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5th September, 2004  Volume 11, Issue 8

First with the news and free with its views                                     First with the news and free with its views                             First with the news and free with its views                                    

Business

Govt. to focus on 'proper' risk management

By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema

The government has decided to focus on 'proper' risk management through diversifying in order to manage a balanced economy.

Speaking to The Sunday Leader, Treasury Secretary, Dr. P. B. Jayasundera observed that having several players in one particular field is "good" risk management.

"The direction the previous government took with regard to bringing in a second player to the petroleum market was a move in the right direction," asserted Jayasundera.

Although privatisation is not considered an option by the government to revive ailing enterprises in the country, Dr. Jayasundera feels that restructuring institutions and bringing in several players to a particular field - for example, in petroleum - would reduce the risks involved in heavily depending on one or two players for the country's fuel requirements.

"If you don't want to privatise, there is no harm in having two or three players, even government-owned ones, because each player might play differently. They may have different procurement practices, they may manage their risks differently, they may go to different banks and all those innovative practices will take place only if you have more than one player," he said.

Speaking of the controversy that surrounded the possible entrance of a third player in to the fuel market, Bharath Petroleum Corporation (PBC), Dr. Jayasundera maintained that no decision has been made as the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) trade unions that opposed the matter have agreed to provide the government with a viable alternative to bringing in a third player to the market.

However, Dr. Jayasundera pointed out that unless CPC becomes stronger, even with two players, the corporation might not be able to survive. "They have to become a strong corporate entity," he said.

He pointed out that if IOC, a 95% government owned entity and BPC, a 100% government owned corporation, could perform as enterprises, CPC would have to quickly take stock of the situation and improve.

Dr. Jayasundera also noted that diversifying is always a good option.

"As a country, given the fact that petroleum is a product imported almost 100% to this country, it is good to diversify. Having only one enterprise working to meet the country's entire petroleum needs is a risk," he said.

"A few years ago the petroleum bill was small, amounting to about US$ 500 or 600 million but today the importing of refined products are as big as what we produce through our refinery. Therefore, it is good to diversify the risk and be organised. Can CPC manage US$ 1,300 million worth of business? It is good to divide and compete," he observed.

"Imagine the amount of the risk the country would be faced with if we had only one state bank. It is also a risk management aspect," he said.


Tourist Board considering privatising CHS

By Jamila Najmuddin 

The Ceylon Hotel School (CHS) is to be privatised in the near future, The Sunday Leader reliably learns. According to CHS sources, the Sri Lanka Tourist Board (SLTB) is currently considering privatisation. Sources claim such a decision would seriously hamper the school's reputation and also put it beyond most of the students as many come from low-income families.

"If it is to be privatised, the students would have to pay high fees and due to this, the school would cater only to the more affluent sections of society. Most of our students today come from areas such as Anuradhapura, Puttalam, down south, etc., and it is these students who excel and win medals for the school," sources said.

According to the sources, in the event the CHS is privatised, many talented children from low-income families would be deprived of this education.

Sources also claim that due to the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) offered by the SLTB to the senior lecturers at the CHS, it was hampering the school's operation and also reputation as many of the senior and experienced lecturers had left.

"The registrar of the school was also offered this scheme and left as a result. First of all, he did not deserve this scheme and secondly, we cannot find a suitable candidate to fill this position. He was offered Rs. 1 million by the SLTB through this scheme," sources claimed.

Meanwhile, Director General, SLTB, S. Kaleichelvam said this scheme was offered to senior lecturers in order to recruit new lecturers.

"We have advertised for the post of principal and lecturers and also recruited four new lecturers," Kaleichelvam said. However, sources from CHS said these four lecturers were only visiting lecturers and had been recruited since the school was short of lecturers.

The post of principle has been vacant for close to an year.


More dollar bonds to be auctioned

The Central Bank on September 9 will auction Sri Lanka Development Bonds (SLDBs) for US$ 55.25 million in a bid to manage the country's external reserves. So far the bank has issued SLDBs twice earlier in June and August respectively.

According to a financial analyst, when the country is experiencing a dearth of dollars, mainly attributed to the fact that there have been no foreign direct investments, aid or loans being granted, the country has to look into other means of increasing its external reserves.

Such a situation has prompted the Central Bank to issue dollar bonds.

According to the analyst, the issuance of dollar bonds also helps maintain the dollar rate at manageable levels, which otherwise would be as high as Rs. 110.

In June, the bank auctioned SLDBs worth US$ 144.7 million on an interest rate of LIBOR and 1.85% followed by the August auction, which saw bonds worth US$ 50 million being auctioned on a LIBOR and 1.79% interest level.

Analysts further observed that the necessary cash for the purpose would most probably be taken out of NRFC accounts in the country.

He noted that at such a point, people holding NRFC accounts would run the risk of having a lesser amount in their accounts as the bonds would be issued for a period of two years.

However, an official from the Central Bank while denying that money would be taken from NRFC accounts said the money would be taken from commercial banks.

He further noted SLDBs are issued to maintain the country's cash flow, which is part of the government's borrowing programme.

According to Treasury sources, the government has granted approval to auction US$ 260 worth bonds. SLDBs were first issued in 1998.

MIA


Safety has a bearing on productivity 

By Dinesh Weerakkody

Safety consciousness among employees helps employers achieve increased productivity and profitability. A recent survey revealed that 88% of the industrial accidents are due to human error, a further 10% due to mechanical failure and 2% due to negligence. We are well aware that most of these injuries and accidents are preventable and their prevention will only add to the employer's gain. At the same time mechanisms for accident prevention would enhance employee morale and effectiveness. Therefore, it is a win-win situation for both employee and employer.

Sri Lanka has had a distinguished history in the concept of 'worker safety' dating back to 1896, when the first legislation to protect minors who were mostly in the graphite industry, was introduced to the Mines and Machinery Act. Subsequently the first labour medical officer was appointed in 1937 under the Factories Ordinance legislated in 1942.

The early part of the story of safety in our country was mainly confined to policing the compliance of safety standards. The thrust of the Labour Department's effort was to ensure the monitoring of occupational safety and health under a medical officer and another on workplace safety under an industrial engineer. Nevertheless, the value addition was mainly through the provision of advisory services on industrial safety and health of the workers and on safeguarding and improving working conditions by providing lab facilities, research services and information through worker education and training of human resources, particularly in factories.

ILO and safety

The ILO had reported over 270 million accidents in the world in 2002, while industry related illnesses afflicted 160 million workers. This was at the cost of a whopping US$ 1.2 trillion. By adopting some of the safety methods spelt out by the ILO and implementing them in the respective units of their work place, companies will save millions of rupees in damages and loss time. So the message has to transcend that. We have to standardise prevention. The onus of worker safety is with the employer. We all realise the cost advantage of preventing loss of many man days due to injury or due to work related illnesses. The model employer who added the sixth S to the 5S programme, needs to be emulated.

Work place productivity is not the sole proviso of better methods and in the quest for quality, one has to champion the cause of safety in the factory floor, operation of machines, protection of limbs, eyes and other organs susceptible to toxic or other industrial hazards. Money spent on promoting safety and preventing industrial accidents is an investment in quality.

Let me illustrate this with a situation where, for instance, a particularly skilled worker specialising in welding is engaged in an automobile production line. If his eyes are not protected properly, he may probably lose his sight at some stage. This would cause the reject rate in panel beating/ or assembly operation to rise, which in turn causes loss due to quality defects. Furthermore, there would be other adverse effects such as the hospitalisation bill of the worker, his wage and compensation payments, not to mention the machine down time and the loss of man days due to his absence. This omission can spell disaster to the worker and the production line. Prevention of hazards and accidents should be the keynote in our approach to reaching higher productivity.

Housekeeping

In this context protecting the health of the worker, providing a secure work place free of risk and providing a comfortable work environment would no doubt contribute positively to the enhancement of productivity and quality. Good housekeeping is another dimension of this drive to achieve a safe and productive work environment. You may be familiar with the Japanese 5S method  - clear and clean up the clutter in the work place, put everything in its place and have a place for everything, standardise the practice, review the practice and train on a continuous basis.

Good housekeeping therefore not only serves to reduce unnecessary effort and time, but also makes the work place clean, tidy and safe to work in. It is vital particularly for a manufacturing environment. Businesses therefore have to look beyond the bottom line, work place safety is critical for business success and the responsibility of the employer. In fact a famous Japanese entrepreneur, Matsushita, once said profits should not be reflection of corporate greed but profits are the rewards of the firm if it continues to provide true value to its customers, to help its employees to grow and to behave responsibly as a good corporate citizen. What is important here is that this outlook is based on an acceptance that a firm does not function in a vacuum, that its success is dependent on the fulfillment of certain obligations to society.

Risk assessment is a proactive measure to eliminate or minimise workplace safety and/or occupational health risks associated with various functions or activities. Occupational Health Risk Assessment (OHRA) is a systematic process aimed at assessment, evaluation and mitigation or elimination of potential health risks across the following 12 categories of illnesses associated with industrial activities or functions:

1. Allergic respiratorial: All asthma, bronchitis, rhinitis and other allergic respiratory disease caused by allergy to chemicals and manufactured products or raw materials, etc.

2. Non-allergic respiratorial: All other respiratory diseases or injuries.  This includes lung infections such as pneumonia.

3. Allergic dermal: All skin rashes caused by allergy to chemicals and manufactured products or raw materials, etc.

4. Non-allergic dermal: All other skin rashes or lesions.  This includes skin eczema / dermatitis etc.

5. Musculoskeletal: All illnesses that are caused or aggravated by repeated or cumulative ergonomic work factors such as neck ache, lower back ache etc.

6. Physical: Includes illness from excessive noise, radiation, temperature, and pressure exposures, such as noise induced hearing loss, frostbite, etc.

7. Infections: All infections acquired from business travel, on-site food services/catering, infections acquired from other work activities such as, Hepatitis A/B, Tuberculosis, and HIV.

8. Systemic: All organ or body systems health effects caused by exposure to manufactured products, raw materials, or processes, such as chemical induced hepatitis.

9. Mental health: An acute or chronic mental health condition, which can be diagnosed by a health professional as a definable illness (e.g. depression, post traumatic stress, and anxiety disorders) and is caused or significantly contributed to by the work environment.

10. Cancer: All cancers caused by exposure to manufactured products, raw materials, or processes, such as Mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure.

11. Reproductive: All miscarriages, cases of birth defects, infertility, etc caused by exposure to manufactured products, raw materials, or processes.

Successful execution of OHRA would deliver the following:

1. Creation of an active 'information repository' on:

    Exact category and nature of occupational health risks across 130 work locations at site

    Facts and data about the most common (high probability) occupational health risks across 12 illness categories

    Facts and data to support and substantiate alternate deployment mechanism of affected  employees, upon detection of occupational illness as well as post recuperation

2.  Action plans to alleviate the impact of health risk to the 'critical mass' exposed to 'health critical' work locations.

The risk prioritisation table may be used to develop a robust risk assessment, categorisation process.

Please note that the monetary values indicated are only illustrative of the extent of damage and not a prescriptive figure that needs to be necessarily adopted by all businesses. In fact, a business must establish its own monetary / nonmonetary standards / limits with regard to assessment and evaluation of potential harm or disruption to normal functioning that may be caused by various categories of safety and health risks.

In conclusion, it is a business imperative to systematically assess, evaluate and develop action plans for elimination and mitigation of potential work related safety and health risks. Such an assessment tool-kit must be reviewed and revised annually in order to update the assessment framework in alignment with modifications or alterations in business processes. This would go a long way in enhancing employee morale and effectiveness and thus process and product quality.


Commercial Bank raises US$ 35 mn. syndicated loan 

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon and Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), signed a historic first, an internationally syndicated loan facility of US$ 35 million for Commercial Bank, last week.

The mandated lead arranger, SCB successfully syndicated the 364-day facility, which was launched at US$ 25 million initially, and closed at US$ 50 million - a 100% oversubscription that reflected the confidence commanded by the two banks in the international arena.

SCB was able to bring together an international syndicate of 12 banks, from markets and cultures as diverse as China, USA, the Middle East, South Asia and Europe. The other banks in the syndication, excluding SCB, are Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait, Arab Bank of Kuwait, Arab Investment Company, BankMuscat, Commerzbank, the Export-Import Bank of China, Gulf Bank, Mashreqbank, National Bank of Kuwait, United Bank Limited, Union National Bank and Wachovia Bank.

This is the first loan raised by Commercial Bank from international debt markets and the bank has decided to utilise US$ 35 million out of the US$ 50 million available for general corporate purposes, the bank announced at a news conference today.

Speaking at the formal signing of the Syndicated Loan Facility, Sri Lanka CEO, SCB, Vishnu Mohan described the success of the initiative as a high point in a long standing relationship between the two banks. SCB, which has been present in Sri Lanka for 112 years, held a 40% stake in Commercial Bank up to 1997 and remains Commercial Bank's largest correspondent bank and number one partner for all international transactions, he said.

This syndicated loan is the most recent in the SCB's growing portfolio and underlines the success of the bank's heightened emphasis on bringing its global expertise and a range of products to partner its customers.

Managing Director, Commercial Bank, Amitha Gooneratne said the syndicated loan facility was extremely timely as it has come at a time when the country is in need of foreign exchange.


Quikpak restrained from violating patents and industrial design 

M.L.C. Caderamanpulle of St. Regis Packaging (Pvt) Limited successfully petitioned court in obtaining interim relief for infringement of the plaintiff's intellectual property rights. The High Court of the Western Province in the exercise of its civil jurisdiction in Case No. 33/2004(3) on August 31 issued three enjoining orders in favour of M.L.C. Caderamanpulle, the plaintiff, in an action instituted against Mohamed Ajmal of Gelioya and Quikpak (Pvt) Limited of Gelioya.

Caderamanpulle, a pioneer in the packaging industry and chairman, St. Regis Packaging (Pvt) Limited, is the registered owner of Patent No. 10694 granted in October 1994 for a product called 'Safe T Pack' (container pack) and Patent No. 11765 granted in November 1999 and Industrial Design No. 5587 for a product called 'Rigid T Sack.'

The 'Safe T Pack' (container pack) and 'Rigid T Sack' are superior in design and construction to Multiwall Paper Sacks in that the rigidity of the plaintiff's packs enable them to pack leafy teas without getting crushed and retains the brick shape and prevents bulging after packing and transport and was invented to eliminate problems that plantations, blenders of tea and shippers had with a Multiwall Paper Sacks.

Having become aware that the M.H.M. Ajmal, the first defendant, had obtained a purported Patent No. 13237 and that Quikpak (Pvt) Ltd., the second defendant was manufacturing, marketing and offering for sale a container dependent on the violative of the plaintiff's patents / industrial designs without his consent, Caderamanpulle instituted action to protect his intellectual property rights granted to him under the Intellectual Property Act No. 36 of 2003.

Upon support of the action, High Court Judge, A. W. A. Salam issued three enjoining orders to the plaint restraining the defendants from infringing the plaintiff's Patents No. 10694 and 11765 and Industrial Design No. 5587 in the guise of the purported Patent No. 11237.


Namal launches SL's first money market fund 

National Asset Management Limited (NAMAL) launched the NAMAL Money Market Fund - the first of its kind in Sri Lanka - last week. It offers a new investment opportunity for Sri Lankan investors to manage their cash. The fund will be officially open to accept investments commencing September 6.

"We intend achieving three key objectives for the investors: maximise current income, preserve capital, and provide liquidity," said CEO, NAMAL, S. Jeyavarman. "The fund's features are designed to achieve these key objectives. The fund will distribute four dividends a year to provide regular income. Investors can open an account in the fund to invest their surplus cash, and withdraw what they want, when they want."

Dividends and capital gains from the fund are currently exempt from tax. This special feature makes the fund an attractive, tax-efficient method for short-term investments. In order to minimise risk and ensure high liquidity, the fund will only invest in high quality, fixed income generating money market securities, with a maximum maturity limit of one year at any point in time.

A unique feature of the fund is that transactions in and out of the fund do not attract any charge. Fund management fees are also kept low to maximise returns to investors.

All investments in the NAMAL Money Market Fund will be in scripless form. As a result, investments and divestments can be done very quickly, with minimum paperwork. Investors can withdraw their money partially or totally within two working days. They will receive regular reports to keep them updated on the fund's activities and performance.


LB Finance profits up 

LB Finance's second quarter has proven to be a very profitable one. LB Finance released their quarterly result for June to their shareholders, which boasts of a whopping profit of Rs. 17.794 million for the second quarter in comparison to Rs. 3.802 million for the same quarter in 2003.

The growth has been considered commendable, in the light of the uncertain economic environment and the significant changes in the operating model.

Interest income for LB during the quarter is Rs. 117.968 million where as the interest expenses remain at Rs. 71.043 million resulting in a net income of Rs. 46.925 million.

Although the company showed a loss of Rs. 16.664 million for the first quarter ended March 31, this year. It has turned around in the second quarter by making a year to date profit of Rs. 1.130 million.

The deposit base stands at Rs. 2.123 billion and earnings per share ratio have improved from a negative 0.12 to a positive 0.08 as of June 30, this year

"We are pleased with the great strides we have taken into a bold new phase of operation. We have had an amazing second quarter which has over exceeded last year's profit in leaps and bounds," said Managing Director, Sumith Adhihetty.

LB Finance aims to introduce a diversified portfolio of products to activate the operation of the finance industry and is the pioneering finance company to engage in pawn broking. To date they have opened 19 pawning centres island wide, Slave Island being the latest addition.

A separate real estate service division has been established to handle the real estate inquiries. This section will operate with the likes of a special real estate exchange where they arrange the meeting of the buyers and sellers.


LOLC Group records 75% growth in net profit 

LOLC, the pioneers of leasing in Sri Lanka, recorded an impressive 75% growth in net profit in the first quarter of the financial year 2004/05. Net profit for the quarter was Rs. 144 mn. compared to the net profit of Rs. 82 mn recorded for the first quarter of the previous year. The group profit was also up by 73% to reach Rs. 149 mn.

Despite the highly challenging and competitive business environment, LOLC achieved an 11% increase in operating income and a 25% increase in operating profits. The annualised EPS was Rs. 12.08, reflecting a 75% increase compared with an EPS of Rs. 6.90 in the previous year. Net asset value per share increased to Rs. 41.01 from Rs. 36.29.

Return on capital employed increased to 29% at the end of the quarter compared to previous year's 19% and return on assets increased to 7% compared to 5%, in the previous year. Total assets of the company grew by 13% to reach Rs. 7.8 bn. as at June 30, this year.

Shareholders funds amounted to Rs. 1.9 bn. at the end of the quarter compared to Rs. 1.7 bn. in the previous year. The market capitalisation of the company increased to Rs. 3.28 bn. from Rs. 2.92 bn. in the previous year, resulting in a 12% growth in shareholder wealth. During this quarter, LOLC paid a final dividend of Rs. 39 mn. for the financial year 2003/04. Total dividend for the year 2003/04 amounted to Rs. 92.7 mn., recording the highest level of dividends paid since the inception of the company, in 1980.

To sustain business growth LOLC has embarked on a well-planned branch expansion programme. LOLC now has 12 branches in key towns such as Kandy, Kalutara, Gampaha, Galle, Anuradhapura, Ratnapura, Nuwara Eliya, Matara, Kurunegala, Kochchikade, Badulla and Kiribathgoda and plans to further expand the branch network to better customer reach. In keeping with LOLC's innovative spirit, the company continues to introduce value added financial products and services to its customers and also launched a company-wide initiative to achieve service excellence.


War on book piracy to begin 

A seminar organised by the Book Sellers Association of Ceylon in association with the Colombo International Book Fair is seen as the catalyst for a long overdue war on book piracy in Sri Lanka.

Part of the agenda of the sixth Colombo International Book Fair (CIBF) opening at the BMICH next week, the September 7 seminar 'Piracy vs. the rights of  publishers under the Intellectual Property Act' will feature presentations from campaigners across the Palk Strait on an issue that has hitherto eluded the spotlight in this country.

Top Indian lawyer, Akash Chittranshi (considered a leader in copyright law in the Asian region), Director General, National Intellectual Property Office (Sri Lanka), Dr. D. M. Karunaratna and Superintendent of Police, Ravi Widyalankara are billed to be the three main speakers at this event, which will take place at the BMICH Cinema Hall from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is open to publishers, the media, law enforcement authorities and interested members of the public.

'Book piracy is a relatively new but consequential issue in Sri Lanka," a spokesman for the Book Sellers Association of Ceylon said.

Offenders had initially pirated books such as basic readers for primary schools, but lately some popular titles of British publishers have also surfaced, indicating that the problem could be much larger than first believed, the spokesman said. "We have found that even Sinhala publications of the Education Department are now being pirated," he disclosed.

Besides the loss of revenue to legitimate publishers and the authors, an area of concern is that many of the pirate versions of educational publications are copies of outdated versions, causing serious problems for the unsuspecting buyers of these books, the spokesman explained.

The association has also found evidence of unauthorised translations of popular titles, which would be another area for the attention of intellectual property authorities. "Authorities in Sri Lanka are yet to blow the lid off the problem, but we hope that this seminar will at least help open some eyes," the spokesman for the organisers said.


Lanka's biggest logistics hub geared for growth 

By Shezna Shums

Global Park, the largest logistics center in the island, is offering their clients a range of unique services aiming to reduce the cost in the supply chain.

Global Transportation & Logistics (Pvt) Ltd. (GTL), which owns Global Park, believes that with the services they offer garment manufacturers, transportation and logistics costs in the supply chain can be significantly reduced, thereby reducing the cycle time of the product reaching the ultimate customer.

Explaining more about Global Park, Manager (Marketing), Manoj. C. Fernando pointed out that within the 300,000 sq. ft. of state-of-the-art warehouse space and the 40,000 sq. ft. office space, garment manufactures and buyers could benefit immensely by using their value added services.

Instead of the traditional method where the goods are sent to the foreign buyers' warehouse or distribution centres in their country where operations such as quality audits, pick and pack, touch up, ratio packing etc., take place, Global Park will do the entire operation in house before it leaves the country. This way, both the manufacturer and the buyer could save a tremendous amount of money as well as time.

The rapid development of global sourcing has brought with it many problems for both the garment retailers and manufacturers. Product development, production and sales may now be separated by thousands of miles, requiring a new and innovative approach to logistics, if hard earned reputations are not to be lost.

Global Park comes armed with a new and innovative approach to logistics, by offering several cost saving methods in order to benefit the manufactures as well as the retailer.

Global Park offers a one-stop-shop for end-to-end logistics by providing regional and global transportation in combination with localised added-value services. Global Park is the exclusive logistics center for Marks & Spencer's 'zip project.' The initial concept of Global Park as an offshore warehouse in this part of the world was developed with the blessings of Marks & Spencer, the leading garment retailer in the UK.

Global Park, acting as a centralised consolidation point between the manufacturer and the buyer, could provide consolidation services between the countries in the region.

Fernando confidently stated that by using Global Park services, there is no way the cost in logistics will increase.

The 19-acre Global Park site is located within five minutes drive from Bandaranaike International Airport and is a 45-minute drive from Colombo's seaport. At Global Park, retailers and wholesalers in the US or Europe can have their Sri Lankan or regional production stored or consolidated offshore in a secure and transparent environment.

Extensive handling operations, which were usually done at foreign warehouses, can now be carried out in Sri Lanka at Global Park. Quality stock can now be delivered directly or closer to the final point of sale further reducing handling costs, cutting transport costs which reduces vital time out of the supply chain.

This huge warehouse with bonded facilities and the on site customs officers make it possible for GTL to operate a 24 hours, seven days a week. GTL also pays special emphasis on round the clock security offering a safe environment to their clients and the goods they are responsible for.

According to General Manager, Global Park, Sepalika Jayawardena, even quality audits could be carried out on their merchandise as directed and examined according to their instructions, if the client requires it.

The warehouse also boasts a huge racking garment system called Garments on Hangers (GOH), with a capacity of 1.5 million individual garments at any given time.

An innovative and exclusive concept called vacuum pack is also offered to reduce the volume of the shipments, where moisture in garments is taken off to retain the quality of the garment to the consignee point, mentioned Jayawardena.

GTL also offers other value added services such as hand embellishment where sequins and beads are attached to the garments and looping can also be done on request.

"Our target is to be the preferred logistics supplier to the garment industry," emphasised Jayawardena.

The fully equipped finishing department and the hand embellishment section had become a number one attraction to most of the customers.

Global Park handles all finishing work from the end of sewing lines up to the dispatch, such as trimming, cleaning,  pressing, quality inspection and packaging saves the manufacturers space and labour to concentrate on their manufacturing needs.

On site cargo verification also could be done at Global Park and CFS operations are carried out at the complex.

Whilst catering to the garment industry, GTL Global Park is open to the non-garment sector as well. At present they handle a pick and pack operation for export to the world-renowned brand Dankotuwa Porcelain and also handles a storage and distribution service of branded computers.

Global Park has more than 50 top clients including Brandix, MAS, SR Gent, APLL, Sinotex, Martin Emprex, Courtaulds Clothing, NNE, Hirdaramani , Eskimo, Comfortwear, Hemas, and Precision Interlinings. Most of the clients using Global Park services supply to major brands such as Marks & Spencer, Sara Lee, Tesco, NEXT, Jones New York, Haband, and Kellwood, among others.


Nexus unveils host of benefits 

Whichever way one looks at it, Nexus cardholders benefit from using this card - free cash points, rewards, shopping for free and even doubling of points.

This is how the Nexus card works: Nexus is a points card where a certain percentage of the customer's bill is given back in points. When making payments at any Nexus outlet, once the Nexus card is handed over, the points that are won are added to the customer's credit.

Establishments that accept the card give different percentages and one point equals Rs. 1. To begin using the card, a minimum of 50 points should be collected. In comparison to other loyalty cards, Nexus loyalty card gives the highest number of points.

The Nexus loyalty card was launched four years ago and has a card base of 36,000 to date and is accepted by more than 30 companies with a spread of over 130 outlets. It is the premier loyalty card in the country in terms of acceptance, usage and benefits.

"The outlets are very carefully selected and we only work with trusted brands where quality is ensured," assured Manager, Nexus Networks (Private) Limited, Favian Weerackoon.

The Nexus loyalty card is accepted by Mackinnons American Express Travel, Keells Super, Elephant House Super Pola, DHL, Odel, Keells Resort Hotels, Abans, Comet Cable, Union Chemists, Dialog GSM, Expo Air, Vijitha Yapa, Pizza Hut, Hilton Colombo, LMD, Autodrome, Wickramarachchi Opticians, Beyond Basix, Colombo Jewellery Stores, NTB, Movenpick, The Parfumerie, Austasia Sports and Leisure Club, Janet Skin and Hair Salons, Durdans Hospitals, Union Assurance, Medi Calls and Apollo Hospital, with many more companies on the cards to join the Nexus programme.

Nexus Networks (Private) Limited - the holding company for the Nexus loyalty programme - is managed by John Keells Holdings and partnered by Nations Trust Bank (NTB).

Nexus loyalty card users also have the advantage of Nexus being the only online card. "We are online and Nexus is the only card that can boast of this facility. The Nexus outlets have Nexus terminals and points are awarded online, not manually," said Weerackoon.

Further, with the Nexus card, customers can go to any Nexus outlet to buy goods to the value of the points on the card without having to call the card centre or obtain a voucher.

"When it comes to redeeming points, this is a huge benefit that only Nexus offers," said Weerackoon.

The Nexus card can be used with any kind of transaction, be it cash or credit card. The added advantage of this is, in the event the credit card also offers points for usage, the cardholder can earn those points as well, resulting in a double benefit.

Nexus also has an exclusive partnership with American Express credit cards and as a result, all American Express credit cards issued by NTB have the Nexus programme inbuilt and therefore, cardholders do not have to carry two cards.

With this benefit, cardholders with American Express credit cards from NTB when buying goods on credit have the advantage of the credit transaction and the Nexus points transaction taking place simultaneously. Nexus points can also be redeemed with this card.

"All credit cards only give points, for redemption of points customers have to call the card centre and request a voucher. The points can be redeemed only once the customer receives the voucher. Being able to redeem points with the American Express credit card from NTB is another unique feature," said Weerackoon.

Nexus also has a co-branded tie-up with Dialog GSM, with regard to Dialog GSM's Club Vision members. With this, once a Nexus cardholder registers his/her card with Dialog GSM and pays the phone bills on time, the points are loaded on automatically.

To top it all off, Nexus Networks is now carrying out a bonus campaign during September and October where some Nexus outlets - DHL, Elephant Super Pola, Medi Calls, LMD, Abans, Odel, Wickramarachchi Opticians, Beyond Basix, The Parfumerie, Keells Super, Autodrome - will double the number of points that are awarded.

"With this bonus campaign, we tell the customers to keep collecting points and in November and December, we will have a redemption plan. When redeeming points during this period, customers would be given more value for their points. For example, if the points collected equal Rs. 500, the customer will get a value of Rs. 750 and there will be a lot of attractive redemption offers," said Weerackoon.

"The host of benefits offered by Nexus makes the Nexus loyalty card not an option, but a must have card for the customer because at the end of the day, it is the customer who benefits," asserted Weerackoon.



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