri Lanka that energy
is still at high prices. This too erodes
Sri Lanka's competitiveness particularly the
export oriented Ceramic Industry.
Nations Trust Bank PLC's (NTB's) IT
department won the Silver Award in the
inhouse Applications category at the recent
National Best Quality Software Awards (NBQSA)
NTB's Chief Information Officer Lasith
Nanayakkara said, "This unique solution was
developed after analyzing the potential risk
and impact of non performing loans (NPLs)
and credit cards to the banks financial
stability. The application is mainly used by
the Central Collections Department and is
used to track NPLs to categorize delinquent
customers to necessitate required action and
provide relevant information to recoveries
staff, to assign appropriate
responsibilities and provide the required
Management Information for improved decision
making."Cumulative PAT in the 1H ended
September 30,2008 was down YoY by 54% to Rs.
Only biscuit cleared of melamine
The good name Ceylon Biscuits Ltd., was
justified recently after their popular brand
of biscuits Munchee Lemon Puff was cleared
by the Sri Lanka Health Ministry following
the receipt of test results of market
samples of the product sent for testing
overseas by the Food Control Administration
Unit of the Ministry.
An adverse internet report originating
from Switzerland triggered an unwarranted
suspicion on the Munchee Lemon Puff brand
and Ceylon Biscuits acting as a responsible
corporate and in terms of Company policy
based on ISO 22000 (HACCP) procedure decided
to immediately withdraw the product from the
market in the interest of consumer safety
and peace of mind till the government
concluded their independent investigations.
The Health Ministry confirmed that the
tests results of the random market samples
taken by them and sent to the Health Science
Authority of the Singapore Health Ministry
had been received and that Munchee Lemon
Puff had been confirmed as Melamine free.
They further said that the product has
been removed from the list of prohibited
Company Chairman Mr. Mineka
Wickramasingha said, "As one of Sri Lanka’s
leading companies with over 40 years of
experience and serving not only the local
market but also over 40 countries worldwide,
we were confident that our food safety and
quality assurance procedures would stand the
rigour of any testing and we are pleased
that our faith in the quality standards of
our products have been vindicated by the
test results. Consumers can continue to
enjoy Munchee Lemon Puff with confidence as
it is the only Lemon Puff in Sri Lanka to be
cleared by the Health Ministry as melamine
We also wish to convey to the public that
CBL has voluntarily got all its key products
tested and are happy to inform them that
they are all confirmed as melamine free."
The Company was taken by surprise when
the Swiss internet report came as they had
sourced all milk ingredients for the
manufacture of their products only from
Australia, Holland and Canada. The Company
was further concerned when this issue
appeared to be used to tarnish their good
name locally. The Company confirmed that
there were no permanent setbacks in any of
their overseas markets and that their brands
have continued to receive increased orders
from several countries spanned across the
globe, including UK, Australia, Canada,
Czech Republic, Dubai, Kuwait and Maldives
who would have conducted independent testing
to clear any doubts about Munchee products
The Company affirms that it maintains a
rigorous quality assurance regime which
includes both quality certification from
suppliers and local testing of ingredients
and product at various stages of
The Company states that as a manufacturer
of a wide range of popular food products
with local and international certifications
including SLS, ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO
22000 (HACCP), their quality was never in
question and is pleased that this
unwarranted allegation has now been
Alternative financial system
The leading professional in the
alternative banking industry Dr. Z. M.
Rafeek, Executive Director and Chief
Executive Officer Ceylinco Profit Sharing
Investment Corporation Ltd suggests some
alternative ideas to deal with the present
global financial crisis.
He says: " We are currently in the midst
of an extraordinary time in world history.
All the attention has diverted from wars
and terrorist activities to economics and
finance. Newspapers are stirring emotions
with headlines such as "meltdown," "economic
crisis," "global recession" and "billions
Political parties and governments are
putting aside their differences and working
together to come up with a joint approach to
the problems. Established institutions such
as Lehmans and AIG are falling before our
eyes. Trust is at an all-time low with
no-one willing to lend.
As billions of cash is injected back into
the global economies, politicians and
economists are wondering what went wrong,
what lessons can be learnt and how to change
things so that such problems don’t happen
UK prime minister Gordon Brown suggested
that he wanted world leaders to gather for a
new Bretton Woods- the conference held to
decide how the post-war financial system
should be run.
He said there had to be ‘a new financial
architecture for the years ahead.’ This is
all well and good, but are these solutions
going to be radically different from the
current ones? Will this new proposal really
help prevent the mini crises we have seen
every decade or so?
I think it’s time that world leaders and
central bankers considered a fundamentally
different system,one that is not based on
debt or encourages people to live beyond
A system that promotes individuals to
"save now, buy later" rather than "buy now,
A system that moves away from wealth
being concentrated amongst a select few
whilst hundreds of millions go hungry."
Explaining on this subject Rafeek said, "
Now is the right time to look at an
alternative solution. Something that ensures
that money is invested with people that have
good ideas and viable projects rather than
being given to people who have the best
credit which leads to the rich getting
richer and the poor, poorer.
But what is this alternative solution we
are referring to? Let’s look at some of the
causes of the current crisis and how this
alternative solution would have dealt with
It is universally agreed that the
economic crisis we are in now started with
This is where banks and other financial
institutions lent money to individuals in
the USA, often at more than the value of the
properties they intended to purchase. The
loans were offered at attractive fixed rates
which would revert to the market floating
rate after a couple of years. As rates rose
and property prices fell, most of these
individuals were not able to pay back their
loans resulting in many defaults and
The alternative solution we propose does
not believe in lending to buy property, but
instead the financial institution will
either buy the property by itself or in
partnership with the individual and then
allow them to pay rent for the part they
don’t own. Since financing is based on the
value of the property it does not allow it
to exceed the asset cost. Furthermore, when
people are unable to pay, this system
encourages wealthy financial institutions to
give them time to reorganize their finances
rather than kick them out into the street.
The risk from these sub-prime loans did
not stay with the institutions that provided
them to individuals. Instead the loans were
aggregated, split into different components
(eg. interest only, principal, etc) and sold
to third parties. Institutions buying these
loans created further instruments with
different risk characteristics and sold them
on to other parties willing to take them on.
This continued until the risk from these
sub-prime loans were spread to institutions
far removed from the original borrower.
This led to a couple of problems; firstly
those buying these instruments didn’t often
understand fully the risks involved and
hence were not able to manage them
appropriately. Secondly, it was difficult
for regulators and central banks to
determine the extent of this distribution,
hence when something went wrong, the impact
was impossible to assess.
So, how would this alternative system
have handled this situation?
Firstly, the sale of debt is not allowed.
This is because money is not considered to
be a commodity which has a price of its own;
instead it is only a medium of exchange and
a measure of value. A loan or debt to be
repaid in cash is considered as "money"
hence this system does not allow it to be
sold for anything other than its par value.
Secondly, the concept of risk management
is different. In the current system, risk is
transferred, i.e. split and sold.
In the alternative system, risk is
shared, almost like a collective insurance
scheme. This means that instead of the
sub-prime loan risk being sold and sold
until it reaches a bank in the Middle East
or Asia, it will be concentrated and managed
by the institutions that can assess and
react to any changes in circumstances.
Another advantage of this alternative
system is that when two parties transact
with each other, for the trade to be valid
both parties must have full knowledge of the
potential risks and rewards. In other words
those individuals taking out the mortgages
would be aware of what they were getting
into if market conditions turned.
Also, those institutions buying complex
instruments such as CDOs (collateralized
debt obligations) would not consider it as
another ‘black-box’ transaction priced for
its credit, but understand the parameters
involved in the valuation including
understanding the assumptions being made."
He further said, "This alternative system
also discourages speculation. It insists
that transactions are linked to the
real-world economy rather than being paper
being pushed around. One of the reasons
which led to the collapse of Lehmans and the
falls in share price of various established
institutions such as the leading British
Bank HBOS was due to the concept of
short-selling, whereby you sell something
you don’t own by borrowing it on the premise
that you will return it after purchasing it
at a lower price.
When you sell a lot of something the
price falls as there is more supply.
However, when people start short-selling
this drop in the price is accentuated
resulting in a more dramatic price
reduction. This activity was highlighted
when the UK & US central banks temporarily
put a ban on short-selling. The alternative
system, I recommend, does not allow
short-selling because you are only allowed
to sell something you own.
So, what is this alternative system I
have been discussing here?
It is not something I have thought up
myself. In fact it has been around for over
1,400 years and is currently one of the
fastest growing areas of finance.
It is, for those who haven’t guessed
already, Islamic Finance.
Though the abandonment of the current
economic system to be replaced by Islamic
economics is unlikely to happen in the near
future, there are advantages in considering
or even applying some of the basic
Adapting the message
Former Employers’ Federation of Ceylon
Director General Franklyn Amerasinghe gave
"A Review of the CEO’s Forum" that was
recently conducted by Dave Ulrich.
He said: " We should congratulate Dinesh
Weerakkody, CIMA and the IPM for having
brought to our doorstep Ulrich who has now
come to be recognized as an outstanding
figure in the sphere of Human Resource (HR)
Management and Development.
It was clear that Ulrich based his wisdom
on his own encounters which as he said did
not include any prior knowledge of Sri Lanka
and its peculiar issues.
Theoretically the presentation was not
only exceptional but it was thought
provoking and it is up to us to adapt his
message to a workable formula in our own
organizations. His fluency in terms of
presentation and his wealth of examples
showed his years of experimentation with his
theories and application of them in
In order to show that organizational
results depended on performance as a team he
asked us the question of what it was like in
relation to Cricket, quoting the example of
the US Basketball team which in 2004 had
outstanding players but performed badly as a
team. The management identified the lack of
teamwork and worked together on a team
strategy that enabled them to breeze their
way to Gold at the 2008 Olympics. It was
hilarious when he asked the audience to name
a cricketer they regarded as outstanding and
someone from the audience suggested the name
of Steve Waugh!
Maybe everyone was so stunned that they
did not react and point out that not only
had Waugh retired many moons ago but that we
had produced some unique players like Sanath
and Murali of whom the country is proud of,
and the world regards with awe and
In a whistle stop presentation Ulrich
could not have been expected to be more
country specific but some comments made by
him showed that he had some valid thoughts
for our political leaders regarding their
own obligations to build talent.
The private sector maybe the engine of
growth but the fuel and the tracks have to
be supplied by the political leaders and we
trust that the political leaders who were
present will stop to take on board the
message which was given to them by Ulrich.
The Public Service needs to recruit and
retain talent. The points made about talent
management requiring Competence, Commitment
and Contribution; and what each meant is
worth recalling. Both the private and public
sector must flag the valuable exhortation.
Competence means recruiting people with the
right criteria, training them with specific
skills needed to be a technically sound
player and educating them in relation to how
they form a team for the attainment of
Commitment comes as a result of a host of
conditions which the organization provides,
such as the working environment, its
stability and the stability of the job
itself, the rewards and the recognition of
the employee’s performance. Finally, the
contribution flows from the fact that the
employee is comfortable with what he does so
that his contribution is made with
enthusiasm and gives him/her satisfaction.
We need to ascertain the likes and dislikes,
the needs and interests, and also the
aspirations and desires of the individual
employee so that we allocate to him/her
tasks and functions which enthuse him/her.
One further point, which was not
discussed in this context, is that, even
with these factors in place, the employee
may not perform if the external environment
does not provide the security which every
human being yearns for.
The need for security was identified by
Maslow and is an issue in South Asia.
Many writers have expressed the point
that human beings look for security in each
and every facet of life and insecurity
breeds fear, which Jidu Krishnamurthi says
is the greatest problem. Security is not
merely in relation to life and limb but
covers other aspects of our existence such
as job security, security of our families
and friends and so on.
The impact of the external environment on
the workplace is better appreciated by those
with an Industrial relations background as
often these issues of insecurity are
expressed collectively and are often the
rallying point for trade unions (TUs). This
also is a good point to refer to HR
strategies sometimes focus more on dealing
with individual issues and neglecting issues
which have a tendency to make employees band
together. However satisfactory the strategy
is in terms of recruitment, motivation,
recognition and reward; the external
environment can spoil it all and cause
anxiety expressed by low output or even by
an employee exiting. Perhaps this was at the
back of his mind when one CEO asked the
question about employees exiting from
financial institutions which looked after
the standard HR issues and had good policies
Ulrich had something to say about talent
management in the Public Sector and in the
sphere of politics which should have had the
attention of the politicians who
participated. Everything which was said
about talent and its management are relevant
to running a State, and he made this clear.
A study made by an ILO project showed that
employees in the public sector charge that
at least 80% of the disputes in the public
sector are caused by failure by management
to adhere to regulations and agreements.
Politicians are the cause of these
disputes and the bureaucrat who carries out
a directive finally gets the blame so that
he is forever after marked as a trouble
maker and stooge of a particular political
The need for teamwork to manage a country
effectively was stressed and Ulrich referred
to Ireland as a case study where it had
managed its talent brilliantly that it is a
preferred place for investment in recent
years lifting it from a poor developing
country into a thriving economy.
I’m glad that he mentioned Ireland which
is the right size for comparison and also
had a multiple TU situation where initially
the unions themselves could not find a
common agenda to protect their own
interests. Subsequently all stakeholders
came together and signed the first
Partnership Agreement which has been renewed
several times and helped implement common
strategies for development.
A good analysis is found in ‘Saving the
Future’ by Hastings/ Sheehan and Yeats-Blackhall
2007. The stakeholders discarded their
adversarial approach and adopted a ‘think
tank’ approach for the good of all.
It was encouraging to see so many CEO’s
listening to Ulrich and absorbing every word
which we hope will bear fruit as it seemed
to be settling on what according to the good
book could be described as fertile ground.
It is hoped that politicians would also
change their adversarial and defensive
positions for ones which are conducive to a
proper dialogue attuned to the development
of talent and measures which would stop the
outflow of our brilliant youth to greener
and safer pastures."
Global crisis Impacts insurance
By Saliya Wickramasinghe
When the U.S. Federal Reserve rescued AIG
with a US$ 85 billion bridge loan, there was
little talk of a widespread downturn in the
insurance industry as this was seen by many
as its strategy of having derivative
However repercussions are now being felt
by insurance companies months after the
stocks of big Wall Street financial firms
first came under attack, suggesting that a
similar round of consolidation and
recapitalization may be forthcoming for the
As waves of losses now appear throughout
the insurance industry, caused by the
stiffening-up of the credit markets and
declining investment volumes, insurance
experts across the globe warn of sub-prime,
credit crunch and recessionary effects to
have a significant negative impact on
financial performance next year (2009),
while expecting the risk associated with
adequately pricing insurance products to be
the most significant challenge over the next
While global industry experts went on to
say that the financial crisis would not
inflict heavy damage on the Asian Financial
system and would only bring about a slowdown
in Asian economics through lower export
growth, a recent report released by the
Institute of Policy Studies claims
otherwise, saying to the effect of Sri Lanka
being very likely to feel some tremors of
the global financial crisis as slow down in
the US and European economies are bound to
impact the country due to lower trade
growth, foreign direct investment and
foreign commercial borrowings-all of which
will have a direct or indirect impact on the
local insurance industry.
Slow down of the Sri Lankan economy due
to the global financial crisis will
certainly add more pressure on existing
pricing structures and will undoubtedly
increase existing underwriting losses-most
unwelcome developments as wider recessionary
effects are foreseen. Furthermore, credit
crunch may affect graded securities in the
market which in turn will affect insurance
industry performance due to the drop in
value of investments.
We have already noticed this phenomenon
with equity investments, where the stock
market index has plunged more than 20%.The
present economic crisis thus poses a serious
problem as investment losses will adversely
affect life insurance companies with
investment products assuring guaranteed
return as they will have to pay off these
maturities out of their diminished assets if
credit risk continues for a number of years.
To weather current turbulence in the
market, foreign investors in bonds along
with insurance companies may start selling
securities in order to produce cash to meet
their financial obligations, resulting in a
sellers market. This, however, may
negatively impact the liquidity and solvency
ratios of insurance companies.
Thus the most significant challenge for
insurance companies over the next few years
will be to effectively address the risk
associated with adequately pricing insurance
products (i.e. pricing risk). In light of
this, it would serve well for our local
insurance companies to conduct a careful
review of asset exposure whilst examining
liability positions and strengthening
balance sheets in order to avoid credit
risks associated with the current sub-prime
*The writer is Asian Alliance Insurance
PLC GM Finance
Sampath Bank’s stall at the Infotel Lanka
Exhibition is set to "wow "customers with
their range of innovative Information and
Communication Technology (ICT) products.
The exhibition which began on Friday ends
Sampath Bank is the first bank to
introduce a virtual banking concept in Sri
Lanka and customers around the world can
perform transactions 24 hours a day 7 days a
week. They will also have up to date current
bank account information at any given time.
The days of visiting branches, paying by
cheque and mailing them are nearing an end
with these products that save you time and
in many cases money.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader
about what the public can expect, Sampath
Bank’s IT Solutions Enterprise Head Mangala
P. Wickramasinghe said that the products
that will be showcased at the exhibition are
Mobile Cash, Sampath Vishwa (the cyber
branch) and Pay Easy.
All these products are innovations in ICT
and are unique in their respective domains
in the banking industry.
Sampath Bank has been a pioneer in
modernising banking in the country. They
were the first bank to introduce ATM’s and
have come a long way since with new products
that have made banking simpler than ever
Talking about the first product, Mobile
Cash Wickramasinghe said, "This facilitates
people who want to send money in a hurry."
Wickremasinghe said that using Sampath
Mobile Cash, anyone in the island can send
money to any person who has the ability to
receive an SMS. All mobile users as well as
CDMA phone users currently fall under this
More importantly you don’t need any pre
registration or a new SIM card change to use
this service. Money can be sent using any
Sampath Bank branch, telebanking, Sampath
Net (internet banking) and can be received
through ATM, Branch or POS networks. You can
even debit your credit card and send money
through mobile cash.
He added that should you want to order
any fast food, all you need to do is send
the exact bill amount to the vendor using
Mobile Cash. By this you avoid exposing your
credit card to others.
Talking about Sampath Vishwa (the cyber
branch) Wickramasinghe said that while
internet banking has become popular, it has
not reduced the number of people who turn up
at a branch. He said that this is due to
banks’ inability to provide the majority of
banking services through the internet.
Sampath Vishwa is set to change this.
He said, "Sampath Vishwa is a virtual
bank that caters to almost all banking needs
of an average customer-from the opening of
new accounts to all forms of account
transactions, investment opportunities,
multi currency transactions and much more."
According to Wickramasinghe, Sampath
Vishwa can cater to all the banking needs of
Sri Lankan’s living overseas.
The third product that will be showcased
at the exhibition, Sampath Pay Easy is an
independent utility bill payment portal
where almost all Sri Lankan service
providers operate under one umbrella. Anyone
who has access to the internet can use these
services and currently there are over 50
service providers integrated in the portal.
Most important is that all service
providers’ back end systems are linked,
enabling real time transactions.
Top global partner
Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC, Sri
Lanka’s leading private sector bank was
awarded the ‘Global Quality Award’ by
MasterCard Worldwide, recognising the Bank’s
excellence in operational achievements.
Commercial Bank was one of four winners
from South Asia, Middle East & Africa (SAMEA)
sub-region to be recognized as a MasterCard
Worldwide Quality Award winner recently.
Accepting the award on behalf of
Commercial Bank, Deputy General Manager
Operations Sanath Bandaranayake said: "We
are honoured and
encouraged by this award which has
recognized the consistent efforts and the
investment made by Commercial Bank to
maintain high standards, both in the Front
Office and the back-end processing in the
issuing of credit and debit cards."
MasterCard Worldwide Country Manager
India T. V. Seshadri said Commercial Bank
has displayed exceptional operational
performance which had allowed the bank to
offer its customers exceptional payment
"As a recipient of this award, the Bank
clearly stands out among the strongest
processors and acquirers," he said.
MasterCard established the Global Quality
Awards programme in 2006 to acknowledge
customers who have achieved exceptional
operational performance in MasterCard
Quality Standards which include: cardholder
satisfaction at the point of sale through
authorization of transactions, call referral
rates and chargeback performance.
The awards are designed to recognize
excellent customers for their
operational achievements and provide
useful feedback for improving operational
performance while creating a sense of
urgency and understanding about the need to
focus on quality and performance excellence.
The leader in soft drinks
Elephant House Cream Soda picked up The
Beverage of the Year award in the recently
concluded SLIM-AC Nielson People’s Awards
(Pop Awards) 2008.
Talking to The Sunday Leader about
the win, John Keells Holdings Vice President
and Ceylon Cold Stores Ltd., (CCS)-popularly
known as Elephant House, Beverages Head S.
Srikanth said that the significance of this
award is that it’s a people’s choice award,
which Elephant House has been honoured with,
three consecutive times on the trot.
Held jointly with the Sri Lanka Institute
of Marketing (SLIM) and the AC Nielson
Company, the Pop Awards accolades are
distinguished by the fact that they are
presented to the recipient nominated by the
people, making the Awards a reflection of
the pulse of the people.
The Pop Awards selection for this year
started in January with people from all
walks of life advocating their favourite
personality, brand, company, advertisement,
film, teledramaand song.
Elephant House has established itself as
the leader in Sri Lanka’s carbonated soft
drinks market holding a 45% share, according
to Nielsons Retail Audit and outperforming
leading multinationals and other local
brands in a competitive business
Srikanth said that the company’s success
in bagging the award is attributed to its
marketing strategies and brand positioning
which has taken into account the psyche of
Talking about Cream Soda’s success over
the last three years, Srikanth said that the
product’s positioning at the right time and
place was key. Aligning itself with teens
and getting local celebrities to endorse the
product as well as taking risks like coming
in as main sponsors for events like Sirasa
Superstar in its first year have paid off.
"It’s paid rich dividends and we’re proud
to have had the courage to take that step in
supporting an event like Sirasa Superstar
when it was first floated."
He added, "As a local company we’ve had
to fight and strive harder, it’s certainly
an achievement that we’re proud of and that
all Sri Lankans can be proud of."
Elephant Soft Drinks has been able to
compete successfully because CCS, which has
a long history has understood local
consumers’ needs better than its
Elephant House manufactures a variety of
soft drinks such as Ginger Beer, Orange
Barley, Lemonade, Necto, Orange Crush and
Soda, with most of these products having a
history as old as the company itself.
According to Srikanth, when compared to
products offered by its competitors,
Elephant House has a wider product range
which gives it a competitive edge.
This coupled with Elephant House’s vast
network, which covers the north and east,
has made the product widely available,
especially in its chilled form, in places
where impulse buyers can readily purchase
Explaining some of the secrets behind
Cream Soda’s success, Srikanth said that
after the John Keells takeover Elephant
House soft drinks has undergone a
transformation as the company took timely
action to market the products effectively to
different segments of society, despite
having to invest heavily in the brands.
Ginger Beer which is produced using
natural ginger extract sourced from our
local farmers, is marketed and sold as EGB,
Soda touted as the King Of The Chase; Necto
as a children’s drink; Lemonade as a sports
drink and Cream Soda as the must-have for
The company has been able to
strategically position these brands, which
were previously considered traditional
products by consumers by consistently
investing in them, according to Srikanth.
While building brand loyalty is vital in
the industry, due to soft drinks being an
impulse product, emotions play a major role
in most customers’ decisions to purchase
them and Elephant House has managed to
retain loyalty over the past few decades.
The challenge, Srikanth says, is in
keeping a 100 year old company young in the
hearts of today’s consumers.
"Ours is a company that dates back to the
1890s and the challenge is for the brand to
live on and not age with the consumers it
started off with. Products like Cream Soda
brings energy and value to the brand that is
Elephant House by targeting the youth."
Elephant Soft Drinks are well-established
products with a long history and the trust
of consumers, even in rural areas. Elephant
House products have a heritage value, with
trust in them being ingrained in local
consumers. Elephant House soft drinks has
aimed to capitalise on this by maintaining
the quality of its products.
As for the future, the company is also
focused on innovation and intends to
introduce ‘New Age’ beverages, which include
sports drinks and energy drinks to its range
of products. Already, Wild Elephant, an
energy drink has been launched in keeping
with the company’s forward strategies.
However, Srikanth said, "While other
companies roll out their products every few
months, Elephant House has been careful in
this regard. Not many of today’s ‘new
flavours’ have been a success. It’s the
cola’s orange and lime flavours that still
dominate the market and yet after much time
and research and going back and forth in
perfecting a formula, we managed to
introduce Apple Soda, which has been a
tremendous success. And we plan on following
this careful strategy in all our endeavours."
The future is bright for Elephant House,
and with this new win, which Srikanth says
is thanks to Elephant House’s loyal
consumers, the company is looking to give
back with more new amazing products. "This
award has stated what we’ve known for a long
time, that Sri Lanka ‘can’. The future is
bright and we’re ready for tomorrow."
On a recent edition of Benchmark, Ceylon
National Chamber of Industries Chairman
Newton Wickramasuriya discussed chamber
expectations of Budget 2009, asserting that
future fiscal policy should grant some
relief to industrialists.
Pointing out that industrialists now
belonged to an "endangered Species," he said
that constraints such as the cost of living
and high cost of finance were affecting,
especially the SME sector negatively.
Discussing an envisaged revision of the
tax structure, Wickramasuriya told
Benchmark’s viewers that the problem lay in
the multitude of existing taxes.
"What the government has to do is
implement an efficient way of collecting
taxes rather than allowing the industries to
suffer," he added.
Wickramasuriya also asserted that
simplifying the tax structure would result
in drawing in more people to pay taxes, even
Could SMEs afford to pay more taxes,
Wickramasuriya responded, "Certainly not.
In this country we have a small market and
contrary to popular belief that competition
brings increases or improves efficiency, and
brings down the cost of production, it never
happens in a small market."
In the course of the wide-ranging
interview, this chamber chief emphasised
that additional tax burdens at this time
would only be detrimental to the promotion
Asked whether a less complex system would
encourage more entrants into production and
manufacturing, Wickramasuriya answered in
the affirmative, asserting that "a coherent
industrial policy" was the need of the hour.
He asserted that the increase of up to Rs.
1.7 trillion on expenditure, including
military spending, would translate into the
SME sector being unable to expect any
benefit or salutary measures for the
promotion of the industry.
"This is our biggest concern right now,"
Benchmark is presented by LMD and airs on
TNL on Sundays at noon with a repeat at 9.05
p.m. The programme is also carried over
Dialog TV as well as on LBN (as well as on
Bloomberg Channel on Mondays at 10 p.m.).
The weekly biz show is produced by The Wrap
Export Development Minister. Professor
G.L Peiris recently appointed a 14 member
National Advisory Council for Export
Development. They are: Ceylinco Consolidated
Chairman Deshamanya Dr. Lalith Kothalawala;
Ceylon Biscuits Ltd., Chairman M.P.
Wickramasinghe; Mount Lavinia Hotel Chairman
Sanath Ukwatte; Mackwoods Ltd. Chairman Dr.
Chris Nonis; MJF Exports Managing Director
Malik Fernando; Hemas Travels (Pvt.) Ltd.,
Chairman Abbas Esufally; John Keells
Holdings Ltd., Deputy Chairman Ajith
Gunawardena; Janashakthi Insurance Co. Ltd.,
Deputy Chairman Chandra Shafter; B.P. de
Silva Investments Pvt. Ltd., Chairman Mahen
Dayananda; Ms. Aban Pestonjee (Abans Ltd.),
Nestle Lanka Ltd., Director Cubby Wijetunge;
Chandra Senanayake ("Senanayake Buildings");
Mercantile Investments Ltd., Chairman George
Ondatjee and Senok Trade Combines Ltd.,
President Noel Selvanayagam.
10th National Best Quality Software
Awards (NBQSA) winners: Lifetime Achiever
Award: Dr. Dileepa de Silva, Microsoft Award
Best product developed using Microsoft tools
"Knowledge And Memory Centralizing Approach
(KAMZA 2008)": SLIIT; Overall Gold:
Microimage Mobile Media (Pvt.,) Ltd.,-"Microimage
vStation"; Overall Silver: Dialog Telekom
PLC-"RapidEz"; Overall Bronze: Epic Lanka (Pvt)
Ltd.-"Epic Dial a Bank Management System";
Financial Applications-Gold: Epic
Lanka-"Epic Dial a Bank Management System";
General Applications (Silver): X-ONT
Software-"Omox Geoware"; Security
Applications (Gold):Epic Lanka-"SecureData";
eGovernment and Services (Silver): Sanje
Lanka (Pvt) Ltd.-"Formless Document Systems
(Document Management Solution)"; Security
Applications (Silver): Golden Key Software
Solutions Ltd.,-"TEF Workflow Solution
(Using PKI Technology)";Industrial
Applications (Silver):Epic Lanka-"Mobile
Enterprise Automation (MEA) Solution";
Industrial Applications (Bronze): Excel
Technology Lanka Pvt Ltd-"QMark Design
Commander"; Healthcare Applications (No
Winners); Media & Entertainment (Gold):
Microimage Mobile-"Microimage vStation";
Communications Applications (Gold): WaveNET
International Pvt. Ltd-"Video Suite";
Communications Applications (Bronze): X-ONT
Software (Pvt.) Ltd.,-"X-ONT CellMagix";
Startup Applications (Silver): Cinergix
Research Pvt., Ltd.,-"Creately"; Start-up
Applications (Bronze): Lunar Technologies (Pvt)
Ltd.,-"MDS (Multi-Disease Surveillance)".
Inhouse Category (Gold): Sampath Bank
PLC-"Credit Approval System"; Inhouse
Category (Silver):Nations Trust Bank
PLC-"Collect Module"; In-house Category
(Bronze): Dialog Telekom PLC-"M-Points";
In-house Category (Merit): Sampath Bank
PLC-"Sampath eRemittance System" & Union
Assurance PLC-"Click&Go Motor Insurance
Policy Issuance Via Web."
Education & Training Applications (Silver):AKLO
Information Technologies (Pvt) Ltd-"VIDLO-University
Management System"; Education & Training
Applications (Bronze): University of Colombo
School of Computing (UCSC)-"e-BIT"; Research
& Development (Gold): Dialog-"RapidEz"; R&D
(Silver): Science Land Software (Pvt.,) Ltd
"Interoperable Transliteration Software";
R&D (Bronze): Hatton National Bank "KPI
Wizard System"; Tourism & Hospitality
(Gold): S.P. Solutions (Pvt.) Ltd.,-"Holidasia-Destination
Management Platform." Applications &
Infrastructure: No Winners; Tertiary
Category Applications (Gold)-Sri Lanka
Institute of Information
Technology-"Knowledge And Memory
Centralizing Approach (KAMZA 2008)";
Tertiary Category Applications (Silver):UCSC-"Community
Mobile Network (COMONet)" & Tertiary
Category Applications (Bronze):UCSC-"Web
Liquidity vs., Inflation
Central Bank (CB) extension of credit to the
Government by way of purchase of Treasury
Bills (T. Bills) increased by 44.6% week on
week to Rs. 69, 088 million as at Thursday.
Further, CB's T. Bill holding in the six
week period from September 18 to October 30
increased from Rs.1,911 million to Rs.
69,088 million; a 3,515% increase.
When The Sunday Leader asked a CB source who
did not want to be named whether such credit
to the Government extended by the CB won't
stoke inflationary pressure, he said that on
the contrary inflation was coming down. (See
separate story found elsewhere on this
But when it was pointed out that inflation
would have had come down at a faster rate if
not for this credit extension, he contended
that it would then have had caused a
The source further said that in
First World economies like the
USA, billions of dollars were being injected
by their central banks in order to provide
liquidity to those markets which were also
suffering from a credit crunch.
Market to be illiquid
Overnight call money market rates, the rates
at which commercial banks borrow from each
other for a day continued to remain high,
peaking at over the 19% levels (the Central
Bank's penal borrowing rate) on Friday, as
the market not being liquid persisted,
market sources who did not want to be named
told The Sunday Leader.
They expected these high rates to continue
in the new week beginning tomorrow.
Market sources previously blamed this
continuous shortfall to the Government's
decision to not to allow the US dollar to
appreciate beyond the Rs. 108 levels.
However on Thursday the Government through
the Central Bank allowed the dollar to make
a Rs. 2 gain before capping it at the Rs.
110 levels, but this has not caused an
abatement in the pressure for the demand for
dollars even though they are more expensive
now, the said.
Thursday's move by the government to allow
the rupee to depreciate by 1.9% (Rs. 2)
did not give any respite to the shortfall
the market has been experiencing, with the
market suffering from a rupee shortage for
the 30th consecutive market day upto Friday.
The market on an overnight basis was short
by Rs. 20.3 billion on Friday. (See also
main story on this page)
Inflation, as measured by the new Colombo
Consumers' Price Index (NCCPI) saw its 12
month moving average marginally increase by
0.2 percentage points to 23.4% last month
(over that of September), while its point to
point change declined by 4.1 percentage
points during the same period to 20.2%.
T.Bond WAYs pass 20%
Thursday's Treasury Bond (T.Bond) primary
auctions of tenures of 1 year and 11 months
and two years and 11 months, fetched
weighted average yields (WAYs) of 20.43% and
These auctions had on offer parcels of Rs.
3,300 million and Rs.2,450 million
However, the amounts accepted by the Central
Bank from each of these parcels were Rs.
1,300 million and Rs. 1,050 million
900 secs., lost commuting time
Nine hundred seconds commuting time lost in
VIP caused peak hour traffic jam.
Yours truly lost 900 seconds of commuting
time when the office van in which he was
travelling after an assignment on Thursday
got caught to a peak after-office traffic
jam at Maitland Crescent, Colombo.
This jam was ostensibly caused by traffic
being stopped to allow a VIP convoy to pass
through. Traffic was halted at 6pm and was
only allowed to continue after
The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) will
hold its seminar on the National Budget on
Policy Directions of 2009 Budget will be
analyzed by Treasury Secretary Sumith
Abeysinghe, while the Tax Proposals will be
analyzed by KPMG Sri Lanka Partner (Tax
Services Head) Ms. Premila Perera. Industry
Sector views, panel discussion and open
forum will follow.
The panel will comprise Fiscal Policy
Director General S.R. Attygalle, Finance
Ministry Senior Tax Advisor R. P. L.
Weerasinghe, Ernst & Young Partner Duminda
Hulangamuwa and Gajma & Co. Senior Partner
Hotel Corp., reduces losses
Ceylon Hotels Corp., in the second quarter
(2Q) ended September 30,2008 saw its losses
decline by 36% year on year (YoY) to Rs.
12.41 million. Cumulative losses in the 1H
ended September 30,2008 was down YoY by 28%
to Rs. 29.75 million.
PAT dips 95%
Dipped Products PLC in the 2Q ended
September 30,2008 saw its profit after tax
(PAT) decline by 95% YoY to Rs. 5.73
Kelani Valley PAT down 28%
in the 3Q ended September 30,2008 saw its
PAT decline by 28% YoY to Rs. 61.24 million.
Cumulative PAT in the nine months ended
September 30,2008 was however up YoY by 32%
to Rs. 283.75 million. Source: John Keells
Vidullanka PLC has been listed under the
main board of Colombo Stock exchange rcently.
The company currently owns and operates
two mini hydro projects which supplies a
total capacity of 5.2 MW to the main Grid
under a 15 years Power Purchase Agreement
with the Ceylon Electricity Board.
Vidul Construction a fully owned
subsidiary engaged in construction of mini
hydro plants successfully commissioned the
600kwh Sheen Mini Hydro Power Project owned
by Elpitiya Plantations PLC on October 10,
where Vidullanka PLC is an investment
Vidul Construction has begun preliminary
work on the 3rd mini hydro project owned by
Vidullanka which has a capacity of 1.2 MW
A host of Finance Ministry officers would
speak at a Post Budget 2009 seminar
organised by an international accounting
Commissioner General Inland Revenue S.
Angammana and Commissioner Large Tax Payer
Unit Premaratne Banda, Senior Tax Adviser
R.P.L. Weerasinghe and Director General
Fiscal Policy S. R. Attygalle will speak at
this event that will be held at the Cinnamon
Grand on November 10.
by CMA Sri Lanka.
Among the others who will address this
seminar are Gajma & Co., Senior Partner
N.R.Gajendran, Ernst & Young Partner Duminda
Hulangamuwa, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce
Deputy Chairman Dr. Anura Ekanayake and CMA
President and former BoI Chairman Prof.
Lakshman R. Watawala.
Senior citizens are being treated with a
30% discount with the Senior Citizens’ Offer
at Cinnamon Lodge Habarana, Chaaya Village
Habarana, Chaaya Citadel Kandy, Bentota
Beach Hotel, Coral Gardens Hikkaduwa, Yala
Village and Club Oceanic Trincomalee.
The Special Family package from Keells
Resort Hotels gives parents a special rate
on their holidays while kids below 10 are
accommodated free at the aforesaid hotels
excluding Coral Gardens.
Keells Gift Vouchers make gift giving
this season, easier and innovative, the
statement further said. These could also
make ideal gifts of appreciation to family
and friends as well as corporate clients.
You could also look forward to
unbelievable X’ Mas and New Year
celebrations with Keells Resort Hotels,
where the surroundings, hospitality and the
"extra touch" extended by Keells Hotels
staff make the transition to a whole new
year, one to remember.
Rights issue scrapped
Samapth Bank Director Board has decided
not to proceed with the proposed "1 for 4"
rights issue at its extra ordinary general
meeting held on Wednesday.
Due to the crisis in the world financial
Markets Sampath Bank Board proposed on the
strength of the proxies received from the
shareholders not to proceed with the rights
issue, also at this meeting share holders
voted not to go-ahead with the rights issue.
The Bank originally planned to raise over
Rs. 1.7 billion from this rights issue. The
rights price was fixed at Rs. 100. Sampath
Bank has some 68.9 million shares on issue.
Sampath’s shares on Wednesday closed at
Rs. 78.75 a share, Rs. 21.25 less than the
proposed rights price.
Huejay in the
Huejay International in the second
quarter ended September 30, 2008 made a Rs.
1.66 million loss, compared to a Rs.1.04
million profit in the corresponding quarter
of the previous year.
The company in the second half ended
September 30, 2008 made a Rs. 2.69 million
loss compared to a Rs.0.24 million profit
made in the corresponding quarter of the
Chemical Industries PAT up 103%
Chemical Industries, helped by higher
contributions and higher margins from the
agriculture sector, saw quarterly profits in
the second quarter ended September 30, 2008
grow by 103% year on year (YoY) to Rs.
The company in the second half ended
September 30, 2008 saw cumulative profits
grow by 144% YoY to Rs. 416.99 million.
(Source: John Keells Stock Brokers)
Chemical Industries (Colombo) PLC has
declared a 50 cents interim dividend on both
their voting & non-voting shares. Excluding
dividend date: November 14, 2008 and payment
date: Nov., 26, 2008.
SriLankan Airlines recently rewarded
eight children of the airline’s employees
who distinguished themselves at the last
Ordinary Level Exam.
One boy and seven girls who obtained 10,
9, and 8 As were presented cash awards and
gift packs by the SriLankan Airlines Staff
Welfare Society, at a ceremony in Katunayake
They include two students each from
Musaeus College and Newstead Balika
Maha Vidyalaya Negombo and one each from
Royal College, President’s College
Minuwangoda, Rathnawali Balika Vidyalaya
Gampaha, and Holy Cross College Gampaha.
The National Carrier’s Human Resources
Head Pradeepa Dahanayake, Welfare Society
President & Employee Relations Manager Ajith
Biyanwila, Senior Manager Revenue Ms.
Jayathri Samarakoon and Company Medical
Officer Dr Anomi Jayasinghe were associated
at this event.
Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation
Ltd (HSBC), through its wholly owned
subsidiary HSBC Asia Pacific Holdings (UK)
Ltd., has entered into agreements to acquire
88.89% of PT Bank Ekonomi Raharja Tbk ("Bank
Ekonomi") for a consideration of US$607.5
million (or IDR 2,452 per share) to be paid
in cash from HSBC’s own resources.
The acquisition will enhance HSBC’s
commercial banking business in Indonesia,
extend the Group’s presence in the retail
banking sector and almost double HSBC’s
network to over 190 outlets in 24 cities
across the country.
Bank Ekonomi was established in 1989 and
is listed on the Indonesian stock exchange.
It has 2,200 staff and 86 outlets across
Indonesia and assets of IDR 17,193 billion
(US$1.8 billion) at end September 2008.
In addition to its retail banking
operations, Bank Ekonomi is one of
Indonesia’s largest providers of commercial
banking services. At October 17, 2008 Bank
Ekonomi had a market capitalisation of IDR
4.62 trillion (US$482 million) and reported
profit before tax for the nine months to
September30, 2008 of IDR 231 billion* (US$24
HSBC Holdings plc Executive Director and
HSBC Asia Pacific Chief Executive Officer
Sandy Flockhart said: "This acquisition
increases our presence in Indonesia, putting
us in the top three foreign banks in the