R.M.K. Ratnayake and Rohan
Public servants fear to take
Treasury Secretary’s post
Public servants will fear to take the
Secretary to the Treasury (ST) post due to
government’s failure to reduce petrol
This was said on Friday by Trade Ministry
Secretary Dr. R.M.K. Ratnayake when
The Sunday Leader asked him what the
position of the government was in regard to
Wednesday’s Supreme Court (SC) order to
reduce petrol prices.
He said that fuel prices don’t come under
the ambit of the Trade Ministry, but under
the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and
The SC on a public petition on Wednesday
directed that the retail price of petrol be
reduced from Rs. 122 to Rs. 100 a litre from
Wednesday midnight on the basis of falling
oil prices globally due to the worldwide
However, the Cabinet of Ministers chaired
by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday
said that this reduction could not be made
as they had not got the SC order.
But Ratnayake said that this order was
delivered by Court to both the ST and CPC
Chairman for implementation.
"If the ST is regarded as the
government’s chief accounting officer to
whom else could this order be delivered?"
Ratnayake, a former Additional Finance
Ministry Secretary asked.
"This may create a precedent, leading to
a breakdown in law and order with the public
not taking the rule of law seriously, it may
also have international repercussions," he
Ratnayake added that the Cabinet’s
decision of not implementing the SC order
was because it affects revenue.
Neither ST Sumith Abeysinghe nor CPC
Chairman Major General (ret.) Asoka
Thoradeniya were immediately available for
When Court orders are not implemented, no
public servant would want to take the post
of ST for fear of contempt of court,
Law lecturer at the Colombo University
Rohan Edirisinha said that the Cabinet’s
decision of not implementing the SC order
was a clear violation of the law.
Former President J. R. Jayewardene
manipulated the law, but this action is a
direct violation of the law, he said.
A CPC source speaking on the grounds of
anonymity said on Friday that despite the SC
order, they have not reduced their wholesale
price of petrol as a result of the Cabinet
He however said that petrol shed
operators have begun buying petrol from
them, whereas earlier they had stopped
making purchases after the SC order
expecting a price reduction.
This caused a shortage of petrol in the
The source said that CPC controls 2/3rds
of the country’s market for petrol and
diesel, selling 115 million litres of petrol
under normal circumstances on a daily basis.
The balance 1/3rd of the market is
controlled by the Indian operator Lanka
Indian Oil Company plc (LIOC)
LIOC Managing Director Suresh Kumar said
that as per the Supreme Court order they
will be selling their petrol at the pump at
Rs. 100 a litre beginning from Friday
Meanwhile, a car user said that petrol
was available from Friday, but he had bought
it at the old price of Rs. 122 a litre.
CB misleads public
"Today there seems to be a serious lack
of integrity in the information that is
coming out, on the basis of which people are
I think some of the information that is
coming out of the Central Bank is misleading
and lulling people into a false sense of
hope, instead of making them take the
necessary steps. I think information
integrity is the key to the future when it
comes to risk mitigation," former Ceylon
Chamber Chairman Chandra Jayaratne told
Benchmark last Sunday. Touching on the
global financial crisis, Jayaratne said that
it was unrealistic to believe that it would
not affect Sri Lanka. "Even if decision
makers believe it is realistic and that we
are going to be totally removed from
anything in the world today, tomorrow
there’s going to be a new world order.
There’s going to be a paradigm shift in
trade, investment, aid, relationships and
security that will emerge out of this.
We should plan for that. I believe we are
totally in ‘sleep mode,’" he pointed out.
Jayaratne told popular TV programme’s
Savithri Rodrigo that Sri Lanka would feel
the pinch three to four months down the
line. "That’s what we call a lag period in
the Sri Lankan economy.
But the delayed impact carries on when
the world has recovered, so even if there is
a three month gap here, there could be a six
month gap at the end. In the next 18 to 21
months Sri Lanka will really feel the
pinch," he asserted.
As for our black economy, estimated to be
in excess of 10% of the country’s GDP,
Jayaratne said this figure could soon
increase, especially given our tax system,
corruption and a lack of control of
anti-corruption measures. This would impact
our banking and macroeconomic structures, he
warned. Commenting on the many swords of
Damocles hanging over our heads-the rupee
shortfall, fiscal deficit, excessive state
spending, a large administration and
subsidies, Jayaratne said that the need of
the hour was collective action.
"One thing that’s missing in this country
is that there is no public debate on key
issues. I would invite the government and
everybody to join in a debate and let the
best judgment prevail to take this country
forward in this current crisis," he
Benchmark is presented by LMD and is
aired on TNL on Sundays at noon, with a
repeat at 9.05 p.m. The programme is also
carried over Dialog TV as well as on LBN and
on Bloomberg Channel on Mondays at 10 p.m.
The weekly biz show is produced by the wrap
Cinnamon prices down 35-42%
Cinnamon producers who were getting
around Rs.850-900 per kg of fine grades
cinnamon have now seen prices come down to a
level of Rs.500-525 per kg., because of the
global financial crisis.
"Course" cinnamon, which was selling
around Rs.600-650 per kg has come down to
Rs.350 per kg.
Even at Rs.500 and 350 respectively the
producers are finding difficulty in being
able to sell the produce.
Dealers and exporters are facing cash
flow problems due to their inability to sell
their stocks that they are having in hand
even at a loss. Exporters say that for the
last 4-5 weeks no export orders have been
Buyers have still not paid for most of
the exports already made and they have
delayed or cancelled earlier orders placed
that were to be shipped.
Major buyers are from Central and South
Cinnamon industry consists of 80%
Cinnamon smallholders and peelers have
already decided to have a protest march and
also seek the blessing of the Seenigama
Devale on December 27 to resurrect the
If this trend continues for the next 2-3
months the cinnamon industry will have a
natural death. The Spice Council (TSC)
wishes to suggest to the relevant
authorities to immediately fund a minimum
price support scheme for cinnamon producers,
30% price support on fertilizer used and
give the exporters and dealers who are
carrying large stocks a relief on interest
paid to the banks.
It is also recommended to give fresh
interest free capital from January 1, 2009
for exporters and dealers to purchase the
cinnamon produced by the smallholders. A
charge of cess will only add to the problem
of the smallholders as the cess will be
passed down to them.
TSC in the past few weeks has been trying
to meet all MPs from the Southern Province
to appraise them of the grave situation
facing the cinnamon industry.
TSC thanks the President for instructing
the Export Agriculture Department and other
Government officials to use the Cinnamomum
zeylanicum Blume as the botanical name of
cinnamon at a meeting held recently.
Upward pressure on rates
Wednesday’s Treasury Bill (T. Bill)
primary auction saw the weighted average
yields of T. Bills of 91 and 182 day tenures
move up by four basis points each week on
week, while those of the 364 day tenure
remained stagnant at 19.06% apparently due
to Central Bank (CB) intervention.
T. Bills of a year’s tenure had Rs. 3,606
million worth of offers from the market of
which only Rs. 896 million was sold to the
Similarly, T. Bills of 91 and 182 day
tenures had offers worth Rs. 2,430 million
and Rs. 3,340 million made by the market, of
which only Rs. 840 million and Rs. 653
million respectively were sold to them.
This tender was for the re-issue of Rs.
8,000 million worth of maturing T. Bills of
which only Rs. 2,389 million was re-issued
to the market and the balance (Rs.
5,611million) rejected, a term usually
identified that the CB/government got
captive funds to invest in the same at rates
lower than that which the market was
demanding or that the CB subscribed to the
same, or that it was a mix of both.
The downside in CB investing in T. Bills
or giving credit to the government/Treasury
by releasing new or printed money to the
same is that such actions fuels demand
driven inflationary pressure in the economy.
Re-issuing of T. Bills is a popular way that
the government/Treasury resorts to, in
meeting their borrowing needs domestically.
Meanwhile, CB’s T. Bill holdings in the
week ended Thursday increased by 5.9% week
on week to Rs. 119,257 million. In the 13
week period from September 18 to December 18
CB has increased its T. Bill holdings from
Rs. 1,911 million to Rs. 119,257 million; an
over 6,100% increase since.
8 MT of food waste
Over eight metric tons of food waste from
Colombo hotels is dumped on a daily basis to
a garbage pile in Colombo North. Urchins in
the vicinity help themselves to this pile.
CP cuts costs
Three ingredients go to make a
product-raw materials, water and energy.
Cleaner Production (CP) is a combination
of both cost and waste minimization in the
production process in a factory.
Two companies that have benefited from
using CP "techniques" to cut down costs are
Kotagala Plantations by recycling water used
for rubber manufacturing, thereby reducing
their water bill and AMW, by using tyre
buffing dust (the residue accumulated when
making tyres) to make floor mats.
(Cleaner Production (CP) consultant P.P.
Perera lecturing on CP at the Ceylon Chamber
of Commerce on Wednesday)
Interest cost doubles
LOLC Group in the second quarter (2Q) ended
September 30,2008 saw profit after tax (PAT)
increase to Rs. 279 mn., after providing Rs.
78 million as corporate tax.
Group operating profit before net interest
cost in the first (1H) increased by 87% year
on year (YoY) to Rs. 3,267 mn., while PAT
increased by 55% to Rs. 425 mn.
Group's net interest cost in the 1H
increased by 97% to Rs. 2,818 mn., due to
increase in interest rates as well as
increase in borrowings supporting growth.
However, the Group was able to contain its
interest expense by borrowing from foreign
financial institutions at a lower cost than
Group provisioning for doubtful debt for the
Q was at the same level as last year, at Rs.
77 mn., and provisioning for 1H was Rs. 150
mn., with emphasis placed on collections and
containing non performing loans.
The LOLC Group in the 2Q ended September
30,2008 saw Group income increase by 96% YoY
to Rs. 2,706 mn.
Income in the 1H increased 76% YoY to Rs.
Group Managing Director Kapila Jayawardena
said that LOLC was able to achieve strong
growth during these volatile times by way of
careful portfolio management through sound
credit practices and risk mitigation
strategies, a healthy product mix and effort
of its committed staff members.
LOLC Group's product portfolio includes
finance and operating leases, hire
purchases, loans, Islamic financing, debt
factoring, invoice discounting, working
capital and micro finance loans, insurance
brokerage services, savings and fixed
deposits, resident and non resident foreign
currency accounts and fleet management
services including vehicles for short term
as well as long term hire.
Group operating profit before net interest
cost for the Q more than doubled to Rs.
1,954 million YoY. Operating profit for the
quarter increased by 174% YoY to Rs. 314
LOLC is one of the few institutions in Sri
Lanka with direct access to such funding
opportunities due to its financial stability
LOLC's subsidiary, Lanka ORIX Finance
Company received Central Bank approval to
mobilise foreign currency deposits, in
addition to mobilising local currency
deposits, a first for the non banking
Deposits mobilised from customers nearly
doubled when compared with the previous year
to Rs. 4,583 mn.. The ATM card for savings
deposit holders was launched in September,
and depositors can withdraw cash from over
343 Commercial Bank ATM, or from the
company's own ATM located at the LOLC head
office in Rajagiriya.
Fitch Ratings upgraded the credit rating of
Lanka ORIX Finance Company to A- (lka), and
affirmed LOLC's credit rating of A (lka).
Total assets of the Group increased to Rs.
48,654 mn., from Rs. 28,621 mn., a year ago.
LOLC entered in to an agreement with the
Postal Department to service customers
through the postal network. LOLC began micro
finance operations in four post offices,
Malsiripura, Balangoda, Alpitiya and
Kuliyapitiya early this month as a result.
Platinum for Accounts
Commercial Bank's Annual Report has been
adjudged the best among financial sector
companies in the SAARC region every year
since 2001, while its 2004 Annual Report was
selected as the best across all categories
in the region, "making the Bank the most
consistent winner of these awards in South
In addition to SAFA awards, the Bank won the
Joint Gold Award for 'Excellence in Annual
Financial Reporting' at the recent Annual
Report Awards presented by the Institute of
Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (ICASL).
The Bank also won the Gold Award in the
Banking Sector category and the Joint Silver
award in the Management Commentary category
at this prestigious awards ceremony.
Commercial Bank also won the inaugural award
for Corporate Governance Disclosures in last
year's SAFA awards and was the second runner
up in the overall award across all
Judging for the SAFA Awards is based on the
scrutiny of annual reports nominated by the
"apex" accounting bodies in India, Pakistan,
Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
The annual reports nominated by these bodies
are judged in seven categories: Banking
Sector & Non-banking in Financial Sector;
Manufacturing Sector; Communication and
Information Technology Sector; Hospitality,
Health, Transport and Shipping sector;
Non-governmental Organizations and Public
Latest in video-audio tech.
Sony recently launched its Bravia LCD TVs
and the latest Sony Cyber-shot cameras to
the local market.
A company statement said that the new Bravia
T Series, an entry-level LCD TV and the
X450A, the signature LCD TV model not only
continues Bravia's reputation for delivering
high-quality images with leading imaging
technologies but also highlights Sony's
leadership and commitment in the LCD arena.
The T models equipped with Dual Tweeters
effectively delivers natural high frequency
reproduction with accurate vocal clarity to
the ears. On the other hand, models with the
3D Woofer boasts powerful bass through the
ingeniously designed Side Duct that
strengthens bass reflection and broadens
sound fields. Through either choice, users
are treated to an audio experience while
watching their favourite programming.
Siedles General Manager David Martenstyn
said, "Being the trendsetter in the LCD TV
market, Sony understands our customers'
desire for the best in home entertainment
that satisfies their pursuit of pleasure."
Siedles are the local agents of Sony.
Bravia T Series feature a built-in FM radio
as well as a customisable 5-Band Graphic
Equalizer. Based on three preset modes
(Dynamic/Standard/Clear Voice), the
equalizer function allows users to enjoy
richer sound according to their preferences
and choice of content.
The T Series also sports the Bravia Engine
2, a digital integrated picture-enhancement
engine. Combined with Sony's algorithms such
as Intelligent Picture and MPEG Noise
Reduction.The T Series delivers crisp,
noise-free images with sharp edges every
time, ensuring the ultimate in viewing
Powered by Bravia Engine 2 PRO, a high
definition video processor that integrates
picture enhancement technologies like the
DRC-MF v3 (Digital Reality Creation), the
new X450A series enables seamless quality
viewing from both Standard Definition and
Full HD sources. Additionally, the Bravia
Engine 2 PRO technology improves detailed
textures and dark scenes in imaging to
produce crisp and clear images with more
depth and increased sharpness.
"Being at the forefront of technological
innovation, Sony aims to constantly redefine
the boundaries of audio and visual LCD TV
technology to deliver the ultimate
entertainment experience," says Martenstyn.
Meanwhile,the latest Sony Cyber-shot cameras
feature the unique Smile Shutter
Function,"proving that a nice smile can be
With the implementation of the Smile Shutter
function, as and when required by the user,
Sony has developed a unique feature that
automatically shoots when a smiling face is
detected. The new Cyber-shot DSC-T77 and
DSC-T700 are the latest reiterations that
continue that tradition.
"For the DSC-T77 and DSC-T700, we combined
Sony's trademark stylish design with
cutting-edge technologies such as enhanced
Smile Shutter, Face Detection and
Intelligent Scene Recognition to provide the
best camera experience to the user," Said
At 13.9mm slim, the DSC-T77 is the slimmest
Cyber-shot camera with Optical SteadyShot
optical image stabilizer that eliminates
blurring caused by camera shake as well as
an improved high sensitivity mode of ISO
3200 that allow for faster shutter speeds
which removes blur images captured
especially during indoor or twilight shoots.
With its 4GB internal memory and easy photo
management function, the DSC-T700 camera
also serves as a large portable photo album,
giving users the ability to capture, view
and share memories wherever they go. "With
4GB of internal memory, you now have enough
storage space to carry 40,000 photos on the
DSC-T700, without the need for an additional
Both cameras also integrate several key
technologies and features that deliver high
picture quality and results under a wide
range of shooting conditions:
Both DSC-T77 and DSC-T700 sport a
10.1-megapixel Super HAD CCD sensor paired
with a newly developed Carl Zeiss
Vario-Tessar 4x optical zoom lens, giving
the DSC-T77 and DSC-T700 the ability to
capture beautiful and vivid photos while
remaining slim. The BIONZ image processing
engine on both cameras also ensures
high-resolution images and fast camera
Sohli reminisces closed economy era
Business leader and industrialist Sohli
Captain, whose company Paints & General
Industries is the local manufacturing
partner for CIC Paints and now for Akzo
Nobel, elaborated on how local manufacturing
began during an era when imports were
restricted and every single machine needed
had to be turned out locally.
Captain was speaking at a recent function
where CIC Paints Lanka Pvt Ltd unveiled it's
new corporate identity Akzo Nobel Paints
Lanka(Pvt) Ltd, at an event organized for
its partners, key stake holders and
Captain has a 50% equity stake in Akzo Nobel
Lanka, while the balance is held by Akzo
The Dutch multinational Akzo Nobel NV, the
largest coating manufacturer in the world,
acquired Imperial Chemical Industries PLC (ICI)
worldwide in January 2008. CIC Paints, an
associate of Chemical Industries (Colombo)
Ltd, till then, was a part (ie CIC Paints)
of ICI Paints plc, the Global leader in
decorative paints and owners of the Dulux
brand. Chemical Industries is also
controlled by Captain.
Through this acquisition Akzo Nobel is now
the global leader in decorative paints, in
addition to already being the world's
largest coatings manufacturer overall, said
CIC Paints Managing Director Gerald de Saram
said, " Following the acquisition of ICI,
Akzo Nobel has become both the largest
coatings manufacturer in the world and the
largest manufacturer of decorative coatings
The company also recognized key
stakeholders and past business leaders who
made contributions to ensure the present
standing of the company. They also
recognized with appreciation past stalwarts
of the company such as Chris de Saram who
played enormous roles in driving this
business to what it is today.
De Saram continuing said the Company wished
to project a more contemporary image of
itself and be viewed as something "modern,
global and strong, a business with global
resources within its reach and all this
available for upgrading the local business
for the benefit of Sri Lankan consumers. A
closer identity to international business we
also expect, will eventually lead to greater
investment in this market by Akzio."
Akzo's range of vehicle refinish coatings
are also presently sold here. Its business
will in future be controlled and managed by
the newly named, Akzo Nobel Paints Lanka.
"Garden of Eden"
Ceylinco Homes, the only Superbrand property
developer in Sri Lanka and the developer of
Eden Gardens luxury housing estate announced
a special offer for those investors who wish
to give themselves a gift of a new home this
Discerning home owners can now move in to a
new luxury home at Eden Gardens on a down
payment and the balance to be followed in
nine interest free monthly instalments.
This stately gated compound at
Thalawathugoda blends the best of nature
with aesthetic homes that reflect paradise
Despite being a "heartbeat" away from
Colombo, Eden Gardens is located in a
picturesque country setting. Bordered by a
rubber plantation on one side and an expanse
of rolling greens on the other, Eden Gardens
is a "breathtaking" sight.
A few homes are available for sale but
owners are assured of living in an "august"
community peopled by professionals, CEOs and
directors of leading companies, as also
expatriates, who have recognized the value
this project offers.
Since the laying of the project's foundation
stone in 2004, right up till today, the
value of an
home has appreciated over 30% every year.
Spread across 13 acres, homes are available
in four styles-Cedar, Maple, Ebony and Pine.
The extent of plots range from 12-20 perches
and the villas boast 2,000-3,500 sq. ft in
is akin to living in a mini city of one's
own, complete with a club house, swimming
pool, gymnasium, squash and badminton court,
jogging track, children's play area and a
mini market. 24-hour security is provided by
security guards. Completely child safe,
children are free to roam safely within the
gated compound. Adults too can unwind with
some sporting activity or take long walks
along its picturesque boulevards.
homes have appreciated the designs by
Australian architects Steven Menzies of
Harvie and Ambignano Group in collaboration
with Design Consortium Ltd., responsible for
the structural, mechanical and electrical
engineering aspects of the project. This
project has attracted expatriates and the
Sri Lankan Diaspora who have perceived it as
a sound and secure investment backed by the
country's diversified conglomerate Ceylinco
Branching out to B'desh
CIM Sri Lanka Region (SLR) expects to
intensify its expansion strategy both
regionally and provincially in 2009, its
Chairman Shiraz Latiff said.
Speaking at its 13th AGM held under the
theme "Marketing to the Masses and Marketers
to the Boardroom" in Colombo recently,
Latiff said that the highlight of CIM SLR's
achievement was being singled out for the
Best International Region Award for the
fourth consecutive year at CIM International
CIM SLR has identified 4 key stakeholder
groups-current and potential students,
members who have already completed the
qualification, channels and corporates in
its endeavour to build CIM as the preferred
choice for marketing and fostering
excellence in the marketing profession.
Unfolding their strategy for the coming
year, Latiff said their objectives are:
Increased benefits and facilities for
current studying and professional members,
taking CIM to the corporates and the
industry and expanding provincially and
They hope to set up at least one CIM
Accredited Study Centre each in Kurunegala,
Galle and Kandy; and branch out into
Bangladesh by launching its second Member
Group in 2009. Among the ground breaking
initiatives to be launched next year were:
Joint programmes in collaboration with other
professional institutes; proposed Knowledge
Hub, Membership Hub and Resource Hub to
enhance its facilities to the members and
provincial and regional expansion
Among the key initiatives taken by The
Institute towards student development and
education support during 2008 were the
launch of the Introductory Certificate in
Marketing programme, introduction of local
currency payment and the easy payment scheme
through HSBC and American Express credit
cards, launch of CIM Student Chapters and
career guidance seminars.
In addition CIM Professional Series, CIM
Talking Point Series, Fellows' and Chartered
Marketers' Forum, CIM Ball, CEOs' Breakfast
Forum and the Annual Conference were amongst
the regular programmes organised this year.
In July 2008 CIM SLR marked another
milestone in The Institute's history by
launching the first CIM Member Group in
CIM SLR Honorary President Amal Cabraal
chaired the meeting.
Two hundred and fifty four youth recently
trained at the Handwerk Centre, Payagala
were feted by Construction Minister Rajitha
There is an unmet demand to fill over
200,000 vacancies overseas and possession of
vocational qualifications would make one
competitive to secure such jobs Senaratne
Handwerk was established by the Federation
of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri
Lanka (FCCSIL) and National Construction
Association of Sri Lanka (NCASL) with
technical collaboration with Handwerkskammer
Koblenz, Germany in 2007.
Financial assistance was received from the
Netherlands (principal sponsor) and German
Rheinland Pfalz State.
The original objective was to meet the
demand for trained personnel for the
industry to meet the reconstruction tasks
that arose as an aftermath of the Tsunami
FCCISL President Kosala Wickramanayake said
that one more Handwerk Centre has been
established in Thirukkovil in the Eastern
He added that the Handwerk Centres of
Western and eastern provinces would
collectively train over 2,000 youth in
various trades in the construction industry.
Handwerk Centre Management Board Chairman
Saliya Kaluarachchi said that here were 254
youth trained in various fields related to
the construction industry. Out of the 254,
welding has the highest number of
participants with 41% followed by air
conditioning (19%) and masonry and carpentry
Drop in business visits to Colombo
Business visits to
Colombo are expected to fall due to current economic conditions,
John Keells Stock Brokers in a report said.
It also said that Taj Lanka Hotels plc
recorded a 7% decline in revenue to Rs. 198
mn., during the second quarter ended
September 30,2008 ( 2Q2009) to Rs 198 mn.,
while loss for the Q was Rs 20 mn, over a
1,800% year on year (YoY) increase in
First half (1H) 2009 registered a 5% growth
in turnover to Rs 376 mn., while losses
reduced by 3% to Rs 47mn.
Average occupancy for 1H2009 was 36% while
average room rate was Rs 6,593. Arrivals by
Indian nationals, one of the main target
groups of TAJ, reduced by 21% to 37,101
during the period, March to September.
The company reduced its expenditure on
marketing by 38% during 1H2009 to Rs 3 mn.
Other operating income which includes
management fee from Airport Garden Hotel
dropped by 8% to Rs 7mn. Administration
expenses for 1H2009 were 11% higher than
the comparative period last year at Rs 50mn.
Finance costs in 1H2009 grew by 26% to Rs
28 mn., mainly due to increases in long term
borrowings by 56% to Rs 492 mn. "We expect
Taj to record a Rs 60 mn., loss in fy '09,"
the report said.
CIMA CEO Charles Tilley said that business
in Sri Lanka will continue as usual and
members and students in Sri Lanka can be
assured that there will be no impact on the
service and support they can expect despite
the suspension of the' Sri Lanka Divisional
Council that took place on December 12.
Regional Director, South Asia and Middle
East, Bradley Emerson said, 'There is no
need for our stakeholders to worry over the
divisional support. Our operations are
continuing and even today the CBA
examinations are been conducted at the
division. All activities and services to the
members and students will continue as
Earlier, CIMA Sri Lanka President Ms. Gowri
Shankar in response to this suspension said
that Glynn Lowth, President CIMA Global
alleges that this decision was taken due to
some failures in governance within the local
Council in Sri Lanka. "This is a serious
statement but strangely no specific
instances have been made against the locally
elected Council at any time, she said.
The current Council of Sri Lanka Division
were duly elected into office by the Sri
Lankan membership in July this year at a
properly convened Annual General Meeting
through a democratic process at which a
representative of the London office was also
present. Hence it is surprising that within
a matter of a few months' unspecified issues
of governance have surfaced against the
local council, when in fact specific issues
of failure on the part of the London office
to follow accepted practices of good
governance that CIMA stands for were pointed
out at the AGM and in the resolutions,
letters, etc., over a period of 18 months.
Therefore this serious action by CIMA London
is shortsighted because CIMA Sri Lanka
Division is the largest grouping of members
and students outside the UK and also the
Council consists of qualified professionals
of high standing, said Shankar.
HNB Assurance plc recently announced that it
has engaged the services of Bathiya and
Santhush as its Brand ambassadors for a
period of three years.
The company will aim to increase the
penetration of its Life insurance products
especially among the youth, though this duo.
Bathiya N Santhush have already secured
their presence in the international music
scene recording for Sony Music and Universal
Music India, becoming the first Sri Lankans
to sign up for an International Album. They
own and operate "Saregama Audio and Video
Productions," a state of the art multimedia
production house catering to local and
international markets and "Show town
Entertainment," an events company which
handles most of the television and showbiz
productions in the country.
HNB Assurance is regarded as the fastest
growing insurance company in Sri Lanka. In
only seven years of operation, it has grown
rapidly to secure the sixth rank in terms of
combined turnover among 15 insurance
companies in Sri Lanka.
Fitch Ratings Sri Lanka has given HNB
Assurance a national insurer financial
strength rating of 'A (lka)' and a national
long-term rating of 'A- (lka)' with stable
outlooks. HNB Assurance is only the second
insurer in Sri Lanka to obtain a rating of
its financial strength from Fitch Ratings.
Lanka Monthly Digest has named HNB
Assurance as one of the top 100 brands and
ranked it in 57th place. Considering the
Company's financial strength and several
other factors LMD has extended a B + rating
to HNB Assurance .
HNB Assurance also won the Silver Award in
the Insurance Sector category at the 2008
Annual Report Competition conducted by The
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri
Lanka. This is the fourth consecutive time
the Company has participated in this
competition and in all such instances the
Company has won recognitions.
Energy saving devices
Visit your nearest Abans showroom for the
widest range of LG Door Cooling
Refrigerators and LG, Mitsubishi and Haier
air conditioners (A/Cs) with innovative
Inverter Technology that saves electricity
and help to reduce your electricity bills by
The heaviest consumers of electricity in
your home are your refrigerator and A/Cs,
especially if they do not comply to any
standard and have no energy saving devices.
With today's high cost of electricity, it is
important to use energy saving appliances
that save on your electricity bill.
Although you may use you're A/C sparingly,
your electricity bill will still be high
because standard air conditioners consume
large amount of energy. Imagine a home with
one or more air conditioners continuously
working on an average of 8 - 10 hours a day?
What can you do to bring down your
Now Abans has the solution.
A/Cs with innovative Inverter Technology
saves electricity by upto 51% and at the
same time keeps you healthy. Apart from
reducing your electricity bill by almost
half, it has low noise levels and powerful
cooling, healthy, clean, germ and dust free
Abans offer you the widest range of A/Cs
with Inverter Technology from the world's
best brands, LG, Mitsubishi and Haier to
People with asthma, sinus and respiratory
illnesses who are affected by air
conditioning will be amazed by the relief
they get with LG Plasma A/Cs.
The reason being that apart from saving
energy, Plasma Air Purifying System's
innovative filters in LG A/Cs, protect and
safeguard your health by eliminating germs,
dust, bacteria, pollen and house mite ( some
of the factors that aggravate respiratory
illnesses) and give you fresh, clean air.
So, change to Inverter A/Cs from Abans
today, because they offer you much, much
more than just keeping you cool and
Unlike A/Cs, refrigerators work continuously
24 x 7, and the compressor needs to cool to
a lower temperature.
So, in effect they are the highest consumers
of electricity in your home. Each time the
fridge door is opened, cool air escapes and
the compressor uses energy to replenish the
lost coolness. The longer the compressor
works, electricity consumption increases.
Unconventional fridges have no energy saving
devices or thermostat to control
temperature. The fridge works continuously,
cooling more than the required temperature
which spoils foods like vegetables and
fruits and unnecessarily wastes electricity.
LG Door Cooling Refrigerators are the only
fridges in the world that have vents on the
sides as well as the door to replenish cool
air faster over time the door is opened and
closed so that the compressor is shut off
quicker preventing energy wastage. This not
only results in greater electricity savings
and lower electricity bills but also
preserves your food better to stay fresh
LG has the only genuine door cooling fridges
because they hold an international patent
for door cooling technology that no one else
can copy for 15 years. So, if any other
brand claims to have "door cooling" remember
that if it's not LG, then it's not door
EU, US car sales take hit
Kia Motors Corporation recently announced
that its cumulative global sales (export
sales, domestic sales and sales from
overseas plants) of passenger cars,
recreation vehicles (RVs) and commercial
vehicles in the first 10 months of the year
recorded 1,172,958; a 12.7% year-on-year (YoY)
Kia announced that 110,421 vehicles were
sold globally in October, a 1.6% YoY
Kia experienced strong sales increases in
China, Korea and general markets. Kia posted
YoY sales increases in China (11,351 units,
a 36.8% YoY increase),
(33,609 units-a 33.9% YoY increase) and
general markets (22,496 units sold-a 15.2%
Meanwhile, in Europe and North America,
24,557 (a 21.2% YoY decrease) and 18,408 (a
34.5% YoY decrease) Kia vehicles were sold
in October, respectively.
International Business Division Senior
Executive Vice President and COO Hyoung-Keun
Lee said, "Although the automobile industry
is feeling the brunt of the economic
downturn, we continue to see strong growth
particularly across China, Korea and general
markets in October. "
He added, "We are well-positioned to satisfy
the growing demand for fuel efficient and
compact vehicles with our new products
coming down the pipeline.
Strategic vehicles like the cee'd in
Europe continue to sell well and, in fact the cee'd was our
highest selling car globally in October. We
are also anticipating the launch of the Soul
early next year in most markets as well as a
number of additional fuel efficient and
compact vehicles later in the year."
Cumulatively, through the first ten months
of 2008, China (123,853 units sold) and
general markets (216,269 units sold) have
experienced the largest YoY gains of 37.9%,
and 34.3%, respectively. Cumulative sales
increases have also been experienced in
(an 18.3% gain from 262,780 units sold) and
Europe (a 4.7% gain from 293,310 units
sold), while North America experienced a
decrease (3.7% decrease from 276,746 units
So far in 2008, Kia's best selling model in
overseas markets has been the C-segment
Cerato (known as 'Spectra' in some markets)
with 166,688 units sold. It is followed by
Rio at 133,864 units and the C-segment cee'd at 128,672 units.
Kia's Sportage compact SUV and the A-segment
Picanto continue to perform well with
122,330 and 81,136 units sold, respectively.
580,846 passenger cars have been sold so far
in 2008 representing a 19% YoY increase and
making almost 50% of sales.
Rs. 1 bn., debenture offer
Seylan Bank's Rs. one billion Debenture
Issue which is underway has stimulated the
market with attractive rates of interest to
cater to the investing public for five
Listed on the main board of the Colombo
Stock Exchange, they are 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.
Investors have the option of subscribing for
debentures offering either a fixed rate of
interest or a floating rate of interest. A
fixed rate option comprises an annual
interest rate of 21.5% or a monthly interest
rate of 20.5% per annum (Annual Effective
Rate 22.5% per annum).
The first floating interest rate option is
based on the simple average of the three
month weighted average Treasury bill (T.
Bill) rate (after tax) plus 2.5% payable
quarterly and the second floating interest
rate option is based on the simple average
of the one year weighted average T.Bill rate
(after tax) plus 2.5%, payable annually.
Fitch ratings Lanka affirmed Seylan Bank's
National Long Term Rating of BBB+ (LKA) and
Stable outlook, and assigned BBB (LKA) for
its unsecured subordinated redeemable
Seylan Bank Director/General Manager/Chief
Executive Ajita Pasqual said, "despite
difficult market conditions both
internationally and locally, we are positive
that the country as a whole and we at Seylan
Bank will successfully weather the storm in
order to sustain growth rates as
"We are confident that Under the guidance of
our founder Chairman Deshamanya Dr. Lalith
Kotelawala, having concentrated on micro
Loans and mobilization of a large number of
small deposits, we have broad based both
portfolios giving the necessary stability
and the ability to progress as planned.
Being the largest issuer of Visa cards and
also concentrating on early identification
of overdue advances and adopting corrective
measures, we would align ourselves to
changing market conditions," he said.
"We would also like to mention our loyal
customers and staff who have stood with us
in all times and we have no doubt that the
industry would surmount the odds in order to
sustain the necessary growth to boost the
Sri Lankan economy."
Seylan Bank also launched "Ceylinco Seylan
Gold Heart" to offer the public an
opportunity to reap the benefits from a gold
market in addition to winning the
prestigious award for the "Best Branch
Automation and Networking Project 2007" at
the Asian Bankers Summit 2008 held recently
25% discount on interest
By Ashwin Hemmathagama
Seylan Bank PLC (CSE: SEYL) with its vision
to be the most "caring and trusted" bank
committed to delivering innovative solutions
and building life long relationships has
come out with yet another groundbreaking
product to its credit card holders.
Following are excerpts of an interview held
with Seylan Card Centre Senior Deputy
General Manager Tissa Nanayakkara on new
developments and seasonal offers.
Question (Q): What is this latest
development at the Seylan Card Centre?
Answer (A): This new scheme is
another pioneering move taken by the Seylan
Bank which has rapidly gained trust and
would sure to continue winning hearts of
customers with 25% of the interest being
waived off when the Seylan Visa Credit Card
Q: Will you explain this new feature?
A: When the Seylan Visa Credit Card
is used 12 times, with each transaction
being Rs. 2,500 or more upto January 15,
2009 we will reimburse 25% of the interest
charged for February 2009.
Apart from this offer we have selected over
85 partner establishments covering leisure,
medical, telecoms, computers, car care, baby
care, jewellery, household, personal care,
dining, and opticians among the many other
sectors where Seylan Visa credit cardholders
could enjoy special discounts.
Q: With growing competition in the credit
card industry, how do you place this offer?
A: Seylan Bank being the only
financial establishment that absorbs stamp
duty, Seylan credit card is the most
preferred card in the market. We have
observed that this new scheme is becoming
popular with a growing demand for credit
during this festive season. This is the
reason we have topped this offer with
discounts from selected outlets exclusively
for Seylan Visa credit cardholders.
Q: Will you highlight the turning points of
the Seylan Visa credit card?
A: Seylan Bank entered the Credit
Card industry in 1992 by setting up a
domestic credit card unit to issue the
Seylan Silver Card and the Seylan Gold Card.
The success of the credit card programme
prompted the bank to apply for principal
membership status with Visa International
and the 1st Seylan Visa International Credit
Card was issued in 1995. Today Seylan Bank
is one of the largest Visa card issuers in
Q: What are the other types of cards issued
and serviced by Seylan Bank?
A: We launched the Visa Debit Card in
March 2001 for the 1st time in Sri Lanka.
The unique feature of this card was that
cardholders were able to use the card at any
Visa accredited merchant outlet for purchase
of goods and services in addition to
withdrawal of cash from any Visa ATM in Sri
Lanka or overseas. Today the Visa debit card
is issued to all customers instantly over
the counter, as an "Instant Issue Card."
In March 2005 Seylan Bank launched yet
another card for the 1st time in Sri Lanka
namely the Visa Traveller's Card. The
Traveller's Card is considered to be safe,
convenient and secure in comparison to
carrying traveller's cheques. Traveller's
card relieves the customer from the burden
of having to spend time and money locating
travel agencies in order to encash
travellers cheques at various disappointing
In October 2005, Seylan Bank introduced the
Visa Pre-paid Rupee Card. The Pre-paid Rupee
Card is a Visa Card and issued for domestic
purposes. The unique feature of this card
is that the applicant does not have to open
a current or savings account to obtain this
card. The card could be used for purchases
at Visa accredited merchants and also at all
Visa ATMs in Sri Lanka.
CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management
Accountants), the world's leading and
largest professional body of management
accountants, on Monday launched its updated
professional qualification, CIMA Future at
the CIMA annual Lecturers' Conference in
The new qualification, developed in
follows research, and contributions from
more than 4,500 employers and other
CIMA Education Director of Robert Jelly
said: 'In the present economic climate it is
more important than ever for finance
professionals to be trained and attuned to
the current needs of industry. As the CIMA
qualification is updated every four years
after extensive consultation with leading
employers and business, it acts as a quality
benchmark for management accountants.
Employers know that CIMA qualified finance
professionals have up-to-date skills and
expertise to strategically manage their
business, enabling them to stay
As an employer-led body, CIMA is the only
professional accountancy qualification that
is reviewed and updated every four years to
ensure it remains the most relevant
international accountancy qualification for
The first exams on the new qualification
will be on May 2010. A dedicated website
area, explaining details of the new
qualification is available.
The three pillars of study for all levels
are now named Enterprise, Performance and
Financial, and the pre-requisite entry
requirements still apply to gain entry into
the professional qualification.
The Managerial level is now split into two
parts: Operational and Managerial. This
means the qualification structure will now
comprise three levels beginning with
Operational, rising to Managerial, and then
Strategic. There will be a new stepped
qualification for students successfully
completing three papers at Operational
level-CIMA Diploma in Management Accounting.
The decision to split the Managerial level
into two parts reflects the career
progression and development of students by
marking their achievement at attaining this
level of the qualification.
The Test of Professional Competence in
Management Accounting (T4) will now comprise
two parts:- Part A-Initial Professional
Development: Work Based Practical Experience
comprising the practical experience
requirements from the 2005 qualification.
Part B is the case study examination. T4
assessment is the ultimate test of
professional competence and fitness to
practice as a Chartered Management
Accountant by bringing together the two key
elements of technical expertise and
Brandix Group plans to take its "Green"
message to tens of thousands of young Sri
Lankans at the forthcoming EDEX higher
education and careers exhibition.
The Group has once more come forward as
Platinum Sponsor for this annual event. A
Brandix spokesman said the company's
numerous initiatives in the sphere of
environment-friendly manufacture would be
showcased at the 'Green Zone,' a new feature
The sixth edition of EDEX is expected to
comprise 300 stalls and takes place at the
BMICH from January 23-25 and in Kandy from
Brandix Chief Peoples Officer Nigel Forbes
said, "We now have 25,000 employees in whom
commitment to the environment has been
infused. EDEX provides a great opportunity
to take this message to a much wider and
$ 300,000 orders
"I was able to obtain US$ 300,000 worth of
'business contacts' for fruits and
vegetables," an exporter," said.
Sarath Chandra De Silva, Chairman,
International Foodstuff Co. Agri Bio Tech (Pvt)
Ltd., who recently led a trade delegation to
Jordan and Kuwait said, "Our visit assisted
in expanding our businesses which would lead
to Sri Lanka emerging as a future trade
centre. With the Middle East peace process
in the offing, there is no doubt the future
of trade between Sri Lanka and these two
markets will increase. Great scope for
development of agriculture too, is
The delegation met over 50 organizations of
which 35 were "relevant" enquiries, 15,
positive responses and two confirmed orders.
A majority of the delegates established new
contacts, some of them were able to revive
The delegation comprised Alucop Cables Ltd.,
Executive Director Shamendra Panditha;
Chemical Industries (Colombo) plc Group
Marketing Manager Anura Siriwardhana;
Imperial Tea Exports (Pvt) Ltd.,
International Operations Manager Prabash
Kombalavithana & U. S. Shipping & Cargo
Services (Pte) Ltd., Director.Mohamed Azweer
and Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Consultant
Ms. Puvi Domingopillai.
With the assistance of the Sri Lankan
embassies in Jordan & Kuwait and Athulla
Edirisinghe, Director/CEO EAM Maliban
Textiles Jordan (Pvt) Ltd., the mission
members met with members of The Amman
Chamber of Commerce, American Chamber of
Commerce of Jordan, Kuwait Chamber of
Commerce and Industry and the business
communities in both countries.
Supermarket banking unit
Commercial Bank of
opened its 23rd Supermarket Banking Unit at
Arpico Supercentre, Negombo recently.
This the Bank's fourth such unit at an
Arpico Supercentre and is linked to all
other Commercial Bank branches and
Supermarket Banking Counters islandwide
permitting online real-time banking to any
Bank customer. It is also equipped with an
ATM linked to Commercial Bank's 324 ATMs,
over 1,000 other local ATMs and more than a
million ATMs belonging to the Cirrus and
Visa networks worldwide.
of Sri Lanka (ICASL) recently conducted a
seminar for its students at its auditorium.
A student reading for the Chartered
Accountants Programme is required to work in
a selected organization out of more than 800
auditing & non auditing firms approved by
The seminar saw the participation of more
than 200 students and was focused on
students who had undergone training of below
a year. The objective was to expose students
to the knowledge of the industry experts.
Training included "Employers Expectations
from Employee," "Importance of Practical
Training & Development of Ethics" and
"Importance of Soft Skill Development."
Resource persons included designated ICASL
Senior Vice President & John Keells Holdings
Learning & Development Head Anthony
Jayaranjan, PricewaterhouseCoopers Tax
Director Ms. Hiranthi Ratnayaka & Prima
Group Internal Auditor Darshana De Silva.
ICASL Students Training and Development
Committee Chairman Lasantha Wickramasinghe,
alternate Chairman Ganaka Amarasinghe and
Chief Executive Officer Aruna Alwis were
also present at this occasion.
LIBOR falls CB unable to get better terms
Despite the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate
(LIBOR) coming down by nearly a third since
the last time the Central Bank (CB)
negotiated a syndicated loan for the
government, the CB has however still been
unable to finalise a new loan due to higher
"We are negotiating with a couple of
parties, but they want higher premiums to
compensate for the falling LIBOR, that's the
difficulty in finalizing the new loan," CB
CB early this year negotiated a US$
171million syndicated loan for the
government at three months LIBOR plus 259
basis points (bp) with LIBOR at 3.01%
then.However, LIBOR has since fallen to
That loan was of a three year tenure with a
yearly "put" option. The new loan that the
government is seeking for is for US$ 300
Seasonal sluggishness relieves market
Seasonal sluggishness, with importers having
had already covered their letters of credit
imports for the season saw the US
dollar-rupee parity at Rs. 111.90 at spot
trading on Friday, despite no intervention
by the Central Bank (CB) to defend the rupee
CB expended a sum of US$ 1,056.88 million in
the past three months to defend the rupee,
As a result the market experienced a Rs.
7,849 million excess, with the CB absorbing
the excess liquidity on Friday by way of the
overnight repo auction (Rs.7,000 million) at
11.72% interest, and the balance Rs. 489
million through their standing repurchase
facility at 10.50% interest.
Overnight inter-bank borrowing rates were at
13-14%, with rates expected to take-off
after the holiday season.
As a sign that there was no downward
tendency on rates, Treasury Bonds (T. Bonds)
maturing in August 2010 were trading at the
21% levels in the secondary market, while
those of a shorter tenure at the 20% levels.
"There is no let up in rates on the longer
tenure T. Bonds," market sources said,whilst
adding that there was hardly any trading of
T. Bills in the secondary market. (See also
connected story found elsewhere on this
Tea down 32%
Tea prices in the Colombo Auctions last
month declined by 32% year on year (YoY) to
US$ 1.98 a kilo. The YoY decline in October
was 18.37% to US$ 2.37.
Tourism down 10%
Tourist arrivals and earnings declined by
10% year on year to 389,550 and US$ 303.9
million respectively in the first 11 months
of the year. (Source: Central Bank)
Sohli sells JKH
High net worth individual Sohli Captain is
believed to have had sold 500,000 shares of
JKH to a foreign fund at Rs. 55 a share on
Friday which took turnover to Rs.103.3
Captain is the single largest shareholder of
JKH. This foreign fund had earlier sold JKH
shares to the company in its share "buy
back" scheme at Rs.90 a share.
On Tuesday, Captain sold 1.5 million shares
of JKH to this same fund at Rs. 58¬ a share.
"He may be eyeing to buy back these shares
cheap," market sources said.
JKH contributed Rs.28 million to Friday's
In was followed by Ceylinco Insurance with
Rs.18 million. A trade comprising 100,000
shares of this company was executed at Rs.
185 a share. Other contributions came from
Commercial Bank (Rs. 15 million)-which
included 225,000 shares done at Rs. 68 « a
share in a foreign to foreign transaction
and Rs. 11 million from Distilleries which
included 200,000 shares traded at Rs.52« a
share, in another foreign to foreign trade.
The benchmark ASPI on Friday marginally
gaining by 0.49 points over that of
Thursday's closing, while the more sensitive
MPI fell by 3.56 points.
Northern Power recently commissioned its
plant in Jaffna and is ready to start
supplying power using auto diesel fuel to
the Northern Province.
SJMS Associates has been appointed
liquidators to Fern Tea Ltd.
Rs. 600 mn., investment
Associated Electrical Corporation plc will
invest Rs.600 million in its subsidiary AEC
Properties (pvt.) Ltd.
Hatton National Bank recently opened its
176th customer centre in Galgamuwa. This
customer centre was opened by Chief Guest
Chandula Abeywickrema, HNB's Deputy General
Manager-Personal Banking & Network
HNB Galgamuwa 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
islandwide ATM network, online banking and
In an agreement with the Trade Ministry,
Fonterra said it will reduce prices on its
Anchor, Anlene, Anmum and Ratthi brands
following a recent softening in commodity
prices. The new retail selling price for
Anchor Full Cream Milk 400 gms pack is Rs
7 kg., bronze statue
Dinesh Watawana with the 7 kg., bronze
statue award crafted by the Queen's personal
jeweller when "Kumbuk River
Eco-Extraordinaire" clinched a travel
"Oscar" at the World Travel Awards (WTA) as
the world's leading eco-lodge.
Sri Lanka at
the WTA finale held at Turks & Caicos
Islands, a British territory off Miami
SriLankan Airlines employees whose basic
salaries are less than Rs. 70,000 will
receive one month's salary, subject to a cap
of Rs. 35,000 this season.
This includes 100% of the airline's 3,166
graded staff and a significant number of its
executives. It does not include those in
managerial posts or other higher paid
"While we would like to give a full month's
salary to every employee, the company is not
yet in a position to do so. We hope to have
even better news next year," said chairman
The airline has stood on its own feet
financially since its management changeover,
said a statement.
Remittances to be hit
The current global financial and economic
crises have serious implications for migrant
workers worldwide, ILO chief Juan Somavia
To mark International Migrants Day which
fell on Thursday he said: "Past experience
makes us aware that migrant workers,
especially women workers and those in
irregular status are among the hardest hit
and most vulnerable during crisis
While the full impact of the crisis on
migrant workers is yet to unfold, there are
reports of direct layoffs, worsening working
conditions including wage cuts, increasing
returns and reductions in immigrant intakes.
Yet all sectors may not be equally affected
and destination countries should assess
their labour market needs before resorting
to general layoffs of migrant workers. It is
important that migrant workers do not become
scapegoats for the current financial and
Source countries are already grappling with
the challenges of employment creation for
their citizens including increasing numbers
of return migrants and falling remittances.
Availability of decent work opportunities at
home would pave the way for migration by
choice, not by necessity."
NDB acquires B'deshi bank
National Development Bank plc (NDB) in a
stock market filing made on Wednesday said
that they have received regulatory approvals
from authorities in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh
to take a controlling stake in Capital
Market Services Ltd., Bangladesh, a licensed
This investment was reported in the business
pages of our sister paper The Morning Leader
in its October 1 issue. It was there
reported that NDB will take a 75% stake in
this bank at an investment which will be
under US$ one million.
Samantha Kumarasinghe, chairman, Nature's
Secrets cosmetics Multichemi Ltd., was
adjudged Sri Lankan Entrepreneur of the Year
2007 and presented with the Platinum Award
at an awards ceremony held at the BMICH with
Netherlands's Ambassador in Sri Lanka Ms
Leonie M Cuelenaere as Chief Guest.
RN Construction (Pvt.) Ltd., Managing
Director Ruwan Edirisinghe won the National
Gold Award, Leslie's Agro Products (Pvt) Ltd
Managing Director W. Leslie Bernard Perera
was declared Young Entrepreneur of the Year,
while Sirisara Vilasitha Partner Ms
Chandrika Silva won the National Woman
Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Bio fuel flight
A "transcontinental" experimental flight to
demonstrate viability of renewable fuels was
conducted by Orlando-based Green Flight
International with 1,776 miles of 2,486
total miles flown powered on 100% bio fuel.
A 50:50 mixture of bio fuel and standard jet
fuel was used for the remaining 710 miles to
compare performance data and demonstrate the
capability of blending bio fuel with
existing jet fuel supplies.
The flight operated to Federal Aviation
Authority USA (FAA) specifications, said the
FAA has expressed an interest in using the
Green Flight bio fuel test programme as a
template to assess future generations of
aviation fuels. The record-setting flight
using an L-29 jet trainer originated in
Reno, NV and concluded in
Leesburg, FL, with a total flight time of 11
hours, 13 minutes, flown at altitudes
ranging from 13,000 to 17,000 feet.
Green Flight CEO Douglas Rodante and Chief
Pilot Carol Sugars in October 2007 became
the first crew to pilot a jet aircraft
powered entirely on biofuel. An
around-the-world flight is planned for 2010.
(Washington Aviation Summary)
HSBC's trade finance team continued to
expand in key markets, increasing the number
of trade and supply chain specialists by 10%
(200 associates) across the region.
The bank opened 23 new locations in key
commercial cities across.
In Indonesia it acquired Ekonomi Bank, one
of the country's largest commercial banks.
The integration will double HSBC's local
network to 190 outlets. In Malaysia, HSBC
is the country's first foreign bank to trade
through an Islamic subsidiary.
In Taiwan, HSBC's presence expanded to 50
outlets, including key commercial cities,
positioning the bank to capture increased
trade and investment in the territory as
ties between China and Taiwan continue to
strengthen. In Vietnam, the bank not only
strengthened its position through an
increased stake in Techcombank, but also
opened a new representative office in Can
Tho with approval for local incorporation.