reactions by investors to P-TOMS stay order
By Jamila Najmuddin
The perception among a section of the
stockbroking community on the Supreme Court (SC) stay order on the
Post Tsunami Operational Management Structure (PTOMS) was mixed,
with some fearing that this may lead to an escalation of violence,
and, as a result, a bear run on the market, while others felt that
such an order will not have an impact on the bourse.
One senior stockbroker told 'The Sunday
Leader' that investors were nervous as a result of the SC decision,
fearing that this may lead to a further escalation of violence.
"As it is, the ongoing violence in
the East has made investors jittery, but Friday's SC stay order has
made matters worse as far as the psyche of the investors are
concerned," he said.
The performance of the bourse in the
week beginning tomorrow hinges on how the ground situation is over
this weekend, this source said. If matters take a turn for the
worse, it will naturally have a negative impact, he said.
Research Manager, HNB Stock Brokers,
Hasitha Premaratna said, "Already the market is suffering due
to the tense situation in the east and with the PTOMS agreement now
stalled, the market would react negatively.
Premaratna said the country's economy
would also remain volatile due the tense political unrest following
the SC's decision. "After signing the PTOMS, implementation was
expected. However, development work would now get delayed and
investor confidence will be affected," Premaratna said.
Stockbroker Bartleet Stock Brokers
Angelo Ranasingha told The Sunday Leader that the country would now
have to decide on an alternate solution to distribute the funds
without any political unrest.
Ranasingha said that although investors
would now panic due to the stalled PTOMS, the consequences of the
supreme court's decision would only be known in the next few weeks.
"Although the market is likely to react negatively, it is still
to early to discuss the consequences," he said.
Economist, Asia Stock Brokers, Channa
Amaratunga also maintained the country the market was likely to
react negatively following the stalled P-TOMS as investors would be
unwilling to invest new monies. "Investors are concerned and
cautious about the current political situation in the country. It is
time a firm decision is taken by both parties," Amaratunga
But other stockbrokers were more
optimistic, saying that though the bourse lost between 10-15 points
when trading opened on Friday morning, it subsequently picked-up, to
end the day at 1,929.06 points, marginally up by 5.06 points (0.0%)
over Thursday's closing figure, despite the SC stay order.
"Investors do not have the
perception that the ceasefire agreement is in jeopardy just because
the SC stayed the implementation of the PTOMS," these
stockbroking sources said.
And, as if to justify their position,
the Hotel and Travel Sector Index, one of the most sensitive sectors
to suffer in the event of a war, or, if there is a perception that
war would break-out, actually gained over Thursday's closing figure
by 41.89 points (2.7%) to close the week at 1,621.73 points.
Among some of the major trades that
took place on Friday were also those related to the Hotel Sector,
with well-known hotel investor George Ontaatjie investing a sum of
Rs 12 million to buy 200,000 shares of Kandy Hotels (Ceylon) Ltd.,
the holding company of Hotel Suisse and Queens Hotel Kandy. Kandy
Hotels closed at Rs 67, Rs 7 more than its previous.
And business magnate Don Harold Stassen
Jayawardena, rumoured to have had bought 200,000 shares of Hotel
Developers Ltd., the holding company of Colombo Hilton, for a sum of
around Rs 26 million. Hotel Developers closed at Rs 133, Rs 11.75
more than its previous closing price.
sentiment reflected in bourse's behaviour
Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) has been constantly emphasizing that it
is important that brokers diversify their activities and move away
from being 'agency brokers,' CSE Chairman Eraj Wijesinghe is quoted
to have had said in the CSE's 2004 Annual Report.
He had also said that it is unfortunate
that brokers are still not showing much interest in diversifying
their activities. "Given that brokerage commissions are
constantly under pressure and that investors are demanding a higher
level of service, the only way that stockbrokers could become
competitive is through creating value for investors through offering
a complement of services," Wijesinghe had said.
"I hope that Members of the CSE
will take heed of this fact and take positive steps to engage in
other activities and move away from the agency broking model,"
he had said.
Following are other excerpts from his
review. "A stock market plays a significant role in identifying
the health of the economy of a country.
Whatever the economic circumstances,
the active purchases and sales of securities in a stock exchange
determines corporate asset values in a manner that is fair and
visible to all. The sentiment of the investing public on the state
of affairs of the country is well expressed through their behaviour
in the stock market.
The CSE was once again dubbed as one of
the best performing markets in the world. The market had recorded a
consistent annual growth of over 30% in the All Share Price Index (ASPI)
for the past three years. The ASPI had recorded a growth of 48% upto
December 26, 2004 when the tsunami struck the coastal belt of Sri
The growth in the ASPI declined due to
this calamity and the index closed the year registering a growth
rate of 41.9% in 2004. It is significant that the ASPI reached its
highest ever level of 1580.7 points recorded upto then on December
Furthermore, the levels of activity
have also shown a significant increase. The average daily turnover
of the CSE increased from a low of Rs. 44 million in 2000 to a high
of Rs. 307 million in 2003.
However, the daily turnover in 2004
averaged Rs.246 million. It is however significant that the
transactions increased in terms of number of trades and the volume
of shares traded recorded an all time high in 2004.
Once again domestic investors were the
main contributors to market turnover accounting for over 80% of
purchases. Investor confidence continued in spite of the elections
in April 2004.
political uncertainty due to minority parties within the Government
constantly making threats to pull out and the stalemate in the peace
talks between the government and the LTTE, CSE's performance is a
clear indication that investors have discounted the possibility of
war and were confident of the future of the economy in spite of the
change in government.
The larger volumes of shares transacted
daily make it evident that investors saw the opportunity of
realizing higher returns by investing in the stock market as against
other forms of investment.
The comparatively low interest rates
for deposits offered by banks and other lending institutions made
investments in stocks more attractive. Further the CSE continued to
offer good value as evident from the corporate results which showed
a growth in profits. When compared to other regional markets the P/E
ratio of 10.8x of the CSE was one of the lowest.
financial cost in listing
A listing of shares enables a company
to reduce its gearing and the associated financial risk. However
there is a non financial cost that companies should be prepared to
pay for being listed, a Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) press release,
quoting CSE's Director General Hiran Mendis' review of the bourse's
performance last year said.
He said that listing a company involves
adhering to rules and regulations, adopting better governance
practices and giving up an element of control. The cost and benefit
of a listing could vary from company to company. As the experiences
of many other countries have shown.
But the more competitive the economy
gets, the benefits of listing far outweigh the cost, Mendis said. He
further said that while it is noted that the benchmark ASPI
appreciated by 41.9% in 2004 which is the highest growth in the
index recorded since 1993, with the ASPI surpassing its previous
high of 1,423.5 points reached on October 23, 2003 and peaking at
1,580.7 points on December 22, 2004, in contrast, the more sensitive
Milanka Price Index (MPI) increased by only 9.3% in comparison to
38% in 2003.
Mendis said that unarguably 2003 was
the best ever year experienced by the Colombo Stock Market, while
2004 proved to be one in which the upward momentum of the market
continued despite several perceived set backs.
He also said that the dissolution of
parliament in February 2004 followed by the general elections in
April and the change in government slowed the market somewhat but
failed to stem investor enthusiasm.
Even though some expected a possible set back to the economy
and the peace process due to the change in government, the market
continued its upward momentum.
was in sharp contrast to the situation that many perceived based on
past experience. The unprecedented natural disaster in the form of
the tsunami which hit Sri Lanka on December26, 2004 understandably
had a negative impact on the market with the All Share Price Index (ASPI)
declining by 5.4% over the two market days immediately succeeding
seeks loan by mortgaging property
The government owned Cooperative
Wholesale Establishment (CWE) is seeking a loan from the state
controlled People's Bank.
Trade Ministry Secretary and CWE
Chairman Mahinda Gammanpila in an undated letter to the Deputy
General Manager People's Bank, Corporate Branch, had asked him to
know the extent of the loan facilities that can be granted to the
CWE based on the valuation report.
The Ministry, through this letter which
is titled 'New Loan Facility for CWE Operations,' had forwarded
documents related to their land and building at Union Place, Colombo
to obtain this loan.
apparel buyers at FASE exhibition
top international apparel buyers such as the J. C. Penny
Corporation, Li & Fung, Steve & Barry's, the V. F.
Corporation and Collins Company will be in Sri Lanka later this
month to attend the country's first ever Fabric and Accessory
Suppliers' Exhibition (FASE), a press release said.
The exhibition which takes place from
Tuesday to Thursday is jointly organised by the Lanka Exhibition and
Conference Services (LECS) and the Sri Lanka Apparel Institute (SLAI).
It is endorsed by the Sri Lanka Garment
Buying Offices Association and the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF)
with the Fabric and Apparel Accessory Manufacturers Association (FAAMA)
acting as the Industry Partner.
Extensive promotions have been
conducted in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to attract top buying
offices and LECS has also invited and agreed to host several other
principal buyers, whose participation at the exhibition will be a
tremendous boost to the local fabric and accessory industry, the
release quoting the organisers said.
The communiqu‚ quoting SLAI Chairman
Prof. Lakdas Fernando said they were glad that all accessory
manufacturers have realised that this exhibition will be a great
opportunity for them to establish their names with top foreign
Considering this is the first fabric
and accessories suppliers' exhibition, they were encouraged at the
response thus far and expect a good turnout at the exhibition.
FASE was organised to provide Sri
Lankan manufacturers and suppliers of fabrics, accessories,
trimmings and other support services to the garments industry with a
forum to showcase their products. All stalls are nearly sold out,
the organisers said.
The exhibition is intended for
manufacturers of fabrics, buttons, thread, lace, buckles, zippers,
washing and dyeing services and other accessories as well as
providers of other support services.
Sri Lanka Garment Buying Offices
Association Chairman Suresh John is quoted to have said that with
the intensive competitiveness in the sourcing industry, any
information available on suppliers is very helpful. At FASE all
fabric and accessory manufacturers will be present under one roof so
it would be a large database from which buying offices can gather
information about possible suppliers.
The release quoting Fabric and Apparel
Accessory Manufacturers' Association (FAAMA) Chairman Inthikab
Muhajireen said that an exhibition of this nature is very important
as several Sri Lankan fabric and accessory manufacturers produce
world class products. FASE will provide these manufacturers with a
platform to showcase their products and services, and meet with
leading international buyers, thus establishing them in the
A special feature at FASE 2005 is a
static exhibition of Moratuwa University's Textile Department's
Fashion Design and Product Development Course.
The exhibition organisers have provided
prime exhibition space for the university to give this new degree
programme exposure and publicity. The static exhibition will be
opened by Deborah Lunstead, the wife of the American Ambassador.
The principal sponsor of FASE is TNT
International while SriLankan Airlines is the official airline of
the event. FASE will be declared open by the US Ambassador to Sri
Lanka Jeffrey J. Lunstead and World Bank Country Director Peter
LECS is the leading professional
exhibition and conference organiser in Sri Lanka. The company is
registered with the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau, which operates
under the Tourism Ministry. LECS is managed by a team of
professionals who count over eight years of experience in organising
exhibitions and conferences at international venues.
The company has branch offices in
Maldives and India and has a network of agents in India, Malaysia,
Thailand, Singapore and Dubai. LECS is also the organiser of some of
the country's premium events including Construct, Profoods, AISEX
and Hotel Show.
Jews give $ 200,000 for tsunami relief
"A lack of basic facilities, loss
confidence and livelihoods were the main problems that the tsunami
affected people had to deal with. They all cried out their
sorrows," a release quoting the Treasurer, Sarvodaya Women's
Movement, Preethi Almeida said.
Such were the effects of the Asian
tsunami on thousands of families living in the southern, eastern,
and northern coastal areas of Sri Lanka.
A national disaster of such scale as
the tsunami required the support of not only governments but also
individuals. The international support which came Sri Lanka's way
many organisations that extended a helping hand to the recovery and
rebuilding efforts of Sri Lanka is the American Jewish Joint
Distribution Committee (AJJDC).
"We have a strong tradition of
tsedakah, or charity, in Judaism - we are here in Sri Lanka because
thousands of North American Jews donated funds and asked AJJDC to
help with the tsunami relief efforts on their behalf," the
release quoting Programme Coordinator AJJDC in Sri Lanka Rebecca
The objectives of the project were
two-fold: to empower people of 20 villages (10 in Galle, six in
Ampara and four in Batticaloa) to address the psycho-social issues
and to launch a livelihoods supportive programme by providing
advice, training and technical expertise. The main target groups are
women, children and elders. The American Jewish Joint Distribution
Committee chose Sarvodaya Women's Movement to be the implementing
partner of this project.
Sarvodaya is Sri Lanka's probably
biggest as well as oldest local NGO. It has experience in working at
the grass roots level in over 10,000 villages across Sri Lanka.
Their forte has always been empowering and mobilibing communities to
take charge of their lives.
took a similar approach in this project by forming village volunteer
teams to reach the two target groups - women and children. A team of
seven volunteers per village were identified. They started with 50
awareness programmes which were followed by a household survey to
identify the needs. The required activities were then decided upon
based on the survey by the volunteer teams. Victims were turned into
victors by giving them psycho-social training to help the community
"I almost lost hope. I can no
longer depend on my husband who was lost. He was a fisherman. I have
been depressed," the release quoting Titaganami, a programme
beneficiary in Sarvodaya Puram, Kalmune, Ampara, who is a mother of
seven children and whose home was completely destroyed said.
"Now I can practice my trade again and begin to rebuild my
future," she said.
In the livelihoods programme not only
did the project provide the women with sewing machines, coir
machines, cooking utensils for food processing, but also training on
how to make a living out of the support provided.
Reed products, ornaments made out of
sea shells and coconut shells and recycled paper products were also
sold at various exhibitions and sales organised by Sarvodaya to
encourage home crafts.
Home spun lace, garments to be sold to
the tourists, dry fish, mushroom, spice paste for cooking were also
items that made the women bread winners once again. With support and
encouragement from Sarvodaya they opened bank accounts and started
saving money with much hope for the future.
"We used Grama Sevaka reports and
police reports in verifying the beneficiaries. The advantage was
that the village volunteer team knew the people. So they made the
priority list of the recipients," the release quoting President
Women's Movement Kusum Wijesinghe said.
"The idea is for the people to be
self employed and Sarvodaya could help them achieve that," she
While conducting monthly programmes on
health and hygiene, environment and disaster preparedness, the
project did not forget to include spiritual programmes incorporating
all the religions. A multi religious alms giving was held and the
lighting of 'moksha lamps' were held in the name of the deceased.
This indeed helped the people to find solace and let go of the grief
and the losses.
Five out of the seven volunteers from
the team are dedicated to the early childhood programme in a
village. Out of this number one person is trained as the pre school
The team is trained on psycho social
interventions to help children. Regular pre-school activities such
as art, singing, dance, playing, music, story telling, environment
observation, spiritual and cultural activities help children gain a
sense of normalcy in their lives.
There are also activities for children
of six to 12 year age group after school. Sports goods and material
for other recreational activities have been provided.
Children's camps were held to bring all
the children together in fun activities. Cultural pageants, drama
and play activities were held on this day. Alongside children's
camp, psychosocial medical camps were also held.
The project which reaches a target of
15,545 persons in 20 villages also held legal clinics to help the
affected people obtain lost documents. The project which started in
March 2005 will continue till September with the generous
contribution of $ 200,000 provided by the American Jewish Joint
in new line of business
Sinhaputhra Finance Ltd., which has
made rapid progress, proposed new lines of business would include
credit and debit card issuance and construction of apartment
It is today one of the leading
registered finance companies in the country with assets of
approximately Rs. 2 billion and a deposit base in excess of Rs. 1.2
billion, a press release said.
The release quoting AGM (Deposits and
Establishment) Susan Gunawardene highlighted that with an employee
strength of nearly 100, the company has exceeded industry growth
example whilst the industries' deposit base grew by 14% in 2004,
Sinhaputhra recorded a 22.3% growth. Sinhaputhra Finance which has
historically mobilised a network of long standing business promoters
islandwide has developed strong bonds with the rural agricultural
sector of the country. The strategy behind having a presence in
Colombo is primarily to serve savers and depositors.
The communique quoting AGM (Business
Development) Saliya de Alwis said that Sinhaputhra Finance Ltd.
Kandy, with a consistent growth in all its business activities
during a period of over 25 years in financial intermediation, has
received the approval of the Central Bank to open a Collection
Centre to serve its customers in the Western Province. The centre
was open for operations on July 11 and will be situated at Unit No.
F 160 (250/1/10), first floor, Liberty Plaza, Colombo.
will function in close co-ordination with the Head Office and have
hot-line connections as well as electronic communication systems in
place which will utilise the latest IT System. It is expected that
the centre will be later upgraded as the first Branch Office of the
company enabling the office to carry out all principal lines of
Present lines of business are
acceptance of fixed deposits, acceptance of savings deposits,
finance leasing, hire purchase, business finance, personal finance,
real estate development and sub-agents for insurance.
Waves puts theory into practice
Performance Management should be viewed
as an ongoing communication process, undertaken in partnership
between employee and his/her immediate superior that involves in
establishing clear expectations and understanding about the
essential job functions the employee is expected to do, how
employee's job contributes to the goals of the organisation, how
employee and immediate superior will work together to sustain,
improve or build on existing performance and how job performance is
measured and rewarded.
Future Waves (Pvt) Ltd., an
organisation 'dedicated' to professional skills development and
training will facilitate a one-day workshop on 'Performance
Management: Putting Theory into Practice,' on July 28 at the Ceylon
This workshop will thus be useful to
those involved in frontline activity as well as back-office staff
who conduct supports activities. To achieve this, it is crucial that
employees understand the organisational goals and work towards
effectively understand and manage performance management programmes,
organisations should focus on performance planning, performance
improvement, performance review and rewards linked to performance.
In this workshop, the key focus would
be performance planning through the Balanced Score Card and
developing objectives that are realistic to achieve organisational
goals. It will help managers to effectively set objectives and
implement action plans, to understand the key processes, link
process measures to departmental/division goals and objectives and
to achieve them through the realisation of employee objectives.
The workshop director would be A. K. L.
Jayawardana of Senior Faculty of Postgraduate Institute of
Management who has obtained a doctoral award from the University of
Jayawardana has conducted a series of
lectures on performance management in Hong Kong in the BBA Hong Kong
programme of the University of Canberra.
APIIT Sri Lanka, a leading higher
education institute that offers British Degree Programmes in Sri
Lanka has been commended for the high standards of its educational
programmes and the quality of learning opportunities provided to
A press release issued in this
connection said that as a higher education institute, APIIT Sri
Lanka comes under the purview of the Quality Assurance Agency for
Higher Education (QAA) of the UK.
The Quality Assurance Agency is an
independent body that evaluates British university awards with a
view to safeguarding public interest in sound education standards.
The academic programmes conducted by APIIT have been audited by the
Quality Assurance Agency, UK.
An audit team from the Quality
Assurance Agency visited APIIT Sri Lanka last year to appraise APIIT
facilities and programmes as part of quality assurance of
Staffordshire University, UK degree programmes. The team inspected
the facilities, examined the teaching processes and procedures in
relation to the Computer Degree Programmes and interviewed the
students and staff.
The audit report released recently has
highly commended the academic standards maintained and the quality
of learning opportunities provided to students at APIIT. The audit
team has concluded that the student experience at APIIT Sri Lanka is
comparable to that provided in British universities.
8 to 6,000 personnel; the growth of Ceylinco Cisco
Ceylinco Cisco began its operations in
1977 as Key Security Services (Pvt) Ltd with only eight security
personnel but has now grown to be he market leader with over 6,000
male and female security officers.
Deputy Chief Executive Director
Ceylinco Cisco, Vipul Hettige says the success story of the company
revolves around the vision of Ceylinco group Chairman Dr. Lalith
"Ceylinco Cisco now has seven
companies operating under its umbrella. Ceylinco Cisco security
corporation (Pvt) Ltd is the parent company," Hettige said.
CISCO is a joint venture with a Singapore government owned company.
He said that their Singaporean joint venture partner, follows a
system, known as the M3 system, which Ceylinco-Cisco emulates. M3
stands for ' Men, Machines and Methods,' key elements for the
success of a company, he said.
Hettige further said that Ceylinco
Cisco's subsidiaries include Security Transport and Allied Services
(Pvt) Ltd, which has a fleet of 60 vehicles and over 300 personal in
the workforce, Technology and Consultancy (Pvt) Ltd which provides
electronic security systems, vehicle alarm systems and burglar alarm
systems and CCTV systems, Ceylinco Swift Care providing doctor on
call services and ambulance services as well as Ceylinco Home
Nursing which provides nursing services to both industries and
homes, on call.
"The latest addition to Ceylinco
CISCO is Ranaviru Services (Pvt) Ltd, which is a non profit company
assisting fallen war heroes. Our Chairman started Ranaviru Services
to provide employment to disabled soldiers" Hettige added.
Ceylinco CISCO has a set of pre-planned
goals which it hopes to achieve with the backing of the group to
continue its current market status. "Our Vision is to be
recognized as the most reliable and effective industrial security
service in Sri Lanka and spread our operations overseas,"
Ceylinco CISCO has signed a memorandum
with a Maldivian company to support loss prevention services.
"We are now negotiating with a
company in Malaysia. It is 90 percent complete. We have also joined
up with Sunway College, Malaysia," the Deputy Chief Executive
Hettige said that the Mission of
Ceylinco CISCO is to set the highest professionals standards in
solutions to loss prevention in Sri Lanka while giving employees a
challenging, rewarding and fulfilling career. He says although the
company is satisfied with what it has achieved to be the market
leader in its business, it has to do more to reach greater heights.
With this in mind Ceylinco CISCO
operates an academy for training staff and security personnel which
includes a security diploma course.
"With more than 6,000 personnel on
board you must have a good human resource division. We have a fully
fledged training centre in Borella with all the equipment one needs
to provide good training. We plan to expand it by adding a gymnasium
and swimming pool as well as accommodation for trainees and a
restaurant," Hettige added.
Hettige says Ceylinco CISCO also wants
to promote electronics based operations in the country to suit the
current high tech market needs.
on Hyatt Hotel begins
Building work on Sri Lanka's tallest
building, Ceylinco Celestial Residencies has begun, with the
contract for the piling work being awarded to Nawaloka Construction
This landmark venture was the vision of
Ceylinco Consolidated Chairman Dr. Lalith Kotelawala and will be the
pride of the nation once completed, with local expertise to be
engaged in the project, a press release said.
"Ceylinco has spearheaded many
ambitious development projects in the country, let us show the world
that we Sri Lankans have the knowledge, expertise and all it takes
to match world class structures," the release quoting
The 43 storey structure set on a 240
perch prime property at Galle Road, Kollupitiya will be a mixed
development that will house 'Ceylinco Celestial Residencies (CCR)'
and Hyatt Regency Colombo (HRC).
This architectural marvel that will
change the landscape of Colombo is planned to be completed in three
and a half years, with Hyatt expected to start operations in Winter
2008, the communiqu‚ said.
Ceylinco Homes International (Lotus
Tower) Ltd. will be the developer of CCR, while Ceylinco Leisure
Properties Ltd. will be the owning company of Hyatt. CCR will
comprise 176 super luxury apartments that will be located from
levels 17-40 of the building. The 'Residencies' will change
Colombo's skyline once completed, the communique said.
"We have received a positive
response with more than 50% of the apartments already
reserved," the release quoting a company spokesman said.
HRC will be a 245 room suite hotel and
will be located in the first 16 levels of the building.
"Residents can look forward to an exciting lifestyle with
facilities and features such as an infinity pool, international
standard spa, multi cuisine restaurants and bars and meeting and
fitness facilities to name a few," it added.
revenue growth for Eagle Insurance
Eagle Insurance Company Ltd. recorded a
12% year on year (YoY) growth in consolidated revenue to Rs. 921
million in the first quarter of this year (2005), a press release
said. Further, life revenue during this period grew by 14% to Rs.
The company said that these growth
figures are all the more significant considering the unfavourable
macro-economic environment that prevailed during the period under
review. Professional underwriting practices and continuous efforts
made by the company to streamline business portfolios resulted in
reduced non-life written premiums.
Operating profit grew by 28% to Rs. 36
million and consolidated profit after tax grew by 36% to Rs. 33
million despite a significant increase in claims costs incurred in
both life and non-life businesses.
In line with the company's prudent
claims reserving policy, supported by actuarial recommendations, a
further provision of Rs. 10 million was made on account of incurred
but not reported claims (IBNR). Effective expense and resource
management initiatives contributed to the profit after tax of
non-life insurance. Asset management business recorded profits in
line with the budget for the period.
The company, as a measure to provide
higher security to its insuring public, issued an audited solvency
certificate confirming the solvency position of the long-term and
non-life insurance businesses as at December 31, 2004 conforming to
the proposed rules applicable under section 47 of the Regulation of
Insurance Industry Act No. 43 of 2000.
was the first to comply with the proposed regulation, in fact three
years ahead of schedule, the communiqu‚ said.
The release quoting the Company's
outgoing Managing Director Chandra Jayaratne said that the Company's
first quarter results are satisfactory and business strategies that
are in place will ensure that the year-end results would be achieved
Pola comes alive
Once again, the works of Sri Lanka's
diverse canvas of talented artists and sculptors will be on display
when the Kala Pola comes alive today, a press release said. The
creativity and variety of talented artists and sculptors will be the
focus of attention amidst a day of fun and fraternity at the new and
exciting venue: the Slave Island Railway Station.
Organised by The George Keyt
Foundation, Kala Pola has been supported by the John Keells Group
for 12 consecutive years. The highlight of this year's Kala Pola
will be its change of venue - from the sidewalks of Green Path to
the platforms of the Slave Island Railway Station.
The purpose of Kala Pola is twofold:
firstly, it is a 'platform' to sell one's works of art.ÿ Secondly,
it provides an open-air 'gallery,' a kind of trade fair, where
hundreds of talented persons from around the island get to display
their work - an opportunity they would ordinarily not be able to
afford with their own resources. Most importantly, this is an
opportunity for budding artists to display their talent and launch
This year's Kala Pola will feature over
300 stalls along the railway platform and its environs. The event
will include musical entertainment for visitors, including sitar,
jazz band, trumpet, flute, sarapina, traditional drums and street
singers. Visitors could also treat themselves to Keells sausages,
Elephant soft drinks and ice creams, traditional sweet meats and
fruits.ÿPeanut and manioc sellers will hawk their offerings while
astrologers, palm readers, stilt walkers, and a live elephant
entertain the visitors.
The release quoting Chairman George
Keyt Foundation Cedric de Silva said that creating opportunities for
art is the core objective of the foundation.ÿ In this respect, the
Kala Pola is a unique event that will enable us to support and
enhance this objective. Consequently, this is an event that our
foundation is truly proud of.ÿ"We are grateful to JKH for
partnering with us for more than a decade, ensuring that the event
keeps growing and more successful every year," de Silva said.
The release quoting JKH Director
Sumithra Gunesekera said that being a nation that has displayed
inherent genius in the arts for centuries and are steeped in a
culture and traditions that revert to the beginnings of
civilization, JKH is ardently committed to preserving and developing
the intrinsic talents of our people.
launches MBA programme
Kelaniya University recently launched a
full time MBA programme at their Faculty of Commerce and Management
Studies. This is the first time that a full time MBA programme is
offered in Sri Lanka.
This course has been designed in
collaboration with the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Lucknow,
one of the premier management institutes in India. It has been
worked out over the past two years between the faculties of the two
institutions by means of regular exchange of visits by senior
faculty members of the two institutions.
This collaboration and the launch of
the full-time MBA programme has been entirely funded by the
India-Sri Lanka Foundation (ISLF). ISLF has been set by the Indian
and Sri Lankan governments with the objective of fostering
Indo-Lanka relations through the enhancement of economic,
scientific, educational, technical and cultural cooperation and the
promotion of greater understanding between the people of the two
The corpus of funds to the foundation
has been contributed in equal measure by the two governments. The
management and direction of the foundation are vested in a board of
directors consisting of six directors. The High Commissioner for
India to Sri Lanka and the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka to India
are the co-chairpersons of the board.
launches CDMA technology
Suntel, said to be the new generation
national telecom network, established its vision by making it
possible of connecting every home in Sri Lanka with the launch of
CDMA 2000 1X technology in Kandy, a press release said.
Held at the Mahaweli Reach, the event
was attended by several dignitaries and celebrities including Posts
and Telecommunications Minister D. M. Jayaratne, Posts,
Telecommunication and Udarata Development Ministry Secretary C.
Maliyadde, Central Province Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake, Kandy
Mayor Kesera Senanayake and Director General TRC Aruna Amarasekera.
Also present was Suntel's new Brand Ambassador Marvan Atapattu.
It said that a huge benefit of the CDMA
technology over wire lines are the low investment costs which are
passed on to the customer through a lower connection fee and the
comparatively low maintenance costs translated to customers as lower
Suntel CDMA connections are user
friendly with features incomparable to any other fixed line phone.
They provide a higher speed dial up and data access (three to four
times higher than a normal land line) as well as other features like
SMS, Caller Identity (CLI) and ring back tones etc., which are only
available on mobile phones.
Fully portable, as there are no wires
other than the one for power supply, Suntel CDMA connections are
also less affected by lightening, a major problem in a tropical
country like Sri Lanka, the communiqu‚ said.
With an extensive distribution
infrastructure in place, Suntel CDMA connections can be bought and
activated instantly. To deploy the CDMA technology, Suntel has
joined hands with Ericsson, the world leader in telecom
Ericsson is a major telecoms supplier
with a key focus on helping operators in rolling out large-scale
networks. Ericsson currently provides major network outsourcing,
serving over 30 operators worldwide and is the dominant player in
this segment of the global telecom marketplace.
It further said that over the last
eight years Suntel has been an achiever in the corporate segment,
gaining the reputation of a service provider giving fast delivery,
professional approach and service 'second' to none.
current coverage includes 20 cities and villages including the north
and the east. Already having a large share of the corporate and SME
market, this new technology will enable Suntel to further expand its
coverage to rural areas and further strengthen ties with its
business customers by offering state-of-the-art services, the
Meanwhile, the release quoting
Jayaratne said that the CDMA license was approved in his 'regime'
with the objective of providing telecommunication with much emphasis
to the rural market.
"The active participation of
private companies like Suntel will help strengthen our country's
telecom infrastructure. Suntel has taken the initiative to deploy
telecommunication services in all parts of the country connecting
more and more lives in Sri Lanka with the launch of CDMA technology
with a vision to provide a phone to every Sri Lankan home," he
Suntel launched CDMA technology with
another revolutionary concept, 'Off The Shelf.' This enables
customers for the first time to purchase a fixed line phone off the
shelf and use it simply by plugging in the phone unit and make calls
As the first phase, Suntel CDMA
services will be available in 22 districts covering over 500 towns
and the tiniest villages around the county. Staying in line to
achieve the vision and reach of customers in all parts of the
country, Suntel expanded its service network with over 40 customer
contact points making it the widest service network in the country
thus making Suntel 'the next generation telecom network,' the
It also said that even before the TRC
approvals for CDMA, Suntel has been a forerunner in expanding its
network islandwide having recently covered over 10 new areas like
Kataragama, Tissamaharama and Warakapola, including the tsunami-hit
areas of Ampara, Hambantota and Trincomalee.
The latest CDMA 2000 1X technology will
help to push fixed line penetration higher and deeper into the
country at a comparatively lower cost, providing advanced services
to consumers and hence help develop and expand ICT in the country.
In keeping with this philosophy, the first few CDMA connections were
presented to several loyal Suntel customers at the launch event, the
The communiqu‚ quoting the Managing
Director Suntel Lillemor Larson said that Suntel strives to be an
innovative, service oriented and cost effective telecoms solutions
provider offering the best to the Sri Lankan market. Through this
new technology, convergence will now become a reality in terms of
having voice, data and video offered through one single phone line.
More so an individual can just buy a phone off the shelf and get
With the launch of CDMA, Suntel has
expanded its capacity to connect an additional 250,000 customers.
"Today, the telecoms industry in
Sri Lanka is at the threshold of a new era and we at Suntel
ultimately hope to touch more than one million lives with a world
class product, offering quality and value for money combined with
our inimitable service," Larson is quoted to have had said.
Suntel is a joint venture company that
brings together the 'resources and expertise' of Swedish telecoms
giant Overseas Telecom AB, Metrocorp (Pvt) Ltd., Townsend Ltd, Hong
Kong, the National Development Bank and the International Finance
Corporation (IFC) - a member of the World Bank Group.
Orange, an ISO 9001.2000 company with a
history of over two decades of innovation behind it, has been
producing electrical wiring and accessories to SLS, BS and IEC
standards, a press release said.
been subjected to a rough ride initially by an international
industrial giant, the company today has won its battle and shines as
the ' Rising Spirit of Sri Lanka' representing the best of Sri
Lankan ingenuity and internationally recognised quality by becoming
the number one product in this category.
Orange has the expertise in local
innovations and engineering capability in electrical, lighting and
industrial integrated systems and data comunications solutions. They
are a distinctive example of an employment creator in the country
both directly as well as indirectly through their associated
suppliers of raw materials, distributors, market researchers,etc.
Can a local industry function
effectively and profitably on its own? Definitely not, and it does
need the fullest cooperation, support and assistance from the State
as much as from the general public. Assistance from the Government
should focus on cutting down of red tape in administration and duty
in case of compulsory import of raw materials needed for local
A good transport network either by road
or rail is vitally important in distributing functions. Minimum
political interference by opposition political parties in these
areas are paramount issues for a nation's progress. By getting
caught up in critical policy warfare rather than thinking positively
on issues that affect the country will only make the whole nation
suffer as a consequence. Therefore the underlying factors towards
the progress of a country, rests on the blessings of the government,
collaboration of the Opposition and also the cooperation of the
consumer in recognising local products and becoming 100% national
minded in their purchases.
Advanced countries in Asia such as
Malaysia and India are good examples to this effect. Their national
policies have been to recognise the local product, local industries
and local manufacturers.
As such, these countries have
successfully paved the way towards industrial expansion and, as a
result, have built up a sound economy and have become profound
foreign exchange earners simultaneously.
Sri Lanka needs to focus her economic
and manufacturing strategy on Malaysia and India and learn a lesson
or two from them as to how they give their first preference to local
products and manufacture. No doubt there will be major challenges in
such a climate with giant International institutions coming to play
a major role, at times to serve the local industries with sledge
hammer blows or to steam roll them completely with their crooked
marketing strategies where sometimes even the will of the strongest
political hero will be tested.
The Government and the Opposition alike
have a major role and a bounden duty in this regard in backing up
local production if Sri Lanka has the qualitative local manufacture
which could challenge any foreign product.
The role played by the local
manufactures in a competitive world is equally important in this
regard. They need to be reasonable, rational and regularly
responsible in terms of quality control of their products with a
fair pricing policy to give the consumer value for money. Short
sighted policies of making a' quick buck with one shot' attitude or
producing cheaper quality goods for bargain basements will only help
them to 'dig their own industrial graves'! Such foolish and selfish
motives will only kill the local industry and encourage the local
consumer to alienate from local products altogether and to seek
solace on foreign imports.
But, as a nation, Sri Lanka needs to be
united as one in propping up and supporting her own national
industries. Otherwise how can local manufactures survive? When there
are internationally reputed industries in Sri Lanka such as Orange
(among many others) with ISO 9001.2001 recognition, it would be
crazy for people to think of any foreign alternatives from simple
electrical sockets to the most intricate equipment that controls
power supplies to cities!
completes 12 years
Skills Advertising at Kirulapone has
successfully completed 12 years of intense advertising, a press
release said. The Company handles the whole A to Z gamut of the
industry and has served companies of the corporate world as well as
individual establishments without reservations. Having a good track
record, it has gained the confidence of as much as over 75 clients
at present, ranging from banks to educational institutes to
The release quoting its Managing
Director Ananda Samarasinghe who took over the management in 2000
from Sri Sangabo Corea, the agency's founder, said that the Company
made great strides even during turbulent periods of the advertising
industry as a whole.
continued to be the guiding and the driving force up to now, which
gave the new management the much-needed strength and stability. The
client's loyalty towards the Company is very evident by the fact
that quite a number of them are still with Skills since its
inception. The Penthhouse Group of Companies, the Travel Club &
Blue Diamonds are just three of the bigger accounts that the agency
services, even up to date", Samarasinghe, is quoted to have had
Skills has a clientale of more than
ninety at present, besides quite a number who come for secondary
help. The Ceylinco Group too has entrusted Skills with some of their
Jagath Alwis, Deputy Chairman of
Ceylinco Education is a client that continues to offer unstinted
support by placing confidence in the company, in the advertising of
numerous products and in the execution of promotions.
Pathirana, CEO-ICBT, is another versatile entrepreneur who sought
the services of Skills. Such corporate backing made the ad agency
move forward. Currently, the work force consists of two creative
directors and three art directors in a total of 25 members.
Samarasinghe attributes the agency's success to dedication
and sincerity towards its clients and their satisfaction. Being an
experienced campaigner with over 17 years of experience,
Samarasinghe marshals his team with sheer business acumen. He was
initially groomed as a media coordinator and that remains his forte.
Thereafter, fortune encountered him to rise up to the position of MD
and hence, he possesses the dexterity to handle all types of
advertising modes. "Having succeeded thus far, the agency is
ready to take up any challenge and any client in the field of
marketing," he had said.
Skills Advertising could claim to be
among the top 20 agencies in the country with the largest number of
adverts with in ANCL and other publications. At this pace, it is
believed that the company will
be reckoned as the most sought after advertising agency in
the imminent future.
The Directors - Lalith Deshapriya
Ganegoda and Priyanga Jayaweera on behalf of the agency take this
opportunity to thank all its clients for the support extended
throughout the years, the communque added.
airline applicants' deadline closes
Is it the Maths that Flies?
The race, in connection with the bids
called by the government in their 'Open Skies' policy hots up, with
the deadline for submitting detailed financial information and
business plans to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) having closed
Industry sources said that of the nine
original applicants, just five investors had actually submitted the
information together with a payment of Rs 1.15 million. Counted
amongst those who paid are some colourful characters in Sri Lankan
commercial life: Chandran Rutnam of Lion Air, Osman Kassim at Expo
Air, Arjun Ruzaik from HolidayAir and Suren Merchandani representing
Jayantha Dharmadasa from the Nawaloka
Group decided to postpone their entry into Aviation at this stage.
As the CAA begins the task of
evaluating the 'sky high' data, some analysts speculated as to how
any airline would be able to provide shareholders with returns. Yet,
in the airline industry, the difference between keeping an aircraft
on the ground and off the ground is relatively marginal. Thus,
having made the necessary (huge) investment in aircraft, people,
facilities and logistics, an airline usually finds that flying is
better than cancelling flights, in the wake of near empty planes.
High utilisation plays a key role in the economies of scale at any
airline and especially so for a budget airline.
The world's low-cost carriers are
profitable even as the venerable "legacy" airlines barely
tread water. How can they make money while offering fares that are
40 to 70% lower?
The reasons are many - cost of labour
is a big one - but here are five major differences between the
proposed upstarts and the traditional boys.
That's (1.3 million) the minimum number
of potential annual airline passengers a city must offer before a
low-cost carrier will consider it as a destination. Airline industry
consultant Michael Boyd of the Denver-based Boyd Group says low-cost
carriers avoid smaller cities and target only those areas where they
can get the highest revenue. Airports within a 45-minute drive of
such locations are sought out by the carriers.
That's (84.6) the number of employees
per aircraft at Southwest Airlines. And it's the figure the industry
uses to measure employee productivity.
Compare that number with 116 employees
per plane at United Airlines, a number the airline achieved last
year during its bankruptcy reorganization. The United number had
been 173 in 2002, said airline analyst Vaughn Cordle of Airline
Small wonder the so-called legacy
airlines are trying to get that number down to get productivity up.
The 'United' reduction resulted in a savings of about $2 billion and
boosted productivity by 33%.
That's the percentage (2%) of ticket
sales that JetBlue Airways makes through traditional travel agents.
By contrast, travel agents sell 61.2% of US Airways tickets. The
number is about 50% for American Airlines.
While legacy carriers have drastically
reduced the commissions they pay travel agents, selling the
traditional way remains the most costly method - between 7 and 9% of
ticket value. And the big carriers still offer some of the largest
agents steep discounts in exchange for moving market share to that
The legacy carriers are looking for
ways to attract travellers to their sites by offering steeper
discounts, bonus frequent-flier miles or other incentives.
Also, low-cost carriers such as
Southwest were among the first to implement electronic ticketing to
avoid the costs of printing and mailing. During the past two years
or so, legacy carriers have expanded their use of electronic
ticketing as well.
That's the percentage (40%) of
"legacy airline" passengers who connect to another flight
to reach their final destination. The number is significant because
routes that include connections are more expensive than direct,
In general, the low-cost carriers have
set up their schedules to focus on point-to-point flights. Southwest
Airlines calculates that only 10% of its passengers connect to
another flight to get where they're going, in large part because the
airline focuses on flights to and from destination cities. In
essence, the burden for any onward travel is on the passenger to
arrange, not the low-cost carrier.
Nonstop, direct flights are cheaper for
several reasons. First, because airline employees are paid by the
hour and connecting flights take longer to get to a destination,
there is extra pay for flight attendants and pilots. Also,
connecting flights require more manpower, says American Airlines
spokesman Tim Wagner. Remember, bags have to be loaded, then
offloaded on the first leg, then reloaded and offloaded again on the
final leg of each flight.
The number (zero) of downtown ticket
offices low-cost carriers such as Southwest, JetBlue and AirTran
operate but US Airways alone has 13 such offices.
Crucially therefore, it is the
mathematicians within the airlines who call the shots when deciding
on routes and frequencies.
In 2002 for example, IATA members in
the industry issued an excess of 308 million tickets in a $ 138
billion industry. Yet globally the aviation industry is said to have
lost in excess of $ 25 billion over the past two years. However,
within that segment, some airlines have created niches for
themselves - like Singapore Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines. The
particular niche both these airlines have created is one based on
inflight service and facilities and convenience in departure and
Drastic cost reductions, flexible
fleets and carefully managed capacity adjustments are part of the
solution. A new, more balanced approach to distribution tools like
the internet also contributes to success as well as an obsessive
attention to costs - both fixed and variables.
& Finance News
- building on a solid foundation
July 2005 marks the completion of 113
years of HSBC in Sri Lanka. On July 1 in 1892, HSBC officially
opened its doors in Sri Lanka, just 27 years after its first offices
were established in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Today, the HSBC Group
has 9,800 offices in 77 countries and territories worldwide. HSBC
offers personal financial services, commercial banking, corporate,
investment banking and markets, and private banking, among other
activities. Formerly known as the HongkongBank, HSBC was established
as a uniform, international brand name in 1999.
Putting out roots in Sri Lanka
HSBC appointed agents in Sri Lanka in
1882. During the 1884 coffee crisis, when the economy of Sri Lanka
suffered a severe setback as coffee plantations throughout the
country were almost totally destroyed by disease, HSBC realised the
need for an international corporate bank in the island. Ever since,
the bank has improved upon the quality and level of service provided
to local customers and has upheld the tradition of loyalty and
In the early 1920s the bank purchased
and began construction work on land adjoining the Bank of Madras.
HSBC then moved into its new home at 24, Sir Baron Jayatilaka
Mawatha (which it occupies even today), an impressive landmark in
Colombo's architectural and business landscape, marking the presence
of a bank that is here to stay.
Corporate banking services: An
In possession of local and foreign
currency lending capabilities, HSBC's Commercial, Corporate and
Institutional Banking have a complete range of finance structures as
well as a strong appetite for providing working capital and/or trade
financing. The bank has also supplied financial support for a large
number of multinationals and domestic borrowers.
HSBC is a pioneer in offering custody
and clearing services and a market leader in foreign client custody
portfolio. Furthermore, HSBC is a forerunner in offering trustee
services to unit trusts and debenture issues in this country and a
market leader in unit trusts, offering trustee services to 50% of
the unit trusts in Sri Lanka. HSBC's Treasury, too, has pioneered
ground-breaking vanilla derivative deals worth millions of dollars
with other leading organisations like Aitken Spence Limited and
Brandix Lanka Limited.
Personal banking services:
Fulfilling the needs of different customers
Understanding the changing needs of
customers according to their age and level of income, HSBC created
Premier, PowerVantage and E-Saver Accounts to cater to different
market segments. In addition, the bank introduced Children's Savings
Accounts for younger customers. The bank has also launched Personal
Installment Loan (PIL), Home Loan, Car Loan, Smart Money and
Personal Exclusive Revolving Credit (PERC) to enhance the diverse
lifestyles of customers.
HSBC is also the undisputed leader in
the credit cards market in Sri Lanka. With over 150,000 cards, HSBC
has demonstrated that credit cards are no longer a luxury, but a
commodity suited to the pace of customers' lifestyles. Over the
years, the bank has continued to provide a number of privileges to
its credit cardholders. Lifting the 2 per cent surcharge on fuel, a
world class Rewards and Air Miles programme, Home & Away
automatic travel insurance from Hayleys AIG Insurance, and the
12-month Bonus Spree at Cargills Food City are some of the
remarkable privileges on offer for HSBC credit cardholders.
The bank also offers credit cards to
those who do not even have an account with HSBC, as long as they
meet the age and income criteria. These credit cards are accepted in
Sri Lanka and at over 17,000,000 establishments the world over,
ensuring HSBC credit cardholders are welcome anywhere in the world.
Revolutionising banking in Sri Lanka
HSBC has a worldwide reputation for its
pioneering work in the field of technology. The bank was the first
to establish an internet payment portal in Sri Lanka, for Sri Lankan
customers. Personal Internet Banking and Phonebanking are two other
services offered by HSBC.
In July of 1980, HSBC became the first
bank to computerise its operations in Sri Lanka. Another first in
Sri Lanka was the installation of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)
in June of 1986, enabling round-the-clock banking. In 1991 the
Colombo branch was connected to HSBC's Global Data Network enabling
the exchange of financial data with members of the HSBC Group within
a few seconds. Furthermore, with the introduction of Hexagon in the
same year, the bank became the first in Sri Lanka to introduce
HSBC Trade Services also offers
customers Electronic DC Advising - a quick and easy way for
customers to receive a complete copy of their export documentary
credits and amendments via e-mail or fax. This is the first service
of its kind to be offered in Sri Lanka.
The introduction of the first Day ands
Night Automated Banking Centre is another first for Sri Lanka. The
Day and Night Automated Banking Centres include Personal Internet
Banking and Phonebanking Services and a customer services desk in
addition to the requisite ATM machine. Currently, HSBC has three
such centres - at the Sentra Super Market in Maharagama, Cargills
BigCity in Moratuwa and at the bank's newest branch in Wattala.
The HSBC story: Sharing success
The HSBC Group advocates two main
strategies of CSR - education and the environment. Under these, HSBC
Sri Lanka has carried out many long-term projects.
HSBC strongly believes that the needs
of today's society should not be fulfilled at the expense of future
generations, and is therefore, deeply conscious of its
responsibilities to the environment. HSBC Sri Lanka has joined
forces with the Department of Wild Life Conservation in conducting
an ongoing campaign to maintain a cleaner environment and preserve
the natural beauty of Horton Plains. Awareness boards and garbage
bins are posted discretely in strategic locations throughout the
Plains. In addition, the bank sponsors the salaries and uniforms of
workers and tour guides within the Plains.
In May 2005, the bank launched yet
another environmental project in collaboration with the Sewalanka
Foundation - the Sinharaja Rainforest Youth Bio-monitoring
Programme. This programme aims to conduct applied research within
the buffer zone of the Sinharaja rainforest involving
several parties of stakeholders in the project, including the
community in the area, the local school children, the Forest
Department, academics from the University of Peradeniya, HSBC staff
and other interest groups.
Another important policy at HSBC is
providing education for disadvantaged children. The bank sponsors
trained-teachers for 200 children at St. Joseph's School for Deaf
Children Sri Lanka. The Thirivanaketiya Maha Vidyalaya in Ratnapura
is another pet project the bank undertook, following the flash
floods in the area in 2003. Since then, the bank has not only
rebuilt the school but also provided it with a library, a computer
laboratory and an on-going nutritional programme.
The Vesak Lantern Competition and the
Christmas Tree Project for orphaned children are other projects
sponsored by HSBC that bring out the dynamic creative skills of
these youngsters while also providing them with an opportunity to
experience the joy of the festive seasons.
HSBC also sponsored the refurbishment
of the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa galleries at the Colombo
National Museum, in an ambitious and successful project worth Rs.6
million. Work has already commenced on a third gallery, the Kandy
gallery. This project by the bank has increased the level of
awareness and appreciation of the Colombo National Museum, and in
turn, the glorious history of Sri Lanka.
HSBC Sri Lanka now operates 10 branches
in Sri Lanka and has a staff of over 1,000.
By Jamila Najmuddin
HSBC launched its state of the art
internet based global electronic banking platform, HSBCnet for its
corporate and institutional customers last week.
Offering a range of solutions that
encompass HSBC's corporate, investment banking and markets business,
delivering tailored financial solutions via a single internet
platform, HSBCnet effectively covers areas such as domestic and
international fund transfers, cheque outsourcing services, payments
advising and electronic and paper collections.
HSBCnet also covers areas such as
systems integration with accounting and treasury platforms,
receivables management system and internet trade services.
Speaking at a media briefing to
announce the launch, HSBC's Head of Payments and Cash Management for
Asia Pacific, Lawrence Webb said that HSBCnet was developed through
dialogue with the bank's large and institutional clients who saw the
internet as a tool for control over information which in turn helped
them to work smarter. "The development was carried out based on
the philosophy of addressing customer needs and demands," Webb
HSBCnet also offers strong security
measures to customers and is developed with the latest, high
security features that can be customised according to a user's
Head of Corporate Banking, HSBC,
Trevine Fernandopulle said in addition to providing SSL 128-bit
encryption, it enforces the use of username and password for
information access and smart card security for transactional
services. "The inputting of username and password is done via a
'virtual keyboard' which further enhances the overall security. It
also provides protection against key-logging and 'denial of service'
attacks," he said.
In addition, HSBCnet also effectively
addresses issues relating to corporate firewalls, customer-supplier
relationships and regional solutions for financial accounting and
HSBC's expertise in cash management is
widely acknowledged and the bank continues to be recognised winning
the "Best Cash Management in Asia 2004/2005" award by
Asiamoney Poll, Euromoney Poll and Global Finance. HSBC was also
awarded "The Best Bank for Payables and Receivables" by
Asset Asian Awards 2005. The launch of HSBCnet in Sri Lanka further
consolidates HSBC's reputation for its pioneering work in the field
banking on technology
Seylan Bank has been continually adding
value to their banking systems. Speaking to the press on this matter
was the Deputy General Manager, Information Technology, Dr. D.N.D.
Ramanayake who gave an update on the recent innovations at the bank.
Dr. Ramanayake stated that in today's
context with the technological advances, banking could even be
carried out from office, home or anywhere. It is in this environment
that Seylan Bank provides many electronic delivery channels such as
SMS Banking, Tele Banking, Internet Banking, Virtual Wallet, Visa
Electronic Debit, credit cards and even a fully computerised bank on
"We are committed to keep pace
with the global technological developments. For the benefit of our
customers we keep on adding value to our products and
services." Dr. Ramanayake was referring to the recent upgrade
on Internet Banking, Telephone Banking and Credit Card System. In
addition to the standard functionality, Seylan now offers third
party online money transfers, utility bill payments, credit card
account information, credit card payments and ability to draw funds
from the credit card account as a cash advance using either the
telephone or Internet Banking System. Applications for internet
banking are available through any of the Seylan Bank branches or the
form can be downloaded from the web site www.eseylan.com
Explaining the strategic developments,
Dr. Ramanayake said in April 2004, Seylan commissioned an IT payment
gateway to electronically make payments. This system helps a
customer to make payments for goods and services over the internet.
He further said that clients of Seylan Bank with access to the
internet can obtain not only information such as prices from
registered merchants in this system, but also pay through Visa
credit card or make a direct debit to his / her account.
"The basic strategy using IT is to
offer convenience to Seylan Bank customers by providing anytime,
anywhere, anyway banking. To achieve this we use electronic delivery
technologies," explained Dr. Ramanayake. He further explained
the innovative plan of the bank augmented by Chairman, Deshamanya
Dr. Lalith Kotelawala, and the corporate management of Seylan
wanting to take banking to the remote areas through many channels.
One such service is Automated Mobile
Banking. Dr. Ramanayake said that Seylan now offers a fully
computerised 'bank' in a mobile vehicle. The vehicle can be parked
in a village, supporting the local community to perform all banking
functions available to any customer in Colombo. "We are now
researching to provide a fully computerised mobile bank in areas
even without a telephone connection," he added.
"We were the first to introduce
fully functional SMS banking to Sri Lanka a few years ago and also
internet banking just before Y2K. With SMS banking customers can
perform a wide range of query-based transactions from the mobile
phone, without even making a call. The mobile phone will ring to
alert a debit due to the use of Seylan Credit Card/Visa Electron
"At the next stage of transition
we have plans to evolve this facility into a fully- fledged 12ME
enabled mobile banking solution. The advantage is that it will
enable customers to perform most of the internet banking facilities
on the move; on their mobile phones," he said
Another innovation of Seylan Bank is
the Visa Travel Card replacing the cumbersome travellers cheques.
"Simply visit a Visa Supported ATM anywhere in the world, any
time of the day to obtain currency of that country," says Dr.
Ramanayake. "One can also use it for purchases globally at any
Visa merchant outlet."
Dr. Ramanayake said that Chairman
Kotelawala's vision to provide digital dividends to all parts of Sri
Lanka has become a reality with services such as automated mobile
banking and e-learning programmes. Already Seylan Bank has
implemented small-scale solar powered computer centers at
Thanthirimale in the NCP and in Kayts in the north.
Dr. Ramanayake explained: "We have
designed a blueprint to provide solar enabled power and RF based
telecommunication to any remote village in Sri Lanka. The bank would
develop a call center to enable a single point of service to their
customers to effect cross selling of services and to provide
Dr. Ramanayake also spoke of the
importance of an excellent security system governed by good IT
policies. He said, "Our systems are definitely secured over and
above the industry standards through firewalls, encryption methods
for remote access and frequent penetration testing conducted by the
bank. We have also established a sound security policy for IT
governance and are working towards achieving an ISO security
Shanthi - an innovative housing solution
"Get Shanthi, go home." This
simple line says it all. Not only does the Shanthi housing loan
scheme from HNB allow you to obtain your loan faster, it makes life
a lot easier, and your dream home inevitably becomes a reality. HNB
is the first institution to offer a branded housing loan scheme, and
they've been in the business long enough to know what's best for
"We can meet any housing
requirement and our loan covers everything from purchasing of bare
land for construction of a house, purchase of a fully constructed
house and property, construction of a house on land owned by the
applicant, completion of a partly constructed house and renovation
or extension of an existing house," said
Senior Manager, Consumer Banking, N. Premarajah.
Loans can be obtained in just 14 days
if documents are in order. Premarajah said HNB recently tied up with
a legal firm, making the documentation process that much easier for
the customer. HNB has an islandwide network of 143 customer centers
and loans can be obtained from any part of the country.
Those eligible for the loan includes
anyone who has a regular monthly income individually or jointly with
a spouse: professionals, businessmen and anyone with a sound
financial standing. The income must be sufficient to meet the
monthly loan commitment plus living and other expenses.
The minimum amount offered is
Rs.100,000, while loans in excess of Rs.5 million are considered on
a case-by-case basis, depending on individual incomes. Higher
amounts can be negotiated with the respective branch managers.
"Customers can choose their payment scheme. We have no hidden
charges unlike most other housing loan schemes offered by various
other institutions," Premarajah said.
Interest rates vary from 12.5% onwards
and are both attractive and competitive. Customers can choose
between fixed and floating rates. The 'floating' option is based on
the going market rate while those who choose 'fixed' will have a
fixed rate. The minimum repayment period is five years while a
maximum repayment period of up to 25 years is offered depending on
the age of the customer.
HNB also obtains a mortgage protection
policy that allows settlement of the loan outstanding in case of the
death of the borrower and there will be no burden on his or her
dependents. "If necessary we also offer loan facilities for
payment of this insurancepremium," Premarajah said.
In addition to all the benefits offered
by Shanthi, including low interest rates, minimum hassle, faster
processing, easy access, and insurance protection, the housing loan
scheme also includes a wipe out draw.
All customers and those who obtain
housing loan facilities in 2005 are eligible to enter. The scheme
consists of a mid year draw and a year-end grand draw. The first
prize for the mid year draw is the settlement of a Shanthi
outstanding loan of up to Rs.2 million. Consolation prices include
household furniture, cash or a pre paid credit card to the value of
Rs.100 000 for five winners and furniture, cash or a pre paid credit
card to the value of Rs.50,000 for five winners.
First prize for the year-end draw is
the settlement of an outstanding loan of up to Rs.2.5 million.
Consolation prizes include furniture, cash or a pre paid credit card
worth Rs.100,000 for 10 winners and furniture, cash or a pre paid
credit card worth Rs.50,000 for a further 10 winners.
Leasing completes Rs. 325 mn debenture issue
Commercial Leasing Co. Ltd (CLC), a
leading specialised leasing company in Sri Lanka, announced the
successful private offering of a secured redeemable debenture issue
of approx Rs.325 million. The debentures are secured by specific
finance lease contracts of CLC, and the principal and interest
payments are unconditionally and irrevocably guaranteed.
The core objective of this issue was to
finance new lease portfolios as part of CLC's growth strategy. CLC
believes that this process provides effective medium term funding
which in turn allows for very attractive medium term returns to
The transaction consists of senior pass
through fixed and floating rate certificates due from Aug 2005 - Feb
2009. Various structural features were built into this transaction
to protect investors such as diverse accelerated amortisation
triggers and overcollaterlisation to provide credit enhancements.
Investec Capital Limited was the Lead
Arranger and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Limited acted as Co-Arranger
for the transaction.
Established in 1988 as a private
limited company and converted to a public limited company in 1992,
today CLC has emerged as a major player in the leasing industry. The
company provides a wide range of services including finance leasing,
operating leasing, hire purchase and debt factoring. The company's
head office is based in Bambalapitiya and at present has a branch
network of over nine locations in Negombo, Kandy, Anuradhapura,
Matara, Kurunegala, Trincomalee, Ambalangada, Kelaniya and Kohuwala.
The company has made a pre-tax profit
of Rs.237 million in year 2004 and was able to post a Rs.80 million
pre-tax profit in the first quarter of 2005, an increase of 60% from
the previous corresponding quarter.
Bank fully geared for big projects
The Corporate Banking Division of DFCC
Bank handles large corporates, which includes working capital and
Senior Vice President, Corporate
Banking, Dheerendra B. Abeyaratna says the project financing focuses
on long term projects where the bank looks at the business as a
whole to see if it is viable to finance for the long term.
"We look at the risk of a project
when lending financial assistance including the feasibility and cash
flows and then decide if it will be a viable project and if the cash
flow is adequate for the returns expected," Abeyaratna said.
Since its inception in 1959, DFCC has
focused heavily on development banking. Development banking revolves
around project financing and Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SME).
DFCC has a separate unit and branches
that specialise in the SME sector while the corporate bank focuses
exclusively on large corporate customers.
"DFCC has developed its own edge
to finance a project. At DFCC Corporate Banking we have people with
accounting and other financing skills. So we have the ability to
identify a business and how the project will work especially if it
involves some sort of risk," Abeyaratna added.
To provide the funding for the projects
DFCC has access for long-term assistance from the government via the
World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
"Project funding is very important
for Sri Lanka otherwise companies will not be able to finance their
long term projects," Abeyaratna said.
He further said that his vision is to
identify small businesses that have the potential to grow and ensure
DFCC assists in creating the next conglomerate in Sri Lanka.
"If you look at countries like
India they have several companies which have operations overseas but
Sri Lanka is yet to reach that level," he said.
DFCC Corporate Banking is still
thriving despite the trade dying overseas. Abeyaratna attributed the
success of the Corporate Banking Division to the diversified
operations of DFCC Bank. DFCC Bank has earned the Fitch AA- rating,
boosting customer confidence.
The primary vision of DFCC Bank is to
be Sri Lanka's premier financial services group. At DFCC, customer
response surveys are conducted from time to time to see if the
bank's services are up to the mark and immediate steps are taken to
remedy problems if something is lacking. Feedback is obtained from
customers and services are upgraded where necessary.
DFCC was set up in 1955 by an Act of
Parliament mainly to undertake the financing of development in Sri
Lanka by giving long-term loans to the small and medium enterprise
sector and private sector companies to set up various industries,
plantations and factories.
DFCC Bank has been associated with a
stream of significant financial innovations, underpinning its
reputation as a market leader. It continues to thrive on the winds
of change, seizing opportunities as they come and making it possible
for their customers to reach new horizons.
secures Rs. 2.4bn credit line
An agreement was signed between the
Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL), KfW Bankengruppe (KfW) headquartered
in Frankfurt am Main, Germany and DFCC Bank (DFCC) on July 14, which
will provide DFCC access to a long-term credit line of EURO 20.1
Million (LKR 2.4 Billion). The signing took place at the Ministry of
Finance and Planning in Colombo. Secretary to the Treasury, Dr. P.
B. Jayasundara signed on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka while
Director, South and Central Asia, Uwe Ohls and Director,
KfW Office in Colombo, Reinhard Dalchow, signed on behalf of
KfW. Chief Executive Officer, Nihal Fonseka signed on behalf of DFCC.
The loan is to be used for the purpose
of granting sub-loans and leases by DFCC to finance medium and
long-term investments in fixed assets, primarily relating to
imported capital goods by private sector enterprises in Sri Lanka.
However, the sub loans can also be used to finance the cost of
machinery purchased from other countries or locally, construction
cost and initial working capital related to the eligible projects.
The overall objectives of this credit
line is to contribute to the creation of additional jobs, safeguard
existing jobs and to enhance private sector economic activity.
Only projects, which support Sri
Lanka's socio-economic development and do not endanger the
environment, may be funded from the loan. In any case, investments
in enterprises producing or processing asbestos or other hazardous
substances and investments promoting the use of ozone layer
depleting substances (CFCs) are not eligible for funding. DFCC will
ensure that all projects to be funded adhere to the environmental
rules and regulations imposed by the relevant authorities.
KfW Bankengruppe has been supporting
the development of Sri Lanka since 1961. And it has provided
financial support to many important development projects such as the
development of the Port of Colombo, the construction of the cement
factory in Kankasanthurai and in the construction of Randenigala and
Ratambe hydropower projects. The funds are provided by KfW within
the framework of German Financial Cooperation on behalf of the
German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. Over the
years, KfW has made available to Sri Lanka more than EUR 830 million
of which around EUR 700 million has been disbursed.
DFCC Bank and KfW Bankengruppe have
partnered each other for more than a decade and KfW has previously
extended three credit lines to DFCC Bank.
Bank enhances network
CSP upgraded to full branch status
The Commercial Bank of Ceylon recently
upgraded its Customer Service Point (CSP) at Katubedda to full
branch status. The branch will now offer Commercial Bank's full
range of banking services and will have two Automated Teller
the picture, Senior Deputy General Manager - Corporate Banking,
Harris Premaratne accepts the first deposit from
Chairman, Amano Group of Companies, Sarath de Costa while
Senior Regional Manager - Colombo South Region, Vimal
Fernando and Manager - Katubedda Branch, Sriyan Fernando (extreme
right) look on.
Holiday Banking in Negombo
The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has
extended its ground-breaking Holiday Banking service to Negombo,
converting its branch in the coastal city to a 365-day banking
branch at Negombo will now be open on all Public, Bank, Mercantile,
Poya and other holidays from 10 am to 2:30 pm. It is Commercial
Bank's 14th Holiday Banking outlet. The bank offers Holiday Banking
through 12 MiniCom branches and Arpico Service Points as well as its
branch at Dharmapala Mawatha, Colombo 7.
Banking is mainly intended to serve personal customers and offers
facilities such as opening and operation of all types of SL rupee or
foreign currency accounts, encashment of personal cheques up to a
maximum of Rs 100,000, encashment of foreign currencies and
traveller's cheques, issue of foreign exchange for travel,
settlement of utility bills and credit card outstandings and many
such over-the-counter banking services.
Banking service is frequently used by tourists who need to encash
currency or traveller's cheques and by people travelling overseas on
the rationale for extending Holiday Banking to Negombo, Commercial
Bank's Senior Deputy General Manager - Personal Banking, Ravi Dias
said that extending Holiday Banking to Negombo was a part of the
bank's plan to extend this facility to all major towns of Sri Lanka.
Opening a Holiday Banking Centre at Negombo will benefit the large
and valuable customer base that Commercial Bank is proud to have in
the area extending from Ja-ela to Chilaw, he said.
Priority Banking Centre moves to
Commercial Bank of Ceylon relocated its Priority Banking Centre to
its branch at Reid Avenue with effect from July 4 to enhance
convenience and service to its top customers.
this move, Priority Banking facilities would be available even on
Saturdays till 2.30 pm. Priority Banking customers will also receive
the services and discounts offered by the in-house pharmacy at the
Reid Avenue Branch in addition to the exclusive benefits they
receive from the Priority Banking Centre.
new location will also make the centre more accessible because of
its central location and ample parking facilities, the bank said.
The Reid Avenue branch has been designed to provide special
facilities for the differently-abled.
who maintain a balance of at least Rs. 5 million or US$ 50,000 in
current or savings accounts, foreign currency accounts or deposits
are eligible to become Priority Banking customers. In addition to
the standard facilities available at their own branches, Priority
Banking customers receive advice on the management of their
finances, a higher spending limit on credit cards, ATM withdrawals
of up to Rs. 50,000 and receive safety locker facilities without
They may also do their banking by fax
or e-mail, and enjoy preferential rates of interest on deposits, as
well as loans and overdrafts that can be arranged at short notice.
Commercial Bank of Ceylon, which was established in 1969, has the
country's largest computer-linked network of 127 branches, and
operates over 200 ATMs. In addition to this, Commercial Bank has
three fully fledged branches and two booths operating in Bangladesh.
also signs up for Rs. 2.4bn
NDB signed a credit line agreement with
KfW of Germany and Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) on July 14 at the
Ministry of Finance. The credit line is for Euro 20 mn which equals
Rs 2.4bn. KfW is a leading development bank in Germany and has been
associated with NDB for the past two decades in granting credit
lines. On earlier occasions KfW has granted credit lines for
environmental projects, micro sector financing, SME and large sector
With the availability of this new
credit line NDB will offer credit facilities by way of sub loans and
leases for long term investments in privately owned enterprises in
Sri Lanka. This is the second credit line of this nature to be
granted by KfW with the first credit line of DM 60 million granted
NDB will channel the proceeds of the
credit line towards financing foreign costs involved in projects
promoted by the private sector enterprises. As per the lending
guidelines 100% of the cost of imported machinery, 80% of cost of
locally purchased machinery, and 70% of the construction cost can be
financed under the credit line. KfW has also made provision in the
agreement to finance 40% of the investment in the permanent working
NDB will also grant sub loans under
this credit line towards Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as well
as large scale enterprises. In the case of SMEs, the definition used
is those projects where the total investment in fixed assets (
excluding the value of land and buildings) do not exceed Rs.70
million after granting the sub loan. Maximum sub loan that could be
granted for such SMEs is Rs.35 million. Sub loans can be granted
towards large scale projects too where the assets value exceed Rs.70
With the availability of this credit
line NDB's presence in project financing will be further
strengthened. NDB from its inception in 1979 has granted over Rs.
120 bn for development projects in Sri Lanka and spearheaded project
financing in the country.
Bank assistance for 800 tsunami affected children
Sampath Bank contributed and opened
savings accounts for 800 tsunami affected children with Terres des
Hommes Nederland's and Lions District 306A. The children spent a
joyful day at Navarangahala displaying their talents.
The picture shows Kushlani Amarasuriya
and Sepalika Seneviratne, organisers of the event, welcoming AGM,
Marketing, Sampath Bank, Kapila Karunaratne
and the large gathering of children.