Central Bank Governor
Ajith Nivard Cabraal’s gamble
Investors queue to exit from bourse
Investors want to exit from the Colombo
bourse due to a better return given by the
fixed income market, while foreigners want
to pull-out due to the US sub-prime crisis,
coupled with the country’s security
situation, market sources said.
"There are hardly any foreign inflows
coming into the market, that’s why the
market is bearish these days," they said.
"The only foreign interest we see is on
SLT, presumably investments made by Global
Telecommunications Holdings NV (GTH), a
sister company of Maxis Malaysia, Malaysia’s
single biggest mobile telecoms operator,
which has made a mandatory offer to the rest
of SLT’s shareholders to buy their stakes in
the company," they said
Otherwise, both foreigners and locals on
the whole want to withdraw their investments
from the bourse, but they are unable to do
so, for want of not being able to get a
price comparable with their initial
investments, the sources said.
They have bought high, but the market is
demanding a lower price on their
investments, as such they are unable to
exit, the sources said.
The US sub-prime crisis has resulted in
foreign funds not looking to invest in
markets like Sri Lanka, they said. Generally
such funds used to invest around 20% of
their monies in markets such as ours, but
the sub-prime crisis has dented such
investments, they said.
Meanwhile, high networth individuals are
waiting on the sidelines without making any
investments in the bourse, they said.
Locals on the whole want to exit from the
bourse and invest their money in the fixed
income market which gives a better return
due to the high interest rate regime that is
prevalent in that market, but they too are
unable to do so for want of not getting an
acceptable price on their initial
investments in the bourse, they said.
The market last week recorded an average
daily turnover of Rs. 152.6 million, in
contrast to a figure that was double that
amount in the closest comparative period
The bourse in the period May 14-18 of
last year averaged a daily turnover figure
of Rs. 286.4 million, after discounting an
exceptional turnover figure of Rs. 6.7
billion recorded on May 17 of last year.
Total foreign purchases (TFP) recorded
last week was Rs. 171.6 million, chiefly due
to GTH’s interest in SLT. In contrast, last
year during the same period (excluding
exceptional foreign transactions recorded on
May 17, 2007) TFP were four times that
figure, recording a total amount of Rs.
While last week recorded a net foreign
inflow of Rs. 4.5 million, the corresponding
period last year (excluding exceptional
foreign transactions recorded on May 17,
2007) registered an amount 80 times as large
as this figure, a net foreign inflow of
Hayleys robbed of Rs. 1 bn
Manufacturing businesses and local
value-adding industry of the Hayleys Group
were impacted by the most inimical
macroeconomic conditions, comprising a
deadly combination of high inflation, high
interest rates and an appreciating exchange
rate," its chairman N. G. (Tankey)
"The effect of this is difficult to
calculate but must exceed a billion rupees
or 5% of the revenues of our export
manufacturing sector," he said.
The Group in the financial year ended
March 31, 2008 saw turnover grow by 17% year
on year (YoY) to Rs. 31 billion, while
profit attributable to shareholders declined
by 15% YoY to Rs. 453 million.
Wickremeratne said businesses categorized
under Global Markets & Manufacturing which
are engaged in the manufacture of a range of
products for global markets accounted for
more than half the Group’s turnover.
"They performed well under difficult
circumstances but in most cases greatly
below potential. High domestic inflation and
an exchange rate which appreciated rather
than depreciating under the circumstances,
could only result in a loss of profit
margin. High energy price increases,
especially of electricity, heaped further
challenges on them, with the pressure
greatest in the second half of the year," he
In the Resorts area, performance was
affected by the volatile security situation
and the attendant drop in tourist arrivals
generating an overall loss.
Wickremeratne however said that the
Group’s two plantation companies achieved
better results despite the wage increase
mandated by the Government in November 2007
over and above the settlement achieved by
the Collective Agreement of the previous
Ceylinco Insurance, Rs. 30 bn. in assets
With assets totalling over Rs. 30
billion, Ceylinco Insurance’s share issue
will be anticipated as one of the biggest
and most worthwhile investment opportunities
presented to the public.
No sooner the company obtains stock
exchange approval, shares will be on offer
at Rs. 175, making Ceylinco Insurance
one of the very few companies to sell shares
in this price range.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader,
Ceylinco Insurance Finance Director
T. Nihal M. Peiris said that this
exciting new opening to the public is one
that should not be missed out.
He said that the company recorded an
after tax profit of over Rs. 1 billion in
2007, a feat in the insurance industry that
has reaffirmed Ceylinco Insurance’s place as
the insurance industry leader.
Peiris said, "We’ve been the industry
leader for the past four years now, and with
each passing year the lead increases and the
gap keeps widening."
When asked as to what he felt has
contributed to Ceylinco Insurance’s success,
Peiris said that in the last few years the
company has introduced innovative insurance
products and services to its customers like
no other company has done before.
Peiris added that the company led the
market in both Life and General Insurance,
which has underwritten Rs 17.2 billion in
While General Insurance reported a Rs.
10.3 billion premium income comprising Rs.
6.2 billion from Motor Insurance and Rs 4.1
billion from Non-Motor Insurance, the
company’s Life Insurance Division has kept
up, growing by an impressive 20%, after
achieving a Rs 6.9 billion premium income in
the year reviewed.
Perera said that this was an increase of
over Rs. 800 million in General Insurance
and has given Ceylinco Insurance a 37 %
share of the General Insurance Market.
On the topic of the several new
strategies implemented by the company in the
period under review, Peiris said that
policies like VIP- 3 in One and the new
health insurance policy Suwa Sampatha Non
Stop have taken Ceylinco to new heights.
Coupled with this, the company’s 350 plus
branch network and 1,000 marketing
professionals (apart from its insurance
agents) have made the company’s policies
more accessible to customers in all parts of
Voted thrice as Best Insurance Company in
Asia, Ceylinco Insurance have now been rated
as the 4th
most valuable brand in the country. Ceylinco
Insurance has recorded an AA- from Brand
But it doesn’t end there. Ceylinco
Insurance has set their sights farther than
the shores of the country, with offices in
Nepal, Bangladesh, UAE, Mauritius, Bahrain,
Maldives, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, selling
insurance policies not only to Sri Lankan
expatriates, but to other nationalities,
from India and the Philippines.
Peiris said that Ceylinco Insurance
promises more to come in the year ahead in
terms of innovation and revolutionary
changes in insurance.
"We’re one of the best companies in the
country, we’re stable and we’ve got a strong
asset base. I’m not saying this because I
work here–it’s a fact. The shares that will
be on offer soon are far more valuable than
what they’re offered for. This is an
opportunity to the public, to grow and to
reap the rewards with us. And we’ve got
plenty more plans in store."
HNB bags top global award
Hatton National Bank (HNB) notched up a
major accolade at the seventh Asian Banker
Excellence in Retail Financial Services
Awards: The Best Retail Bank in Sri
Managing Director Rajendra Theagarajah
received the award on behalf of the bank at
The Asian Banker Excellence in Retail
Financial Services 2008 Awards
ceremony, held in conjunction with the
region’s most prestigious retail banking
event, the Excellence in Retail Financial
The ceremony was held at the Westin
Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok on Friday (May
About 150 senior bankers from award
winning banks in 23 countries across the
Asia Pacific, the Gulf region and Central
Asia attended the glittering event, the
industry’s celebration of the region’s best
retail bankers that recognizes their efforts
in bringing superior products and services
to their customers.
The awards programme, administered by The
Asian Banker, and refereed by prominent
global bankers, consultants and academics,
is the most prestigious award of its kind.
HNB won the ‘Best Retail Bank in Sri
Lanka’ award in The Asian Banker Excellence
in Retail Financial Services programme for
its performance in 2007. The Bank chalked up
record income and strong profit growth at a
challenging time for Sri Lanka’s banks.
Unlike its foreign competitors, HNB
possesses a wide reaching franchise with 40%
of its network in areas outside the more
developed western provinces and a thriving
micro finance portfolio. It attracted an 18%
increase in deposits through its flagship
savings products in a market that sees
fierce competition for low cost deposits.
The bank is also making progress in
expanding its channels and distribution
beyond the traditional branch. It launched
internet banking and mobile phone banking in
the local language, thus reducing the need
for customers from less developed areas to
travel long distances to make simple
Theagarajah said, "Team HNB is delighted
to receive this accolade from one of the
world’s most respected financial journals.
It is not just an opinion survey, but a
combination of stringent evaluation and
market survey. The evaluation process uses a
10 dimensional scorecard with some 41
indicators, while the survey incorporates
the perception from an A C Nielsen survey
which is further screened by an
international panel. We are particularly
proud of this achievement as this is the
first time in the 7 year history of this
awards programme, that a locally
incorporated bank from Sri Lanka has stood
out and been recognized as the Best Retail
Bank In Sri Lanka."
"This year over 150 banks and financial
institutions in 23 countries across the
Asian region were evaluated as part of the
Excellence in Retail Financial Services
programme," said Excellence in Retail
Financial Services programme chairman
Phillip Strause, who is also International
Resource Director for The Asian Banker.
Strause added: "The Asian Banker
Excellence programme was instituted in 2001
on the premise that an outstanding player in
the retail financial services industry
should build business franchises that are
sustainable, competitive and profitable over
a period of time".
John Keells Holdings PLC, Associated
Motorways PLC and Finlays Colombo PLC
entered into a Memorandum of Understanding
on Thursday to undertake a feasibility study
for the combined development of their
properties which are situated adjacent to
each other in Colombo.
The combined extent of the site would be
over 1,060 perches with road frontage from
both Union Place and Vauxhall Street. The
development would be planned as a city
within the city overlooking the Beira Lake
waterfront and would consist of residential,
commercial, retail and recreational
facilities built to "up-to-date" standards.
JKH Chairman Susantha Ratnayake said,
"Experiences and learning gained from other
property developments within the Group would
be invaluable in making this an iconic
project for the city."
Finlays Chairman Kumar Jayasuriya added,
"The experience and knowledge of our
ultimate parent company, the Swire Group–one
of the largest property developers in the
Asia Pacific region–would add value to the
project, particularly in the planning and
Pelwatte’s losses increase
Pelwatte Sugar Industries Ltd., in the 4Q
ended March 31, 2008 made a Rs. 225.2
million loss; a 57.2% YoY increase compared
to the loss of Rs. 143.3 million made in the
corresponding Q the previous year.
The company in the financial year (fy)
ended March 31, 2008; saw its cumulative
losses increase by 255% YoY to Rs. 574.3
DPL PAT down 61%
Dankotuwa Porcelain Ltd., in the 1Q ended
March 31, 2008 saw PAT decline by 61% YoY to
Rs. 1.1 million.
MBSL PAT down 59%
Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka in the 1Q
ended March 31, 2008 saw its PAT decline by
59.4% YoY to Rs. 27.5 million.
Talawakelle PAT up 189%
Talawakelle Tea Estates Ltd., saw its net
profit after tax increase by 189.4% YoY to
Rs. 87.8 million in the 1Q ended March 31,
Colombo Land makes turnaround
Colombo Land & Development Co., Ltd.,
which made a Rs. 17.7 million loss in the 1Q
ended March 31, 2007; has converted this
loss into a Rs. 6.6 million profit in the 1Q
ended March 31, 2008.
Mahaweli losses up 8%.
Mahaweli Reach Hotels Ltd., saw their
losses increase by 8.3% YoY to Rs. 5.5
million in the 4Q ended March 31, 2008.
However, the company, in the fy ended March
31, 2008 saw their losses decline by 12.9%
YoY to Rs. 14.2 million.
Benefiting from China’s growth
" ‘China,’ and how other countries can
benefit from its growth" will be the focus
of the lecture to be delivered by economist
Cao Yuanzheng, who is also the managing
director of China’s largest investment bank-BOC
International Holdings Company Ltd., (BOCI);
at the "Igniting Passion- Blazing Trails"
CIMA World Conference that will be held in
Colombo from May 28–31.
Yuanzheng’s topics will include: "The
Economic emergence of the world’s most
populous nation; who is likely to benefit
and who may lose out?" "Crafting Economic
policy for the world’s fastest growing
economy; the challenges, risks and rewards
and skills required" and "China’s market
reform and transformation, the leadership
BOCI is the first investment bank
established in China and has operated
overseas for over 20 years. Today, BOCI has
China’s largest amount of assets under
management and is the most globalised of
operations for mainland investment banks
operating abroad and in China. BOCI is a
wholly owned Hong Kong based subsidiary of
the Bank of China. BOC International China
Ltd., (BOCI China) was established by BOCI
in conjunction with five leading
enterprises, including China National
Petroleum Corporation, State Development &
Investment Corporation, Yuxi Hongta Tobacco
(Group) Co., Ltd., China General Technology
(Group) Holdings Ltd., and Shanghai State
Owned Assets Operation Co., Ltd.
Yuanzheng is also a visiting professor at
Damstadt University Germany‘s School of
He holds a doctoral degree from People’s
University, China (PUC) and a Masters degree
in Economics from Wuhan University.
uanzheng’s previous positions included
Chinese Economic System Reform Academy’s
State Commission of Economic Restructuring’s
(SCER’s) Deputy Head, SCER’s Bureau Head of
International Economic Comparison and
Institute of Chinese Economic System
Reform’s Deputy Research Head.
He is also a doctoral supervisor at PUC,
professor at Tsinghua University’s Chinese
Economic Research Centre, research fellow at
Beijing University’s China Economic Research
Centre, visiting professor at Southern
California University and China Association
of Macro Economy Deputy General Secretary.
For a long time Yuanzheng has been
involved in areas of Chinese economic
reform, macro-economic theoretical study and
policy setting. He has also acted as an
expert for the World Bank, Asian Development
Bank and United Nations Development
He has also won several national awards
for his outstanding contribution to the
country. The CIMA World conference will be
held over a period of four days and revolve
round four pillars: Peace Building,
Innovation, Global Branding and Leadership.
This momentous event is affirmed to feature
many eminent speakers who have specialized
and gained world recognition in their
respective fields and the worldwide audience
would irrefutably gain insights for their
India’s role in global economy
Jehangir S. Pocha, one of several
speakers to address the inaugural CIMA World
Conference that will be held in Sri Lanka
from May 28 - 31 is the Editor of Business
world, India’s best selling business
magazine. Pocha holds a Masters degree in
Public Administration from Harvard
University, USA. His other educational
qualifications include a Masters in Business
Administration and Bachelor of Economics
from Bombay University. He has US and Indian
citizenship, with permanent residency status
Pocha will talk on the subjects: "What is
India doing to build effective leaders in
the backdrop of a greater role in the global
economy? What are the challenges in doing
so?" and on, "The most admired business
leaders in India; what differentiates them
from others in their approach to business
and leading people, individual attributes
and outlook; are they self made or born
Business world has grown to become the
largest selling business magazine in India
and the largest selling English business
magazine in Asia, with a circulation of over
130,000 a week.
Before joining Business world, Pocha had
worked as a foreign correspondent and has
three years experience as Beijing-based Asia
correspondent for leading US and Indian
publications such as The Boston Globe and
Business world. He has also published
articles on business, technology and
politics for leading newspapers and
magazines and journals in the USA and Asia.
Pocha was China/Asia correspondent for "In
These Times," and has also contributed to
The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia
Inquirer, Boston Review and Christian
Another 1st from Ceylinco
In what could be called a revolutionary
step in redefining health insurance,
Ceylinco Insurance General (CIG) has
introduced a unique concept with Ceylinco
National Health Policy (CNHP), company
sources revealed .
For a Rs 500 fee, an individual can
obtain unlimited number of medical
consultations at no extra charge for the
whole year from Ceylinco Medi Spots (CMSs)
in the respective areas. Already, Ceylinco
Medi Spots have been opened in areas such as
Galle, Panadura, Embilipitiya, Katunayake
CNHP is designed to cater to the needs of
the family. A child under 18 can utilize
unlimited number of medical consultations at
a CMS for a year by making a Rs 250 payment.
CMSs are manned by medical personnel–doctors
" The uniqueness of CNHP is its one time
fee even though the patient can visit many
times thereafter, at no extra cost" says CIG
Chief Executive Director Ajith Gunewardena.
"This is yet another way of providing
innovative services for the patients, in
keeping with Chairman Dr Lalith Kotelawala’s
" In today’s environment of stress and
busy lives, people seek medical advice and
help more than before," but health care is
expensive. With CNHP, anyone can have access
to quality health care and ensure that basic
health care services are made use of, in a
modern, clean and patient friendly
environment. What’s more, as a CNHP
customer, you are issued a special card at a
CMS – all you need to do is to produce the
card to be entitled to free medical service
thereafter for the whole year," added
In keeping with CIG’s policy of staying
closer to the customer, CNHP promises to be
of much use to patients, he said.
CIG pioneered On the Spot Claim
settlement in the insurance industry, making
it a world first in recognizing customer
needs. CNHP also would be equally
groundbreaking as a first in healthcare
insurance, adds Gunewardena.
Inculcating savings habit
HSBC recently launched its first
Financial Literacy Programme with MAS
Holdings with the signing of a memorandum of
understanding (MOU) to launch a one day
certificate programme titled Managing
Personal Finances for a Better Tomorrow for
its factory employees.
The programme which coincided with
Financial Literacy Awareness Month was
tailored to suit the diverse financial needs
of many MAS employees. This was an extension
to the Financial Literacy Corporate Social
Responsibility Programme, HSBC Living
The agreement was signed by HSBC Sri
Lanka and Maldives Deputy CEO Nick Nicolaou
and MAS Holdings CEO Sharad Amalean.
The first workshop was conducted by
trainer to the programme Ms. Nilooka
Dissanayake at MAS Active Sleekline,
Nittambuwa. Over 70 factory employees
attended the day’s programme which covered
areas such as understanding money and cash
flow, basic economic and financial concepts,
debt management and risk management,
including practicing of sound financial
management and understanding ways to build
The second successful workshop was held
on at MAS Intimates Unichela, Koggala on May
11, 2008; while the third workshop will be
held at MAS Active Leisureline, Katunayake
this month (May).
The workshops will cover 10 MAS factories
around the country will benefit over 1,000
factory employees with knowledge and
understanding to meet their everyday needs,
successfully plan for many milestones in
life, determine what is important to them,
define goals, assess their current financial
situation and evaluate the various
alternatives available to fulfil their
On completion of the training,
participants will be accredited with a
certificate co-branded by MAS Women Go
Beyond (MAS’ women’s empowerment initiative)
Strong 1st qtr. for UA
Union Assurance (UA) reported impressive
results in 2008 1st quarter, recording
strong growth in both turnover and
General and life insurance premiums for
the quarter grew by 15%, from Rs. 1.4
billion in 2007 to Rs. 1.6 billon in 2008.
Consolidated profit after tax also increased
by 100% to Rs. 41 million for the quarter
ended March 31, 2008.
Union Assurance PLC was the first
insurance company in Sri Lanka to introduce
the "Call & Go" motor insurance policy which
allows customers involved in an accident to
log an entry with the call centre and drive
off without waiting at the scene of the
accident for an assessor to inspect the
damage. The company has built on this
platform by launching a "Call & Replace"
service whereby motor insurance
policyholders can have any damage to
windscreens, side mirrors and lamps repaired
or replaced at their home, office or any
other location at a convenient time.
UA has tied up with a number of leading
suppliers to provide this service. All
expenses related to accidental repairs are
borne by UA.
In order to further enhance customer
convenience, UA has made motor insurance
accessible via the internet as well. A
combination of substantially discounted
premiums, cutting edge technology and
ability to print a motor certificate "24 x 7
x 365" makes this product–"Click & Go" an
ideal motor insurance solution for a busy
executive with an internet connection at
home or office. Existing and potential
customers could log on to compare premiums
and buy a policy.
Employ safety teams for OH&S management
By Ms.Theja Senaratne*
Is Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S)
important to Sri Lanka? It is clear that
safety problems cost every employee in Sri
Lanka hundreds of rupees annually, based on
the direct and indirect costs of
Proper OH&S programmes in a country give
long term as well as short term benefits
such as huge reductions in health expenses
by minimising workplace accidents, reduction
in labour turnover and peace of mind which
improves productivity, reduce brain drain,
increase interpersonal relationships in a
workplace and increase lifespan.
In other words, if a country has proper
OH&S programmes implemented, the quality of
life of the community will be high. The
first step of having OH&S in a country is by
introducing appropriate legislation and
regulations on OH&S and make them mandatory,
with the focus on two types of human
resources, skilled and unskilled workers.
The government can then make employers
responsible for providing a healthy and safe
work environment by eliminating or
controlling work hazards such as biological
hazards, chemical hazards, physical hazards,
psychosocial hazards + ergonomics and
When a worker accepts employment, he/ she
accepts all the normal risks and the above
mentioned hazards associated with that
occupation. It is however necessary to
implement "right to know system" with job
risks and hazards in an organization. Job
safety analysis (JSA) shall be done for each
and every employment by the employer so that
the employer and the employee are
responsible to perform their duties and
tasks in a safe and responsible manner.
It is necessary for the employer to be
responsible for preparing a written OH&S
policy and communicate throughout the
organization, ensuring that the top
management is committed to control OH&S
risks and hazards to the minimum level.
Risk assessment is an important
requirement for each and every establishment
before recruitment of employees, after
recruitment of employees, making changes to
the processes and/ or to the system and/ or
equipment or raw materials. Once hazards
have been identified, the risk of an
incident, and/ or injury shall be
The risk could be expressed as the
probability, consequence and exposure to the
hazardous event(s) and expressed as a
percentage since risk is associated with the
probability of an occurrence, the
consequences of that occurrence and the
exposure to the cause of the occurrence.
Probability is the chance or likelihood that
the event will happen.
The measurement of the risk will be
carried out considering the degree of
employee exposure to the hazard.
Consequences have a relationship with the
severity of the injury.
By estimating the probability,
consequence and exposure, the risk involved
in any job or a task could be determined.
Many methods can be used for identification
of hazards and risk assessment such as
knowledge of safety experts, review of
plant, tasks reports and safety audits.
Although accidents and injuries cannot be
eliminated fully, risk assessment can reduce
the undesirable events by taking precautions
and by necessary actions to change/modify
the processes and/ or machines.
Emergency preparedness plans are
important for workplaces in OH&S management.
These plans and procedures need to be
established and maintained to identify the
potential for, and responses to, incidents
and emergency situations, and for preventing
and mitigating the likely illness and injury
associated with them. These plans shall be
reviewed frequently, after any occurrence or
emergency situations. Emergency preparedness
plans and procedures are necessary to be
periodically checked for practicability.
These procedures and plans need to be
reviewed at planned intervals to check the
adequacy, or to make changes appropriately.
Providing training and awareness on OH&S to
all staff are important to make them
familiar with the OH&S management system and
to get employee participation in OH&S
Top management shall ensure that
personnel are competent to perform tasks
that may impact on OH&S in the workplace.
These training and awareness programmes
shall cover the roles and responsibility of
employees in achieving conformance,
including emergency preparedness and
response, and requirements related to
potential consequence of departure from
specified operating procedures. Worker
participation in preparation of OH&S
activities and OH&S programmes will make
them aware of risk management.
Documents and records play a major role
in OH&S management system. OH&S procedures,
relevant work instructions, state and
company legal requirements and
specifications could be consider as
documents and OH&S records consist of data
and information need to be controlled
properly to make consistency in OH&S
management in the workplace.
It is important to establish safety teams
in a workplace with a leader appointed from
the top management to look after the safety
and health of employees.
Nowadays industrialists have realized
that employee safety and the quality of the
working environment are improved by
implementing OH&S management systems because
objectives and responsibilities are made
clearer and all employees are prepared to
effectively deal with any future hazards.
OH&S management system, OHSAS 18001
(Occupational Health & Safety Assessment
Series) could improve the efficiency of
internal operations and consequently reduce
risks, danger and downtime. Sri Lanka
Standards Institution (SLSI) is the only
national standards body in Sri Lanka who
certifies companies against OHSAS 18001 with
the assistance of its auditors. SLSI’s
Systems Certification Division is
cooperative and provides necessary
information to the industry to upgrade its
OH&S management system through a gap
analysis as a prerequisite of OHSAS 18001
* The author is an assistant director at
the Sri Lanka Standards Institution.
Today’s edition of
Benchmark will feature Mahatma Gandhi’s
granddaughter Ela Gandhi.
This advocate of peace
and non-violence will address the
programme’s estimated 1.1 million viewers on
how civil society in Sri Lanka can make a
difference today as regards conflict,
negotiated settlement and human rights
An update on the state of
the economy-especially in relation to the
Central Bank’s policies as well as key macro
indicators such as inflation, interest rates
and revised country ratings, as well as
a snapshot of the
employment climate will also be featured in
Further, a cross section
of corporate Sri Lanka will speak out on the
regular ‘Voice Of Business’ segment-this
week, the focus is on real ramifications for
the business community of ‘going green.’
Benchmark is presented by
LMD with the programme aired on TNL on
Sundays as well as on LNB’s (cable TV)
Bloomberg segment on Mondays.
Quantum Tele-Shopping (QTS),
the country’s leading Direct Response TV
Company celebrates 10 years of operations in
Sri Lanka this year.
Founded by Nomal
Wijeyaratne as DRTV Products (Pvt) Ltd., and
having had started out as a single store, it
has since grown into a company with a retail
base in excess of 200 outlets through Singer
and Dinapala covering almost 85% of the
"Our mission is to
introduce Sri Lankan consumers to new and
innovative products which would enhance
their lifestyle, ranging from fitness and
personal care to cookware and vehicle
products," Wijeyaratne said.
In celebration of its
10th anniversary, QTS offers its customers a
lifetime warranty (LW) on its fitness
This is the first time a
Sri Lankan company has offered an LW to its
35th service point
DFCC Vardhana Bank (DVB)will
open its 35th service point at Peradeniya on
In recognition of the
importance of this milestone, DVB will be
presenting gifts to customers making
deposits during the opening week of the new
The new service point
will operate as an extension office of DVB’s
Kandy Branch. DVB also has an extension
office at Katugastota.
The new Peradeniya
service point will be offering customers a
range of commercial banking services
concurrent to those offered by other DVB
Koluu at Gravitas
Popular drag artiste and
diva Hemalallindre Ranawake–better known as
Koluu, will add to the glamour of the annual
Hoteliers’ Ball Gravitas 2008 at Waters Edge
on May 31, 2008.
The performance will be a
short cabaret titled ‘Memories of a
holiday’. Based on three songs and performed
by six artistes–including Anushan Perera,
Shohan Chandiram and their troupe, as well
as Koluu himself.
The cabaret will weave
together elements of colour, song, dance,
drama and laughter, making it an undoubted
hit at the event. It’s organised by the
Ceylon Hotel School’s Graduates Association.
ODEL expanded its
offering to shoppers recently with the
opening of the brand’s outlet store.
Odel Outlet offers a
variety of clothing, homeware, accessories,
shoes and many more at discounted prices.
It’s located at Ward Place.
American Express (AmEx),
the credit card acquired and issued in Sri
Lanka by Nations Trust Bank PLC (NTB)
announced the launch of a new benefit which
will offer AmEx Card members a 5% saving on
their monthly electricity bill.
Currently AmEx is the
only credit card facilitated for bill
payments at both CEB and LECO and is also
the only card accepted at the NWSDB.
NTB DGM Consumer Banking
Renuka Fernando said, "We believe in
offering value additions that are unique,
specific and meet with the needs of today,
and we are confident that this facility will
be of value to our card members."
Automatic Bill Settlement
(ABS) is a convenient solution to arrange
monthly bills and subscriptions payments
which will be facilitated and paid through
the AmEx credit card. This ensures that
monthly payments are made on time, thereby
avoiding the hassle of filling in forms,
standing in queues and taking time off to
attend to these payments monthly.
ABS is available for a
host of other solutions as well.
Anchor up Rs. 65.20
Anchor milk has raised the price of their
400 gram welfare pack of milk powder by
33.4% (Rs. 65.20) to Rs. 260.20 from this
"They have informed us of this price
increase," Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA)
sources who did not want to be named told
The Sunday Leader.
They said that these welfare packs which
cater to the indigent, are generally sold
through cooperative and government run
Lak Sathosa outlets.
The sources said that
this price increase was allowed on the
condition that milk powder manufacturers do
not increase the prices of their "normal"
milk powder packs, such as the 400g packs
which are currently priced at Rs. 275, for a
further three month period beginning from
Manufacturers who entered
into this new agreement were Anchor,
Lakspray (Lanka Milk Foods), Maliban and
Nespray, they said.
They said that the
welfare pack is a basic pack, divorced of
"sophisticated" packing, associated with the
usual milk powder pack.
The sources were unaware
whether the other manufacturers too had
increased the price of their welfare packs.
They however said that the government
retailing a 400g pack of milk powder pack
under the brand name Candy at Rs.245, had
also helped to curb the demand from private
manufacturers to increase the prices of
their normal milk powder packs.
Call rates increase 400 bp
The spot middle rate of the US dollar
held steady at Rs. 107.80 on Friday (the
same level as on Thursday), with thin demand
for the dollar on account of the long
weekend, market sources said.
Turnover on Friday may have even been
under US$ 20 million, they said.
However, overnight call money market
rates, the rates at which commercial banks
lend to each other for a day even went by
400 basis points to 19% on Friday because of
banks having to cover up their short
(statutory reserve ratios as per Central
Bank guidelines) positions for a longer
period due to the extended weekend on
account of the Vesak holidays, they
Rs. 25 bn., investment vehicle
A proposal to convert a locally listed
firm into an investment vehicle targeting
investments in both the Colombo and regional
bourses is expected to be looked at
favourably by the Securities and Exchange
Commission of Sri Lanka, informed sources
Walker and Greig Ltd., (Greg) an old
engineering firm acquired by Lionhart
Investments, a UK based hedge fund last
year, is planned to be used for this
purpose, with some Rs. 25 billion allocated
for such investments-ie Rs. five billion for
local investments and Rs. 20 bilion for
Greg, a listed company, has since
undergone a name change to Environmental
Treasury bond (T. bond) yields continued
with their descent after the government,
following on the partial opening of the T.
bond market for foreign investments last
year, allowed the same in regard to the T.
bill market recently.
As a result, T. bonds of a 20 month
tenure at Friday’s auction fell by 11 basis
points (bp) over the weighted average yield
(WAY) commanded at Tuesday’s auction to
17.79%, while the WAY of T. bonds of a 33
month tenure fell by 10 bp to 16.90%.
Friday’s auction was for the issue of Rs.
500 million each of T. bonds of 20 month and
33 month tenures respectively.
While Rs. 450 million was accepted from
the market for T. bonds of 20 months tenure,
only Rs. 100 million was sold to the market
of T. bonds of 33 months tenure.
T.bills continue to fall
With market perception continuing to
remain strong that foreigners will now
subscribe to the Treasury bill (TB) market
now that it has been partially opened to the
same, TB weighted average yields (WAYs) for
all three tenures continued their downward
trend at Tuesday’s TB auction.
WAYs on 91 day bills dropped by 54 basis
points (bp) to 17.55%, 182 day bills by 11
bp to 18.50% and 364 day bills by 19 bp at
this auction. This offer was for the
re-issue of Rs. 11,000 million worth of TBs,
of which Rs. 6,000 million was accepted from
the market and the balance retired.
21% increase in Chinese tourists
China’s aviation and tourism markets are
growing rapidly and have the strongest
potential in the global travel industry.
The first quarter of this year has shown
a 20.7% increase from China to Sri Lanka
with 3,276 tourist arrivals, a positive
trend that is expected to continue with the
promotional efforts of SriLankan Airlines
and Sri Lanka Tourism. SriLankan now flies
to 41 destinations in 22 countries across
Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
PAB’s 29th branch
Pan Asia Bank’s (PAB’s)
Wellawatte extension office located by Galle
Road was upgraded to a fully fledged branch
recently, taking the total number of PAB
branches to 29.
The branch now provides
internet banking, foreign exchange
remittance , leasing, pawning, credit cards,
SMS and private banking, in addition to
other traditional banking facilities.
Addressing the large
gathering of distinguished customers, PAB’s
new Chief Executive Officer Mrs.Kimarli
Fernando said that the bank will focus its
attention to give a superior service to the
customers, identifying the needs of their
Considering this fact the
Wellawatte branch would be opened for
extended business on weekdays, as well as on
Euro 8.1 mn., loan
Mercantile Shipping Co.,
Ltd., has founded a 100% owned
subsidiary-Mercantile Emerald Shipping
(Pvt.) Ltd., for the purpose of building two
multi-purpose cargo vessels in the
For the financing of
these constructions, Mercantile Emerald has
entered into two loan agreements, each
totalling euro 8,060,675; for each of the
two vessels, with Bremer Landesbank, Bremen.
Mercantile Shipping, at
the request of Bremer Landesbank, has given
unconditional and irrevocable guarantees by
way of letters of support in favour of
Bremer Landesbank to furnish Mercantile
Emerald with sufficient funds throughout the
term of financing, enabling it to fulfil its
obligations under the loan agreements with
$ 1 mn., acquisition
SLT has decided to
acquire a 75% stake in Sky Network (Pvt.)
Ltd., for US$ one million.
The SLT Board has
resorted to this action, as a license for wi-max
operation from the TRC has seen inordinate
Sky Network is a company
incorporated in Sri Lanka by Lyontel Group,
a pan European prepaid telecoms
organization, to carry on operations in Sri
Lanka, in order to secure access to their
wireless broadband frequency.
By teaming-up with Sky
Network, SLT could leverage on its
islandwide infrastructure for the
provisioning of wireless broadband
applications such as IPTV, Video on Demand
and Educational Services to the mass market.
Currently SLT uses ADSL
technology for its broadband services.
Brain Teaser 2008
Future Waves Brain Teaser
(FWBT) quiz competition, which made its
debut in the local corporate quizzing scene
in 2006, is back.
Conducted last year for
24 teams, this year’s programme promises to
see greater participation levels featuring
an expected 50 teams and more intensive
competition. The participants will, as with
last year, represent primarily the corporate
sector, banks and other financial
Amba Research Lanka
(Private) Ltd triumphed last year and walked
away with the Future Waves Challenge Trophy
(FWCT) and a cash prize of Rs.75,000.
Scheduled for next Sunday
(May 25), the Brain Teaser will be held at
Trans Asia Hotel.
The areas covered at FWBT
would be Current Affairs, Sports & Games,
Politics & Geography, History, Literature,
Arts & Music and General Knowledge.
The top five winners will
receive cash prizes with the victor walking
away with the FWCT as well.
has accorded Microsoft Sri Lanka the
Business Superbrand status in the IT sector.
Currently, out of the 32 brands which have
been awarded, Microsoft Sri Lanka boasts of
being the only brand in the IT arena to be
selected for the Business Superbrand status.
The Enterprise Agreement
is Microsoft’s most preferred offering for
its corporate clients, and thus far many
medium and large scale organizations have
opted for signing up for the agreement,
including Sri Lanka’s largest apparel
exporter Brandix, Flintec Transducers (Pvt)
Ltd., Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel, Jinasena
Group of Companies and Dhivehi Raajjeyge
Gulhun Private Ltd, a telecoms operator in
As a result of this
partnership, Brandix has also become the
first Sri Lankan company to be showcased in
the Microsoft Global case studies’ site for
use of world-class technology. Slated to
post savings of US$200,000 annually as a
result of Microsoft’s solutions.
WSO2, the open source
service-oriented architecture (SOA) company
has been included in the list of "Cool
Vendors" in the "Cool Vendors in Web
Technologies, 2008" report by Gartner, Inc.,
published last month.
The report said, "Perhaps
the most interesting of WS02’s offerings is
the recently released Mashup Server which
enables lightweight programmes to be built
web services and be deployed as server-side
"mashups" or, alternatively (via WSO2 Ajax
XPI), as client-side code.
Enterprise developers and
architects who want to build mashups in a
lightweight manner, but who still demand
support for WS* and related
enterprise-oriented technologies (registry,
enterprise service bus and so on) should
take note of WSO2."
Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana,
founder and CEO of WSO2 said: "We are
honoured to be recognized as a ‘cool
company’ by Gartner, one of the world’s
premier IT research firms. It is strong
validation of the lightweight, heterogeneous
approach of our SOA middleware, as well as
our commitment to open source to foster
adoption and innovation."