Cement set to achieve turnaround
Cement Ltd., for long a loss-making state organisation, is set to
achieve a turnaround in the near future. The company expects to
capture a market share of 10 per cent next year and record a turnover
of Rs. 1 billion, achieving profits for the first time in its 19-year
company's trading activities have witnessed a huge boost since its
relaunch of the Lanka Cement brand in June last year. So far this
year, their total sales volume has exceeded 56,000 metric tonnes, and
is estimated to reach over 95,000 metric tonnes by the end of this
year. This is a notable increase over the 2002 figure of 33,000 metric
tonnes and the 2001 figure of under 13,000 metric tonnes.
of Lanka Cement Ltd.,(LCL) Anil Koswatte attributed the increase in
sales to their innovative marketing approach including aggressive
expects the organisation will record turnover of Rs. 750 million this
year, but there will be a net loss of Rs.38 million due to interest on
long outstanding loans. He says that next year, turnover can be
increased to Rs.1 billion and confidently predicts profits.
year, the company made a turnover of Rs. 202 million and a net loss of
Rs. 53 million. This compares with the Rs. 95 million turnover and Rs.
38 million net loss recorded the year before.
noted that they have always achieved operational profits in trading
activities, but due to provisioning for heavy interest on bank loans
(obtained for the now-defunct plant in Kankasanthurai) they constantly
recorded net losses.
who assumed duties as Chairman of LCL in March last year, claimed
their innovative marketing strategy for their relaunched brand had
enabled them to capture 5% of the island's cement market, where 17
brands and four major international players compete. He expects the
figure to increase to 7.5% by the end of the year and to 10% in 2004.
Even the major player in the market has not captured a market share of
30% for a single brand.
share price of LCL has also risen significantly in the recent past.
When Koswatte took over in March 2002, the share price was only Rs.
1.25 but today stands at Rs. 8.50
decision to relaunch the original Lanka Cement brand name, which had
been unused for 12 years, has certainly paid off.
noted that with the relaunch they saw a steady growth in sales due to
a positive consumer response, SLS certification, the fact that many
government institutions are opting to buy their cement, and the ready
availability in most locations including Jaffna.
have 50 distributors and 5 depots which will be shortly networked to
the head office at WAD Ramanayake Mw., Col-2.
to Koswatte, several foreign investors have expressed interest in
reopening their Kankasanthurai factory. He added that the Public
Enterprise Reforms Commission (PERC) has commenced negotiations with
potential investors. The discussions may prove fruitful if the peace
process progresses positively.
company also intends introducing pozolanic portland cement in the near
future for the first time in Sri Lanka. Testing is presently being
conducted for SLS certification. This form of cement is very popular
worldwide, it was noted.
traces its roots to the third development stage of the Sri Lanka
Cement Corporation's Kankasanthurai project in 1980. The proposed
capacity was 1 million metric tonnes per annum, but the installed
capacity was 500,000 metric tonnes. The venture however suffered
losses because it couldn't function to full capacity due to various
constraints beyond management control.
Cement Ltd., was incorporated to commence commercial production. The
company was listed on the CSE in 1983 with an authorised share capital
of Rs. 180 million. The worsening ethnic crisis from 1983 onwards
aggravated the company's predicament but they continued production on
a small scale before finally halting production in June 1990.
accumulated losses during the period 1983-1990 amounted to almost Rs.
1.37 billion. Following the closure of the plant in 1990, trading of
cement took place on a small scale, under different brand names.
Turnover for the period 1991 to 2001 amounted to Rs. 1.7 billion,
while net losses amounted to Rs. 465 million.
19th annual general meeting of LCL was held last week, when the report
and accounts for the year ended December 31, 2002 were unanimously
passed in the shareholders meeting.
the conclusion of the 6th International Conference of Coastal and Port
Engineering in Developing Countries (COPEDEC) held in Colombo this
month, an agreement was signed between COPEDEC and The International
Association of Navigational Congresses (PIANC) to merge the two
agreement was signed by Summa Amarasinghe, Chairman, COPEDEC Permanent
Secretariat, Eric Van den Eede, President, PIANC and Frans Kapp,
Chairman, International Cooperation Committee (CoCom) of PIANC.
will now organise and hold CoCom/COPEDEC conferences in the future,
and will attract funding support for the conference and continue to
ensure that the conference will reach out to those coastal and port
engineers on a global basis.
conference held in Colombo had 250 participants from 44 countries. 180
papers were presented and a short course on coastal stabilization was
also held. One third of the papers were research based, one third
applied research and the balance were case studies. The participants
also visited the Port of Colombo, Mahaoya - Lansigama coastal stretch
on the north west and the Beruwela Fishery Harbour and the coastal
stretch on the south west of Colombo.
evolution of hydraulics was evident by the deviation in the content of
the conference from physical modeling in 1983 to more and more IT
based numerical modeling in research and problem solving in the 2003
conference. Coastal and port engineering is now more transparent, with
public participation in planning. It now has a holistic analysis
including impact assessment and a multi-disciplinary approach.
is envisaged that the next conference will be held in 2005, probably
private placement and rights issue
Keells Holdings Limited (JKH) has announced measures aimed at raising
equity capital, which will enable it to reduce its current debt
component and facilitate the requisite gearing flexibility in
financing new investment opportunities.
board of directors have recommended to the shareholders a private
placement of up to 24 million ordinary shares, each ranking pari passu
with existing ordinary shares, at the closing market price of an
ordinary share of JKH in the Colombo Stock Exchange as at the closure
date of the private placement as determined by the board of directors
of JKH and an increase of its authorised share capital from Rs. 3
billion to Rs. 10 billion in order to accommodate share issues
in the future. The board also announced a rights issue of one (1)
ordinary share for every seven (7) ordinary shares, existing after the
private placement, at Rs. 75 per share.
application made to the Colombo Stock Exchange for a quotation of up
to 24mn new ordinary shares, raised through the private placement, has
been provisionally approved. Once the shareholders have passed the
requisite resolutions, the Board will place the shares with identified
Investors. Based on recent investor and analyst feedback, the
directors of JKH are confident of the placement being a success.
mentioned earlier, the board has also approved a subsequent rights
issue. These rights will be available on the increased share capital
that includes the capital raised via the private placement.
is actively pursuing other investment opportunities, which have a
strong strategic fit with its existing core business sectors.
Therefore, the company believes it to be prudent, and opportune, to
increase its share capital, both authorised and issued, in increasing
its gearing flexibility when financing future investments.
of listing with the CSE
Lankan companies are emerging out of a relatively inactive period into
one that has been predicted to show economic growth and political
stability and with it a resultant increase of more investment and
business opportunities. However, securing capital for expansion,
research and development, advertising, packaging, etc, for most
companies is an issue. Thus the opportunity to raise public funds is
one option which is increasingly being taken advantage of by
progressive Sri Lankan companies hoping to make an impact in their
companies are taking to listing with the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE)
as suggested by the recent surge of high profile Initial Public
Offerings (IPOs) such as the Sri Lanka Telecom IPO - the largest in
Sri Lanka's history to date.
have also been other listings such as the IPO of Lanka Hospitals
Corporation (Apollo), the listing of Hayleys - MGT Knitting Mills
Limited and Land and Building Limited, the IPO of Tess Agro Limited,
the preference share issue and the debenture issue of Commercial Bank,
the debenture issue of Hatton National Bank and more recently the
Seylan Bank IPO of non-voting shares.
increasing popularity of listings whether they are big or small can be
attributed to certain key benefits that companies can access once they
conquer today's essential issues of transparency and due diligence
which criteria have to be continuously adhered to become and remain a
listed company. Advantages are considered to easily outweigh the
perceived minor inconveniences such as the continuing listing
obligations such as furnishing quarterly statements and other
shareholder related activity.
such as access to a potentially large pool of capital available
through both individual and institutional investors both foreign and
domestic which also continues beyond the initial listing to all later
stages, even with companies who have already been listed. Companies
can issue equity and debt securities as well as other securities
continuously throughout their tenure on the CSE.
ability to continue raising capital is of great benefit as long as a
company has the shareholder goodwill required to issue different types
of securities. A further benefit from raising capital from the stock
market is the lower cost of capital that companies could access.
there are also the indirect benefits of becoming a listed company such
as the tax reduction in the corporate tax that has to be paid
annually. Being a listed company also allows for enhanced brand
awareness and a level of prestige that few unlisted companies share as
most listed companies get their listing amidst a media blitz which is
partly due to the significant news distribution with local and foreign
media on the stock market.
added advantage derived from the need for listed companies to maintain
strict transparency protocols - usually perceived as a downside of
listing - is that the added prestige in conjunction with greater
transparency enhances the listed company's ability to borrow from
other sources as well. The stock market also offers an opportunity for
companies to obtain a valuation for their shares. Given the growth and
momentum in the market many companies are now considering a listing
for this reason.
process for listing which has been made fairly simple, straightforward
and cheaper in recent times is set out briefly for the benefit of
companies that are aspiring to go public.
are three methods of listing that a company could opt to take
depending on its requirements. The methods are an offer for
subscription, offer for sale and introduction. While the first two
options involve the public issue of new securities or the sale of
existing securities, the introduction method allows for a company to
maintain its exiting ownership structure while being listed as there
is no public issue of securities which also makes the process much
cheaper than the other two options.
important step of the listing process is the appointment of a sponsor
who must be registered with the CSE to sponsor new applications for
listing. The sponsor firm is required to advise the new company
throughout the listing process. The prospectus document which complies
with the provisions of the Companies Act and with the prospectus
requirements set out in the CSE listing rules is then prepared.
Meanwhile a company seeking to list through an introduction is only
required to issue an introductory document which is more basic that a
a list of requirements that have to be adhered to under the listing
rules of the CSE is the requirement to submit the initial listing
application. This is where a company is required to submit an
application for a listing which has to include a set of documents
which are specified in the CSE listing rules and which includes a copy
of the company's memorandum and articles, a draft of the proposed
prospectus document and audited and financial statements.
approval is obtained from the CSE there is then a public issue
procedure which follows the CSE listing rules, which outlines an
issuing company's duties with regard to distributing the prospectus
and application forms. The company can then begin accepting
subscriptions for the securities to be issued.
the event of an oversubscription, the company has to decide on the
basis of allotment as to how they wish to allot the shares to
subscribers. This process has a degree of flexibility that is given to
companies by giving them the opportunity to decide the extent of their
public issue so that the company in turn has the flexibility to decide
the pace at which they wish to proceed. For example, the company can
decide if they wish to have the share issue underwritten by an
listing rules of the CSE have been formulated to secure the confidence
of investors by ensuring that companies will place sufficient
information about their company to enable investors to form a reliable
basis for evaluating the company. The rules also seek to ensure that
the trading of securities is conducted in a fair, open and transparent
there are specific disclosure requirements with regard to the
immediate public disclosure of price sensitive and material
information, submission of audited annual accounts, half-yearly
accounts and quarterly accounts, additional listing of securities,
purchases and sales made by directors of their own companies and
mergers and takeovers. These events have to be disclosed.
though the process of listing may cast certain obligations on the
company, its benefits are much greater than any minor inconveniences -
a heightened public persona, the veneer of respectability that people
associate with listed companies, with the level of accountability and
transparency, the enhanced access to a widespread investor base and
better relationships to sources of funds.
Bank is 'Bank of the Year'
for the third time
Commercial Bank of Ceylon has once again been named 'The Bank of the
Year' in Sri Lanka for 2003, by The Banker magazine, a reputed
publication serving the international banking community. The bank has
been selected for the third consecutive year by the magazine which is
published by Financial Times Business Ltd., of UK. The magazine is
primarily circulated among CEOs and senior managers, but also has a
large worldwide general readership.
the citation on Commercial Bank, The Banker magazine states that
"yet another solid allround performance in 2002, which led to a
recent upgrade of its long term debt to AA+, has enabled the
Commercial Bank of Ceylon (CBC) to take home the award again this
year." Commenting on the financial performance of the bank, the
magazine goes on to say, "While its competitors in Sri Lanka
stumbled, CBC had a good 2002, raising net profit by almost 20% and
maintaining its ROE at around 17%. There were significant gains in
assets and Tier 1 capital as well, while efficiency, as measured by a
cost-to-income ratio of around 55%, remained high."
criteria for selection included investments made to upgrade its main
IBM server, which enabled the bank to increase the speed and
efficiency of all transactions. The bank also extended its internet
banking service for retail customers, enabling them to make payments
of insurance premiums, public works bills and credit card bills
online, and launched an online funds transfer facility.
Editor-in-Chief of the magazine, Stephen Timewell has stated that
"this achievement is all the more rewarding considering the
incredible number and calibre of each of the entries we received as
well as the difficult market conditions the industry has faced over
the past year."
on the honour bestowed upon the bank, Commercial Bank's Managing
Director, Amitha Gooneratne said, "All of us at Commercial Bank
were elated by our nomination as 'The Bank of the Year 2003' for the
third successive year. If reaching the top was difficult, staying
there has tested each and every one of our staff even more and all
credit should go to them."
bank was also nominated the 'Best Bank in Sri Lanka' for the fifth
consecutive year in 2003 by the New York based financial publication
Global Finance and as the No. 1 corporate in the country by the
Business Today magazine.
initiatives by Commercial Bank
a result of the major IT related investments made by Commercial Bank
during recent years, they have been able to significantly improve the
time taken for realisation of outstation cheques deposited throughout
the wide branch network. In any case, Commercial Bank cheques without
a crossing have always been encashable over the counter of any branch,
irrespective of the branch on which it was drawn. Commercial Bank is
now in a position to extend a similar expeditious clearing facility
even for cheques deposited to an account held with them.
to The Sunday Leader, Assistant General Manager (Operations),
Commercial Bank of Ceylon Limited, S.D. Bandaranayake explained that
having the country's largest computer linked branch network has
enabled Commercial Bank to provide a quicker service to its customers
both when encashing and collecting cheques. Explaining further, he
said that with a Commercial Bank cheque, a customer could withdraw
cash over the counter, while crossed cheques would be cleared much
faster than other banks.
asserted that even cheques drawn at Commercial branches in the north
and east and deposited at any other bank are cleared within three
days, as opposed to the seven days taken by most other banks. Once
again this has been made possible because of the COMNET computer
linked network linking up all the branches. As a result, more and more
businessmen now prefer to be paid in Commercial Bank cheques for their
transactions. Bandaranayake further stated that by using Commercial
Bank cheques, customers are more likely to receive bigger discounts
from business institutions as the money is received faster than usual.
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka is also in the process of requesting
banks to find means of reducing the time taken on cheque realisation.
It is now a national objective to minimise the time taken to realise
cheques, Bandaranayake said.
near cash payments, a Commercial Bank cheque plays a vital role in the
business sector of the country. According to Chief Manager
(Marketing), Commercial Bank, Richard Rodrigo, customers should keep
in mind that a chequebook is not a means to do business without money.
Therefore, the bank does not take any return cheques lightly, as it
also harms the credibility of the bank. "We screen accounts which
have returned cheques in order to ensure that customers do not misuse
a Commercial Bank current account," said Manager (Operations),
S.Y. Ramsay who also participated in the discussion.
to Bandar- anayake, Commercial Bank has recently begun promoting
Commercial Bank current accounts, highlighting some of the unique
benefits and this campaign has been well received. "When you
offer a good product, the market gets to know about it even if the
product is not intensely promoted," he said.
for future plans, Bandaranayake stated that Commercial Bank has plans
to introduce a method of settling utility bills through ATMs for the
convenience of the bank's valued customers. The bank has also just
been honoured with the 'Best Bank in Sri Lanka' award by the New York
based Global Finance magazine for the fifth consecutive time and the
London based The Banker magazine for the third time. So the next time
you sign or receive a Commercial Bank cheque, you have the honour of
belonging to Sri Lanka's No.1 company and its best bank.
opened its fifth Super Drugs and Family Store in Rajagiriya on
September 6. The chief guest for the function was the well-known
industrialist and philanthropist Al Haj Iliyas Careem. Notable among
the other guests were Messrs Neizer Carder, Chairman, Sinwa Group of
Industries, Ranjith Abeysooriya, Chairman Police Service Commission,
Muslim Salahudeen and Ashraf Khan, General Manager Bosch
Pharmaceuticals Pakistan. Situated on the ground floor of Nawala Road
mosque premises, the sprawling drugs cum family store provides a
relaxed ambience with all modern conveniences like air-conditioned
comfort, credit card facilities, door delivery, and parking space.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman, Harcourts, Ahamed Rheyas
elaborated on the concept of super drugs stores, the professional
approach to drug retailing and the emphasis that the company places on
offering fully personalised service to each and every customer who
steps into Harcourts Super Drug Stores.
fans gaining popularity
Commercial Agencies Private Ltd., is the sole agent in Sri Lanka for
the entire range of Khaitan fans manufactured in India. Khaitan
exhaust fans have become the number one choice for quality-conscious
consumers in Sri Lanka.
operates a showroom at Prince Street, Col-11.
products include fans of every description - ceiling fans, table fans,
pedestal fans, freshair fans and heavy-duty industrial fans.
is today one of the largest fan manufacturers in India. With 19
offices located across India, they have established themselves as the
undisputed leader in air-management technology.
1971, the Khaitan name has become a legend for quality as well as
innovations which are reflected in the design of pioneering product
concepts such as freshair fans and models in the mini category.
Khaitan factories in Kolkata, Hyderabad and Faridabad give them the
capability to produce a wide range of domestic and industrial fans in
many designs, sizes and colours. Their three state-of-the-art
manufacturing facilities produce more than 100,000 units monthly, with
an installed capacity to produce over 200,000 units monthly.
product is a result of a systematically documented quality assurance
manual. This manual ensures rigid implementation of the quality policy
for consistent customer satisfaction.
the Faridabad factory is the company's R&D hub and earned the
recognition of the CSIR (Government of India), the Kolkata and
Hyderabad factories have earned the ISO 9001 certificate.
has a network of over 3500 dedicated distributors and dealers. This
highly efficient and motivated network goes a long way to create
goodwill for the Khaitan brand among their many customers, besides
creating availability and after sales service. Company sources stated
they recognise the value of their distributors and dealers and the
role they play in serving customers, while growing and sustaining
Khaitan Group of Companies, S.K. Khaitan said, "As a young
entrepreneur in the early 60's, I was possessed by a burning desire to
push the limits and create new goals for myself. Men like Henry Ford,
Thomas Bata, Soichairo Honda and J.N. Tata who had the guts to build
great brands with their own names, deeply moved me. And I was all set
to turn 'Khaitan,' my family name, into a household word as well. In
my mind's eye I saw Khaitan fans in homes, offices, shops, factories
Khaitan is already a household name and a leading brand throughout the
country. But my vision continues to grow. Because everyday there is a
new horizon to conquer, a new goal to reach."
services fail poor people
- WB report
new World Bank report warns that broad improvements in human welfare
will not occur unless poor people receive wider access to affordable,
better quality services in health, education, water, sanitation, and
such improvements in services, freedom from illness and freedom from
illiteracy - two of the most important ways poor people can escape
poverty - will remain elusive to many.
report, World Development Report 2004: Making Services Work for Poor
People, says that too often key services fail poor people - in access,
in quantity, in quality. This imperils a set of development targets
known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which call for a
halving of the global incidence of poverty, and broad improvements in
human development by 2015, such as to cut child mortality by two
thirds by 2015. Without major improvements in policy, most states in
India, for example, will not be able to accomplish this MDG. Pakistan
has not translated its respectable growth of income into better
outcomes - enrollment in schools has been stagnant for almost a
the report also provides powerful examples of where services do work,
showing how governments and citizens can do better. The report says
there have been spectacular successes and miserable failures in the
efforts by developing countries to make services work.
main difference between success and failure is the degree to which
poor people themselves are involved in determining the quality and the
quantity of the services, which they receive.
often, services fail poor people. These failures may be less
spectacular than financial crises, but their effects are continuing
and deep nonetheless," says World Bank President, James D.
work when they include all people, when girls are encouraged to go to
school, when pupils and parents participate in the schooling process,
when communities take charge of their own sanitation. They work when
we take a comprehensive view of development - recognising that a
mother's education will help her body's health, that building a road
or a bridge will enable children to go to school."
report comes at a time when rich countries have pledged to increase
foreign aid, and poor countries have pledged to improve their policies
and institutions, to try to reach the MDGs. "To accelerate
progress in human development, economic growth is of course necessary,
but it is not enough," says World Bank Chief Economist and Senior
Vice- President for Development Economics, Nicholas Stern. "Mobilising
to reach the 2015 development goals will require both a substantial
increase in external resources and more effective use of all
resources, internal and external. The report offers a practical
framework for using resources more effectively."
challenge is formidable," says Shekhar Shah, World Bank Sector
Manager and a member of the WDR team. "Making services work for
poor people involves changing public sector institutions - those that
govern the budget, the relations between central and local
governments, the civil service, and others. It also involves changing
the way much foreign aid is transferred. But the report suggests that
there are strong examples of services working, and by learning from
these examples, governments and citizens can do better."
report documents three ways in which services can be improved:
By increasing poor clients' choice and participation in service
delivery, so they can monitor and discipline providers. School voucher
schemes - such as a programme for poor families in Colombia or a
girls' scholarship program in Bangladesh - increase clients' power
over providers and substantially increased enrolment rates.
Community-managed schools in El Salvador, where parents visited
schools regularly, lowered teacher absenteeism and raised student test
By raising poor citizens' voices, through the ballot box and making
information widely available. Service delivery surveys in Bangalore,
India, that showed poor people the quality of the water, health,
education, and transport services they were receiving compared to
neighboring districts, increased demand for better public services and
forced politicians to act.
By rewarding the effective and penalizing the ineffective delivery of
services to poor people. In the aftermath of a civil war, Cambodia
paid primary health providers in two districts based on the health of
the households (as measured by independent surveys) in their district.
Health indicators, as well as use by the poor, in those districts
improved relative to other districts.
leaders gather to
launch project SHILPA
leaders from Colombo's leading firms gathered at the National Council
of YMCAs of Sri Lanka (NCYSL) to launch project SHILPA, a finance
campaign to support youth activity islandwide.
were President of NCYSL and Chairman, Colombo Stock Exchange and
Chairman, Bartleet & Co, Eraj Wijesinghe along with Chairman, CIC
(Ltd.) and Managing Director B.R.L. Fernando who chaired the meeting
and other leaders.
power point presentation highlighted the activities of the 38 YMCAs
throughout the country.
impactful presentation emphatically brought to the notice of all those
present the work the YMCA's were doing for social upliftment
particularly among the poor and the deprived.
an international organisation there is a lot of exchange support from
sends two youths annually for youth work at university level.
is another tri-continental programme involving South Africa, Norway
and Sri Lanka. Boginkosi Johnny Ntusi from the Republic of South
Africa was here working as a peace consultant.
contribution to Sri Lankan society is well known. They are determined
to continue their good work. They deserve to be congratulated for
harnessing the best corporate talent in the country.
are an approved charity and headquartered at 143, St. Michael's Rd.,
also wish to capitalise on the ceasefire agreement and contribute.
Wadulla-watha, a Colombo slum, 90% of children of school going age
were not accepted by the schools. The YMCA started a pre-school and
80% of these children are attending schools now.
the YMCA's have been conducting programmes to improve the social and
educational levels of the underprivileged in addition to their regular
children and youth programmes.
seminars and group activities in games and music promoting fellowship
among the alienated is a characteristic activity of the YMCAs now. The
corporate leaders present recognizing the commendable programmes
pledged to raise Rs. 6,000,000.
shows the confidence they have in the direction the country is
heading. The YMCAs also have taken the ceasefire as a spring board to
jump start activities all over the country on the basis of SHILPA,
which is an acronym for:
YMCAs are poised to optimise their services to the children so that
they can gain their humanity and shape a future for themselves where
equality and human dignity will prevail ensuring peace and prosperity
for responsible leadership
time ago, Time magazine asked in a cover story "Who's in
charge?" and answered its own question saying, "the nation
calls for leadership and there is no one home." This quote made
me remember some of the utterances of our leaders both in the JVP and
our so-called trade union leaders about the recent health workers
while our economy is regaining the confidence of the international
community, some of our leaders are attempting to disunite our people
to pull our country apart again. The recent clashes between two
student factions in the Jayowardenapura University which is believed
to have been orchestrated by the JVP backed student union is a case in
South Korea, their leaders in 1998 had the credibility and courage to
inform and bring people together to pull the country out of near
bankruptcy, the rest is history. But most of our national leaders only
blame each other.
at the number of luxury vehicles that are being used by the so called
people representatives and the resources used during election time by
all political parties to sling mud at each other. For a change how
about using some of those resources to build roads or even start a
factory to provide employment to the unemployed?
other great leaders our leaders must first deliver and give people a
sense of purpose and direction before enjoying the benefits of high
office. However, most of our leaders have clearly shown us that they
did not have the capacity to create a compelling vision that takes
people to a new place or on the other hand even understand the awesome
challenges and responsibilities of holding high political positions of
leaders have a significant role to play in creating the state of mind
that is the society and they can serve as symbols of the moral unity
of society. Our country needs leaders at all levels who can conceive
and articulate goals that lift people out of their sense of
helplessness, carry them above the conflicts that tear a society apart
and unite them in pursuit of peace and prosperity for all sections of
around and those who take responsibility for the future destiny of our
nation must build confidence in the government without sending the
wrong signals and resting hopes on shaky politics.
the reality is that in most developing countries in South Asia where
people are finding it hard to live due to escalating world prices
their leaders continue to muscle their way about the country in BMWs
and Benzes followed by a huge contingent of security personnel. There
is something radically wrong with this social system. More than ever
before millions of South Asians are crying out for leadership as their
countries continue to slide due to reforms being backpedaled and shaky
politics being practiced by all political parties.
is very clear in Sri Lanka that public demonstration of the type of
leadership the nation is looking for is scarce and that the nation as
a whole do not want to support politicians who spend millions of
rupees to create superficial images or have lavish extravaganzas, when
it is crunch time for the common man.
leaders even at this late stage must make every effort to generate and
sustain trust and provide meaning and common purpose to every
individual in this country. If this means the two main political
parties working together, so be it. Otherwise at some point the
tolerance of people will give way causing undue hardships to all
one is in government or in business, effective leadership is what is
needed to steer a country or a business, especially in difficult
times. In fact the Prime Minister recently reminded some of the top
CEOs in the private sector that they have a moral obligation to join
hands with the government to solve the graduate unemployment problem.
The private sector must realise that if the unemployment problem is
not resolved soon it could very well give rise to social unrest and
turmoil, making it difficult for the private sector to operate freely.
as the new economy unfolds across Asia and the world becomes one
market Sri Lanka needs a new breed of business leaders and managers,
who can articulate a clear vision, display an exemplary commitment to
the law and deliver sound politics.
must be businessmen and professionals who can react swiftly to and
exploit the series of economic disturbances and opportunities that are
sweeping the region.
men and women who will direct our private sector and be responsible
for our economic fortunes in the next millennium must embrace the
fundamental change in business philosophy required to deal with these
future business leaders will be the people responsible for reshaping
out private sector, our economic fortunes in the next century and even
pull our nation together to cope with future challenges, in the
absence of sound political leadership. But for this transition to take
place our business leaders need to project themselves beyond their
customers. They must reach out to communicate and participate in
the final analysis, it seems the challenge of the future for our
political parties would be to develop a core of leaders who can manage
the region's explosive growth and the challenges thrown up as a
our business leaders in Sri Lanka must realise that the protective
walls are tumbling down fast and companies in the region would seek to
invade our territories looking for new business opportunities and
people within these companies are looking to their leaders to inspire
and excite their organisations to bring out the best in their people.
- unique products
made out of natural materials
made out of rattan, reed, bamboo and other natural material is what
makes Suriya a popular name among households and those interested in
something unique for their home.
for furniture for their new home was what inspired Ruwanmali
Jayasinghe to set up a shop of her own. While travelling to remote
areas in the country Jayasinghe came across many people engaged in
noticed that most of these people had the talent to turn out beautiful
handicrafts. However, their products lacked quality," she says.
According to her, these villagers most often had no market for their
products, which is why they were compelled to sell their produce to
nearby shops or anyone willing to purchase them.
went on to say that she realised the potential these products would
have in the local and foreign market. "I thought to myself, if I
purchase these products made out of raw materials this would solve the
unemployment problem in the rural areas of the country."
before the purchasing of the products Jayasinghe had to train the
villagers on how to turn out good quality items fit for a local or
foreign market. Many were the days when Jayasinghe had to
painstakingly sit by the side of some villagers and show them how to
improve the quality of their products.
72 families from Kandy, Anuradhapura, Matale and other areas are now
providing high quality products on a regular basis to Suriya.
"Today the standard of living for these families has
improved," says Jayasinghe who believes it is important to
encourage rural folk to earn a living by doing something useful for
themselves and the country.
has a wide range of products that include wrought iron furniture,
wooden, rattan, reed and out door furniture, sofas, handloom fabric,
aluminium articles, lamp bases and shades, handmade cutlery, hand
painted crockery, reed and rattan baskets, ferro cement pots and
Suriya most of the products are made out of raw and natural material
found in the local market. "There's so much we can do with the
use of nature's wonders. But many people are not aware of the vast
array of products that can be turned out of natural materials,"
pay the villagers in full once the goods are delivered and this
encourages them to work harder and produce the type of goods we
need," she says. According to her,
competition is very important. Customers should always have a
choice in the market," she said.
to Jayasinghe, a special feature at Suriya is the number of catalogues
available where customers can pick the design of furniture of their
choice. "We believe in our customers and therefore strive to give
them the best at all times."
launches Concierge Service
launched its Concierge Service to offer HSBC Premier credit
cardholders and gold credit cardholders in Sri Lanka greater
convenience in their day to day lives.
bank offers VIP customers this service as an alternative to having
their own personal butler or assistant on call to handle the little
time-consuming chores that can slow down an already busy lifestyle.
Concierge Service is another example of how a combination of our
extensive international experience and local knowledge can work well
to add value to our customers' lifestyles," said HSBC's Manager,
Card Centre, Sarit Wijeyekoon. Value additions, including discounts
and free special delivery of items such as fruits baskets, flowers,
perfumes, chocolates, cakes, wines and champagne are some of the
services that will benefit these customers.
exclusive delivery service is not all we offer. For example, with
HSBC's Concierge Service at hand our HSBC Premier credit cardholders
and gold credit cardholders need only pick up the phone and dial
2502407 and give in the dates and the hotel they wish to stay in,
anywhere in Sri Lanka. Our staff do the rest, making sure that the
customer's accommodation is seen to - even up to the tiniest pampering
detail, such as ensuring that a complimentary basket of fruit or tray
of chocolates is placed in the hotel room," Wijeyekoon said. The
range of hotels includes Aitken Spence Hotels, Jetwing Hotels, and
John Keells Hotels.
Concierge Service also allows this customer segment the chance to
reduce the hassle of making utility bill payments. "We handle
payments of these customers' utility bills (including mobile phone,
telephone, water and electricity) and insurance premiums, in an effort
to make life a little more convenient for them," Wijeyekoon said.
ordering gift hampers on premium liquor and food items, to party
equipment for a child's birthday party, we have dedicated staff ready
to take over these chores - from purchase to doorstep delivery - so
that our customers save time and energy, giving them the chance to
relax and enjoy leisure time. What is more, we will continue to add
value to this service by including convalescent hampers, baby hampers,
limousine airport drops and pick-ups, in addition to a host of other
exclusive services," Wijeyekoon added.
programme for importers and exporters
Bank conducted the second in a series of programmes to create customer
awareness on 'Import / Export Documentation and Foreign Exchange.'
purpose of the progranmme was to deal with the intricate issues faced
by importers and exporters in the course of their day to day business
activities. The much welcomed seminar was held at the Taj Samudra
Hotel in Colombo on September
13 with around 75 customers of the bank participating.
welcome address was delivered by the Director/General Manager/Chief
Executive Officer, Rohini Nanayakkara with the presentations being
made by an eminent panel of speakers selected from the management of
her speech Nanayakkara touched on key aspects and the need for
understanding the risks associated with the foreign exchange market in
turbulent and volatile times such as at present, as exporters as well
as importers have to know the art of taking advantage of the
volatility in the area of foreign exchange in order to make their
businesses profitable. They need to know not only the trade they are
engaged in but also to make use of the opportunities available in the
foreign exchange market which can bring about increased value
at the previous seminar held a year ago Nanayakkara reminded the
audience of the importance of knowing the technicalities in the area
of exchange risk management. In less than a year after the seminar,
the foreign exchange market turned out to be more volatile than ever
before with the Euro increasing to historic highs whilst the dollar
took a slide. Other areas of increasing volatility were evident
throughout the beginning of this year and included currencies such as
the Japanese Yen and Sterling Pound.
technicalities involved in the foreign exchange market cannot be
grasped by customers immediately. Instead it must be acquired through
seminars of this nature as well as by consulting the specialised staff
of the bank in the international and treasury divisions, it was noted.
those present were Senior Deputy General Manager - Metropolitan
Banking, Leonie Seneviratne, Deputy General Manager - International,
Samuel Jebaratnam, Consultant Treasury and Overseas Operations,
Freddie Jayarajah, Deputy General Manager - Corporate Banking and
Foreign Currency, Ajantha Maddurapperuma and other heads of the
panel of speakers at the seminar included Assistant General Manager -
Chief Dealer, S. Palihawadana, Assistant General Manager -
International, Shafeek Samad, Chief Manager - International,
Damayanthi Tillekeratne, Chief Manager - Foreign Currency Unit, T.
Ethiraj, Manager Exports, Priyantha De Zilva, and Manager Imports,
Thilak Samarasinghe. The open forum discussion was chaired by
Consultant, Treasury and Overseas Operations, Freddie Jeyarajah.
is a clear indication of how Seylan Bank is not only providing a
service but also expanding one's knowledge and skills in order to
maximise profits bringing about value addition through skillful
handling of international transactions in the import and export trade.
This seminar also provided a platform for customers to meet their
bankers face to face enabling them to tell the bank what they expected
and in turn the bank was able to tell them what it can offer.
focus on learning and specialising in key areas such as international
trade, Seylan Bank targets a customer base that will support the
bank's growth strategies. It already enjoys a strong presence in trade
financing activities and has been of service to many small and medium
sized businesses, especially indigenous Sri Lankan entrepreneurs.
pollution control campaign in Kurunegala
Motors Lanka Limited (UMLL) recently teamed up with the Ministry of
Environment and Natural Resources on their third special environment
drive. It was a success story with a massive turnout of vehicles of
chief guests at the event were Deputy Minister of Environment and
Natural Resources, Indika Bandaranayake and Environmental Scientist
and Founder, National Programme on Recycling, Dr. Ajantha Perera.
benefits offered to customers of any brand of vehicle were:
emission control report
in the automobile trade, maintaining a healthy physical environment is
considered vital to the long term sustainability of UMLL. Hence
throughout the years the company has been striving to work in harmony
with the environment and seek to minimise all forms of pollution. The
company has taken the following steps to safeguard the environment.
far UMLL has invested approximately Rs. 1.5 million in pollution
control equipment. Engine analysers and exhaust
emission testing equipment are used in the workshop to fine
tune vehicle engines in order to minimise damage to the environment.
The use of a refrigerant gas recovery and recycling machine enables to
purify and reuse the harmful refrigerant gases discharged from vehicle
air conditioning systems that would otherwise cause depletion of the
effluent discharge from the day to day activity of servicing vehicles
is treated in a skimmer to separate the oil and grease. The oil/water
separation process is further enhanced by the flow of all affluent
through an oil/water tank that ensures only water of a quality
conforming to relevant environmental standards is discharged.
a view to making a contribution towards the country's drive for a
greener environment, special service campaigns were carried out at
central locations for the testing of vehicle emission levels. Two
programmes have been completed and more are planned for next year.
class cardiac care at Durdans Hospital
Hospital initiated setting up its Durdans-Escorts Heart Centre in 1997
and it became operational from January 1999. Durdans Heart Centre was
established through a strategic alliance with India's No 1 cardiac
care hospital, Escorts Heart Institute & Research Centre (EHICR).
The Escorts Heart Institute is one of the largest cardiac care
providers in the world and since its inception in 1988, it has offered
high standards of heart care to patients from all over India, as well
as other countries.
institute provides comprehensive cardiac care, spanning from basic
facilities in preventive cardiology to the more sophisticated curative
technology. It has established high standards in primary research,
medical training and delivery of healthcare. The institute specialises
in offering surgery to high-risk patients and has introduced
innovative techniques of minimally invasive and robotic surgery,
making it an advanced tertiary referral centre.
single centre concept of a cardiac centre was initiated in consequence
to the negotiations entered into with its strategic partner, EHIRC.
The Heart Centre was established in two phases. Phase 1 is the
non-invasive Cardiac Centre which was setup under the flagship
hospital, Durdans Hospital and it comprises the following:
Command Centre (Super Coronary Care Unit)
10 bedded state-of-the-art Heart Command Centre (HCC) was setup to
provide care to critically ill patients suffering from heart attacks,
heart failure and arrhythmia. The HCC is well equipped with advanced
electronic bedside monitors linked to a central console and is
monitored by doctors specifically trained in coronary care techniques.
The centre is supplemented with modern life support devices.
Heart Station provides comprehensive advanced cardiac services such as
ECG, Exercise ECG, 2D Colour Doppler Echocardiograms, Stress
Echocardiograms, Holter Monitoring (24 hour ambulatory ECG and remote
transtelphonic arrhythmia), Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring and
Pulmonary Function Test (Lung Function Test). The Morgan lung function
equipment with transfer factors, which is regarded as the gold
standard in cardiac lung function testing equipment which can assess
severe heart conditions, also takes pride of place at the unit.
provides patients with the finest cardiac services in the country. The
Heart Station also houses the consultation chambers, where one can
consult the best of cardiologists and cardiac surgeons available in
Sri Lanka. The Heart Station has performed over 200,000 cardiac
investigations since its establishment in January 1999.
2 of the cardiac project was initiated in 1998 and it became
operational in November 2000. Durdans Heart Surgical Centre (Pvt)
Limited was established by creating a separate legal entity approved
by the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka under Section 17 of the BOI
law of 1978.
centre is focused on cardiac surgery and offers all aspects of
interventional cardiology. Treatment is provided by a resident team of
renowned cardiac surgeons seconded from strategic partner Escorts
Heart Institute and renowned Sri Lankan visiting cardiac surgeons and
Lankan is world's number
one in computer science
Dubash has done Sri Lanka proud. At the recently conducted London A-
Level 2002 examination, young Jerastin achieved the best results in
the world in computer science. This is indeed an immense honour for
the country as well as for her school, Colombo International School.
a glittering awards ceremony held at Colombo Plaza, she was given a
trophy and medal to commemorate her unique achievement by
wife of the British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, Sharon
Evans, as an audience of over 500 gave her a standing ovation.
Jerastin is presently following a degree programme in computer science
at the University of Stanford, California, USA. That in itself is an
achievement since she is the only student from Sri Lanka to have
entered this prestigious university in the past four years.
to the Principal, Colombo International School, David Sanders,
Jerastin was a very able and disciplined student who always gave her
best when she was in school. He said it was evident that computing was
her forte although she has achieved very good results in other
subjects as well.
cancer awareness campaign
Cancer Detection Center will distribute over 100,000 pink ribbons in
Colombo and the suburbs next month as part of a massive awareness
campaign on breast cancer.
campaign in October, designated globally as the breast cancer
awareness month, seeks to convey the message that timely detection can
cure breast cancer. The campaign will be backed by a demonstration of
the centre's commitment
to the cause of breast cancer with a special offer on mammograms.
ribbons are worn by people all over the world during the month of
October to show they care about breast cancer and its victims. This
year, all metropolitan branches of Seylan Bank as well as branch
offices of Ceylinco Life, leading beauty salons, hotels and dress
boutiques will support this effort in Colombo by the Ceylinco Cancer
Detection Center, by making available the pink ribbons to their
and Standard Trading form alliance
& Company Ltd. and Standard Trading Company (Pvt.) Ltd. have
formed an alliance and set up two joint venture companies, Motor
Marvels (Pvt.) Ltd. and Frontier Automotive (Pvt.) Ltd. These new
corporate entities aim at being leaders in the Sri Lankan automotive
Marvels (Pvt.) Ltd. (MML) is the sole agent for Suzuki and Citroen
vehicles in Sri Lanka. Suzuki has increased its presence in the local
market significantly with the launch of the Grand Vitara XL 7. The
Suzuki Liana and the Suzuki Ignis have also sold very well. In the
Citroen range the Citroen C5 and the Xsara have been very well
received by the Sri Lankan market. Frontier Automotive (Pvt.) Ltd. has
just been appointed the sole agent for Land Rover, Rover and MG in Sri
Lanka. This company will initially market and service Land Rover and
thereafter move on to Rover and MG.
vision of the new companies are to be significant players in the Sri
Lankan motor sector. The strategy chosen by the company to achieve
this is unique. The management of the two companies are very focused
on after sales service, as they feel that by providing quality after
sales service at reasonable prices, they will enhance the
marketability of their product range which is inherently strong. The
companies are also highly focused on creating a dynamic and
stimulating environment for their employees. Training for all levels
of staff in a wide array of fields is a priority.
the agent for Land Rover in Sri Lanka, Frontier Automotive will take a
lead in doing all it can to help environmental conservation. Land
Rover International is strongly committed to protecting the
environment and assisting conservation. Recently, Land Rover
International donated a Land Rover Defender 130 to the Elephant
Transit Home (ETH) at Udawalawe. This vehicle will be maintained by
Frontier Automotive which will also assist the ETH in its fund raising