GoldQuest- All out to clear its name
Automobile market hit by weak rupee
Corporate Banking Platform ranked No. 1
- Long term buys recommended
sector needs more access.....
JKH electronic dividend payments via
Education hit by increasing Pound
authorities boost government revenue
of design that's going places
bomb explosion which ripped through the Colpetty police station on
Wednesday (7), killing five and injuring eleven others has sent shock
waves throughout the business community who claim that such a trend
should be stopped immediately for the sake of development and
investment in the country.
blast which took place in the heart of Colpetty and within close
proximity of star class hotels, embassies and Temple Trees sent
shockwaves throughout the country within minutes due to which the
Colombo stock market panicked and lost almost Rs. 5 billion in value
in the last hour of its trading on Wednesday.
market was on a steady rise in the early hours of Wednesday with the
ASPI up over seven points and the MPI higher by 20 points. However, by
the final hour of trading on Wednesday ASPI was at 1339.49, down 21
points and MPI at 2039 points, down by 26 points. Prior to the blast,
trading was at Rs. 180 million after which it ended at Rs. 397 million
and market capitalisation was down by Rs. 4.7 billion to Rs. 327.8
Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industries in Sri Lanka (FCCISL),
Nihal Abeysekara told The Sunday Leader that Wednesday's explosion has
indeed affected the country's economy seriously and the government and
the LTTE should go ahead with the peace discussions without any
the foreign media has flashed this incident quite seriously and now
foreign investors will think twice before investing in the country due
to the fear of the war starting once again. It is extremely necessary
for the country to go ahead with its trading without any hindrance and
now the entire economy depends on the stability of the peace process.
The government and the LTTE have to go ahead with the peace process
soon in order to have a stable economy," Abeysekara said.
Manager, HNB Stock Brokers, Hasitha Premaratne told The Sunday Leader
that this bomb blast seemed to be more of an isolated attack. In order
for foreign investors to continue investing in the country, Premaratne
said that the government and the LTTE would now have to give assurance
and make a strong statement to the public on whether the peace process
would continue. Premaratne said that just because there was an
explosion in the heart of Colombo did not mean that it was an
indication that the war was about to begin once again and that this
entire issue of the ethnic conflict would have to be taken up without
any further delay with different forums such as the Norwegian peace
envoy. "If this issue is discussed with different forums such as
the Norwegians and Indians, then investors will continue looking at
the country with a positive attitude. If the government promises the
stability of the peace process then this would not affect the economy
severely," Premaratne said.
to Chairman, Ceylon National Chamber of Industries, Ranjit
Hettiarachchi, this explosion was another signal that leaders would
have to act fast in order to continue the stalled peace process.
said that today in every society, peace was the most important essence
and such types of 'breakdowns' could not be tolerated any longer.
have suffered a lot for the past 20 years and it is time that a
permanent solution was found to this ethnic conflict. It is time that
we started working hard in order to develop this country. We cannot
have intervals such as this and since Sri Lanka is a small country,
when an explosion occurs, the image that is developed in a foreign
investor's mind, is extremely bad. Currently we need foreign investors
investing in our country and the way the foreign media flashes these
types of incidents, it ruins the country's image," Hettiarachchi
in a statement released by the Tourism Ministry following the
explosion, tourist operations have not been affected and continue to
function as before.
officials said that there were no risks to tourists holidaying in
Colombo and to those planning trips from Colombo to any travel
destinations in other parts of the country.
commenting on Wednesday's explosion, UNF MP and former Finance
Minister , K. N. Choksy said that this bomb blast would have a
definite adverse effect on the economy in several directions.
the tourist inflow will be affected because unfortunately the blast
occurred in close vicinity to the locations of two important
diplomatic missions and also several tourist hotels situated in
Colombo, namely the Colombo Plaza, Galle Face Hotel, Holiday Inn and
the Renuka City hotel," Choksy said.
said that Colombo being the principal entry and exit points of
tourists is also another consideration.
foreign direct investments and foreign investment in the share market
are likely to be reduced. Foreign direct investment is mainly in the
business and industrial sector. Capital increases in these areas
result in increased production of goods, the export market, reduces
inflation and enhances employment opportunities. Affectation of these
areas necessarily results in contraction of the economy," Choksy
added that the buoyancy of a country's currency is important to
maintain capital growth and increase foreign reserves.
Sri Lankan rupee has appreciated against the US dollar and stood at
approximately Rs. 94 at the end of last year. The reduction in capital
inflow will have the affect of further depreciating the slide in the
value of the rupee which has taken place since the last general
elections and further depreciate the rupee which stands at higher a
figure at Rs. 103 to the dollar," Choksy said.
added that the government's targeted figures of budget deficit and
economic growth are bound to be thrown out of gear.
All out to clear its name
has denied reports from both media and regulatory officials
categorising its operations in Sri Lanka as a pyramid scheme.
attacks have unfortunately prompted the mislabeling of our legitimate
network marketing programme," a statement issued by GoldQuest
said. It further states that lawyers of GoldQuest have taken this
issue to the Central Bank (CB) and hoped to clear all doubts with CB.
According to this statement, the participants that have violated
exchange control regulations by using their credit cards should
personally deal with the banks involved by receiving advise from these
banks as to how to deal with the authorities.
happened in the wake of recent warnings by the CB to participants that
have used their credit cards to make payments to third parties, which
the bank categorises as a violation of the exchange regulations. While
credit cards of such persons would be terminated, they would also be
liable to pay three times the value of the offence.
has also denied media reports of its involvement in the recent attempt
to murder Customs Officer Athula Lankadeva who is presently carrying
out investigations of the GoldQuest case. Earlier this month, Customs
detained a shipment of gold coins on the basis of the value of these
coins and their eligibility towards importing these products.
has already urged police to carry out investigations in to this
alleged attack with a view of identifying the culprits. GoldQuest has
also requested the police to investigate the beginnings of the
campaign to tarnish its name as it believes that there may be a link
between persons who may have initiated this campaign and those
involved in the alleged incident.
to GoldQuest, they have provided opportunities for the unemployed and
underemployed population as well as others who wished to exercise
their personal selling skills through its operations in Sri Lanka. The
statement further states that GoldQuest sought to clarify their stand
on these issues and would continue to make representations and take
all necessary actions to clear their name and provide the correct
picture to the authorities and customers while taking legal action
Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
the government spends millions of rupees when outsourcing health
services, it is yet expected to be cheaper than actually maintaining
staff in the government hospitals to provide supplementary services.
services are outsourced during a strike and are directed at private
hospitals and laboratories.
to The Sunday Leader, Deputy Director, Colombo National Hospital, Dr.
Rani Fernando said that the government spends less when outsourcing
supplementary services. However, the amount spent on the facilities
run up to millions depending on the number of days the strike lasts.
went on to say that although the government hospitals cannot outsource
facilities provided by the doctors, others - minor staff and
supplementary staff, which includes lab technologists, radiologists,
pharmacists, etc. - could be outsourced. According to Dr. Fernando,
during health sector strikes, private hospitals offer packages on lab
Dr. Fernando pointed out that strikes by the government hospitals'
supplementary staff have now reduced with the realisation that the
government would spend far less when outsourcing these facilities
rather than maintaining a staff for the purpose.
asked how much the government would spend on supplementary services
when outsourced, Dr. Fernando said that it would be difficult to give
an exact amount as they vary according to the nature and number of
tests done in private institutions. She went on to explain that the
price of each test varies, adding that one CT scan could cost up to Rs.
strike in the government health sector results in a sharp increase in
patient traffic in private hospitals.
Director, Durdans Hospital, Sathis Tudawe said that the number of
patients treated by the hospital sees a sharp increase when paramedics
are on strike. He went on to say it is the hospital's OPD section that
is congested as the hospital's admissions are not affected by the
strike. However, lab facilities too see an increase during the period,
asked whether this in turn reflects in the hospital's turnover he said
that it is not so as the OPD and channeling money does not result in a
sharp increase in revenue. Another leading private hospital also
agreed by saying that although the number of OPD patients see an
increase, it does not in turn affect the hospital's revenue.
market hit by weak rupee
of the rupee against currencies, which includes the US dollar and the
Japanese yen, has hit the automobile market in Sri Lanka. The selling
rate of the yen on July 7 had increased to 0.95.
Director, United Motors, Anil Wijesinghe told The Sunday Leader that
the effect would be immediate and has already affected the market in
yen has appreciated nearly 15% over the year which is not favorable to
the industry," he said.
to Wijesinghe the market for brand new cars has been more affected as
against the reconditioned car market.
years back the brand new car market against the reconditioned car
market was 20:80, however today the market has fallen to 10:90,"
attributes this situation to the poor economic condition witnessed
during the past resulting in the weakening of the rupee against hard
currencies and the duties levied against car importers.
only a few can afford a brand new vehicle in comparison to several
years ago, therefore they go for much cheaper reconditioned
vehicles," he stressed.
years ago 1,200 units of double cabs were imported. However, today
barely 400 cabs are imported to Sri Lanka since many cannot afford
such vehicles," emphasised Wijesinghe.
senior official of Stafford Motors told The Sunday Leader that there
has been a steep decline in the car market in Sri Lanka over the last
few months due to the weakening rupee and the increase of Cost
Insurance Freight (CIF) and other duties related to the automobile
to this official, the motorbike market is more affected than the car
market. He states that it is the middle and lower middle class
consumers that purchase motorbikes and when there is a marginal
increase of the price, they would be affected due to their poor
growth of the motorbike market is affected not merely by the price
hike of motorbikes. When the economy is not performing well people
cannot afford such products," stressed this official.
Wijesinghe urged the government to take immediate measures to
safeguard the automobile market in Sri Lanka by reducing import
Corporate Banking Platform ranked No. 1
CitiDirect Online Banking took first place in an independent study by
Greenwich Associates to evaluate the internet-based cash management
applications of 10 leading banks in the U.S. for the second year in a
row. The respected institutional research firm chose CitiDirect as
"best in class" among cash management websites for U.S.
corporations and financial institutions, giving it an overall score of
94 out of 100.
ranked first or tied for first in 20 of the 32 categories compared to
competitive offerings, based on 31 evaluation criteria in the areas of
usability and features; site management and integration; and online
products and services. CitiDirect, available in 21 languages and
providing information and transaction services to clients in over 90
countries, received perfect scores across the board.
have involved clients in the development of our internet-based banking
offerings to ensure that our products truly meet their needs - and set
the standard for the industry," said Global Head, Cash
Management, Citigroup Global Transaction Services, Paul Galant.
"Our focus from the beginning has been to provide corporate and
institutional clients with a single point of access for online cash
management and trade transactions and reports, no matter where they do
business around the world - and to back up these offerings with expert
advice and around the clock client support. This study tells us that
our strategy and its execution have been both, sound and successful.
However, that does not mean that we can take our success for
granted," he added. "We must - and will - continue to
enhance the CitiDirect application so that it remains best of breed
and meets the expectations of the corporate treasurers and cash
managers who rely on it to run their operations."
Online Banking stands out in a highly competitive peer group, driven
by strong product functionality, focus on client workflow, and many
unique value added features. Online cash management functionality in
the market overall continues to evolve at a rapid pace, and Citibank's
ability to stay ahead of the pack is impressive," said Principal
and Director, Business Development, Greenwich Associates, Steven
N.A. commenced its operations in Sri Lanka in December 1979 as a full
service branch of Citibank N.A., New York. Since its inception, it has
been a leading provider of cash management and trade services to
financial institutions and corporate clients, providing timely,
accurate information and dynamic, web-based tools to effectively
manage financial positions, working capital and supply chains around
- Long term buys recommended
FY2004 results of Distilleries recorded a Net Turnover growth of 73%
to Rs.10.74 billion compared to Rs.6.20 billion during last year. Our
forecast for the full year 2004 was Rs. 6.09 billion excluding SLI.
The other main deviation in the revenue forecast came from the Food
and Beverages (F&B) segment, which grew, by approx. 21% during the
Q4 of FY2004.
major part of the full year turnover growth in DIST (other than the
insurance segment) was accounted for by the Food and Beverages
segment. The F&B segment grew by 19% to Rs. 4.3 billion from Rs.
3.6 billion recorded in FY2003. Approximately 70% of this growth was
generated through the increased prices while the balance was from
growth in volumes. Increase in volumes in this saturated market could
only come through capturing the market share away from illicit
manufacturers. However, the high excise duty structure that drives the
legal manufacturers' prices up remains a main barrier in this regard,
since the illicit products are sold at significantly low prices.
project this segment to grow by 24% over FY2005 to Rs. 5.31 billion.
Our FY2005 gross turnover growth projection for this segment is at
26%, nevertheless with the possibility of the govt. running on an
enhanced fiscal deficit, we anticipate a possible duty hike and thus
the net revenue growth is projected only to be 24%.
insurance segment represented by SLI contributed Rs. 3.6 billion to
the top line. We see this growing by another 15% in FY2005 to Rs. 4.14
billion. We do not anticipate an exponential growth in the top-lines
of SLI in the immediate future since the initiatives taken at present
(particularly in the fields of IT and human resources) may take at
least till the medium term to yield justifying returns.
plantation sector represented by Balangoda and Madulsima plantations
recorded a turnover of Rs. 2.49 billion, up by 7%, compared to the
previous financial year. Growth in volumes was the main cause for such
increase in revenue in the plantation sector. Our turnover growth
forecast for this segment in FY2005 is at 7% to Rs. 2.67 billion.
textile sector, represented by Timpex showed a growth of 28% to Rs.
350 million. Here too increased volumes mainly drove the growth. We
see another 20% growth in this category coming in FY2005 to Rs. 420
of shares boost earnings
other operating income amounting to Rs. 598 million is mainly the
gains from the sale of shares of JKH, Sampath Bank and more recently
Aitken Spence. This pushed the operating profits up to Rs. 2.14
billion, which was 150% higher than the Rs. 854 million recorded
during last year. Furthermore, there were no significant increases in
the operating expenses though we did anticipate a high operating cost
with the SLI consolidation.
goodwill amortisation of Rs. 233.7 million includes the SLI component
of Rs. 213 million and the same charge would be appearing over the
next four years as well.
operating profits of Rs. 2.137 million had the main F&B sector
bringing in a significant Rs. 2.12 billion (including capital gains).
The insurance segment contributing with Rs. 80 million, textile giving
in Rs. 4 million and the plantation sector in the negative region of
Rs. 61 million. The plantation sector was affected by the higher
operating costs and the overall decline in the industry during the
early part of FY2004 with unfavorable weather making things worse.
Nevertheless, with better tea prices and increased demand during the
Q1 of 2004, we believe that the Balangoda and Madulsima plantations
would recover from a bad patch to post a modest profit during FY2004 (Balangoda
has already posted profits for year ended De. 2003).
operating profit forecast for FY2005 is at Rs.1.72 billion. Though all
segments are expected to record a growth in operating profit, we
project a 20% decline in the consolidated operating profits to Rs.
1.72 billion, as we do not envisage DIST recording the same level of
capital gains experienced in FY2004. The capital gains during the year
amounted to Rs. 598 million. Out of the FY2005 operating profit
forecast of Rs. 1.72 billion the F&B segment is expected to
contributed Rs. 1.38 billion, the capital gains are estimated at
approx. Rs. 107 million, Insurance sector is expected to bring in Rs.
207 million (after goodwill write off of Rs. 213 million), plantations
are to contribute with Rs. 13 million and textiles would chipping in
with Rs. 8 million.
earnings up by 152%
net finance income has increased from Rs. 129 million in FY2003 to Rs.
138 million this year. Though at Q3 (without SLI consolidation) it was
a net finance cost of Rs. 208 million mainly on account of the
additional borrowings for the acquisition of SLI, the interest income
of SLI (approx. Rs. 248 million) has reversed it to a net finance
income at the full year consolidation. We see this improving to a net
finance income of Rs. 211 million in FY2005.
share of profits from the associate company (Aitken Spence) saw an
increase of 115% to Rs. 408 million from Rs. 190 million last year.
This was mainly driven by the tourism and power sector earnings, as
reported in our full year earnings review of Aitken Spence on June 25.
With the sale of shares of SPEN to SLI the direct holding of SPEN by
DIST is 17%. We are nevertheless treating it still as an associate and
consolidating the earnings for a 17.26% holding. Thus the share of
earnings from associates is at Rs. 327 million for FY2005. Furthermore
during FY2006 where SPEN is expected to get the contribution from
their new 100MW plant, the contribution from associates would jump up
by 76% to Rs. 574 million.
net earnings to shareholders for FY2004 stood at Rs. 2.218 billion, up
152% from last year's Rs. 880 million. This outperformed our
expectations with the increased earnings from the F&B segment, and
the income from associates (SPEN) both of which exceeded our
projections. Furthermore, the gain from the sale of Aitken Spence
shares contributed significantly towards the bottom line. Meanwhile
the interest income of SLI wiped out the interest cost on borrowings
of DIST, thus further improving the bottom lines beyond our
a share price of Rs.25.25 and an EPS of Rs. 7.39 the PER stood at
3.42x. The NAPS was at Rs. 20.28 giving a PBV of 1.24x.
forward earnings forecast for DIST for the FY2005 stands at Rs. 1.826
billion. Despite the decline in the earnings, this results in an EPS
of Rs. 6.09 yielding a PER of 4.1x at a market price of Rs. 25.25.
Though this is an increase from the current PER level of 3.4x, we
still see the counter very attractive at 4.1x compared to the market.
Furthermore DIST diversifying in to insurance justifies it being
ranked higher than the historical PER range of 1.9x - 4.2x that it has
traded over the last five years.
the forward PBV of 1.0x remains attractive compared to DIST being
ranked higher than the normal PBV range of 0.4x-1.1x that it has
traded during the last five years.
we maintain our recommendation, a long term buy.
HNB Stock Brokers
sector needs more access
to govt.'s infrastructure facilities
of the rationale that business is a part of society and the stability
of society is essential for business and vice versa and that the
private sector has a role to play in social development outside their
enterprises, just as much as governments have a role to ensure a
climate that is conducive to business, Director General, Employers'
Federation of Ceylon (EFC), G. K. B. Dassanayake in an interview with
Dinesh Weerakkody says that the private sector has the clout and
capacity to influence decision making in government. "I believe
that our private sector has the capacity to influence decision making
in government and we see a growing trend for private sector
involvement in the decision making process. To strengthen its lobbying
capacity and clout it is important however, for the private sector to
speak in one voice. Any government would then take more serious note
of the views of the private sector having regard to it being the
principal partner in economic development.."
The EFC is organising a high profile seminar on Corporate Social
Responsibility (CSR). What do you hope to achieve and promote?
The objectives of this symposium are twofold. Firstly, to recognise
the importance of the subject for which purpose we have focused on a
study and review of the subject globally and in Sri Lanka, and to
formulate practical steps to enhance commitment to CSR, in the context
of its importance in today's business environment. Secondly, to
discuss the possible role of the EFC in the area of CSR in relation to
our members and the business community as a whole. In the case of the
former objective we consider it very important to not only identify
relevant issues, but see a need to develop a balanced approach to CSR,
which avoids unfair expectations from enterprises.
The concept of social responsibility has been around for a while. Why
is it that the EFC took so long to showcase CSR in the private sector?
I do not think it is correct to say that EFC has been slow to react to
the need for CSR. I would refer you to the publication which marked
our 50th year, which was 25 years ago, and the comments made by the
well known Indian industrialist Naval Tata, who complemented the EFC
for its leadership in social responsibility issues.
drive for a more committed programme on CSR has been of recent origin,
especially in our country. In countries such as ours, the significant
role now played by the corporate sector in national development is
relatively new and this places more of a responsibility on the part of
the corporate sector to respond to social needs. In fact, it is only
now that many international organisations such as the International
Standards Organisation, the International Organisation of Employers (IOE)
of which the EFC is a member, are addressing this subject in a
systematic manner. We have given leadership to promoting the ILO
Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, of 1988. The
aim of this declaration is to reconcile the desire to ensure that
social progress goes hand in hand with economic progress.
have also given leadership in promoting the Global Compact of the
Secretary General of the United Nations. The Global Compact as you
know is a call to the world business community to voluntarily
subscribe to a set of standards in the areas of labour, the
environment and human rights. A number of EFC member companies have
subscribed to the Global Compact. More recently the EFC has worked on
the setting up of an Employer Network on Disability. This network
facilitates employment related training and job placement for the
disabled. I will not go on to list what we have done but merely say
that all in all, from our very inception in 1929 the EFC has been
conscious of the importance of social stability and progress while
focusing on economic growth. This has also been the credo of the ILO,
of which the EFC has been the Sri Lankan employer constituent.
Does our private sector have the clout and capacity to influence
decision making in government?
I believe that our private sector has the capacity to influence
decision making in government and we see a growing trend for private
sector involvement in the decision making process. To strengthen its
lobbying capacity and clout it is important however, for the private
sector to speak in one voice. Any government would then take more
serious note of the views of the private sector having regard to it
being the principal partner in economic development.
Private sector firms have only been solely responsible to their
providers of capital. What is the rationale for management to look
beyond the bottom line?
The rationale is that business is a part of society and the
stability of society is essential for business and vice versa. For
this the private sector has a role to play in social development
outside their enterprises, just as much as governments have a role to
ensure a climate that is conducive to business. The bottom line would
be impacted if there is social instability. In other words, it is an
issue of sustainability for all and the theme of our symposium is
"CSR for sustainable development."
The private sector more than ever needs to demonstrate a social
conscience with the greatest possible vigour in order to prevent
antagonism being built up against the private sector by the public.
What role can the EFC play to develop this social conscience?
I agree that it is important for the private sector to demonstrate a
social conscience. That is one important aspect that we are trying to
promote through this symposium. It is unfortunate however, that the
perceptions entertained in many quarters in relation to the private
sector do not necessarily reflect the correct position. If you take
private sector establishments, many have been involved in numerous
activities which demonstrate a high degree of social responsibility.
Most of them however have been ad hoc approaches and have not received
the publicity they deserve. The book that is to be published for our
symposium will discuss some of the initiatives taken by the private
sector. Perhaps what enterprises should be doing is to move to a more
policy based approach, which shows a long term commitment to social
change. Hopefully, the EFC can assist enterprises in this regard and
also develop itself as a link between the private sector and society
as we have hitherto done with our member companies, their employees
and trade unions.
What has been the EFC's contribution to develop and nurture the
underprivileged people in our society?
I have in my answer to your earlier question referred to the EFC's
contribution in different forms. Of course it needs to be understood
that our role is limited in the context of our objectives and our
rules. But we take pride that over the last 75 years we have been a
partner with our member enterprises, the state and trade unions in
improving terms and conditions of employment, and in developing an
equitable approach to the solution of labour related problems. We have
in the past attempted to focus on the need for a proper employment
policy which takes account of the need for investment to create much
needed jobs. The EFC has also made a significant contribution in
relation to the training of youth and our officers have served on many
boards involved in vocational training. We invested our own money in
the Skills Development Fund (SDF) along with the government, but the
SDF unfortunately has not made as important a contribution as
envisaged, due to several constraints for which we are not to blame.
Finally, what role do you wish the government to play in bringing
about private-public partnership to uplift the living standards of the
The government possesses infrastructural facilities and substantial
resources to which the private sector should have more access. In the
areas of education, vocational training, and other fields the
government should encourage private sector participation and use the
technical resources available there. It is important that these
resources are utilised to create more employability skills as well as
encouraging the less fortunate to engage in worthwhile small scale
business activities. Special attention must be paid to those in the
informal economy to give them support so that they could be suppliers
to the formal private sector. The support could come in many forms
including the setting up of co-operatives and other organisations
which could link up with bodies such as ours which have the ability to
tap into technical assistance from agencies such as the ILO. What is
important is for parties to take each other into their confidence and
work together within a defined framework for the ultimate good of the
majority of the people.
electronic dividend payments via Deutsche Bank
Keells Holdings Limited (JKH), announced that it will be processing
dividend payments electronically via Deutsche Bank's electronic
banking system, db-direct internet.
will replace the traditional practice of issuing dividends using
corporate cheques that require manual signatures. Deutsche Bank is the
first bank to introduce electronic processing of dividend payments in
this new process using db-direct internet, the company can approve
bulk payment of dividends in one single batch instead of the tedious
task of approving each dividend payment individually.
the electronic-based method of payment ensures a more secure process
that requires no manual intervention and is also one that is less
labour-intensive," explained Group Treasurer, John Keells
Holdings Limited in Sri Lanka, Rohan Perera. "Automation also
means that we will be able to better manage the information flow and
enjoy the benefits of new cost-efficiencies arising from more accurate
data and reduced processing times."
winning this mandate represents the confidence the Sri Lankan market
has in Deutsche Bank's comprehensive range of cash management
products, which is complemented by our partner bank network. We
provide our customers with workable solutions that they can use to
better address their daily needs," added Asia Pacific Head,
Deutsche Bank's Global Cash Management for Corporates, Jimmy Yap.
hit by increasing Pound
Depreciation of the rupee against the Sterling Pound during the past
few weeks has caused a severe impact on the British based education
qualifications in Sri Lanka. The Pound was sold at Rs.186.49 on June
30, whereas on July 7 it was sold at Rs.190.13.
the qualifications available, the most popular are the management
accounting based Charted Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
and marketing based Charted Institute of Marketing (CIM). The
examination fees for these qualification range from Pounds 40-60 per
subject while registration fees would be around Pounds 100.
President, Claude Perera told The Sunday Leader that this unfavorable
situation has caused an adverse impact on CIMA students islandwide.
students will find it difficult to cope when the Pound value increases
since they will have to pay more rupees for their exam and
registration fees," said Perera.
to Perera, there is a threat of the student population declining due
to the high cost involved in this qualification due to the adverse
exchange rate situation.
a precaution we are presently discussing this issue with CIMA-UK to
provide a concessionary rate on tuition fees in terms of Pounds to our
students," remarked Perera. However, Perera sees this unfavorable
situation as a short-term problem which he believes could be overcome
on the longer term. "When CIMA qualified students enter the job
market in Sri Lanka or overseas they earn a significant income within
a short span of time that would compensate the massive amount they
spent when studying for the qualification," emphasised Perera.
CIM, Lasantha Wickramasuriya shared a similar view to Perera.
According to Wickramasuriya marketing students would face difficulties
when it comes to paying for their examination fees due to the high
cost of the Pound.
many of our students are employed and they have to pay the fees by
themselves it would create a sever burden to them."
stressed that since many companies do not sponsor students for their
exams and their monthly salaries would not be sufficient to pay their
examination fee, there would be a threat of student membership
emphasised that there was no significant growth of CIM membership this
year when compared with the previous years and he attributes this
situation to the rising effect of the Sterling Pound.
stressed that though CIM UK would offer a concessionary rate for local
members it would not have a significant impact on the exam fees
if they provide a concessionary rate it would be just a marginal
discount which would not be sufficient," he said.
authorities boost government revenue
government recorded a Rs. 1,250 million (9.8%) increase in government
excise revenue for the first six months ended June 30, 2004, mainly
attributed to the declining volumes of illegal and counterfeit tobacco
products in the local market.
a press release, Ceylon Tobacco Company stated that government revenue
has grown from Rs 12.7 billion during the six months ended June 30,
2003 to Rs. 13.9 billion during the same period of 2004. The growth of
9.8 % in government revenue comes in the wake of massive raids and
detections carried out by Customs officials and police to minimise the
availability of counterfeit and illegal cigarettes. The estimated
volumes of these illegal products mainly "Gold Seal" have
seen a decline during the period under review.
officials detected the largest consignment ever of Gold Seal
cigarettes during the month of May, with the number of detected
cigarettes being over 14 million sticks.
the first half of 2004, Customs, Police and the Excise Department have
conducted 193 raids and confiscated cigarettes amounting to over 20
of design that's going places
I met Principal, Academy of Design and Director, Interior Design
Programme, Annette Wendling-Willeke, four years ago, she made an
impression that lived on.
her colourful personality and professional success, she convinced me
that there is more to life than being a lawyer, doctor or an engineer.
She opened the doors of the school and showed me a whole new arena -
of colour, of glamour and of talent - all there for the taking.
time is an enemy they say and I expected time to change things at the
Academy of Design - and it had, but this time for the better.
may be because they always get their students to get a 'feel' of
things that one is able to easily get a 'feel' of things at the
Academy of Design. And here the feelings again were of talent,
longings and dedicated, budding professionalism.
was originally called the New York School of Visual Art, but today it
goes beyond New York - it goes all over the world. For that is what
their subject matter is all about. It is about designing for life - be
it fashion or interior. Be it to adorn a personality or to settle over
one's surroundings, this academy has it all within its sombre walls.
It is like a caterpillar that puts forth the butterflies - the hard
training and the colourful success thereafter.
Academy of Design is cut out to groom any student with an
undergraduate education which will be accepted anywhere in the world.
today several years later, Managing Director, Linda Speldewinde is
shocking me with her success story as she is with her delicate blend
of both glamour and knowledge of the subject.
have given Sri Lankan students a pathway into a different
undergraduate education," points out Speldewinde, whose
brainchild, the Academy of Design has made a remarkable contribution
to Sri Lanka's garment industry alone. On pursuance of the courses of
study at this school, students become "very" employable.
said that there are two streams in the school - fashion designing and
interior designing. "Interior designing is misconceived in Sri
Lanka and people mistake it for interior decorating," pointed out
Speldewinde. Among the qualified staff are Tizian Picogna, the head of
the fashion design faculty and Director, Fashion Programme, Jacky Vogt.
school of thought is different in that it offers any student an
alternative profession - not the traditional - as law, engineering,
medicine, dentistry, etc. This is of fashion designing and interior
designing. Among the areas of study are life drawing a composition of
various media. Communication ideas through visual language,
legislation, social and professional responsibilities, major
historical art and design movements, ethics, time management,
portfolio presentation, fashion marketing, basic sewing, embroidery,
trend forecast, collection portfolio, blocks, dark and seam
manipulation, scale pattern, pattern construction, grading, fashion
business and merchandising.
18 months students are able to obtain a qualification that is accepted
internationally and is the equivalent of any international
qualification in design at a locally accepted cost. There are no air
fares and no expensive university fees. While many foreign
universities may charge up to Rs. 450,000 a term for such a course of
study, the cost at the Academy of Design seems negligible.
is about the psyche. It is about the individual," points out a
section of the students who have gone deeper into fashion designing.
These young men and women are full time students of the Academy of
Design. Young Yasisurie said that she is learning something different.
"I did not want to study business and marketing etc. I wanted to
do something different, something art-related because my interest
since I was a child was in fashion. This was the perfect opportunity
for me because an overseas education on the same lines would have cost
so much more."
is quite controversial though. It is not pattern making or
dressmaking... It gives you the exposure, the capacity you have to
grow," she said.
joining in said that she did not know which way to go after her
advanced level. "I wanted to do computer management and heard
about accountancy. I wanted to do something different and I wanted to
go overseas, but the costs were prohibitive. When I came here to 'look
around' I knew that this was it - that this was my everything and I
have no regrets."
knew that I was no lawyer, doctor or banker since I was 13 years old
and when I finished my advanced level I dropped in here on my way for
classes and out of the three places I have visited, it was the Academy
of Design that caught my eye," said Shehana another enthusiastic
student at the school. "I truly liked the place and luckily my
parents backed me up in my chosen profession," she said.
am very passionate about what I do and I am inspired by the school. Of
course there was much controversy at home because they attributed all
this to a 'woman's field.' Today, this school has made me what I
am," said Michael, a student serious about his work here at the
feel that this is kindergarten stuff. But this is much more. We have
endured many sleepless nights. It is a whole process, step by
step..." they explained.
it is to go up step by step in this highly sophisticated lifestyle of
fashion and glamour that the team at the Academy of Design have given
a hand to. And hats off to all of them, especially to Linda
Speldewinde for making it all possible for conceiving an idea that
will be in fashion through time.