'09 bleak year warns banker
WB advocates 25% rupee depreciation
World Bank (WB) has recommended the rupee be
depreciated by 25% amidst a grim economic
picture unveiled by businessmen, economists
and bankers, at a seminar on Wednesday.
Nihal Welikala, senior adviser and former
CEO NDB Bank in his speech said that bank
lending which as a whole grew by 25% year on
year in the past few years would slow down
to 8% this year mainly due to the country's
high interest rate regime that makes bank
"This would impact investments and therewith
job creation, 2009 will be a bleak year,"
Welikala speaking at this seminar held under
the theme "The Global Financial Crisis-How
Sri Lanka can withstand and benefit" at the
Post Graduate Institute of Management,
Banks which in 2009 and 2010 will have to
raise new capital to meet supply side
requirements will however find it difficult
to do that, he said. The industry will have
to consolidate, Welikala further said.
He also predicted that inflation, which is
already high, will continue to rise.
"With new provisioning requirements and non
performance loans rising, there is no
question that inflation will rise," said
Economist Dr. Saman Kelegama, the keynote
speaker at this event said that the
country's reserves had fallen by half, from
US$ 3.6 billion to US$ 1.9 billion because
of the government's strategy of defending
the rupee, without allowing it to be
"This is sufficient to meet 2.3-2.5 months
of imports, but we must target to have
reserves sufficient to meet 4-4« months of
imports," said Kelegama, who is also the
Executive Director of the Institute of
With a monthly US$ 13 billion import bill,
we cannot go on defending the rupee.
The government is currently defending the
rupee at the Rs.110 levels to the US dollar
at the expense of losing export
competitiveness, but on the other hand
keeping the government's borrowing costs low
and having a check on prices of imported
Kelegama told this reporter that the WB has
recommended that the rupee be depreciated by
Otherwise the government will be forced to
go to the IMF for a bailout package which
will be unpalatable because of the
Inflation is out of control, the budget
deficit is high, so we find it difficult to
devalue the rupee.
He however expected the global economy to
bounce back in 2010.
Welikala said that there is a US dollar
scarcity in every market. "Risk aversion to
emerging markets are growing, tenures are
going down and the amounts are coming down,"
Mangala Yapa, Managing Director Colombo
Dockyard plc told The Sunday Leader that the
government does not want to tell the people
the true state of the economy because of
He said this, when this reporter asked
Kelegama why he doesn't tell the government
the true state of the economy.
"Government will be holding five elections
shortly, as such they don't want to tell the
people the truth," Yapa said.
Govt. funds' inactivity hurts bourse
Foreigners and government administered funds
staying away from the market is taking its
toll on the bourse which experienced its
lowest turnover in seven years, a figure of
Rs. 13.1 million at Thursday's trading.
Turnover on Friday was Rs. 56.5 million with
a net foreign outflow of Rs. 4.5 million.
There are some 20 stock broking firms in the
"Foreigners have kept away from the market
for the past three months after the
recession hit the world's economy, while
government administered funds, namely the
EPF, ETF and NSB have also been staying away
for months, contributing to this impasse,"
market sources said.
There are no government funds to take over
from where the foreigners left. "I don't see
a light at the end of the tunnel," a source
said. There are no market fundamentals to
drive the bourse.
Foreigners, whose Treasury Bond holdings
prior to the global financial crisis in
September was nearly Rs. 60 billion has seen
this figure shrink by a third, to Rs. 19,640
million as at Wednesday.
high interest rate regime has made it
difficult for corporates to take bank
credit, coupled with their borrowing costs
rising as a result, while government funds,
banking their money in fixed income
instruments compounds the problem, they
State banks borrow from markets
The two state banks, namely the People's
Bank and Bank of Ceylon borrowing from the
market kept overnight inter-bank borrowing
rates at a high of 18-19% on Friday, on a
day that saw little or no activity in both
the money markets and "forex" markets by the
State bank borrowings from the market, other
than meeting their own needs are generally
construed as meeting the government's
borrowing/payment needs, including its need
to buy foreign exchange in lieu of rupees.
Government also needs money to honour
maturing Treasury Bills (T.Bills) which they
are now reluctant to reissue to the market
because of the high yields demanded by the
same, sources said. That's also a key reason
for state bank borrowings from the market,
The Central Bank (CB) on Friday cancelled
its two T. Bond auctions, which was
earmarked to release Rs. one billion worth
of T. Bonds to the market.
The rupee, US dollar parity rate continued
to remain at Rs. 110 to the dollar.
"Importers have already made their
arrangements for the season I foresee a dull
trading week ahead on account of the
holidays," one market source said.
The CB, in the week ended Thursday, reduced
their T. Bill holdings week on week by Rs. 5
942 million (5.5%) from Rs. 107,286 million
to Rs. 101, 344 million, reversing the trend
begun from September 18,when it began
accumulating its T. Bill holdings.
In the 10 week period from September 18 to
November 27, CB increased its T. Bill
holdings from Rs. 1,911 million to Rs.
107,286 million, a Rs. 105, 375 million
increase (5,514%), thereby stoking
inflationary pressure in the economy.
Increase in CB's T.Bill holdings means an
equivalent amount of credit extended to the
government by issuing new money, thereby
causing demand side inflationary pressure.
The market, which for a brief period showed
a surplus after the CB reduced banks'
statutory reserve requirements from 9.25% to
7.75%, thereby releasing a sum of Rs. 17
billion to the market, once again began to
go short due to government borrowings and
The market, on an overnight(O/N) basis was
short by Rs. 2,2 billion on Thursday and
double that amount, by Rs. 4.4 billion on an
O/N basis on Friday.
Abans Electricals makes loss
Abans Electricals in the second quarter (2Q)
ended September 30, 2008 made a Rs.3.3
million loss compared to a Rs. 2.23 million
net profit made in the corresponding Q the
The company in the first half (1H) ended
September 30, 2008 made a Rs. 3.16 million
loss compared to a Rs. 6.87 million net
profit made in the corresponding 1H of the
Mahaweli Reach makes loss
Mahaweli Reach in the 2Q ended September 30,
2008 made a Rs.0.69 million loss compared to
a Rs. 6.69 million net profit made in the
corresponding Q the previous year.
However the hotel in the 1H ended September
30, 2008 reduced its losses by 80% year on
year (YoY) to Rs. 13.87million.
Arcade PAT down
York Arcade in the 2Q ended September 30,
2008 saw net profits dip by 11% YoY to Rs.
The company in the 1H ended September 30,
2008 saw net profits dip by 19% YoY to
Hotel Services PAT down
Hotel Services in the 2Q ended September 30,
2008 saw net profits dip by 59% YoY to Rs.
The company in the 1H ended September 30,
2008 saw net profits dip by 75% YoY to
Indo-Malay PAT down
Indo-Malay in the 2Q ended September 30,
2008 saw net profits dip by 36% YoY to
The company in the 1H ended September 30,
2008 however saw net profits up by 15% YoY
to Rs.28.74 million.
Kandy Hotels PAT down
Kandy Hotels in the 2Q ended September 30,
2008 saw net profits dip by 71% YoY to
The company in the 1H ended September 30,
2008 reduced its losses by 52% YoY to
Lanka Tiles PAT down
Lanka Tiles in the 2Q ended September 30,
2008 saw net profits dip by 3% YoY to Rs.
The company in the 1H ended September 30,
2008 saw net profits dip by 1% YoY to
Lion Brewery makes loss
Lion Brewery in the 2Q ended September 30,
2008 made a Rs. 17.07 million loss compared
to a Rs. 31.04 million net profit made in
the corresponding Q the previous year.
The company in the 1H ended September 30,
2008 made a Rs. 21.90 million loss compared
to a Rs.5.92 million net profit made in the
corresponding 1H of the previous year.
Alliance Finance PAT down
Alliance Finance in the 2Q ended September
30, 2008 saw PAT dip 20% YoY to Rs. 10.66
The company in the 1H ended September 30,
2008 saw PAT dip 23% YoY to Rs. 24.18
Arpico Fin. PAT down
Arpico Finance in the 2Q ended September 30,
2008 saw PAT dip 56% YoY to Rs. 2.50
The company in the 1H ended September 30,
2008 saw PAT dip 33% YoY to Rs. 4.64
Beruwela losses up
Beruwela Walk Inn in the 3Q ended September
30, 2008 increased its losses by 71% YoY to
Rs. 4.99 million.
The company in the nine months ended
September 30, 2008 saw its losses increase
51% YoY to Rs. 19.5 million.
Blue Diamonds PAT up
Blue Diamonds in the 2Q ended September 30,
2008 saw PAT up by 103% YoY to Rs. 8.29
The company in the 1H ended September 30,
2008 saw PAT up by 90% YoY to Rs. 10.66
Capital Dev., PAT up
Capital Dev., & Inv., in the 3Q ended
September 30, 2008 saw PAT up by 3% YoY to
Rs. 91.37 million.
The company in the nine months ended
September 30, 2008 saw PAT increase by 19%
YoY to Rs. 306.40 million.
Central Industries PAT up
Central Industries in the 2Q ended September
30, 2008 saw net profits up by 47% YoY to Rs.
The company in the 1H ended September 30,
2008 saw net profits increase by 35% YoY to
Ceylon & Foreign PAT down
Ceylon & Foreign Trades in the 2Q ended
September 30, 2008 saw net profits dip by
53% YoY to Rs. 8.01 million.
The company in the 1H ended September 30,
2008 saw net profits dip by 48% YoY to
Colombo Fort PAT up 74%
Colombo Fort Investments in the 2Q ended
September 30, 2008 saw net profits up by 74%
YoY to Rs. 1.87 million.
The company in the 1H ended September 30,
2008 saw net profits increase by 31% YoY to
On'ally PAT up 27%
On'ally Holdings in the 2Q ended September
30, 2008 saw net profits up by 27% YoY to Rs.
The company in the 1H ended September 30,
2008 saw net profits increase by 23% YoY to
Rs.20.42 million. (Source John Keells Stock
The 36th Session and meetings of
International Pepper Community was held at
Ho Chi Minh City where The Spice Council (TSC)
and the private and public sectors were
represented by TSC Chairman D. A. Perera and
Chairman elect Nanda Kohona as well as by M.
I. Inshaf and by Export Agriculture
Department Director Lionel Gunaratne and Dr.
Sri Lanka, among the major pepper producing
countries at the bottom of the rung, is
estimated to produce 18,500 metric tons (mts)
of pepper this year, behind countries like
Vietnam (85,000 mts), India (50,000 mts),
Indonesia (47,000 mts), Brazil (33,000
mts)and China and Malaysia (23,000 mts
It was emphasized at this seminar that value
addition to pepper is more acceptable to the
world than production for exports in bulk
form. Minimum residue levels of chemicals
were also highlighted at the meeting and all
countries decided to follow a common testing
method for pepper.
Thirst for English
Recognising the need for proficiency in
English in order to enhance employability,
John Keells Social Responsibility Foundation
(JKSRF) launched a new programme titled
"English for Life" recently.
The programme will focus on teaching
Business English together with basic IT and
soft skills to the 17-25 age group.
Classes will be conducted over a 4 month
period at 12 centres-Anuradhapura, Colombo,
Galle, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy, Kurunegala,
Nawala, Negombo, Panadura, Trincomalee and
Wattala-on weekends, facilitated by Gateway
Language Centre. Initial advertisements
calling for applications drew over 3,000
responses out of whom 1,000 were awarded
scholarships after a placement test, set by
Gateway. The scholarships cover course fees,
examination fees, text books and other
Speaking at the launch of the new programme,
John Keells Holdings PLC Director Sumithra
Gunesekera said, "It is accepted that
English provides a competitive advantage in
today's digital age. It helps one become a
better communicator and also enables one to
expand his or her knowledge and outlook
through access to vast amounts of
As a corporate in
we are aware of the importance of English
for employment today. At least a basic
knowledge of IT and soft skills has also
become essential. It was in recognition of
this need that JKSRF in collaboration with
Gateway decided to launch the English for
Life course this year."
English for Life is part of John Keells
English Language Scholarship Programme.
Since its launch in 2004, the programme has
empowered over 1,500 youth in various parts
of the island, from areas as diverse as
Colombo and its suburbs to Galle, Kandy,
Matara, Bandarawela, Wellawaya, Ratnapura,
Habarana, Vavuniya and Batticoloa. The
programme has benefited not only
schoolchildren, but also others who sought
assistance, such as Moratuwa University
undergraduates and trackers at the Yala
National Park. Gunesekera added, " John
Keells is committed to providing these
opportunities to the children and youth of
our country because we believe that
empowering them with a tool as powerful as
the English Language will not only enrich
their personal potential, but also build
greater capacity for Sri Lanka as a nation."
Egypt emulates SL
Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt's Red Sea Resort
recently became the second EarthLung
destination of the world.
Tourism Minister Zoheir Garranah said,
"Following Sri Lanka's initiative, we are
happy to join the Tourism EarthLung
Community with our resort destination Sharm
el Sheikh, committing to work towards
becoming a carbon neutral destination in the
This declaration was made at the opening of
the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)
supported Conference for the
and Mediterranean Region held last week at
Sharm El Sheikh's Jolie Ville Convention
At the session on Climate Solutions, Sri
Lanka Tourism's (SLT's) Renton de Alwis
related the story of Sri Lanka's efforts at
mitigating climate change with the launch of
the "Earth Lung Initiative" at the UNWTO
conference on 'Tourism and Climate Change'
in October last year in Davos.
SLT has since taken on a pioneering
catalytic effort on a 10 year agenda to work
towards being a carbon neutral tourism
destination. Sri Lanka is a country with a
near 50% green cover of its total land area
and a 29% forest cover.
De Alwis described how Sri Lanka's
Environment and Natural Resources Ministry,
the scientific, business, tourism and other
stakeholders are working together to create
awareness and take on effective programmes
to move towards creating a sustainable
living environment in Sri Lanka and be an
example to the world at large.
SriLankan Airlines has launched a
re-fleeting programme, and last week took
delivery of the first of several "new"
Airbus A320 aircraft, the first to join the
National Carrier in more than four years.
The "new" aircraft will carry 152 passengers
in a two class layout of 20 Business Class
seats and 132 Economy Class seats. The
aircraft has been leased from AWAS Ireland
for a period of three years, and is two
A second aircraft is scheduled to arrive
this month, with a third and fourth likely
to be obtained in the first quarter of 2009.
The airline intends to acquire a fifth in
the next financial year.
SriLankan CEO Manoj Gunawardena said: "The
re-fleeting is projected to bring about
significant cost savings to the airline in
both fuel and maintenance, and also enhance
flight punctuality." The new aircraft will
replace the airline's existing fleet of
The National Carrier last acquired an
aircraft in July 2004. SriLankan currently
has a fleet of 14 aircraft-five A320s, four
A330s, and five A340s. Its oldest A320 is to
be decommissioned this month and a second by
The airline uses its A320s to serve its 11
destinations in India as well as Male and
Karachi, and some cities in the Middle East
(ME). Its long-haul A330 and A340 aircraft
serve Europe, ME, Southeast Asia and Far
Nestle Lanka walked away with the Best
Corporate Citizen Award at the Best
Corporate Citizens Awards 2008 held
The Awards wer conducted by the Ceylon
Chamber of Commerce in association with
World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the
Netherlands Government's PEP Project at the
Five category winners for Environment,
Customer Relations, Employee Relations,
Community Relations and Economic Performance
as well as the top 10 best corporate
citizens also received awards.
This year saw the awarding of the top three
places for the 'under 10bn turnover
category' as well.
The runners up in the main category were
Aitken Spence PLC (1st runner-up) and
Sampath Bank (2nd runner-up).
The winner for the Employee Relations
category was Holcim while Cargills was the
winner in the Economic Performance category.
Ceylon Biscuits walked away with the award
for the Customer/ Supplier Relations
category and Sampath Bank received the award
for Community Relations. Aitken Spence
bagged the award in the Environment
Colombo Dockyard won the "Best Corporate
Citizen Award" for the 'under 10bn turnover'
category, with Eagle Insurance PLC and
Associated Motorways PLC as 1st and 2nd
runners up respectively.
The top 10 Best Corporate Citizens
comprised, in alphabetical order, Aitken
Spence, Cargills, Ceylon Biscuits, Ceylon
Tobacco Company, Colombo Dockyard, Holcim
(Lanka), Nestle Lanka, Sampath Bank, Singer
Sri Lanka and The Hong Kong and Shanghai
Working poor at butt end
Spinal injuries afflict the working poor, a
Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA)
President Prof. (Ms.) Lalitha Mendis
speaking to reporters on Wednesday said
that a sample study done at the Digana
Rehabilitation Hospital had shown that of
the 64 patients with spinal injuries, 62%
were those between the ages of 20-50.
Eighty percent of those were males, 22% were
those with mild disability and 58% had an
income of less than Rs.3,000 a month.
This function was held to announce the
building of a Rs. 30 million rehabilitation
centre for those with spinal injuries
donated by Husein Esufally, CEO Hemas
Holdings. This building, the first of its
kind in the country, is located at the
Ragama Medical Faculty premises and will be
ready by February.
Mendis said that though there are government
circulars to say that 3% of those employed
should be those with physical disabilities,
this circular, more often than not was
observed on the breach.
Going on the context of world averages that
10% of the world's population is afflicted
with some sort of disability, Sri Lanka has
some two million disabled persons, with that
figure even encompassing those who have
slight hearing impairments.
But that figure does not cover those who are
suffering from mental sicknesses.
Mendis said that statistics have showed that
only 2% of those suffering from spinal or
head injuries, after being discharged from
hospital, continued to seek treatment.
has only four rehabilitation centres for the
public, while another is dedicated to the
Professor Rajitha Wickremesinghe, Dean of
the Faculty of Medicine Kelaniya University
said that there is no permanent cure for
He said that islandwide estimates suggest
that there are around 5-10,000 persons with
spinal injuries, including those in the
armed forces and police.
Wickremesinghe said there are some 30-35
male patients and 10-15 female patients in
the Colombo National Hospital with spinal
injuries of whom 44% wanted assistance to be
WHO Representative in Colombo Dr. Augistino
Borra in his speech said that of the
estimated 600 million disabled persons in
the world, 470 million were of working age.
Four hundred million of those came from poor
Esufally who suffered a spinal injury in
2002and received treatment in the UK, said
that the lack of post surgical/injury care
and counselling for such patients in this
country led him to fund this institute.
Family Planning Association (FPA) launched a
new condom-Stamina-for extended love. Its
uniqueness lies in Benzocaine which will
enable long lasting intimacy between
FPA, the pioneer in Sexual and Reproductive
Health (SRH) in Sri Lanka has a Social
Marketing Programme (SMP) with dealers
throughout Sri Lanka. It is currently the
most successful SMP as it has rightly and
consistently identified and catered to the
needs of both women and men in the country.
One of the core aims of the programme is to
create wider awareness of the importance of
using condoms to ensure protection and a
"Stamina for extended Love" is yet another
effort by FPA to ensure the consistent use
of condoms and the creation of an enabling
environment for a more effective
distribution and use of condoms in the
Santa is coming soon
Nations Trust Bank PLC (NTB) recently
announced a special Christmas celebration to
all its "Nations Kidz customers."
"A visit from Santa Claus is something all
children eagerly wish for. NTB Branches and
Personal Banking Centres Chief Manager
Irishad Ally said, "At NTB we want to treat
our young accountholders this season with
something almost magical, which is why we
planned the special visit by Santa Claus to
your home, bearing gifts to your kids."
To ensure your child is also on Santa's
list, open a new Nations Kidz account for
your child at NTB. Existing account holders
may make a deposit for the amount prescribed
to ensure their child will also receive the
opportunity to experience this magical
Drop by at any NTB branch or Personal
Banking Centre which offer 365 day banking
facilities as well as extended banking hours
to make Santa's visit a reality. More
information is also available on the Bank's
customer service hotline.
Leo Burnett won the most number of awards
(21) at the 5th Reggie Candappa awards that
was held on Wednesday. They were followed by
Grants (13), JWT (6), Lowe, Odlovfx and
Video Image (2 each) and Triad and Dilshard
Ahmed (1 each).
Chaaya Island Dhonveli was awarded the Gold
Choice 2008 award for best winter 3 star
accommodation by First Choice, a part of the
TUI Travel PLC Group of companies, one of
UK's leading leisure travel company.
Launched in January 2008, Chaaya Island
Dhonveli in the Maldives boasts of 136
villas and bungalows apart from 24 colourful
over water suites refurbished to
international standards. John Keells
Maldivian Resorts have a total of four
resorts in the Maldives and seven hotels and
resorts in Sri Lanka.
Recession hits air travel
Global Passenger Traffic Drops 2.9%, Cargo,
7.7% in September.
Global passenger traffic declined 2.9% and
cargo traffic dropped 7.7% in September
compared to the same month in 2007, reports
International Air Transport Association (IATA)
due to the economic recession.
Load factors tumbled by 4.4% from 79.2% in
August to 74.8% in September. All major
regions reported declines in passenger
traffic with the exception of Latin America
where carriers saw a 1.7% increase albeit
compared to a 11.9% growth of the previous
"The deterioration in traffic is alarmingly
fastpaced and widespread," said IATA
Director General and CEO Giovanni Bisignani.
"We have not seen such a decline in
passenger traffic since SARS in 2003."
Although fuel fell to below $50 per barrel
in November from a peak of $147 in July,
IATA said industry "losses could be even
deeper than our forecast $5.2 billion for
this year." (Washington
Top SAFA award
Union Assurance PLC (UA) etched itself into
the annals of the annual South Asian
Federation of Accountants (SAFA) Awards by
once again winning the Overall Award for
Best Presented Accounts, the apex accolade
at the awards ceremony.
Held in New Delhi this year, UA CEO Ms. Marina Tharmaratnam accepted the SAFA Award,
considered a benchmark among companies in
the South Asian Region.
Being one of the foremost insurers in Sri
Lanka, UA also proved its mettle further by
winning the topmost award in the Insurance
sector, which award was accepted by Deputy
Chief Executive Dirk Pereira.
"Sri Lankan of Year"
Dialog Telekom Group Chief Operating Officer
Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya was nominated 'Sri
Lankan Of The Year' by business magazine LMD.
LMD says that the main reason for nominating
Wijayasuriya is because "he has placed
on the map of regional corporate
Dialog's young COO says, in LMD's December
issue, of the prestigious award: "In one
word.." undeserving- undeserving of such an
honour. And I'm cognisant of the fact that
behind this recognition are 4,000 people who
have worked with me, with the same vision
and five million customers who proved that
Sri Lanka can be top of the region..
He is regarded by the business community as
"an icon of the telco industry," LMD says,
adding that Wijayasuriya has been at the
centre of many developments and innovations
that have changed our mode of communication.
LMD also observes that there is little doubt
that Sri Lanka's mobile-telephony industry
is ahead of the curve regionally, in terms
of nationwide reach. Featuring a call-rate
regime which is among the lowest in the
world, a stream of reductions in ownership
cost. Mobile phones have been crucial to the
success of our industry, Wijayasuriya says
The latest edition of the pioneering journal
is now available at supermarkets and
Close of chapter
HSBC together with the Charted Institute of
Marketing Sri Lankan region (CIMSLR)
organised the CIM talking point series as
part of the continuous professional
development programme. This was initiated
with the objective of apprising its members
to achieve greater standards in their
professional careers, enlightening and
empowering them to drive change in today's
business landscape beyond the themes of
These regular evening forums brought in some
of the top professionals from different
fields who spoke on current topics, trends
and market development to its membership and
to other marketers and business
professionals in and around Colombo. Keynote
speakers were Drs.. Anila Dias
Banadaranayake, Uditha Liyanage, Anura
Ekanayake and Wickrama Weerasooria, as well
as Neil Buhne and Madhav Sirinivasan.
The series consisting of six programmes
started on February 7 and concluded on
September 30 2008. Topics included
Opportunities for marketers rising from Sri
Lanka's recent demographic changes, Are you
Tangibilizing your brand, Role of a marketer
in a knowledge economy, Role of business in
sustainable development, Changing consumer
landscape in Asia and Do marketers have a
"We look forward to bringing in more
exciting programmes the next year with
HSBC's association," said CIMSLR Chairman
HSBC Marketing Head Rienzie B Martinesz
said," At HSBC we believe in integrating
with the communities we operate in, and
support diversification through forums such
as this. The positive response we received
from participants was encouraging and their
feedback was enlightening. The demand for
these programmes shows that there is a
growing need for professional development
programmes and HSBC is committed to support
such programmes as part of its contribution
to raising professional standards in Sri
Lanka. We are happy to be associated with
CIM since 2006 in carrying out the Talking
3% market share
The newest flavour in the Elephant House
beverage portfolio, Apple Soda, bagged a
bronze award at the recent Brand Excellence
Awards held annually by the Sri Lanka
Institute of Marketing (SLIM). Introduced
into the market in January 2008, Elephant
Apple Soda has already gained a 3% market
share among the fiercely competitive
carbonated soft drinks category.
Ceylon Cold Stores PLC Category Head S.
Srikanth said that this award was an
endorsement by thousands of consumers in the
local market. "We constantly aspire to meet
and exceed our customer expectations and
this is truly rewarding for us," he said.
The judging and selection process was headed
by marketer Godwin Perera.
Dialog bagged five awards at the SLIM Brand
Excellence Awards 2008, which included Gold
for 'Innovative Brand Of The Year award.
Dialog's winning entry focused on its
achievements in the spheres of 3G and
mobile-based news services which have
revolutionised news and information access.
Dialog has a proud history of service and
product innovation which has culminated in
numerous national and international awards
of recognition. This includes regional
firsts for services and applications such as
SMS, 3G, HSPA and WiMAX.
Dialog Telekom Group Chief Marketing Officer
Nushad Perera said: "The SLIM Brand
Excellence awards complement our position as
the people's choice mobile service provider.
It is also a reflection of the company's
commitment to build a strong brand identity
backed by a portfolio of diverse and
innovative mobile-based products. Innovation
and excellence is what differentiates Dialog
from the rest, and we take strength from
Dialog Telekom also won two Silvers for
Service Brand and CSR Brand Of The Year, a
recognition of its commitment to adding
value to customer experience and the pledge
to empower and enrich Sri Lankan lives. Last
month, Dialog won Most Popular Mobile
Telecom Brand Of The Year at the
SLIM-Nielsen People's Awards 2008 which is
regarded as a reflection of the consumer's
SLIM Brand Excellence is recognised as a
testing ground for successful brands which
also gives opportunity to brand custodians
to spell out the factors behind their
success. The theme at this year's awards was
'Share Your Genius.
A house becomes a home only when it's made
livable, cozy and comfortable by adding the
right finishing touches and ornaments to
give it the correct ambience.
Little things like selected ornaments, not
too brassy and not too bold, but just the
right size, colour and texture,
strategically positioned in the right places
go a long way to make your home special.
Many housewives have the wrong notion that
classy ornaments cost a fortune.
You have to visit Abans Elite Showrooms in
Kollupitiya, Mt. Lavinia, Dehiwela,
Rajagiriya, Peliyagoda, Welisara, Katunayake,
Maharagama, Malabe and Kandy and view the
range of intricate ornaments in porcelain
and crystal to believe your eyes. You will
be bewildered by Abans' range of special
Christmas ornaments and also by their
"Beautiful" fibre optic Christmas trees,
Santas, ornamental water fountains,
artistically landscaped (with and without
smokescreen) and ornamental porcelain
figurines are some of the unusually
attractive items on display which make ideal
gifts for loved ones, parents, friends and
business associates. Abans also has a wide
range of intricate glassware, elegant
crockery and stylish cutlery of world
renowned brands, Pyrex, Corning, Visions,
and Corelle to name a few. "Oven, Bake and
Cookware that is stylish and elegant when
used for serving or at the dining table."
Steam irons, electric kettles, gas cookers,
blenders, grinders, multi-cookers and
convection ovens are just a few items a home
cannot be without and also make appreciative
gifts for special people during Christmas.
Abans have the widest selection from the
best brands in the world that will reflect
your thoughtfulness and caring in selecting
an appropriate and useful gift and at very
affordable prices too.
Needless to say Abans has everything you
need for your home. From little things that
add elegance and charm to globally renowned
home appliances from Abans "Green Range"
that are specially developed to save
electricity. Refrigerators, washing
machines, inverter air conditioners and
Solardom light wave ovens are some of the
special appliances that will help to reduce
your electricity bill by up to 50%. Now's
the time to buy all you need at Abans
Christmas Bonanza and Sale with discounts up
to 30% and interest free instalment terms.
And here's the best part, when you buy items
for Rs.5,000 and over from any Abans
showroom you will be entitled to participate
in Abans Christmas Raffle Draw and win back
much more than you have spent. Over 100
valuable prizes are on offer to the lucky
winners including LCD televisions,
refrigerators, washing machines, computers,
motor cycles and more.
And as usual Abans becomes a fun place to be
at Christmas time with special activities
for adults and children throughout the
festive season. There will be special
Christmas Cookery Demonstrations at Abans
Elite in Kollupitiya and Peliyagoda on
December 13, Maharagama Elite and Mt.
Lavinia Elite on December 19, Welisara Elite
and A-World (Welisara) on December 20 and
Malabe Elite and Rajagiriya Elite on
There will also be fun and games for the
little ones between the ages of 4-10 years
at Kollupitiya Elite and Peliyagoda Elite on
December 13, Maharagama Elite and Mt.
Lavinia Elite on December 19, A-World
Welisara and Katunayake Elite on December 20
and Malabe Elite and Rajagiriya Elite on
The whole family can join the fun at the
Mark Levinson Karaoke Competition organized
by Abans at Rajagiriya Elite on December 19,
Malabe Elite on December 20 and Mt.Lavinia
Elite on December.21.
Abans Christmas Carol Competition is
expected to be loads of fun and draw a large
crowd. The competition is open to choirs
from schools, organizations and individuals
and spectators can also join in the sing-alongs.
Christmas Carols will be held at Welisara
Elite on December 13, Dehiwela Elite on
December 19 and Malabe Elite on December.20.
Abans Christmas Bonanza and
is now on till December 31 at all their
"Quality Month" is a concept that was
initiated in Japan in the 1960s as a part of
their National Quality Drive to create
awareness, enthusiasm, and participation of
all, and to disseminate knowledge on
This created an obsession with quality in
Japan. In the 1970s the USA began to lose
market share to Japanese products and
started a quality revolution in 1980.
The U.S. government declared October as
Quality Month in 1984. Many countries have
followed suit. Sri Lanka Standards
Institution (SLSI) declared National Quality
Week more than two decades ago and many Sri
Lankan companies organize activities to
focus on quality related activities during
Based on National Quality Week, Dankotuwa
Porcelain PLC too conducted its own
activities for a period of one week, from
Dankotuwa organized a series of activities
including a special refresher course on the
quality improvement technique of Cause and
Effect diagram and organized several
competitions amongst the workforce. Those
included a competition on the Cause and
Effect Diagram, a competition on Quality
Slogans, and a competition on Quality
The response from the workforce exceeded the
expectations of the management with 106
entries being received showing a high level
of interest for quality related activities
amongst the Dankotuwa workforce. Judging of
the best entries was done by a team
consisting of Quality Consultant A. A.
Amaradasa, SLSI, Standards/Testing Officer
Mrs Nilupa Kekulandera and Vocational
Training Ministry Deputy Director Ruchira
Withane. The recently held Award Ceremony
also included a demonstration Quality Circle
from Sri Lanka Telecom.
The Winners were: Poster Competition:- S. A.
R. Aruna Shantha (Printing Department),
Slogan Competition:- P. Chandrasiri (Modelling
Department) and Cause and Effect Diagram
Competition:- A. Pushpa Fernando (RHK
Diva, the detergent powder brand of Hemas
FMCG won the Gold Award for 'Local Brand of
the Year' and a Silver Award for 'Product
Brand of the Year' at the annual SLIM Brand
Excellence Awards 2008 held at Waters Edge
Diva was first introduced to the Sri Lankan
market in 2003, when 80% of the laundry
market was laundry soap. Washing powder was
considered a Luxury.
Associated at this event were Brand Manager
Samudu De Silva and Marketing Manager Foods
and Home Care Bimal Silva.
Retire in haste, enjoy at leisure
By Ashwin Hemmathagama
Who says retirement should be at 55? What
are your plans to have the financial
stability you need earlier in life?
Following are the excerpts of an interview
with Eagle Insurance PLC Assistant General
Manager Marketing and Planning Amal Perera
on the recently launched Eagle LiveSmart
Question (Q): What is Eagle Live Smart?
Answer (A): Retirement is a time to
relax and do the things that you've always
wished you could. Eagle LiveSmart which is a
unique retirement plan gives you the ability
to build a substantial fund which will allow
you to do the things you wanted to do and
relieve the weight of full-time work off
This scheme gives the customer the choice to
decide when they want to retire and how they
want to retire. It is different from
conventional insurance schemes in which the
company decides where the premium is
Q: In planning to retire with Eagle
LiveSmart, how best can one decide the
A: This is an innovative retirement plan.
The premium payment is only for a period of
six years but with a flexible maturity
period of 12-30 years. At the time of
enrolling, the investor can decide where he
would prefer to invest his retirement fund.
In doing so we have come out with four
unit-linked investment fund options which
include a mixture of low risk stable return
guaranteed financial instruments such as
Treasury Bills and Bonds or high risk high
return financial instruments such as the
stock market. The investor could also change
the selection of funds for investment twice
yearly, depending on market conditions.
Q: What are those four unit-linked
investment fund options available?
A: The first of such options is the
'Protected Fund.' It guarantees a rate of
return which will be declared for a 12 month
period at the beginning of each year. "At
maturity the value of the fund with year on
year guaranteed return will be compared with
the actual maturity value based on market
performance and whichever is higher will be
paid." The composition of this category is a
mix of debt securities, money market and
cash inclusive of treasury bills, treasury
bonds, and corporate debentures. The second
option is the 'Secure Fund' which has a
higher proportion in debt securities with a
lower exposure to equities. Third option is
the 'Balanced Fund' which is an investment
in both debt and equity markets providing a
balance between risk and return. Last but
not least, 'Growth Fund' provides a high
capital growth by investing a higher
proportion in the equity market. By
providing all these fund options we are
empowering the customer to invest his
retirement funds according to his/her own
Q: What are the other benefits offered
through Eagle LiveSmart?
A: LiveSmart lets the investor choose
a life cover of up to 2-6 times his annual
premium. If the unforeseen occurs, the
investor's loved ones will be provided with
either life cover or fund value, "whichever
Q: What made Eagle come out with a product
offering such as this?
A: Sri Lanka is reported to have a
fast ageing population. This is followed by
the unlikelihood that the concept of the
extended family will continue due to
increasing economic burdens and busy
schedules of people. Those reasons showcase
the importance of financial self reliance
and stability and therefore the need to plan
ahead to enjoy a comfortable retirement. We
introduced Eagle LiveSmart several weeks
back and the response has been overwhelming.
Int'l degree in SL
Gateway, Sri Lanka's
leading educational organization opens new
horizons in tertiary education through its
Situated in proximity to Gateway College
Rajagiriya, just 100 yards from Parliament
Road in a salubrious environment with a
serene canal flowing on a side, the Campus
consists of state-of-the-art facilities for
modern teaching, sports and recreation.
Gateway Graduate School
in partnership with NCC Education UK (NCC)
offers a choice of two career pathways to
complete BSc (Hons) Degrees in Business
Computing and Information Systems or
Business Administration here in
In both degrees, students are able to
receive industry recognized
qualifications-diplomas and advanced
diplomas from NCC on successful completion
of the first and second years. The BSc (Hons)
top-up degrees are delivered online by NCC
Education and validated and awarded by Wales
University (Wales). Undergraduates will also
have the option of transferring to
Universities in UK, USA or Australia at the
end of every academic year.
BSc (Hons) in Business Computing and
Information Systems delivered online by NCC,
validated and Awarded by Wales equips
graduates with the technical and personal
skills necessary to take part in the design,
implementation and management of modern
computer systems and to provide
professionally-minded computer practitioners
with the responsibilities and challenges
that the computing industry demand.
BSc (Hons) in Business Administration
delivered online by NCC and awarded by Wales
covers the scope of international business
through a "logical" and cohesive progression
over a period of three years via the NCC
International Degree Journey. It includes
modules preparing the students for work or
postgraduate study in the areas of
management, accounting, marketing and
finance. On completion of the degree,
students will have the "knowledge and
understanding" required at various levels in
an international business working
environment as well as the skills required
to research, analyse and manage business
relationships or to develop further through
An additional International Foundation
Programme is available for students who wish
to join after Sri Lankan or London OL. The
Foundation Programme will benefit students
who wish to continue their studies to degree
level and beyond, but who are currently
under-qualified both linguistically and in
their subject specialization to begin
The programme in addition to raising
students' English level will also provide a
grounding in Business and Computing along
with study skills, personal development and
With qualified and experienced staff drawn
from the industry, an up-to-date library and
multimedia center, the Graduate school
promises a new revolution in teaching and
learning. A "beautiful" and a spacious
garden with play areas for many sports
including Tennis, Basketball, Netball and
many others provides the necessary
environment for a modern campus. Facilities
such as swimming pool, badminton courts and
squash courts will be made available to
students in the future.
Graduate School Governor is Vidya Jyothi
Emeritus Professor Dayantha Wijeyesekera. As
a former Vice Chancellor of Moratuwa and
Open Universities, Wijeyesekera brings in a
wealth of experience as a renowned
educationist and an institution builder.
Through Gateway Graduate School he wishes to
provide Tertiary Education opportunities at
affordable costs either entirely in Sri
Lanka or partly overseas depending on
Gateway Chairman R.I.T. Alles mentions that
the organization is delighted to be serving
school leavers through its new Graduate
School. When Gateway International School
was re-named Gateway College, the theme and
focus was renewed to provide education from
'Foundation to Graduation.' Today, he sees
that dream coming true.
Suri Trading Company (Pvt) Ltd are the sole
agents in Sri Lanka for Kotra Pharma (M)
Sdn.Bhd of Malaysia a leading manufacturer
of Pharmaceutical and Nutricuticals under
the trade name Appeton. About eight years
back Suri Trading introduced Booster Energy
Drink in 240ml cans to the Sri Lankan
Booster being a lime flavoured palatable
energy drink became popular in the market.
Managing Director/CEO Sujeewa Suriyaaratchie,
a young persevering entrepreneur with his
team did not leave any stone unturned to
make his product Booster a household name in
Sports people loves to drink a can of
Booster to boost their energy.
Suriyaaratchie is proud to note that his
product has invaded the energy drink market
in Sri Lanka.
Today Suri Trading introduces their latest
quality product under the umbrella name
Booster "Blitz," a fizzy, rejuvenating,
energizing, revitalizing and refreshing
energy drink in cans and sachet form to the
Booster Blitz presented in 250 ml tall cans
is a sweet lime flavoured drink. Energy
required is derived by the presence of
Vitamin B6 & B12.The manufacturer, Kotra
confirms Booster is a Halal product
certified by IFANCA (Islamic Food and
Nutrition Council, America).
Booster Blitz is also introduced to the Sri
Lankan market,in sachets of six grams.This
product which gives a "beautiful" fizzy,
effervescences when added to a glass of
water, is a sugar free energy drink.
Therefore it is helpful in the management of
diabetes and obesity. Nevertheless it
contains United States Food & Drug
Administrative (USFDA) approved sweetness
which provides a taste of sweetness without
added calories. As such Booster Blitz powder
(6 gms.) in sachets is suitable for
diabetics and low calorie intake patients.
You can welcome your visitors by adding a
sachet of Booster Blitz powder to a glass of
chilled or normal water.
This new product with its powerful
energizing qualities having and unmatchable
lime flavour is sure to dominate the energy
drink market within a short period of time,
says Sujeewa Suriyaaratchie.
Hatton National Bank's 174th Customer Centre
was opened recently in Middeniya giving the
people of Middeniya an opportunity to
embrace an all new banking experience.
The opening of the fully-fledged HNB
Customer Centre-the first private commercial
bank to venture into the area would serve as
a more convenient choice for banking .The
Customer Centre was declared open by the
Chief Guest at the event, HNB MD/CEO..Rajendra
"The response to the opening of this
Customer Centre has been overwhelming; the
people are delighted to have a private bank
in their midst along with all the facilities
and conveniences that come with it," said
Theagarajah, "Middeniya is home to small and
medium entrepreneurs representing a number
of key industries and banking plays an
important part in their daily lives. This
Customer Centre will also be the first to
provide ATM facilities in the area and will
be a welcome 1change for the people of the
Today, HNB provides its expertise and
services through a large network of customer
centres across the island. It is also the
only bank to have not forgotten the more
rural villages, taking banking to rural
areas-when for the first time in Sri Lanka's
commercial banking history it introduced a
barefoot banker named 'Gami Pupuduwa
Upadeshaka' through its Gami Pubuduwa
Village Awakening Programme.
The HNB Middeniya Customer Centre offers a
range of facilities from savings and current
accounts, import/export loans, Singithi
(minor savings accounts), Shanthi home
loans, financing under the Gami Pubuduwa
scheme, credit cards, NRFC/RFC accounts and
leasing facilities. HNB drives on the
cutting-edge of technology with an island
wide ATM network, online banking and tele-banking
Way of life
Singer (Sri Lanka) PLC was recently
recognised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce
as one of the country's "Ten Best Corporate
Citizens," an award that pays tribute to the
company's longstanding commitment to
Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR).
Speaking about the honour, Singer Commercial
Director and CSR committee member Mahesh
Wijewardena said: "We've been unwavering in
our belief that everyone in our community is
an important stakeholder and that we share a
responsibility to ensure that as we grow, so
do the living standards of our community.
CSR is something that we've always been
firmly behind, long before it became a
Singer (Sri Lanka)
is involved in initiatives that seek to
protect the environment, build community
relationships, improve health services and
upgrade sports infrastructure among others.
The company's dedication to being a
responsible corporate citizen is shared by
all levels of employees, a commitment that
is reflected even in its approach to
exploring new ways of engaging society. Call
Centre Manager and CSR committee member
Rohan Rogers remarks that Singer (Sri Lanka)
uses its large field staff to identify
charitable projects worthy of sponsorship, a
"philosophy that was put into action when we
worked with the Nuwara Eliya General
Hospital to reduce infant mortality rates.
It was due to the efforts of our hardworking
Nuwara Eliya field staff that we were able
to both pinpoint the problem and implement a
Company's HR director Chitral Perera sums up
Singer (Sri Lanka)'s commitment to the
island's welfare when he says that "we're
just one thread in the 'beautiful' tapestry
of this country but we know that our
achievements in the corporate sphere mean
nothing unless we can lift our community up
into 'glory' with us."
Seylan Bank announced the issue of unsecured
subordinated redeemable debentures amounting
to LKR 400 million with an option to issue
at the discretion of the Board three further
tranches of LKR 200 million each in the
event the issue is oversubscribed.
These debentures are listed on Colombo Stock
Exchange's main board. The issue would be
open for subscription from December 10,
2008. However, investments in these
debentures would be accepted at any Seylan
Bank Branch during banking hours from now
Fitch ratings Lanka affirmed Seylan Bank's
National Long Term Rating of BBB+ (LKA) and
Stable outlook, and assigned BBB (LKA) for
its proposed unsecured subordinated
This debenture Issue will boost Seylan
Bank's capital base and also help to comply
with prudential requirements for capital
adequacy. The Debentures offer attractive
interest rates to cater to the investing
public for five years. Investors have the
option of subscribing for debentures
offering either a fixed interest rate or a
floating interest rate.
A fixed rate option comprises an annual
21.5% interest rate or a monthly 20.5%
interest rate (annual effective rate of
22.5%). The first floating interest rate
option is based on the simple average of the
three month weighted average Treasury bill
rate (after tax) plus 2.5% payable quarterly
and the second floating interest rate option
is based on the simple average of one year
weighted average Treasury Bill rate (after
tax) plus 2.5%, payable annually.
As such Seylan Debentures provide attractive
rates of return to enhance the lifestyles of
These debentures offer the highest return in
the market for five year investments. One
could plan one's source of funds on a
regular basis to meet monthly, quarterly and
annual commitments by matching income from
interest earned with envisaged recurring
Seylan's Interest income on advances &
interest earning assets grew by 25.16% over
the previous year and posted a 20.84% growth
in 3rd quarter 2008 compared to 3rd quarter
2007. The Bank's Non Interest Income grew by
25% up to the 3rd quarter and in the 3rd
quarter the growth over the previous year
was 14.50% on a YOY comparison.
Bank's net interest income grew marginally
by 6.16% at the end of the third quarter,
and in the 3rd quarter recorded an 8.07%
growth over the same period last year.
Operating in high inflationary and turbulent
market conditions, the Bank and the group
were able to restrict the increase in
operating expenses to 17%,and 16%
respectively compared to 3rd quarter 2007.
The recovery process picked up-to recover
LKR 405 million during the nine months ended
September 30, 2008
out of which recoveries during the third
quarter amounted to LKR 162 million-a 39 %
increase over previous year's 3rd quarter.
The Bank's total asset base grew by 6.14%
during the first three quarters over that of
December 31, 2007
and gross loans and advances had a
marginal3.71% growth reflecting the impact
of the high interest rate scenario
prevailing in the country.
The Bank's total deposit base reached LKR
118 billion by 3rd quarter 2008, from LKR
112 billion as at December 31,2007,
recording a 5% growth, a reasonable growth
under prevailing market conditions.
The Bank conducted an "exciting" promotion
for "Tikiri" accountholders in which 25
lucky winners along with one parent each
would be entitled to an all expenses paid
tour to Singapore.
Seylan Bank also launched "Ceylinco Seylan
Gold Heart" to offer the public an
opportunity to reap the benefits from a
vibrant gold market.
By leveraging technology, the Bank took this
investment opportunity one step further by
launching its website designed for would-be
investors to buy/sell from their Gold
Investment Account online.
Investing in ATMs
Central Finance (CF) expands ATM network
across 331 locations islandwide.
The launch coincides with the completion of
51 years in successful business since the
Company's incorporation on December 5, 1957.
The ATM service linking the present
Commercial Bank network, will complement "CF
Savings" which was introduced in January
2006 and offers the following benefits: CF
Fast Cash-allows cardholder to withdraw from
his savings account, balance
inquiries-allows cardholder to check
balances in savings accounts, fund transfers
within savings accounts, competitive
interest rates, unlimited number of
withdrawals upto Rs 40,000 per day with no
penalties, interest earnings from day one
with no minimum holding period,
complimentary ATM cards and free standing
These features are offered on all the
following "CF Savings" products which are
tailor made for individual customer
preferences: CF Savings, CF Excel, CF Super
Savings, CF Senior Citizens and CF Lama.
Central Finance Company PLC concluded 2007/8
successfully, mobilizing fresh deposits of
Rs 3.5 bn., and achieving a profit after tax
of Rs 1.048 bn., with Shareholder Funds
standing at Rs 6.1 bn. The Company enjoys A+
lk rating from Fitch Lanka reflecting its
financial position, good asset quality,
solvency and strong capital position
relative to peers in the financial sector.
The deposit base as at September30, 2008
stood at Rs 13.2 bn.
Silently caring for society
Once again Eagle was recognized for its
commitment to corporate social
responsibility (CSR) and was adjudged 2nd in
the "less than Rs. 10 billion turnover"
Category at an awards ceremony held
This category is a new award segment
introduced this year by the Ceylon Chamber
of Commerce (CCC) at the 'Best Corporate
Citizens Awards 2008' held at Cinnamon
Eagle pioneered and practiced CSR long
before it became the buzzword it is today.
Eagle's CSR initiatives are designed to
benefit the nation. Being "ethical and
socially responsible" is a vital core-value
of the company. Eagle isn't merely a
commercial establishment engaging in CSR,
but an entity driving the nation forward
through a value-system. Eagle's CSR is
consistent, comprehensive, and consciously
impacts the country with a commitment
towards building a better society.
Marketing & Planning AGM Amal Perera said:
"At Eagle CSR is part of the value-system
which its corporate-culture pivots on and is
a way-of-life. It runs in the veins of every
member of the Eagle family. It goes beyond
business objectives to create a continuous
impact on society. It is the driving-force
behind all activities ensuring sincerity and
absence of undue publicity vis-…-vis CSR
expenditure. Eagle CSR is not a mere
Some endeavours are in fact devoid of
publicity. Eagle's grass-roots school
development endeavours spanning over 15
years are devoid of media hype as are
"training" of staff intermediaries and Eagle
Sports Club activities such as blood
Managing Director Deepal Sooriyaarachchi
said, "Caring, the essence of the Eagle
brand is embodied in our tag-line 'Come
under our wing.'. Eagle's CSR initiatives,
significant investments made and trust funds
established to ensure long-term continuity
are a reflection of this caring. Eagle,
ensuring the long-term continuity of its
ventures, by setting aside 1% of the
preceding three years profits. As from the
very inception we will continue to
strengthen and ensure long-term
sustainability of our CSR endeavours with
In 2006 Eagle was ranked
1 for CSR in the industry by Asia Insurance
Review,in light of Eagle's policy of 'CSR
without fanfare'. Eagle was also ranked
among the 10 Best Corporate Citizens by the
CCC for three consecutive years.
Some of the company's CSR activities are
Eagle Samana ( "Creating an equally abled
Seasonal Safety (this has reduced
fire-cracker accidents in children to near
zero), Safety Ambassadors (Over 200,000
households have been reached in this
endeavour), "1 million pilgrims-zero
drownings" (as a result, consecutive Poson
seasons have recorded near zero deaths with
over 128 lives saved in the past 15 years),
National Safety Awards-For a Safer
Workplace, Recognizing Educational
Excellence, Felicitating Bravery and Eagle
Goes Green (this includes Eagle recycling
used documentation through an outsourced
service provider who collects used papers in
boxes provided for the purpose and
dispatches it weekly for recycling).
Raft of awards at NBEA
CEYLON Biscuits Ltd. (CBL) added five more
awards to its already impressive collection
at the National Business Excellence Awards (NBEA)
This is recognition of the excellence
demonstrated by the Group and its
contribution to the economic progress of the
country through exemplary business
practices. This was the first occasion that
CBL participated at this prestigious event
conducted by the National Chamber of
Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL).
CBL Group Managing Director Lakshman de
Silva said, "CBL Group has been performing
well during the past five years. Our Group
turnover increased by 255%, and in the last
financial year, which is the year under
review, we had an impressive 54% growth with
substantial increases in turnover both
locally as well as in exports.
We attribute our investments in technology,
in-depth understanding of market dynamics,
continuous introduction of innovative
products and most of all, the unwavering
dedication and commitment of our employees
for this impressive performance. We are
happy that NCCSL has recognized our
contribution to the national economy with
CBL was recognized with the following awards
at NBEA 2008:Overall Winner- National
Business Excellence Award 2008 (Silver),
Business Excellence Award-Extra Large
Category (Silver), Business Excellence
Award-Manufacturing (F & B)-Gold, Excellence
in Business & Financial Performance Award
(Silver) and Best Capacity Builder Award
Lanka Bell and Avaya, a global provider of
business communications applications,
systems and services, recently announced the
appointment of Bell Solutions as an Avaya
Business Partner in Sri Lanka for the range
of enterprise voice infrastructure solutions
in support of businesses in this country.
The appointment will result in Bell
Solutions undertaking the marketing, sales,
installation and maintenance of Avaya's
enterprise communications systems.
Lanka Bell Managing Director Prasad
Samarasinghe said: "As leading telecoms and
integrated enterprise solutions providers,
Lanka Bell and Bell Solutions possess the
synergies and technical expertise to promote
Avaya's systems. This collaboration
complements and further strengthens our
General Manager Enterprise & International
Business Mansoor Rishad said that many large
businesses in Sri Lanka, including
international banks, hotels and
conglomerates were already customers for
Avaya's enterprise communications systems.
"An increasing number of businesses are
migrating to a communications environment
that demands interoperability, features,
applications, scalability and reliability,"
he said. "Avaya systems are designed for a
world where switched-circuit and packet
networks 'intermesh,' where multi-vendor
networks are standard, where always-on
business is required, and where every dollar
of productivity is extracted from the
networking investments that are made."
Bell Solutions has emerged as a formidable
enterprise solutions provider in Sri Lanka
following Lanka Bell's Rs three billion
investment to link the country to FLAG, the
world's largest private undersea fibre optic
cable system, thereby securing broadband
access to support an extensive range of
voice and data solutions. The company had
already set up the infrastructure for BPO
services such as Call Centres and Process
Management solutions and for International
Data Centres (IDC) and standard as well as
customised IT and telecoms solutions.
Avaya's ASEAN Managing Director Eugene Chng
said: "This agreement with Bell Solutions
will help extend the availability and
benefits Avaya brings to Sri Lankan
businesses and their employees, including
increasing efficiency and cost savings. Bell
Solutions was a natural choice for us as
they have a reputation for serving
businesses in this country. This agreement
extends the successful relationship Avaya
has built in serving the customer base
Hedging to be heard on Dec. 15
Central Bank (CB)/Monetary Board is expected
to give their recommendations to the Supreme
Court (SC) in relation to Ceylon Petroleum
Corporation's (CPC's) hedging contracts with
banks on December 15, banking sources said.
This was after the SC last month suspended
CPC's hedged liabilities payments and
directed the CB to look into this matter
before any further payments are made.
CPC's hedging liabilities to banks are
estimated to be in the region of US$ 40
million last month.
As a result of SC's interim order, ICICI
Bank which was to provide a US$ 25 million
loan to the government, has however held
back this payment, until the hedging matter
"They fear that government's liabilities to
banks such as their's may stand the risk of
being suspended in the light of SC's interim
order, that's why they are waiting to hear
the SC's outcome before releasing any money
to the government," the sources said.
Com Bank liable for $9 mn.,
Commercial Bank (Com Bank) on Friday
informed the Colombo Stock Exchange that
their hedging liability outstanding would
rise to US$ 8.93 million at the end of their
hedging contract at present prices in lieu
of the recent Supreme Court interim order
suspending the payment by Ceylon Petroleum
Corporation (CPC) of the payments under
CPC's oil hedging contracts.
It said that based on the Bank's West Texas
Intermediate (WTI)-a type of crude oil used
as a benchmark in oil pricing, it has an
outstanding "WTI Crude Oil Hedging Contract
with CPC" that expires on June 30, 2009.
Com Bank has a continuing liability under
its "back to back" hedge contract with its
international counter-party. "If payment
suspension under this hedging contract
continues, our liability under our contract
to make payments to our back-to-back market
risk counter party would total US$ 8.93
million (Rs.982,300,000 at today's exchange
rate of Rs. 110) if the WTI crude oil price
remains at the US$ 48 per barrel current
price throughout the remaining period of
this contract," the Bank further said.
Beef is the cheapest source of protein in at
least one state in India.
Indian Anand Nair, Food & Beverage Manager
Airport Garden Hotel told this reporter that
only two states in India permit the
slaughter of cattle-Kerala and Mizoram.
Keralite Nair a Hindu is also beef eater.
Eating beef is however prohibited by Hindus
as cattle are considered sacred by them.
However, Nair said that cattle are the
cheapest source of protein in his State
Kerala, which is only one of two states in
India that permits the slaughter of these
"While chicken in Kerala is over Indian Rs.
(IRs.) 50 a kilo and mutton more than IRs.
100; a kg., of beef is only IRs. 20 plus,
thus making it the cheapest source of
protein for Keralites like us," he said.
Upward pressure on rates
Wednesday's Treasury Bill (T. Bill) primary
auction once more saw Central Bank (CB)
intervention, with the CB re-issuing only
Rs.2,690 million worth of T. Bills to the
market, from that of the originally
earmarked amount of Rs.6,000 million. CB
said that bids for the remainder (Rs. 3,3310
million) were rejected, a term identified
that CB got captive funds to subscribe to
the same, or CB subscribed to it, or a mix
Weighted average yields (WAYs) of T. Bills
of 91 and 364 day maturities remained
stagnant at 17.20% and 19.06% respectively,
as CB intervention prevented rates from
Of the Rs. 1,191 million and Rs. 3,456
million offers received for those two
tenures, CB allowed only Rs. 134 million and
Rs. 556 million respectively to be
subscribed to the same.
The WAY for T.Bills of 182 day tenure moved
up marginally by 14 basis points to 18.42%,
with the CB accepting Rs. 2,000 million
worth of bids received, from the total
amount of Rs. 4,442 million worth of bids
made for this tenure.
Aruna Alwis has been appointed CEO/Secretary
of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of
Sri Lanka (ICASL) with effect from this
He received his Executive education from
INSEAD, IIM-Bangalore and Open University
UK and is an Associate Member of the Institute for the
Management of Information Systems UK. Alwis
holds a Diploma in Business Administration
University and an MBA from Warnborugh
John Keells Holdings plc (JKH), consequent
to a share buyback has reduced the number of
its ordinary listed shares by 25,495,999; ie
from 636,085,912 to 610,585,913.
Rs. 153 mn., compensation pkg.,
John Keells Holdings (JKH) will pay Lanka
Marine Services (LMS) workers Rs 153.2
million as compensation.
JKH in an announcement made to the Colombo
Stock Exchange (CSE) on Wednesday said that
consequent to a Supreme Court (SC) order
made on a fundamental rights plea made by 77
LMS employees, SC has ordered that Rs. 153.2
million made by LMS to the Labour
Commissioner General for purposes of
terminal benefits, be released to those
Rs. 500 mn., investment
Chemical Industries (Colombo)
plc (CIC) in a stock exchange filing made on
Thursday said they plan to invest over
Rs.500 million in a five years to develop
the dairy industry in the East and in
It said that CIC through its subsidiary CIC
Agri Businesses (Pvt.) Ltd., (CICAB)
recently started dairy development
activities in the Easten Province and in
As a first step CICAB signed an agreement
with Mahaweli Livestock Agro Enterprises
(Pvt.) Ltd., to manage two farms in
Welikande and Punani.
The main object is to develop the liquid
milk industry in an around these farms which
boasts of a heritage in the dairy industry.
The company will be providing technical
support and infrastructure for milk
collection, preservation and transport based
out of these two farms.
The "companies" collection/production of
milk which is around 600-800 litres daily
will increase to more than 25,000 litres in
a period of five years.
The milk produced will be converted to value
added forms and will be sold through a
marketing network in the Western Province
and in metro cities. The programme is also
coupled with a maize and soya bean outgrower
networkwhich would benefit the livestock
CF's PAT flat
The Central Finance (CF) Group in the second
quarter ended September 30, 2008 saw Group
income grow by 18.81% year on year (YoY) to
Rs. 1.6 billion. Group net profit in the
period under review however increased
marginally by 0.11% YoY to Rs. 282.39
Meanwhile in the six months ended September
30, 2008 Group income grew by 16.97% YoY to
Rs. 3.6 billion, while net profit in the
period under review increased by 4.21% YoY
to Rs. 594. 9million.
CF is the only finance company to have an A+
rating by Fitch International. There are
banks that are rated lower than A+ by Fitch.
CF recently celebrated its Golden Jubilee
and the hallmark of the company has been
"safety & prudent management, looking after
the interests of our numerous stakeholders,
particularly our depositors," the company in
a statement said.
Fitch Ratings Lanka has upgraded Lanka Orix
Finance Company Ltd's National Long-term
rating to 'A-(lka)' (A minus (lka)) from 'BBB+(lka)'
(Triple B plus). The Rating Outlook is
stable. Further Lanka ORIX Leasing Company
PLC (LOLC) which is the parent company of
LOFIN was affirmed a national long term
rating of 'A (lka)'
The upgraded rating A- (lka) long term
rating denotes a low expectation of credit
risk and the capacity for timely payment of
financial commitments is considered strong.
The rating action reflects LOFIN's close
integration with LOLC which is backed by the
world's largest leasing company and Japan's
second largest financial services provider.
LOLC Group has been constantly growing its
profitability in the past and recorded a 50%
growth in Revenue and a 21% increase in
profit after tax in 2008.
Stock market announcements
Arpico Finance Company plc in order to meet
its core capital requirements have declared
a rights issue in the proportion of three
new shares for every seven shares held as at
the date of allotment at Rs. 25 a share.
Subject to approval, the number of shares to
be issued will be 787,500 ordinary shares.
$ 125 mn., revenue
Holcim (Lanka) Ltd. sold 1.25 million tons
of cement last year amounting to US $ 120
$ 500,000 export
The first consignment of local herbal and
beauty culture products worth US$ 500,000
manufactured by Kingai Kagaku (Lanka) Ltd.
Poruwadanda, Horana was recently exported
to Iran under the patronage of Export
Development Minister Prof. G.L.Peiris.
Associated at this event were Dreamrone
Group of Companies Managing Director
Priyanka Fernando, Horana Pradeshiya Sabah
Chairman Yasapala Koralege, Sri Lanka Export
Credit Insurance Corporation 'EPARA'
Coordination Officer Ms. Nandanie Edirimanne
and messrs. Deepal Nelson and Chatura Perera,
Dreamrone Group's Director and Sales
Some companies which have good variable pay
plans have tied their bonus scheme entirely
to the company's bottom line, a management
Dinesh Weerakkody, Managing Director
Cornucopia Lanka Ltd speaking at the CMA
International Business Management Conference
recently said there should be a conscious
effort/commitment to align executive
compensation to the success of the company
and companies should set a large proportion
of total target pay as variable compensation
"Because of the increasing mobility of the
Sri Lankan workforce, there is also the need
to develop better people management
strategies to nurture, develop, and retain
the existing skilled talent we have," he
Weerakkody suggested to start a recognition
programme based on performance. "It is a low
cost way to reward employees and allows you
to be selective,"he observed.
FCCISL's Business for Peace Initiative (BPI)
was adjudged a winner of the best CSR
projects at the recently held Asian CSR
forum in Singapore.
BPI competed with 170 entries from 29
countries and 120 organizations for this
award which was presented in Singapore
FCCISL Secretary General Samantha
Abeywickrama and Senior Vice President Tissa
Jayaweera accepted the award on behalf of
FCCISL. Earlier in September this same
Initiative was recognized as the Best Social
Marketing Project at the Asian Brand
Frenchman Jerome Auvity is the new General
Manager of Colombo Hilton. He succeeds
Intel EM Ltd, in collaboration with the
Education Ministry's Secondary Education
Modernization Project feted over 100
teachers trained under the Intel Teach
Programme at New Library Auditorium Badulla
The Intel Teach Programme has trained more
than 7,000 teachers from the Western,
Central and Uva provinces to date in Sri
Associated at this event were Viharamahadevi
Balika Vidyalaya Badulla Principal Mrs. M.
B. D. Swarnalatha, Uva Provincial Education
Director K. M. Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka Liaison
office Country Business Manager Indika de
Zoysa, Uva Province Chief Minister Wijith
Wijayamuni Soyza, Port Development Minister
Dilan Perera, Deputy Education Minister M.
Sachiththanandan and Secondary Education
Modernization Project (SEMP) Uva Province
Project Manager Anura De Silva.
HSBC Colombo Fashion Week (CFW) 2009 will
see 15 collections from Sri Lanka. The focus
is on Spring Summer 2009 and partly on
Spring Summer 2010.
HSBC Colombo Fashion Week is being hosted in
association with Taj Samudra from February
This year the number of buyers have
increased from last year, majority of them
In addition to 15 Sri Lankan designers there
will be seven international and regional
"This will attract more retail buyers to
order from Sri Lankan designers."
Some of the Sri Lankan designers among
others who will be seen at CFW 2009 are
Yolanda, Sonali White, Middle Finger,
Kanchana, Darshi, Prabhat and Asanga.
Increased flights to Male
SriLankan Airlines recently increased its
existing London-Male flights from two per
week to four.
Kaushal Seneviratne, SriLankan's Regional
Manager UK, Europe & Americas, said: "
Maldives is one of the destinations of
holidaymakers in the
and other European nations."
More than 850,000 tourists visited the
Maldives in 2007, mainly from Europe.
Up to now,
passengers bound for the Maldives on
SriLankan returned to London via Colombo.
SriLankan operates eight flights from
Colombo to London.
SriLankan has 15 flights between Male and
Colombo, and also operates two return
is the largest country of origin of tourists
to the Maldives, with more than 120,000
SriLankan Airlines is the largest operator
to the Maldives, with a total of 21 weekly
flights from Colombo, London and Tokyo. Male
is a 75-minute flight from Colombo.
SriLankan Airlines flies thrice weekly to
Rome from last Wednesday, its first new
destination since the management of the
National Carrier changed hands last April.
Kelani Valley Plantations PLC (KVPL)
received the Agricultural and Plantations
Sector Award at National Business
Excellence Awards (NBEA) conducted by the
National Chamber of Commerce recently.
KVPL was also presented the Gold Export
award in the 'Service Providers to
Exports-Extra Large Sector' at the recent
NCE Export Awards conducted by National
Chamber of Exporters.
KVPL manages 27 estates with an extent of
more than 13,000 hectares, divided almost
equally in to tea and rubber.