REACH, newest threat to garment exports
The garment industry is faced with a new
obstacle in their exports to the lucrative
EU market by a new EU regulation that bans
the import of articles discharging harmful
substances over and above a minimum weight
to this market.
This regulation known as REACH
(Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation
of Chemicals) comes into force from December
Covering some 30,000 chemical substances
classified as harmful, the REACH regulation
first enforces a mandatory registration of
exporters to the EU region effective from
December 1, 2008,
before imposing the ban on the import of
articles discharging harmful substances
three years later.
The weight restriction thresholds applicable
under REACH are, if the harmful discharge is
more than 0.1% the weight of the export
article in question, or, cumulatively, where
the weight of such harmful emissions from
such articles are more than one metric ton
for a given year. Such articles will not be
permitted to enter the EU market.
Those harmful releases may be in the form
of a gas, liquid or solid.
"In Sri Lanka's context, exports such as
garments, shoes and tyres to the EU are
directly impacted by the REACH regulation,"
Srinivas Chakravarthy, lead auditor, TUV
Rheinland (India) Pvt. Ltd., told The Sunday
TUV Rheinland, headquartered in Germany is a
REACH certifying body.
A note said that REACH also covers rubber,
plastic and wooden items.
It also includes items such as soap powder,
glues, printing colours, medical devices,
cars and refrigerators.
He however said that REACH does not cover
the export of food items to the EU. Those
are covered under food safety laws such as
HACCP, he said.
Shanmuga Sundaram, Project Manager TUV
Rheinland (India) said that if a
exporter/buyer to the EU market, exporting
such items that are governed by REACH is not
REACH registered by December 1 of this year,
he won't be allowed to sell his wares to the
Garments such as jeans, denims and scented
fabric all do emit substances, he said. And
when garments are subjected to washing and
dyeing, then too they may imbibe certain
substances in such processes which may be
subsequently released to the
environment/body when worn, he said.
Varnika Soysa, General Manager, VSR
Consultants Pvt. Ltd., said that the local
garment industry is aware of the REACH
regulation. VSR are the local agents for TUV
"But it's a question of cost, the industry
does not want to foot in the REACH
certification bill," he said. They would
rather get the buyer to pay the bill.
Soysa said that this is possible as far as
the garment industry is concerned because
Sri Lanka does not export branded garments.
As such the REACH onus is on the buyer, like
brands such as Victoria's Secret to which
the REACH regulation would directly apply,
as they are the direct sellers to the EU
market, said Soysa.
He contended that due to the superiority of
local garments and their compliance with
various social ethic norms pertaining to
worker rights (an important factor as far as
buyers from the EU and USA were concerned),
international buyers would find it difficult
to break their business relationship with
local exporters and seek buyers from
elsewhere, on the premise that local
manufacturers were shying away from meeting
the total REACH certification bill, by
expecting the buyers also to share part of
Export of items such as garments, shoes and
tyres which require a mandatory REACH
registration from December this year, all
enjoy duty free status to the EU market
under the latter's GSP Plus scheme. This
scheme which expires at the year end is up
for renewal for a further three years
beginning from 2009.
would enjoy this concession for a further
three years is in doubt because of the
country's parlous human rights record, a key
requirement for the continuation of the GSP
Under the present GSP + facility, which Sri
Lanka has been enjoying since July 2005, the
country's garment sector in particular has
been enjoying increased growth and is set to
overtake the USA, currently its biggest
export market. Garments are also Sri Lanka's
single biggest export commodity, providing
direct employment to some 280,000.
Get India to remove rice floor price
Government should follow the South African
and Bangladeshi examples by talking to India
to get the floor price of US$ 1,000 per
metric ton (pmt)-C&F on rice exports to Sri
Lanka removed for this Avurudhu season, a
Pettah trader said.
K. Palaniandy, President of the Old Moor
Street Traders' Association told The Sunday
Leader as a result of the actions of those
governments, India lifted their floor prices
on rice to those countries and were selling
Nadu and Ponni rice at $ 390 and $ 470 pmt
(C&F) Ex-Indian port respectively, with
150,000 mt taken by Bangladesh and 200,000
mt by South Africa..
Palaniandy said that a stock of 50,000 mt of
rice was sufficient to tide over the
Avurudhu demand. He said that the recent
rains had caused havoc to the present Maha
harvest. That, coupled with alleged
manipulation by certain millers has seen
rice prices shooting up, he said.
Palaniandy has also written to Trade
Minister Bandula Gunewardena about this
Edgar to stand for re-election
Sampath Bank has informed the Colombo Stock
Exchange of a possible investment in its
equity by a
based investment fund.
Sampath Bank has some 68 million shares.
It's learnt that ShoreCap International
Ltd., will come into the Bank as a
shareholder if the deal is through, by
buying new shares in the Bank and not by any
existing shareholder selling any of their
stake in Sampath to a new investor.
Meanwhile, the Bank septuagenarian chairman
Edgar Gunatunga will stand for re-election
at the Bank's AGM due shortly. Another
director Chandra Jayaratne (60) has handed
over his resignation.
Central Bank's Corporate Governance Code
says that a director above 70 years of age
should resign from the board of a bank by
the year end.
Havelock City to cost $ 60 mn
Overseas Realty (Ceylon)
Ltd. (ORCL), has informed the Colombo Stock
Exchange that its subsidiary Havelock City
(Pvt.) Ltd., is developing Havelock City at
a cost of US$ 60 million.
The BoI has granted it a 10 year tax holiday
in respect of this development. An 85%
equity stake in the new company will be held
by ORCL and the balance 15% by Mireka
Capital Land (Pvt.) ltd., a joint venture
between ORCL and Bank of Ceylon.
Rs. 185 mn. sale value
Vallibel Power Erathna (PLC) has informed
the Colombo Stock Exchange that the company
received Rs. 185 million from the sale of
five million ordinary shares of Didul (Pvt.)
Ltd. Both companies are controlled by
business tycoon Dhammika Perera.
New govt. nominees
SriLankan Airlines has informed that
Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera has
been appointed as the airline's new
chairman. The other nominee directors of the
government are Nishantha Wickramasinghe,
Lalith De Silva and Sunil Wijesinha.
The government has a 51.05% stake in
SriLankan and Emirates 51.05%.
Emirates is represented by Tim Clark, Gary
Chapman and Nigel Hopkins.
Rs. 22 bn. maturing bnd. to take heat off
A Rs. 22 billion Treasury bond of five year
tenure that matures tomorrow is expected to
take the heat off high call money market
rates (CMRs), sources said.
With the market experiencing a liquidity
crunch, overnight (o/n) CMRs, the rates at
which commercial banks lend cash to each
other for a day closed the week at a high of
18-18« %, they said.
Central Bank (CB) said that the weighted
average rate of o/n CMR on Friday was 18.51%
and its maximum rate 19.50%.
Tomorrow's maturing Rs. 22 billion bond is
expected to help shave off 2% from Friday's
o/n CMR, making the CMR to come down to 16%,
the sources said. This is despite pressure
on rates by expected government borrowings
which will take a chunk off from this
maturing Rs. 22 billion bond probably
through a private placement in this week's
Treasury bill auction, they said.
The sources however said that the high
interest rates prevailing in the market were
in line with the high inflation that exists
in the economy.
Last month, the Census Department through
the CB reported that the point to point
change in the standard Colombo Consumer
Price Index (CCPI) as at the end of last
month was 24%.
"Based on that scenario, o/n CMRs hitting
18% is not something unusual," they said.
The sources further said that the foreign
exchange (forex) market was slack on Friday,
due to little or no import demand despite
the Avurudhu season.
The credit squeeze caused by the government
in a bid to curb inflation, has helped to
slacken demand in the forex market, the
They also said that the high inflationary
environment prevailing in the economy has
made prices to rise, thereby also helping to
reduce consumer demand, they said. As a
result, the US dollar remained steady at Rs.
107.80-85 on Friday, the same rate it
fetched on Thursday, the sources said.
Maxis want only 25%
The market fuelled by speculation that
Maxis, Malaysia will make a mandatory offer
to the rest of SLT's shareholders on the
assumption that they will take all of NTT
Japan's 35.2% stake (30% is the threshold
that triggers the mandatory offer code) in
SLT, saw SLT contributing more than 50% of
the turnover of Rs. 406.2 million at
SLT saw 5.5 million of its shares traded,
before closing at Rs. 41.75 (per share), Rs.
1 more than its Monday's closing price.
SLT's contribution to the day's turnover was
Rs. 226.5 million.
Market sources however said that Maxis would
settle to buy only a 25% stake in SLT,
though NTT wants to dispose of all of its
35.2% stake in this telecoms company. By
ensuring that NTT has a 10% stake in the
company, Maxis will ask NTT to continue to
manage the company, they said.
The sources however said that SLT's new CEO
would be a Maxis nominee. The company's
current CEO is Shoji Takahashi, an NTT
nominee. They were however unable to give a
date as to when those expected changes would
SLT's top five shareholders as at March 17
were Treasury Secretary: 893.4 million
shares (49.5% of its equity); NTT
Communication Corporation Japan: 635.1
million shares (35.19%); Alexis Indrajit
Lovell: 26.9 million shares (1.49%), SLIC
Life Fund: 21.5 million shares (1.19%) and
EPF 18.4 million shares (1.02%).
Finance companies directed to reduce deposit
The Monetary Board of the Central Bank of
Sri Lanka (Monetary Board) has issued a new
direction titled 'The Finance Companies
(Interest) Direction No. 1 of 2008' to
registered finance companies, lowering the
maximum interest rate that can be paid on
term deposits by 0.5 and 1% based on the
term to maturity of term deposits, and by 1%
in respect of savings deposits.
This new direction will come into force
As per the new direction, the maximum annual
rate of interest which may be paid by a
finance company on a time deposit which
carries a maturity period of 12 months or
less, shall not exceed the weighted average
yield applicable to 364-day treasury bills
issued during the immediately preceding
quarter plus 2.5%. For deposits which carry
a maturity period of more than 12 months,
the interest rate may not be more than 5%
over the weighted average yield applicable
to 364-day Treasury bills issued during the
immediately preceding quarter. The previous
limits were 3 and 6 % respectively, above
the relevant Treasury Bill yields.
The interest rate that can be paid on
savings deposits has also been changed. The
maximum annual rate of interest on any
savings deposit should not exceed the
weighted average yield applicable to 91-day
Treasury bills issued during the immediately
preceding quarter, less 1%.
Prior to the new direction, the maximum
rate was the weighted average yield
applicable to 91-day Treasury bills issued
during the immediately preceding quarter.
All registered finance companies are
required to comply with the direction. The
relevant weighted average yields applicable
to Treasury bills are sent to all registered
finance companies by the Department of
Supervision of Non-Bank Financial
Institutions of the Central Bank of Sri
Lanka at the end of each quarter to enable
finance companies to adjust interest rates
as required by the direction.
Central Bank expects that these revisions
of deposit interest rate ceilings would in
turn lead to the reduction of the lending
rates of finance companies.
e-delivery to reduce corruption
Commissioner General of Inland Revenue (CGIR)
S. Angammana suggested edelivery to minimize
Speaking at a taxation seminar in Colombo
recently, he said that India has suggested
some measures to ensure integrity
One is transparency in tax administration.
They have specially mentioned restriction of
discretionary process. One way to achieve
this is to interpret each and every grey
area in statute by a ruling committee so
that there would be some standardization and
clarity in law.
Other measures are to reduce interface with
revenue officers by way of edelivery of
taxpayer services, simplification of tax
laws, right to information and regular
Integrity is expected not only from the
revenue officer but also from the
professional adviser, he said.
Angammana also said that to manage
integrity each country has its own set of
rules which are codified and made known to
"In Sri Lanka, we have Establishment Code
and financial regulations which control the
responsibilities of public sector employees
and how they conduct transactions in
relation to the state. "
Further, Institutions have their own ethics
of conducts. IRD also introduced its Code of
Ethics and Conduct in 2005. Then there is a
document called Taxpayers Charter introduced
in 2005 which gives the rights and
obligations of tax payers.
While having only codes on booklets will not
serve the purpose intended, employees should
be educated and monitored. Effective
organization structure should be there to
monitor. If there is a breach, there should
be a mechanism to look into that, he said.
Sponsors for the upcoming 41st International
Advertising Association (IAA) World Congress
which is being held in the USA for the first
time in over 20 years (from April 6-9)
are:-Platinum level: CNN International,
Dentsu, Dubai Media City, The Economist,
EURO RSCG Worldwide, JCDecaux and Microsoft.
Silver level: Adweek Media, Eurosport and
Global Advertising Strategies Bronze level:
Hakuhodo, National Geographic and StarHit
(Russia). Founder level: Telefonica.
700 delegates from over 50 countries are
expected at the Congress
Imports increase 49%
Exports increased by 15.4 % year-on-year (YoY)
in January 2008 along with a 41% growth in
Tea exports, which were adversely affected
by reduced production owing to labour unrest
in January 2007 made a significant 38%
contribution to the growth in total exports
in January 2008 as a result of both the
volume of export and the export price of tea
increasing further, on a YoY basis. Tea
fetched a monthly average export price of $
3.83 a kilogram in January 2008; the highest
recorded at that time.
The export price of rubber also increased
further in January 2008 resulting in a
monthly average price of $ 2.70 a kilo.
The growth in the volume of rubber exports
in January 2008 could be partly attributed
to this increase in the export price of
rubber. Industrial exports accounted for
about 28 % of the growth in total exports in
January 2008, with exports of garments and
textiles expanding further by around 4%.
Amongst other key categories of industrial
exports, rubber products and diamonds and
jewellery recorded significant growth, but
exports of machinery and equipment and food,
beverages and tobacco contracted. Total
exports in January 2008 amounted to $ 565
million compared to $ 489.5 million in
Expenditure on imports increased by 49.2% in
January 2008. While the rise in petroleum
prices as reflected in the monthly average
import price of petroleum which rose to $
92.7 a barrel in January 2008; the highest
recorded up to then, impacted on import
expenditure, the increase in expenditure on
imports is partly a reflection of the fact
that there were no imports of crude oil in
January 2007. Non-oil imports increased at
a relatively lower rate of 19.1% in January
With respect to consumer goods imports
which grew by 38% YoY in January 2008, price
increases were recorded in relation to
several key categories of food items such as
rice and wheat. A further significant
increase in the volume of imports was
recorded in respect of rice, YoY.
Hence, the value of rice imports increased
significantly in January 2008, driven by
increases in both the volume and the import
price. Expenditure on imports of sugar
increased due to increased volumes of
imports. Imports of other consumer goods
such as medical and pharmaceutical products
and motor cars and cycles also increased in
January 2008 contributing to the increase in
total expenditure on imports. Total
expenditure on imports amounted to US
dollars 1,176 million in January 2008
compared to US dollars 788 million in
As a result of the significant increase in
the expenditure on imports in January 2008,
the trade balance increased by 104.6% YoY
to $ 611 million. External trade
performance is further illustrated in the
e-learning from SI
Imagine, your are a programmer, with
deadlines almost weekly or daily, working
round the clock, which demands frequent late
evening/nights of code churning and
debugging and still you wanted a degree?
Picture you as a vice president/director of
a multinational corporation. Now you feel it
is the right time for MBA but with meetings
today in Colombo, tomorrow in Middle East
and next day in Tokyo, a programme with
fixed class room schedules does not suit
you, what are your alternatives?
Say you are not a senior executive but just
after your A/Ls working for a BPO, a five
day job but on a shift /roster basis, what
about your higher studies -Is it to take
leave constantly for your studies or to swap
your shifts with your colleagues, if so how
All this is not hypothetical. In today's
knowledge economy the work does not confine
to 8am to 5pm routine when you work with
multinationals or multinational companies
across different time zones.
Sometimes you might find your self
telecommuting (working from home) or
teleconferencing with your subordinate-for
him it may be his work time, but it can be
your off time or vice versa-finding time
within a fixed work schedule in today's
context is difficult.
The answer: E-learning. Then, you may ask or
wonder.. is it just another form of Distance
Learning? Of course it is.. but it is the
'contemporary counterpart' of distance
learning. It has been able to change the
whole experience of distance Learning.
There comes the pioneer e-learning provider
in Sri Lanka, Singapore Informatics a
100%-owned venture of Informatics Education.
Informatics Education, a leading training
and education provider is listed on the
Singapore Stock Exchange. Informatics
Holdings Ltd is a world class institute for
quality lifelong learning services and made
the ranking among Forbes Global 200 Best
Small Companies in the world.
Singapore Informatics (SI) started its
e-learning degree programme in 2002. Today
it has produced more than hundreds of
gradates and master degree holders. SI'
e-learning programme strength is driven from
its supplementary industry competent lecture
panel, its infrastructure, its over decade
excellence in education apart from its core
strength to be a partner of the worlds
largest e-learning training provider
SI offers e-learning mode degree programmes
both in business and computing with leading
universities like Portsmouth University and
Investing in India
The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce is organizing
a Seminar on Taxation, Import-Export
Procedures, Investment Framework and the
Investment Incentives of India at the Taj
Hotel Colombo on April 3.
India is a fast growing large market and is
an important destination for Sri Lankan
exports accounting for 7% of its total
India is becoming the first investment
destination for most Sri Lankan companies
that are exploring markets abroad. Sri
Lanka and India has a free trade agreement
effective from 2000 which provides duty free
access to over 4,000 products and the two
countries are negotiating a Comprehensive
Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) which
will further liberalize services and
investment between the two countries. It's
expected to be finalized before end 2008.
Many Sri Lankan exporters and investors have
had difficulties in fully utilizing the
opportunities available to tap the Indian
market due to a lack of knowledge on
documentation and procedural requirements,
the taxation system and other regulations.
Therefore this seminar will shed light on
The Seminar will be addressed by two experts
from India. The presentation on Taxation and
Import/Export procedures will be made by
Ernst and Young (E&Y) India Senior Tax
Manager Vivek Tachisia and the presentation
on Investment framework and incentives will
be done by E&Y Partner and Global Tax
Adviser K. T. Chandy.
Commerce Department Director Saman Udagedera,
Export Development Board Marketing Director
Ms. Ranjani Thudugala, Indian High
Commission's Economic & Commercial
Counsellor Santosh Jha, Board of Investment
Executive Director (Research) Dr. Nihal
Samarappuli and representatives from
industry will join the panel discussion
after the presentations. The Seminar will be
chaired by Dankotuwa Porcelain PLC Chairman
More music by Dialog
Dialog GSM, Sri Lanka's largest mobile
communications service operator launched
'Dialog Songcatcher' and 'Dialog Background
Music,' two value added services that are
expected to create ripples in the mobile
industry by catering to music lovers from
across the country.
'Dialog Songcatcher' will bring music direct
to mobiles giving customers the convenience
of downloading their songs anytime,
Songcatcher offers Dialog Post-paid and Kit
Pre-paid customers the advantage of storing
their songs on their Dialog mobile as and
when they hear them through a process of
dialling and holding the phone against any
music generating source (ie radio, TV,
speaker) for 15 seconds. Upon capturing &
identifying the music track, the Songcatcher
will send in an SMS with details of the song
name, artiste and a WAP link to download the
available content in the form of a Ring Tone
or MP3 format.
Songcatcher is based on music recognition
technology where voice frequencies are used
to recognize music patterns.
'Dialog Background Music' allows Dialog
post-paid and Dialog Kit Pre-paid customers
to play background music during call
conversations. Background Music includes
songs, background effects and sound effects,
spicing up phone conversations.
While options are plenty with an array of
English, Sinhala and Tamil
background music to choose from, customers
are also given the opportunity to try out
this new feature by dialing.. followed by
the recipient's phone number and pressing
keys on the phone key pad during call
Dialog GSM continues to deliver the best in
mobile telecoms to its 4.3 million strong
customer base granting customers a unique
Dialog Telekom PLC Group Chief Marketing
Officer Nushad Perera said, "Dialog has been
reinventing the potential of mobile
communications in Sri Lanka time and time
again. With the launch of Songcatcher and
Background Music we have added a new audio
dimension to Dialog subscribers' mobile
With the launch of these two features
personalizing your mobile phone has reached
a new level to not only include the setting
of one's phone, but to also personalize
conversations with background audio
Songcatcher and Background Music services
are bound to add colour to the expanding
plethora of services offered by Dialog
encircling popular music related services
such as Ring Tones & Ring In Tones.
40% policies increase
Sri Lanka's first 'Life Insurance Week' has
generated impressive results for its
initiator, life insurance leader Ceylinco
As new insurance policies generated by the
February 11-17 initiative continue to come
in, Ceylinco Life reports that the company
had achieved direct interaction with more
than 200,000 households in the seven-day
"The public response was most encouraging,"
said Ceylinco Life Chief Executive Director
R. Renganathan. "Our representatives have
completed need analysis for about 200,000
prospective policyholders which is a
remarkable achievement indeed."
Renganathan said that Ceylinco Life sold
more than 18,500 new policies in February
2008, a 40% improvement over what was
achieved in February last year.
The Life Insurance Week was preceded by a
focused, generic media campaign by Ceylinco
Life and culminated with a series of
interactive events in seven cities-Anuradhapura,
Trincomalee, Ambalantota, Ratnapura, Gampaha,
Teldeniya, and Kalutara.
Public awareness programmes comprised
presentations by current policyholders and
each workshop took place alongside a free
medical camp conducted under the company's 'Waidya
Hamuwa' programme at which the public are
offered free check-ups by a team of doctors.
Sri Lanka's largest life insurance provider
for the past four years, Ceylinco Life ended
2007 with premium income of Rs 6.8 billion,
an increase of more than Rs 1.1 billion over
the previous year. The company's Life Fund
exceeded Rs 16.8 billion as at December 31,
E&W makes turnaround
East West Properties Ltd., in the third
quarter (3Q) ended December 31, 2007 made a
turnaround, converting a loss of Rs. 20.8
million made in the 3Q ended December 31,
2006 to a net profit of Rs. 1.3 million in
the Q under review, a 106.4% YoY increase.
But the company in the nine months ended
December 31, 2007 saw earnings decline by
25.09% YoY to Rs. 78.9 million.
HNB to gift Avanzas for Avurudu
As a feature of Pathum Vimana 2008 scheme,
the first Toyota Avanza car draw will be
held next month. To qualify for this draw
you have to maintain a minimum balance of Rs
10,000 in a savings or singithi savings
account or current account for a period of
one calendar month prior to the draw.
And to qualify for the premium draw a
minimum balance of Rs 100,000 has to be
maintained in a savings or a singithi
savings account or a minimum balance of Rs
50,000 has to be maintained in a current
account for one calendar month immediately
prior to the draw.
HNB Pathum Vimana is the largest deposit
draw introduced by a private commercial bank
operating in Sri Lanka, with prizes worth
more than Rs. 100 million offered through
out the year. This year from Pathum Vimana
(PV) 2008, HNB has decided to give away more
than 12,000 prizes. Through PV 2008,
customers can win a luxury apartment in the
heart of Colombo from the year end premium
draw and an Audi A 4 car from the mid year
The year end grand draw will offer a
Mitsubishi Montero jeep and in addition to
the Toyota Avanza draw in April, there will
be draws held in June and September to give
away more Toyota Avanza cars.
This year customers will also have the
opportunity to participate in the HNB PV
2008 game show and win cash prizes ranging
from Rs 5,000 to Rs 100,000 weekly. The TV
game show is telecast on Rupavahini every
Friday. All qualifying accountholders will
be entitled to multiple chances at the
draws. The number of chances depends on the
amount in the account (one extra chance for
every multiple of the minimum deposit) and
the period (one extra chance for every
month) during which the amount is maintained
in the account.
Indrajit honoured by Asian Banker
NDB Bank (NDB) Vice President, Head Retail
Banking and Marketing Indrajit
Wickramasinghe was the sole recipient of the
Promising Young Banker Award for 2007 from
Sri Lanka, where the winners of the Asian
Banker Achievement Awards 2008 were
announced at a ceremony in Hanoi recently.
The Award was presented to him by Tosca Fund
Holdings Chairman Sir George Mathewson who
was also Royal Bank of Scotland former
Chairman. The award recognised
Wickremasinghe's professional efforts in
building NDB's retail banking products and
services in Sri Lanka including the
leadership given in working with leading
mobile phone operator Dialog Telekom in
launching a mobile phone-based payment and
cash remittance product, which is the first
commercially launched product of this nature
in South Asia.
'eZ Pay', South Asia's first mCommerce
(Mobile Commerce) initiative, is a service
that allows consumers to buy goods, pay
bills, transfer money and perform banking
transactions via their mobile phones
NDB is one of the fastest growing commercial
banks in Sri Lanka, transforming itself from
a project lending bank to a universal bank
within a short space of time. Innovation and
technology have been the hallmarks of NDB
and the rapid branch network expansion has
helped customers to enjoy a service from its
customer oriented staff.
.The Bank has also launched a special
savings account-'Vishmitha'-offering zero%
interest loans for the first time in Sri
Wickramasinghe also has management
experience in the FMCG sector. He is also a
Fellow of the Chartered Institute of
Marketing (UK) and holds an MBA from Sri
An audience of top industry leaders from
around the world witnessed the award
ceremony for 37 of the top professionals in
the banking industry in the Asia Pacific
Among the honoured guests were Hong Kong
Monetary Authority Chief Executive Joseph
Yam, Siam Commercial Bank President Ms.
Kannikar Chalitaporn, Dubai International
Financial Centre Authority and former HSBC
Asia Chairman David Eldon, former US Senate
Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban
Affairs Chairman Paul Sarbanes and Swiss Re
board member and former President and Swiss
Finance Minister Kaspar Villiger.
The award ceremony was held in conjunction
with The Asian Banker Summit, the largest
gathering of financial services industry
professionals in the Asia Pacific region.
The Summit is held annually in different
Asian cities and this year's was held in
Hanoi with the support of the Vietnam Banks'
Association and the State Bank of Vietnam.
Microsoft partner statu
Eurocentre DDC achieved the status of
Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, as a
result of its success in delivering
Microsoft-compatible solutions to enterprise
customers. Established in 2000, Eurocentre
is an international software engineering
organization with offices in Oslo, and their
software development centre in Colombo. The
organization's competency lies in product
development, design, testing, and
maintenance and in building customized
With a structured and modulated delivery
model, Eurocentre ensures that all projects
are managed and delivered according to best
practices. Quality standards call for code
reviews, process audits and account and
management reviews that are unified and
driven by project management. This has
resulted in a proven track record of client
relationships throughout Europe.
Microsoft Gold Certified Partners (MGCPs)
are the elite Microsoft business partners
who earn the highest customer endorsement.
They have the knowledge, skills, and
commitment to help implement technology
solutions that match the exact business
needs. They are the elite few who have
passed the highest level of requirements
from Microsoft and have demonstrated their
capability to implement the most robust,
efficient and scalable implementations of
Microsoft technologies. MGCPs receive a rich
set of benefits, including access, training
and support, giving them a competitive edge
in the marketplace.
"We're excited about our partnership with
Microsoft and honoured to be selected by
them as a Gold partner, we know that earning
the distinction of being a MGCP is due to
the excellent work of our staff and
providing solutions that work for our
customers. I want to thank our customers
for providing references that helped us move
into this highest partnership level. We are
determined to take advantage of this new
partnership level to provide an even better
service to our customers with the benefits
offered within this partnership programme.
Since our customer base is predominantly in
Europe, this certification has further
enhanced our capabilities in delivering
solutions based on Microsoft technologies,"
said Eurocentre DDC Chief Executive Officer
With a large resource pool of Microsoft
Certified System Engineers, Eurocentre has
grown in the last few years and this
certification validates Eurocentre's
commitment to raise the bar on IT service
delivery. Microsoft's recognition opens a
new level of client opportunity by aligning
Eurocentre's core competencies with the most
recognized and respected partner
"Today's customers demand to be up-to-date
on the latest technology and how it works.
We need strong companies with a proven track
record of using Microsoft products and
technologies and illustrate a strong
commitment to progressing industry standards
and meeting customers' demands. Obtaining
Gold Partnership takes this to a new level
of excellence. Eurocentre is predominantly a
Microsoft operation with over two thirds of
their developments on Microsoft tools and
technologies for their customers' across
Europe. Eurocentre has demonstrated such
capabilities and, while we have an
engagement with them already, Microsoft Sri
Lanka welcomes them to the Gold Partner
programme, said Microsoft Sri Lanka Country
Manager Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne.
As one of the requirements for attaining
Gold Certified Status, Eurocentre had to
achieve a Microsoft Competency. Microsoft
Competencies are designed to help
differentiate a partner's capabilities with
specific Microsoft technologies to customers
looking for a particular type of solution.
Each competency has a set of requirements
and benefits, formulated to represent the
specific skills and services that partners
bring to the technology industry. The
"competencies" in Eurocentre's were Data
Management Solutions and Custom Development
Microsoft ISV Partner Account Manager Alanzo
Doll said, "The Gold Certified Partner
status sends an important message to
potential customers that Eurocentre displays
excellence in operational functionality on
Microsoft operating systems and that they
can trust in Eurocentre Microsoft certified
system engineers. Customers in turn could
look specifically for certified partners to
ensure they receive the competencies they
need from their ISV partners."
More avurudhu benefits
Thousands of satisfied customers who have
grabbed the opportunity of buying products
under "No Poli-More Jolly" Interest Free
Instalment scheme introduced by Abans some
time back are testimony to the benefits that
this promotion has offered them, said a
They are satisfied that there is no catch to
it, no small print with hidden terms and
"No Poli-More Jolly" is what it implies-easy
instalments-interest free, release added.
Abans has strengthened their resolve to
offer more relief to consumers by offering
better terms and bigger discounts during
this Avuruddu Season, the company said.
Owning a large screen 32" PDP Television or
a Double Door Refrigerator was beyond the
means of an average income family. But with
"No Poli-More Jolly" any average income
family can afford such luxuries without much
financial strain, the release said.
Abans offers interest free instalment terms
on televisions, refrigerators, washing
machines, motorcycles and a wide range of
products from the world's best brands, it
said. World renowned brands Philips and
Sanyo are the recent additions to Abans
World famous brands LG, JVC, Mitsubishi,
Electrolux, Hoover, Haier, Panasonic,
Hitachi and Pyrex to name a few, the release
Your family deserves a treat once in a
while, something special and amazing.
Surprise them this Avruddha, it said.
Take home a 32" large screen PDP Television,
or a Home Theatre System and the amazement
on their faces will be worth the money you
spend, the statement said.
Head to your nearest Abans Showroom and pick
an amazing gift for your family at a price
that you can easily afford, it added.
Senanayake, FCI President
The idea of forming a forum of all chartered
institutes was first mooted by a few
committed individuals in late 2003 by
Founder and Past President Fayaz Saleem, The
Management Club (TMC); TMC President Col.
Faiz-ur.Rahman, Ajit de Silva, Bentley
Barsenbach, Lasantha Wickramasuriya, Rohan
Abeywickrama, Ajit Tudawe, Pravir
Samarasinghe and Chartered Management
Institute President Sunil Deheragoda and
others, all of whom held positions in the
various professional bodies.
Talks did not bear results since at that
time, only about 5 institutes were agreeable
to such a formation and hence the idea was
shelved. It was once again brought up by
Deheragoda, in late 2006.
After months of deliberations, all chartered
Institutes operating within Sri Lanka as
branches of the UK institutes incorporated
by Royal Charter banded together to form the
Forum of Chartered Institutes in Sri Lanka (FCI)
with the signing of a Memorandum of
Understanding in February 2007.
Currently those holding FCI membership are
the Association of Chartered Certified
Accountants, British Computer Society,
Chartered Management Institute, Institute of
Chartered Secretaries & Administrators (ICSA),
Chartered Institute of Marketing, Chartered
Institute of Management Accountants,
Chartered Institute of Logistics &
Transport, Institute of Chartered
Shipbrokers and one institute incorporated
by an Act of Parliament in Sri Lanka, the
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri
The signing of the MoU was followed by a
inauguration on March 26 2007 in the
presence of the then British High (BH)
Commissioner Dominick Chilcott, Chartered
Management Institute, UK CEO Mrs. Mary
Chapman, BH Commission and British Council
representatives and several other known
Saleem was elected the first FCI President,
whilst ICSA Immediate Past President Rennie
Corera was elected Hony. Secretary. ICASL
President Yohan Perera, was elected the
first Hony. Treasurer.
FCI's aim is to promote networking and
camaraderie amongst members of various
disciplines within the private and public
In recent times FCI has been in discussion
with the Federation of Chambers of Commerce
& Industry to find ways and means in which
the FCI could assist small and medium sized
industries with the technical expertise
available in several disciplines. This
programme would be more in line with a CSR
initiative on the part of the FCI.
Janashakthi plans to raise Rs 200-400 mn.,
Janashakthi Insurance Company Ltd., plans to
raise Rs. 200 million, with an option to
raise another Rs. 200 million through a
"We hope to complete the process by June,
Janashakthi Managing Director Prakash
Schaffter told The Sunday Leader on
Over 90% of Janashakthi's equity is held by
the Schaffter family.
"The dilution of the family holding in the
company because of this listing will be
marginal, may be by about 4%," he said.
Janashakthi in the financial year ended
December 31, 2007 made a profit after tax
(PAT) of Rs. 526 million, down 29.5%
compared with a PAT of Rs. 746 million made
in the previous year.
However, profits in 2006 was buttressed by a
capital gain of Rs. 555 million made by the
company on account of divesting its stake in
The Group made its highest ever revenue of
Rs. 5.2 billion in 2007, a year on year (YoY)
increase of 8.3%.
Gross Written Premium (GWP) in the General
Insurance (GI) segment grew by 17% YoY to
reach Rs. 3.68 billion by the end of last
year, while GWP in the Life business grew by
18% YoY to Rs. 1.2 billion.
Janashakthi is the third largest General
insurer in the country.
Fifty per cent of the country's GI business
is derived from Motor Insurance which grew
by 22% YoY to make a premium income of Rs.
2.76 billion in the year under review.
The company as at end 2007 had 112 branches
islandwide, a staff strength of 2,190 and a
customer base of over 500,000.
The company has also applied for a rating.
Avurudhu with Odel
Odel, Sri Lanka's premier lifestyle brand,
much improves the tradition of gift giving
this Avurudhu season with the introduction
of an array of seasonal merchandise to make
gift giving affordable and easy.
To ensure that there is something for
everyone this Avurudhu season, Odel will
make available a variety of attractive and
eye-catching gift items at its outlets in
Colombo and surrounding suburbs.
This new collection of merchandise has been
designed in keeping with the Avurudhu theme
and features attractively priced T-shirts,
sarongs, bags, accessories, kids items and
homeware goods. Many items featured within
this range have been designed with the
colours deemed auspicious for the New
Year-brilliant reds and vibrant yellows-to
create a dazzling and striking selection of
clothing items and gift options.
Furthermore, Odel adds more excitement to
the season with a number of other Avurudhu
themed offerings at its flagship store at
Alexandra Place. A special sweet meats hut
will be set up at the front of the store
where shoppers will find Avurudhu fare
To further draw in shoppers and raise
awareness on these seasonal offers, the
brand has also designed a catalogue
depicting the products that have been
designed for Avurudhu and many other gift
The celebrations and themed merchandise for
this April is another interesting and
unconventional step for the fashion brand
which has been reputed for being at the
pinnacle of style. The colourful merchandise
will be available at Odel outlets at
Alexandra Place, Majestic City, Kohuwela, Ja
Ela, the Bandaranaike International Airport
and Dickman's Road.
Music from Formula World
Music and motor lovers are in for a treat
every Friday night when Sirasa TV launches a
musical extravaganza from Formula World,
Seeduwa, the state of the art collision
repair centre of Sri Lanka Insurance (SLI).
Auto Plus had its first show on Friday .
Sunflower, Marians, flash back are said to
provide music to veteran singers ranging
from Sohan, Nirosha, Athula, Samitha,
Keerthi, Anil Barathi, Uresha Ravihari and
more at this event. The show will be
presented by Priyantha and Madhu of Sirasa
SLI Formula World Managing Director Suren
Galagoda said: "We have formulated this
concept as our dedicated customer care
personnel who are constantly in touch with
peoples' opinions realized the importance of
executing an awareness programme regarding
the facilities available to all Formula Plus
policyholders at Formula World. This will be
an additional activity to the continuous
programmes conducted by SLI in order to
educate potential customers on the
importance of insurance and we believe our
agreement with Sirasa TV would prove to be a
successful venture. "
Located at Seeduwa, this 8,100 square foot
building space sprawled over 2 acres of
land, can accommodate over 300 vehicles and
is equipped with the latest technology in
the automotive repair industry, not found in
most collision repair centres in Asia, on
par with best in the world.
Formula World (FW) is the first collision
repair center (CRC) in the world, managed
and owned by an Insurance company providing
exclusive service free of charge to its
comprehensive motor policyholders.
FW was built on the notion of providing the
utmost 'peace-of-mind' and a 'hassle-free'
motor vehicle repair experience to its
Formula Plus motor insurance policyholders.
To achieve its vision, FW has a dedicated
fleet of special recovery trucks on call
24hrs-a-day that will transport the damaged
vehicle to the CRC, thus, freeing the
policyholder from the burden of finding a
qualified vehicle towing service. Once
brought to FW, customers will have no hassle
in looking for spares & also can be rest
assured that the vehicle will be repaired to
manufacturers' specifications by a team of
qualified technicians who are trained by
overseas qualified specialists.
SLI with over Rs. 55 billion in assets under
management , over a million policies in
force and over 46 years of success stories
to its credit on providing value-for-money
service is most likely the only player
capable of providing a service to the
magnitude of FW, to all of its Formula Plus
AmEx offers Rs. 50,000 wardrobe
American Express (AE) in a partnership with
some of Colombo's finest clothing stores
announced the launch of the Wardrobe, in
preparation for the festive season. The
Wardrobe gives AE Card members the best
reason this season to indulge in some retail
therapy. Upto April 30, AE will offer
shoppers the opportunity to win Rs. 50,000
worth of clothing to fill their wardrobe.
The Wardrobe includes the country's most
premier shopping destinations such as Odel,
Cotton Collection, Leather Collection,
Hameedia, Raymond, Adidas as well as No
Limit, Gabbana & Mondy. Card members need
to use their AE credit card for purchases at
these stores to become eligible for the
Nations Trust Bank PLC AE Chief Manager
Nadeesha Senaratne said, "This is yet
another exciting launch from AE and is bound
to be a timely treat to all our card members
during the forthcoming festive season. We
are delighted to partner with the premium
life style clothing and department stores in
the country in introducing this novel value
addition to our membership privileges."
Eight "wardrobes" will be given away in
total, one from each fashion chain. AE
cardmembers can shop islandwide at partner
clothing stores in Colombo, Kohuwela
Ratmalana, Ja-ela and Nugegoda. Every
purchase increases the member's chance of
S K Wickremasinghe will take over as
chairman Senkadagala Finance Company Ltd (SFCL)
from April 1.
Wickramasinghe was formally chairman NDB
Bank. He also served on the boards of
numerous other companies, both in the public
and private sectors.
He is also a former high commissioner to UK.
Wickramasinghe takes over from E. W.
Balasuriya who served SFCL for over 30
SFCL, a registered finance company, has a
portfolio that comprises hire purchase,
lease assets and advances. The company as
part of its business philosophy aspires to
be the benchmark in financial services
Stock market announcements
Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka PLC has declared
a first and final dividend of Rs. 1 per
share. Shareholders' meeting on April 23,
2008; excluding dividend (XD) date April 24
and payment date April 30, 2008.
Colombo Dockyard Plc has announced the
capitalization of its reserves in the order
of one new ordinary share for every 20
existing ordinary shares held, at a
consideration of Rs. 10 per share. This
reserves capitalization is subject to
Colombo Stock Exchange Approval.
As Airtel India's largest mobile service
operator gets ready to launch in Sri Lanka
it has appointed Madison Media, Sri Lanka as
its Media AOR in Sri Lanka.
Madison is the AOR for Airtel in India and
also the AOR for other Bharti group
companies like Bharti AXA Life Insurance and
Mutual Fund respectively and Bharti DTH and
Airtel evaluated Mindshare and Madison and
chose Madison after hearing presentations
from both in Sri Lanka.
Airtel Marketing & Communications Gopal
Vittal said, "Madison has been a partner
and has played a part in Airtel's success
story in India and we are confident that
they will extend the same support in Sri
Lanka too and deliver all that it takes to
make us succeed there."
Airtel Lanka CEO Amali Nanayakkara said: "
Madison has partnered Airtel effectively in
India and we hope to leverage the strong
partnership here to build the Airtel brand."
Madison World Chairman Sam Balsara said, "We
are delighted on hearing Airtel's decision
and are confident that the Madison way in
media will work in Sri Lanka too. If P&G
gave us a head start in media in India,
Airtel is doing that in Sri Lanka."
ICICI in NY, Frankfurt
ICICI Bank Ltd (ICICI) recently inaugurated
its New York branch in Manhattan, whilst
almost simultaneously opening a branch in
The New York branch,will offer a suite of
banking services including working capital,
acquisition finance, trade service and
treasury solutions to corporates and savings
Meanwhile, the Frankfurt branch will serve
customers through internet and telephone
banking and will also focus on serving
corporate businesses with significant
Eran on BenchMark
In probably his first interview given to the
electronic media, incoming CEO of NDB Bank
Eran Wickramaratne who assumes his new
duties on April 1 will speak to BENCHMARK
about Sri Lanka's banking sector and the
general business climate.
He will discuss issues such as inflation,
interest rates and the country
situation-which not only affect banking, but
business as well.
Also on this Sunday's edition (TNL) of the
programme is 'The Voice Of Business' on
SriLankan Airlines' future prospects-as well
as an update on business confidence, via the
LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index.
Benchmark is also telecast on LBN's
Bloomberg Television segment on Mondays.
Suntel conducted its 3rd forum on Suntel
Enabled Services recently.
The event focused on high end corporates who
are in need of disaster recovery for
centralized applications, unified threat
managements and "IDC" services. Suntel
emphasized on the value added through
solution partners like CISCO, Microsoft, Red
Hat, HP, Verisign and thawte. FORTINET mc,
who was "present" at the forum gave an
introduction to Unified Threat Management
which is an important element in today's
business. Suntel Ltd Corporate Sales Head
Ranjith Fernando emphasized the importance
of having reliable solution partners, thus
enabling corporates to concentrate on their
core business. Service Development Head
Chaminda Seneviratne and FORTINET INC SAARC
Regional Manager also gave presentations on