Top insurer joins AAI
The newest member to join Asian Alliance's
group of professionals as General Manager
Non Life Division is Nimal Perera; a veteran
with more than 35 years of experience in the
insurance industry both in Sri Lanka and
Expressing his pleasure at the appointment,
Perera said "Having revolutionized the face
of Sri Lankan Insurance in the impressive
span of nine years, Asian Alliance is now
one of Sri Lanka's leading players in the
insurance industry. Renowned for employing
many of Sri Lanka's best insurance
professionals, it is with pride that I
become a part of the AAI family and work
with them towards achieving new levels of
A Fellow of the Chartered Insurance
Institute as well as the Insurance Institute
of South Africa and a member of the
Asia-Pacific Risk and Insurance Association,
Perera's industry portfolio boasts of
impressive handling of underwriting and
claims of the Miscellaneous and Fire
departments of the then Insurance
Corporation of Sri Lanka (ICSL).
Perera was also ICSL's Manager-Reinsurance
department for 5 years. He was later
CEO/General Manager of the now defunct
National Insurance Corporation Ltd., and
Fid‚ Insurance Ltd., Malawi and HNB
He had earlier joined Union Assurance as
General Manager Risk Management &
Reinsurance in July 2004.
"It is with pleasure that we welcome Nimal
Perera to Asian Alliance. At Asian Alliance
every individual is unique-this stands
testimony to their strength as a group of
people committed together as one team and
one family. With Perera's clear passion for
excellence and his high level of experience
and professionalism, he personifies the
Asian Alliance mission to do great things
with the work that we do," said Asian
Alliance Insurance CEO Ramal Jasinghe.
Asian Alliance began operations in December
1999 and is a truly Sri Lankan organization
that displays the national flag on the table
of every staff member.
The company has grown from strength to
strength to become a formidable operator in
the insurance industry and attributes their
success to touching the hearts of customers
with outstanding levels of professionalism
and success, and to the employees who make
it possible by emulating passion, enthusiasm
and a zeal for inimitable brilliance.
LMS' departure threatens Colombo's hub
Colombo's status as a transshipment hub and
as a centre for the provision of bunker fuel
services to ships may allegedly be
threatened after the recent court order that
directed the country's principal bunker
service provider to vacate the premises at
Colombo in which it had its oil storage
terminals, informed sources who did not want
to be named said.
Lanka Marine Services (Pvt.) Ltd., (LMS),
the service provider has to hand over those
premises to its former owner, the state
owned Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA)on
that court order, by Wednesday.
They alleged that in the absence of proper
bunker services in Colombo, that may induce
vessels to seek this service elsewhere, in
ports such as Salalah-a competitor port of
SLPA plans to use those bunker stores as a
common user facility for all ship bunker
But sources alleged that such a working was
not feasible as different bunker operators'
stored different types of bunker fuel as
against storing a common type of bunker fuel
that could be used by all.
LMS is a John Keells Holdings plc
LMS allegedly use to supply some 275-300
ships with bunker fuel monthly, including
all the feeder vessels that used to call in
at Colombo to take in/out transshipment
cargo to and from the Indian Sub-Continent.
They however alleged that in the absence of
a fixed, land based premises to hold bunker
fuel, it would be difficult to do this
The absence of onshore bunker storage
facilities would mean that the bunker
operator would have to wholly depend on
holding his bunker fuel in ship bunkering
tankers, they said.
That is unsatisfactory for two reasons-due
to capacity constraints in bunker ship
godowns, and the need to import bunker fuel
relatively more frequently (in the absence
of onshore storage tanks), an activity that
may suffer during periods of bad weather,
LMS recently chartered a vessel to take the
bunker oil that has been stored in those
onshore premises at Walls Lane, Colombo
(which formerly housed its operations) as
per that court order.
The vessel Hai Soon 16 belonging to an
Indian owner has been hired at a chartering
cost of US$ 75,000 for 15 days. There are
some 4,000 metric tons (mts) of ship bunker
fuel valued at US$ 5.2 million and belonging
to LMS that are lying on those godowns at
In addition, LMS owns two vessels, Lanka
Marine Kelani and Lanka Maduru Oya to carry
out its ship bunkering services, while
having had earlier taken another ship, High
Sea Passage, before the court order, on
charter, for ship bunkering work.
LMS' bunkering services used to generate a
turnover of between Rs. 275-300 million
LMS which used to employ around 113 workers
for its ground handling work, will see those
employees being absorbed by the SLPA after
it vacates those premises.
Meanwhile, JKH upped their stake in South
Asia Gateway Terminals (Pvt.) Ltd.,
Colombo's private terminal operator to
37.97%, by buying a 4.22% stake in it from
ADB for US$ 4.41 million.
JKH is the single biggest shareholder of
SAGT. ADB originally had a 7.5% stake in
SAGT, and it disposed of its balance shares
to AP Moeller Maersk Group, SAGT's second
biggest shareholder, which now has a 29.53%
stake in the company.
When The Sunday Leader asked JKH sources who
did not want to be named why they further
invested in the terminal, considering the
seeming instability that has been created in
the bunker business after the court ruling,
they said that they expected things to
settle-down in time.
Asked about the common user facility for
bunkering, they said that that's a pickle.
Foreigners shun bourse
The market, hit by an investor perception
that Colombo is saddled with an investor
unfriendly government, coupled with the
downturn in global markets, returned a lowly
Rs. 173 million turnover at Friday's
The day saw a net foreign outflow of Rs.
14.7 million, with foreign purchases
recorded at Rs. 11.1 million and foreign
sales, Rs. 25.8 million.
There are no foreign investors to drive the
bourse, market sources said. It's currently
being driven by retailers and high networth
individuals who cannot afford the volumes
that foreigners can, they said.
That does not create the herd instinct which
generally drives the bourse to "highs" when
it is fuelled by foreign investments, the
Among some of the seemingly top stocks in
which there was investor interest on Friday
was LIOC, Ceylinco Insurance, CIC and
Meanwhile, overnight call money market rates
which hit a high of 17.75% on Thursday, came
down by 112.50 basis points (bp) to peak at
16.625% on Friday, due to the market
becoming liquid on account of Treasury Bill
settlement money entering the system.
The rupee weakened slightly to close the
week at the 107/85/90 levels, as opposed to
Thursday's close at the Rs. 107/80/85
Corruption in SL is across the board
A corporate lawyer alleged that business
integrity here has a cost.
Arittha Wickramanayake, former Director
General of the Securities and Exchange
Commission was disputing a claim made by a
foreign accountant, now turned an advocate
of Transparency International (TI), a German
based NGO that fights against bribery and
corruption, that a company that is ethical
stood to gain.
"That may be applicable in your part of the
world, but not here," he said.
Wickramanayake was speaking at a seminar
organized by TI Sri Lanka chapter on
Wednesday on the topic "Building Integrity
and Transparency in Business Relationships."
Officials have to be bribed to win a tender
here, alleged Wickramanayake.
Corruption is across the board, be it the
public or private sectors, politicians or
the regulators, Wickramanayake, responding
to Jermyn Brooks of TI said.
He further said that there is no level
playing field vis-…-vis listed and
"For example listed banks in Sri Lanka are
regulated by three or four authorities, but
no so unlisted banks, giving them an unfair
advantage," he alleged. Unregulated banks
have no guidelines, alleged Wickramanayake.
"While others violate those laws, you are
expected to comply," he said. "So you have
to create a level playing field to implement
standards. We have a long way to go."
Wickramanayake also said that he saw no sin
in the private sector trying to maximize
He further said that the country does not
have sufficient independent directors so as
to be consonant with the recent corporate
governance requirements of the Central Bank.
Meanwhile, Brooks said, that in Norway, it
is mandatory that 40% of the directors in a
listed company should be women.
The Finance Director of a leading private
sector conglomerate which was recently
buffeted by an adverse court judgment in
regard to a state venture which was sold to
it, imputed that his company had lost
several contracts because it played the game
Ronnie Peiris, Finance Director John Keells
Holding PLC (JKH) addressing a seminar on
transparency on Wednesday. said that his
company's governance code was something that
he could be proud of.
"There is a cost of governance, but then
there is a reward. I know of organizations
that have lost contracts because they
haven't greased the wheels," Peiris said.
Meanwhile, the privatization of Lanka Marine
Services Ltd (LMS) to JKH was the subject of
a recent Supreme Court judgment, which
reversed certain decisions made in regard to
that privatization such as LMS' BoI status
and state land that was sold to it.
Peiris however refused to comment on the
court judgment on the LMS deal, other than
saying that there were lessons that JKH has
learnt from that case.
Peiris further said that with the breakdown
of the family and church system, the onus on
inculcating ethics had fallen into the hands
of the private sector.
He also said that an individual should be
governed by one set of ethics, whether it be
at home or in office, and not by different
sets of values to fit into each of those
separate functions or activities.
Jermyn Brooks of Transparency International,
a German based NGO that fights against
bribery and corruption said that companies
that shun bribery and corruption should be
rewarded. One way of doing this is by
offering them loans at lower interest rates,
Remain an economic power
Despite the emergence of new economic power
blocs, USA will still remain a predominant
economy in the 21st century due to its
superior tertiary education system, a US
US Ambassador Robert O. Blake addressing
undergraduates at the BMICH on Thursday in
an event sponsored by the Carsons Group said
that because the USA's tertiary education
system was privatized, it was ahead of the
European and Japanese university systems
which were state controlled and hence
Higher education is USA's best industry, he
The USA invests 2.6% of its GDP on
education, higher than either the EU or
Japan, said Blake.
He further said that the USA was away ahead
over the rest of the world in the fields of
nano and biotechnologies. USA earned a
revenue of US$ 50 billion from
bio-technology in 2005, which was over 70%
of the world's bio-technology revenue.
Outsourcing has also strengthened the USA. "iPods"
may be manufactured in China, but value
addition is by Apple at California, he said.
India may be annually passing out 35-50 PhD
scientists, but in the case of USA, that
number was 1,000.
Thirty per cent of foreign students globally
are in the USA.
The USA is also ahead of Europe in
population growth, assuring that there is
indirect funding for pensioners.
By 2030 USA's population will increase by 60
million, while the EU will suffer
stagnation. This means fewer workers to pay
higher taxes to support pensions, Blake
He said that this population growth in the
USA was because it was an immigrant nation.
But Europe was afraid of taking in new
immigrants because of the threat of Islamic
He also said that there is a global war for
NASCOM, India's apex ICT body has said that
India, one of the new emerging economies
would suffer from a 500,000 shortfall of ICT
professionals by 2010. Similarly, China,
another emerging economy needs 70,000
corporate leaders, but has a pool of only
between 3-5,000 of those.
He therefore urged undergraduates to take
advantage of these opportunities, equipping
themselves especially in English.
Corruption could be tackled if there is a
concerted effort by the private sector, an
Citing an example, Jermyn Brooks of
Transparency International, a German based
NGO that fights against bribery and
corruption told a seminar in Colombo on
Wednesday, that in the past, it took two
hours for a passenger to check in or out
from the Baku International Airport at
This was due to corrupt police and customs
officers at that airport, he said.
This compelled three international airlines,
namely British Airways, KLM and Air France
to write a joint letter of protest to the
Azerbaijani President, threatening to
withdraw their flights to Baku as those
inordinate flight delays were affecting
their schedules, said Brooks.
That effected the necessary change.
The President then transferred the Customs
and Police officers serving in the airport
within 24 hours which resulted in check ins
and check outs at the airport being effected
in a mere 10 minutes, he said.
Speaking further on corruption, Brooks said
that formerly he was serving in the
PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) office in
Russia as one of their clients was involved
in oil exploration.
In the first year of PWC's operations, they
made US$ one million, but was landed with a
VAT of US$ 10 million by the authorities. On
principle PWC does not pay bribes, said
This matter dragged on for 10 years, with
PWC ultimately having to pay a much reduced
bill of some US$ 100,000; he said.
Corruption is rampant in Russia, said
He said that former Russian Premier Vladimir
Putin is supposed to be the richest man in
the world, much richer than Warren Buffet.
He further said that if the world's 12 major
banks insist that their partner offshore
banking units come down hard on money
laundering, this crime could be stopped.
However, a problem in resorting to such an
action is the stakeholders' view that
combating money laundering is the duty of
governments and not banks, he said.
Corruption cuts across countries
Corruption cuts across countries, whether
they be rich or poor, an accountant said.
Jermyn Brooks of Transparency International,
a German based NGO that fights against
bribery and corruption told a seminar in
Colombo on Wednesday, that Siemens, Germany,
whose business interests also include the
manufacture of electricity power supply
material, was recently found to have given a
six million euro bribe to an Italian company
to win a contract for the supply of power
Siemens which did a management shake-up
after this exposure, incurred a cost of 600
million euros as at end of last year as
Further, Siemens which is listed in the USA
stands to pay fines totalling between US$
1-3 billion to the US authorities because of
this misdemeanour, said Brooks.
He said that the birth of the Sarbanes-Oxley
Act in the USA after the Enron scandal et.
al was also due the fact that it was found
that some CEOs were massaging their
quarterly accounts, as their survival in an
organization was linked to their companies'
This Act encourages whistle blowing.
Brooks further said that former British
Premier Tony Blair was instrumental in
closing the investigations on BAE Systems, a
defence company, after it was accused to
have had made pay-offs to third party
country agents, including those in Saudi
Arabia, to obtain defence contracts.
Path to medical degree
Belarus is located in the Eastern Europe,
bordering Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine
and is less than 10 hours by train to
It is probably one of the safest
environments for foreign youth to study. The
country is categorized and reported as the
place with least amount of criminal
activities in Europe, said a statement.
Under President. Alexander Lukashenka,
Belarus, the government and the people have
made a culture where there is no room to
develop racism towards Asians.
Today Sri Lankan youth have been exposed to
one of the best opportunities by Pathe
Academy-Medical Education in Vitebsk State
Medical University (VSMU). The education in
Belarus is one of the best where standards
are on par with the best in the world and
affordable, coupled with a relatively low
cost of living which makes it an ideal
choice for your higher education.
VSMU ranks the best of its kind (Health
Ministry, Belarus) in Belarus. The
University has 426 lecturers of whom 69 have
a Doctor's Degree, 176-a Master's Degree, 40
are Professors and 141 Associate Professors.
The staff is classified into four main
Faculties and 58 Departments and they are
expected to undertake refresher courses for
Continuous Professional Development. Within
these 58 departments, where necessary, each
department is equipped with automatic
apparatuses for training, sets of plastic
models and complex medical-diagnostic
General Medicine - MD Degree: Which is
higher qualification than MBBS is recognized
by Sri Lanka Medical Council, and also by
UK, USA, Australia including WHO & 58 other
Belarus has one of the lowest tuition fee
structures together with an easy payment
scheme. You are prioritized and treated on
par if not better than the Belarusians them
selves. Hostel accommodations are provided
within the campus of the universities. Each
room includes double occupancy, an attached
kitchen, a bathroom and "WC."
The hostels are of block type, with separate
blocks for boys and girls..Hostels in
Belarus are relatively cheap and of are of
excellent quality. For those who require
apartments, the university administration
will fix such nearby the campus. To suit the
tastes of international students, there are
various types of restaurants, from Indian,
Western, Arabic to Sri Lankan. All
universities in Belarus are equipped with
gyms, concert halls, international clubs,
canteens, caf‚s, and hotel complex. There
are over 1,000 foreign students from over 78
countries studying in Belarus.
Visas to Europe are easy for foreign
students to obtain due the fact that all
students have one year student visas. The
application process for visas in embassies
is hassle free. You can travel to most EU
countries by train or by boat with tickets
ranging from Rs.2,000 to Rs.20,000.
All medical universities in Belarus are
state run and are attached to hospitals
managed by the government which mean access
to unlimited number of patients. Most
private medical universities today find the
problem of giving practical training to
their students. Some countries who have
traditional medicine or non western medicine
also face this problem. The Medical
education in Belarus is a mix of theory,
practical and clinical training, with over a
total bed fund of 4,200 beds spread across
Pathe has made arrangements for Sri Lankan
students to get their entry visas sent by
post directly from the relevant ministry on
a special arrangement facilitated by it and
the Belarus government. Apply today and
Pathe will confirm the admission status in
2-3 working days. Pathe also guarantees your
flight within 20 days of the admission
Launch of 3.75G services
Dialog Telekom, Sri Lanka's leading mobile
communications service provider, will launch
its 3.75G High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA)
service on a trial basis, at the 29th GSM
Asia Pacific Conference in Colombo tomorrow
With 3.75G, customers could experience
uplink speeds of up to 5.4Mbps, and the
trial run would also feature at Dialog
The service supplements download speeds of
up to 14.4 Mbps, empowering Dialog customers
with mobile data speeds that are
unparalleled. The enhanced upload speed will
be available in selected areas and extend to
all 3G coverage areas with network upgrades
over the next few months.
In addition, Dialog also introduced the
latest mobile broadband terminals to the Sri
Lankan market which are capable of
delivering downlink speeds of up to 7.2
Mbps. This includes a wide portfolio of
Vodafone mobile broadband terminals such as
the E220, E800, E172, and the E270 with an
unlimited mobile broadband package.
Dialog's 3rd Generation network provides the
widest 3G coverage in Sri Lanka with a 500
base station infrastructure footprint
spanning Greater Colombo, Kandy, Galle,
Kurunegala, Anuradhapura, Nuwara Eliya,
Monaragala, Ampara, Trincomalee, Jaffna and
many other towns in Sri Lanka.
Dialog Telekom has placed Sri Lanka's mobile
sector well ahead of regional counterparts
with the launch of its 3G service in August
2006. Committed to revolutionising the
mobile telephony landscape in Sri Lanka,
Dialog 3G supports a range of cutting edge
services for enterprise as well as consumer
segments including but not limited to Mobile
TV, Mobile Video Portals, multi party video
conferencing, mobile video surveillance and
3rd Generation Roaming across 40 countries
and 70 operators.
A former China Southern official was
sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve
for embezzling $220 million between August
2001 and April 2003; another received a
five-year prison sentence.
Three people were accused in the case, which
included bribery and theft related to
transactions with Hantang Securities,
reported Guangzhou Daily. (Washington
Hans, TMI's Group COO
Telekom Malaysia International (TMI)
announced that Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya, who is
currently the Group Chief Executive of
Dialog Telekom PLC has been additionally
appointed as its Group Chief Operating
Officer (Group COO) effective from this
TMI has a significant presence in Malaysia,
Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and
Cambodia. In addition, this Malaysian
holding company has strategic mobile and
non-mobile telecoms operations and
investments in India, Singapore, Iran,
Pakistan and Thailand.
Listed on Bursa Malaysia, TMI is among the
top 10 public-listed companies in Malaysia
by market capitalisation, and the first
listed pan-Asian pure cellular service
provider in the region.
The Group, including its subsidiaries and
associates has about 50 million mobile
subscribers in Asia, putting it among the
largest mobile telecoms providers in the
region by turnover. The Group employs 13,000
in 10 countries.
"TMI is currently strengthening its
organisation by bringing in world class
talent at all levels", said TMI President
and Group Chief Executive Dato' Jamaludin
Ibrahim. "We are in a unique position as we
also have access to talent from within,
developed over a decade of operations in the
Asian region. Wijayasuriya's appointment as
Group COO falls in line with our philosophy
of providing opportunities to our internal
talent whilst bringing in external talent
into the Group.
He will add an invaluable dimension to the
TMI management team, having a wealth of
operational experience behind him.
Wijayasuriya will focus on driving superior
performance across all operating companies
through rigorous performance management and
operational improvement processes. It
reflects our new strategy where we need to
shift our focus significantly to drive
organic growth and in-country performance",
Wijayasuriya has been Dialog Telekom PLC's
Chief Executive since 1997 and together with
a founding management team, who head the
multiple facets of Dialog's business, has
seen the company evolve from being the 4th
entrant to Sri Lanka's mobile sector to the
position of market leader and largest market
capitalized company on the Colombo Stock
An experienced and long standing management
team has been a key strength of the Dialog
Telekom Group enabling it to expand from
mobile-centric foundations to a quadplay
formulation. The organization is currently
very well positioned to adapt to
Wijayasuriya's additional role as TMI's
Group COO, with a robust management team
already in place at each individual business
unit-mobile, TV, International,
Fixed/Broadband and Tele-infrastructures,
being headed by their respective CEOs.
Within his role as Dialog's Group CEO, he
will continue to focus on managing the
strategic and tactical initiatives of the
company to enhance its leadership position
in Sri Lanka's telecoms sector. Wijayasuriya
will continue to be based in Colombo.
Wijayasuriya, a chartered engineer and
Fellow of the Institute of Engineering
Technology (FIET) and an alumni of Cambridge
University, holds a PhD in Digital Mobile
Communications from Bristol University UK
and an MBA from Warwick University. A past
Chairman of GSM Asia Pacific, Wijayasuriya
counts over 15 years in mobile
Beats national averages
Union Bank in the first half (1H) ended June
30 2008, saw a 30% year on year (yoy)
deposit growth to Rs. 9.99 billion while
advances in the period under review grew by
42% yoy to Rs. 7.7 bn., whereas, this
sector, nationwide, grew by only 12.5% for
Further, the Bank's net non performing loan
(NPL) ratio is the lowest in the industry,
Commenting on these exceptional results, the
Bank's Director/CEO, Mahendra Fernando said,
"All our lending activities have been
evaluated with the Bank's ultimate safety in
mind, and not in the interest of short term
gains, Union Bank is able to declare the
lowest non-performing ratio amongst all
commercial banks. We are especially proud of
this because not too long ago when we took
over the management of this bank, its NPL
ratio was hovering around 32%."
He also said: "We are pleased with the
growth in the two main categories of
business development which has been achieved
against the backdrop of a perceptible
slowing of the financial services industry
due to the prevalent policies which have
been prompted by high inflation and
The Bank's assets and liabilities were grown
in keeping with a business model which is
pivotal in not exposing the bank to
significant risks in a market which is now
encountering much higher incidence of NPLs
compared to the same period last year
(according to CBSL, NPLs for the entirety of
2007 amounted to Rs.5bn., whereas for the
first six months of 2008, it has already
reached Rs. 16bn).
The Bank's Pre-Tax profit increased by 50%
over the corresponding period last year, and
reached Rs. 54.83mn, which was facilitated
by a 49% growth in net interest income and
a16% growth in other income. Post-tax profit
at Rs. 16.58mn., was marginally down by
0.66% due to provisioning on taxation.
Non interest expenses recorded a 27%
increase over the corresponding period last
year, reaching Rs. 182.2mn., which was
mainly due to the significant increase in
The Bank's income in 2008 1H grew by 50% to
Rs. 870.27mn. Earnings growth has been
mainly due to interest income increasing to
Rs. 788.63mn., compared to Rs. 511.41mn., in
the previous period.
Total shareholder funds increased by Rs.
535.81mn., from Rs. 863.63mn in 2007 to Rs.
1,399.44 mn., in June 2008 and the Bank's
capital adequacy ratio is at 14.95% despite
the growth in loans and advances.
"We are very alive to the particular
challenges that the market poses at this
time, since the debt servicing capacity of
borrowers in general are strained by high
inflation and high borrowing costs, and the
savings capacity of people are also greatly
reduced due to inflation and the resultant
high cost of living, but we are firmly
committed to the business plan that we have
for this bank. Our new branches which have
come on stream late last year and early this
year, have proven through their quick
successes that Union Bank holds a distinct
appeal for the customers to which it
markets. We look forward with zest to
meeting the inevitable challenges that are
ahead in these turbulent times," Fernando
Another slim TV
LG Flatron the world's first Digital Flat
Television is the undisputed best selling TV
in the world.
The innovative research and technology team
of LG Electronic's, Korea developed the
Flatron TV after years of painstaking
research and planning, from which all other
brands of flat TV's have been fashioned.
LG Flatron Television's flat picture tube
eliminates outer light reflection
completely. This prevents light shining
directly into your eye making it comfortable
for you to watch TV even for long periods
With a radius curvature that's infinity, you
can view the best picture quality with
true-to life images from any angle anywhere
in the room with minimum eye strain and
LG's latest innovation in the Flatron range
is the Super Slim Flat TV which has 40% less
protrusion at the rear and slim enough to
fit into corners of your room and places
other TV's wont fit.
And here's the best part of the deal, when
you buy a 21" LG Super Slim Flat TV
( 21FS4RGE), Abans give you a free LG Super
Slim DVD Player (DV286).
Abans, the sole agent for LG home appliances
in Sri Lanka are offering a mammoth five
year warranty on every LG Flatron TV
purchased from them. This is the highest
warranty presently offered for any
television set in the market.
LG Flatron Digital TVs are available in 15,"
21" and 29" models and LG Super Slim Flat
TV's are available in 21" and 29" models
from all Abans Showrooms islandwide and
A-World showrooms in Welisara and Crescat
Abans offer interest free easy payment terms
on all their products, including LG Flatron
TVs to make the world's best brands
affordable and within reach of every family.
All LG Flatron TVs sold by Abans carry a
guarantee of quality and efficient
after-sales-service by Abans service centres
and authorized service agents islandwide.
LAMDA Examinations, the Awarding Body arm of
The London Academy of Music and Dramatic
Art, has taken steps to improve and widen
its services to Sri Lankan schools, teachers
and students by appointing a new Sri Lanka
representative. LAMDA exams have been
growing in popularity in Sri Lanka over the
last few years. In 2009, LAMDA exams will be
held in February and August but plans are
made to hold exams in August and December in
the subsequent years.
The new arrangement, in addition to
providing more support to those who are
already involved with LAMDA exams, will
provide opportunities for more teachers and
pupils island-wide to develop their
communication and dramatic art skills.
LAMDA is recognised worldwide for being one
of the leading drama schools in the English-
speaking world and for conducting an eminent
set of public exams in its sector.
In British theatre and television, many cast
lists include LAMDA alumni. Many students
studying in independent schools, state
schools and private performing arts schools
in the UK have the opportunity to take LAMDA
exams, including Grade 8 exams which are
recognised for entrance to UK universities.
In fact, UCAS points are˙available for exams
at˙Grade 6, 7 and 8, to assist in entering
LAMDA has become the largest Speech and
Drama Awarding Body in the UK.
"LAMDA Exams are accredited as an Awarding
Body by The Qualifications and Curriculum
Authority (QCA) and the corresponding
regulatory authorities in Wales and Northern
Among many initiatives planned for Sri Lanka
are teacher workshops by visiting British
specialists, curriculum support to schools,
new qualifications and two examination
cycles a year. LAMDA has also launched the
LAMDA Teacher's Certificate in Communication
which has been designed to develop the
skills, knowledge and understanding required
to teach introductory communication skills
and speech to young children and adults.
Ceylinco Sussex runs 20 schools
Ceylinco Sussex Educational Services Ltd was
established in January 2004 with a view to
taking English medium education, especially
to educationally disadvantaged areas of the
This is the vision of Ceylinco Consolidated
Chairman Deshamanya Dr. Lalith Kotelawala
which was translated into action by Ceylinco
Sussex Educational Services Ltd. Deputy
Chairman K.A.S. Jayatissa.
"We have already established 20 schools
covering eight of the provinces.
Incidentally we were the first to establish
a professionally designed school for
children with Autism. The distinct feature
of our schools is that students of any
religion, ethnicity or cultural background
could study in any of them which contributes
towards peace and harmony and also the
development of the country.
Our schools have received ISO 9001:2000
certification which is considered a rare
achievement. A number of National
Productivity Awards have been won. So also
in sports and Aesthetics at the Divisional
and Zonal level competitions conducted by
the Education Department. 'Today' we will be
launching another important project where
Ceylinco Sussex Educational Services will
sign a memorandum of understanding with
British Council to conduct classes leading
to Cambridge ESOL exams in all major cities
of Sri Lanka for our students as well as
other students and this is an excellent
opportunity for Ceylinco Sussex Business
School students to improve their business
communication skills too through Business
English Certificate exams conducted by
Cambridge University. These exams are aimed
at improving the proficiency of English of
all Sri Lankan students enabling them to fit
into varied careers and to pursue higher
education both here and abroad. In addition
to this they will receive a recognized
qualification from one of the prestigious
universities in the UK, the Cambridge
As a result of this Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU), British Council will
even go to outstation branches of Ceylinco
Sussex College Network to conduct Cambridge
ESOL exams and also under this important MoU
all English teachers of Ceylinco Sussex
College Network will be trained by
professional British Council trainers and
British Council will do the awareness
programmes for both our teachers and parents
providing more benefits to Sri Lankan
Lowest mobile cost ownership
In a recent study done by Nokia across 80
emerging markets, it had concluded that Sri
Lanka has the lowest total cost of ownership
for mobile services at a rate of around US$
21/2 -3 a month, as against an average of
As Sri Lanka's mobile telecoms industry
rapidly approaches the 50% per-capita
milestone penetration (38.2% as at 12/2007:
TRCSL), incumbent mobile operators (Dialog,
Hutch, Mobitel and Tigo) cited fair and
consumer centric competition, progressive
regulation by the Telecommunications
Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL),
long term and committed investment and
accompanying stewardship of the Board of
Investment (BoI) as key drivers to their
While Sri Lanka's mobile operators through
decade long investments have achieved 70%
geographic coverage and 90% population
coverage, in the very near future one in two
Sri Lankan's would own a mobile phone.
Per-Capita adoption alone outstrips
neighbouring India by nearly two fold-per
capita adoption in India being 20.5% as of
12/2007 (Telecommunications Regulatory
Authority of India).
This signifies the giant strides made by Sri
Lanka's mobile sector in terms of
A fair playing field, healthy competition
and a regulator with foresight have
contributed in no small measure to industry
growth. Sri Lankan consumers have benefited
from the competitive landscape in the
island's mobile sector. Competition has been
healthy and delivered not only successive
reductions in pricing levels bringing mobile
telephony within reach of all segments of
Sri Lankan society, but additionally quality
services and advanced technologies well
ahead of the region.
On this backdrop of a near two decade long
tradition of healthy competition, the mobile
sector is left perturbed by alleged
references to anti-competition attributed to
new entrant Airtel, India.
Mobile operators in a statement dismissed as
misleading and distracting comments
attributed to a senior Airtel official. In
the opinion of mobile operators, references
to anti-competition distract the Sri Lankan
consumer from the larger issue of the
readiness of the new entrant who allegedly
obtained the 5th mobile operator license on
April 12, 2007 (Source: TRCSL).
Interconnection is a regulatory construct
which forms the cornerstone of competition
and certainly not anti-competition. The
interconnect rules of 2003 derived and
gazetted (Gazatte no 1278/18 dated March 7,
2003) by TRCSL contain an Interconnect rate
of Rs 1.50 per minute at peak time trailing
to 38 cents during the discount time band.
The interconnect rate is specified to ensure
fair compensation for the use of the
terminating (receiving party) network
infrastructure by the network originating
the call. The rate applies in both
directions and hence represents parity and
fair bilateral compensation.
Sri Lanka's mobile operators started
charging each other these gazetted rates
(pending a new cost study) in advance of the
launch of the 5th operator in order to
provide a level playing field for the new
entrant. The new entrant would be paid the
same rate for all calls terminating on its
network. The implementation of this
bilateral and parity interconnection charge
as well as an ongoing exercise to
re-evaluate this rate in the wake of cost
escalation since 2003 is being conducted
under the stewardship of the TRCSL.
Sri Lanka's TRC has in fact succeeded in
ensuring that cost of owning a mobile (total
cost of ownership) in Sri Lanka is among the
lowest in the world.
HNB opens 173rd branch
Infusing new savings opportunities into the
lifestyles of the people of Kekirawa, Hatton
National Bank (HNB) opened its 173rd
Customer Centre recently at. Thalawa Road,
The Kekirawa Customer Center was opened by
AGM Recoveries Lasantha Fernando.
Kekirawa, although still amongst the more
rural areas of Sri Lanka, is now, slowly
finding its footing through the flourishing
business opportunities created by the
setting up of the economic center.
The opening of the new Customer Centre is
bound to help fulfil the need for
competitive banking services. Today, HNB
provides its expertise and services through
a large network of customer centres
islandwide. It is also the only bank to have
not forgotten the more rural villages,
taking banking to the provincial areas too,
when for the first time in the commercial
banking history of Sri Lanka, the Bank
introduced a barefoot banker named "Gami
Pupuduwa Upadeshaka" through its Gami
Pubuduwa Village Awakening Programme.
HNB is well-accomplished in the sphere of
corporate finance and provides facilities
such as Housing Loans, Savings & Current
Accounts, Fixed Deposits, NRFC/RFC Accounts,
Children's Savings Accounts, Credit Cards
and Trade Finance.
The Bank's loan portfolio includes
Industrial Loans, GP Loans, Working Capital,
Short-term loans, Medium and Long-term
Loans, The Bank Continues to uphold the No.1
position among banks in leasing. HNB drives
on the cutting-edge of technology with an
islandwide ATM network, online banking and
tele banking facilities.
Back to business
Commercial Bank of Ceylon recently announced
that services resumed at its Panadura Branch
following a fire in the early hours of
August 15 which damaged the front of the
The Bank set up three banking counters for
front office operations and moved its back
office departments back into the building by
Monday. Additionally a mobile banking unit
equipped with an Automated Teller Machine
(ATM) had been stationed at the premises to
The Bank made arrangements, the day the fire
took place, for Panadura customers to be
served at the Bank's Moratuwa and Wadduwa
branches and at the 'MiniCom' outlets at the
Cargills Food City Supermarkets in Panadura