17th September 2000
Front Page
Editorial/Opinion| Plus| Sports|
Sports Plus| Mirror Magazine
The Sunday Times on the Web

Ceylinco Life to conduct Agency Management Training Course

Ceylinco Life has become the first insurance company in Sri Lanka to be authorized by the Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association (LIMRA) to conduct the International Agency Management Training Course. 

This course, which has not been available in Sri Lanka previously is designed to provide supervisors of sales teams with the necessary knowledge and training to sharpen their management skills, Ceylinco Insurance Company Ltd. press release said. 

A senior representative of LIMRA, John Newell Director of Development for the Asia Pacific Region, is due in Sri Lanka on September 16, to conduct a special training course for a group of 17 Ceylinco Life moderators who would in turn conduct the training programmes for Ceylinco life personnel seeking to obtain the AMTC qualification. 

Founded in 1961, LIMRA is a marketing research and management consulting and training organization in the insurance industry. The organization has over 740 members, including life, composite and health insurance companies and financial services companies from 60 countries worldwide. In the Asia Pacific Region, LIMRA has over 150 member companies. 

LIMRA's mission is to help members solve their marketing problems through expansive industry research, bench marking, training executive, field and management development programmes strategic consulting selection services, compliance and networking forums with industry peers. 

Director Ceylinco Insurance, Mr. Stuart Chapman explained that the AMTC course is designed to help supervisors make the transition from positions with production responsibility to positions with management responsibility. He said that is also appropriate for agency heads of functional managers, who have specialized functions such as recruiting or training and those who need to develop their management skills to increase performance. 

Participants who complete the AMTC will be eligible to attain the Chartered Insurance Agency Manager (CIAM) designation. Internationally recognized, the CIAM designation is a recognition of the holder's accomplishments in management development and commitment to professional excellence. AMTC students not only acquire the information they need to be successful, but the course shows them how to apply that information in the field the press release said.

Alternate energy programme at A'pura

DFCC Bank had appointed the Sri Lanka Business Development Centre (SLBDC) to provide consultancy services to design and implement a promotional programme for setting up 30,000 solar home systems and 2,000 off-grid village hydro projects in Sri Lanka. 

The next Promotional Programme will be held at the Divisional Secretariat Office in Anamaduwa in the Puttalam District on September 2000. A series of such Promotional Programmes have been conducted since 1998 by SLBDC. Thirty-four (34) programmes have been conducted in : Kurunegala, Puttalam, Anuradhapura, Badulla, Matale, Hambantota, Kalutara, Polonnaruwa, Ratnapura, Kegalle, Kandy and Moneragala. 

The Energy Services Delivery (ESD) Project in Sri Lanka is assisted by the World Bank and Global Environment Facility. Under this programme people may obtain credit facilities from participating credit institutions including the DFCC Bank, National Development Bank, Hatton National Bank, Sampath Bank and Commercial Bank, for solar systems and village hydro schemes.

Interbanking system from SLT

Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with IBM World Trade Corporation, Sri Lanka Branch, to establish a mechanism for providing an Inter-Banking System and Network Solution, including a Data Centre, Security System and other prerequisites for the banking sector in Sri Lanka. This landmark agreement for an Inter-Banking and Network Solution between these two corporate giants would revolutionise the local banking sector SLT press release said.

The first stage of MOU will be to develop a business model achieving an inter-banking system and network solution. In this effort, Central Bank guidance, as well as approval would be a prerequisite and both these organisations would need work closely with all other banks for the successful implementation of this pioneering project. 

This could mean the creation if a common Payment Gateway, with an ATM Switch, enabling a seamless integrated business system, capable of e-commerce in the banking sector in Sri Lanka.

Regionalisation in banking is now one of the key growth areas and connecting these extensive branch networks, spread far and wide with high speed data links, through fibre optic systems has become necessary. Last month SLT inaugurated their 700 kilometre long fibre optic transmission ring covering four key provinces and connecting 15 major cities.

Delmege Paints becomes Asian Paints 

Delmege Forsyth & Co. (Paints) was renamed Asian Paints (Lanka) Ltd. by the Indian Multinational Asian Paints which operates the company. 

The name change is the culmination of process that began in October 1999, when Asian Paints acquired a 76 per cent stake in Delmege paints a Delmege Forsyth and Company press release said. 

With this acquisition, Sri Lanka became the seventh overseas joint venture location for the Asian Paints, which has since invested in two more countries. 

The Delmege Group of which Delmege Forsyth & Co. (Paints) was previously a subsidiary, will continue to be shareholder in Asian Paints (Lanka) Ltd. the company said. 

Asian Paints (Lanka Chief Executive S. Mohandas said in the press release that the corporate identity change would be the launching pad for the introduction in the months ahead, of the Asian Paints range of automobile, decorative and industrial paints. 

Asian Paints plan to make significant investments in its Sri Lankan operations focusing on the development of plant, technology and know-how in process control research and product development, in keeping with its objective of becoming a major player in this market, estimated to be in the region of Rs. 5 billion in value. 

Asian Paints is one of the world's top fifteen decorative paint manufacturers in volume terms. The company employs 3000 people and operates four manufacturing plants in India and nine others in Fiji, Tonga, Nepal, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Australia, Mauritius, Oman and Sri Lanka. 

Mackinnons enhances its website

Mackinnons Travels of the John Keells Group recently upgraded its website by adopting a premier web preservation tool. This range offers Mackinnons a prime web platform to provide its customers with the path finding Mackinnons on line booking service.

Previously Mackinnons Travels became Sri Lanka's first travel agency to go on-line, providing a cross section of travellers with a range of services via its website,

Now travellers are able to search for real time availability, make air, car and hotel reservations and perform a host of bookings on-line including their own ticket reservations, using

These facilities include flight information, reservations and airfares, hotel and car reservations;country information, weather updates; exchange rates and currency converter, holiday packages information, local hotels information and airline promotional information. 

The provision of this user friendly additional tool over the internet- 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year- will make the travel operations of many corporate clients more efficient and economical.


  • Market remains sluggish
  • Producers likely to lose out 
  • Money Market Update
  • EFC given notice on Trade Union action

  • Market remains sluggish

    Activity at the Colombo bourse was lacklustre. Meagre turnover levels were bolstered by transactions of Vanik debentures. Large parcels of a blue chip were on offer but failed to find a buyer last week. Large quantities of John Keells Holdings were also transacted during the week and a high networth individual with a sizeable interest in the company continued to stake his claim. 

    The plantation sector was thrown back into strife with thousands of workers going on strike because they have been excluded from a wage hike of Rs. 400 being given to employees across the boards. They raise their demands in the aftermath of a collective agreement with their employers.

    Meanwhile Seylan Bank announced a rights issue of 20 mn preference shares at Rs. 10 , bearing a dividend of 18 per cent. The bank will also be placing 40 mn Rs 10 preference shares with foreign investors and Sri Lankans resident abroad.

    Average turnover during the week was Rs. 29.6 mn. The All Share Price Index slipped 0.7 per cent to close at 496.8 while the Milanka Price Index dipped 1.8 per cent to register 796.1. Net foreign outflows for the week were Rs. 28.6 mn.

    "Rising treasury rates are continuing to dampen market sentiment and consequently we expect the ASPI to remain flat in the run up to the elections," Head of Research, Asia Securities, Dushyanth Wijaysingha said.

    "Brokers expectations are focussed on large parcels being offered for sale by foreigners who were bent on holding off at low prices but have now entered the fray," Head of Research, CDIC Sassoon Cumberbatch Stock Brokers, Diluk Desinghe said. The focus on the up coming elections has not been as strong as on the presidential elections, he said.

    Tea Update

    Producers likely to lose out 

    Auctions might see a short supply of tea and a drop in quality in the up coming weeks, as elections and the 'surprise strike' launched last week by plantation workers promise a slowdown in work. 

    Industry officials said that foreign buying might increase at the auctions before the elections as a result. 

    However, industry officials said that a reduction in quality and quantity could be bad for the industry as key markets actively participate at the auctions during the next two months to stock up for the winter.

    It is during this period, (up to November) that offers the producers a final opportunity to consolidate earnings before the lean months, Asia Siyaka Commodity Brokers reported. 

    Therefore, the brokers feel that it is important for all concerned to move swiftly to remedy the situation. 

    Meanwhile, the Plantation workers strike, which commenced upcountry on Monday, "was perhaps too close to the sale in order to influence prices" John Keells Commodity Brokers reported. 

    In addition they confirmed that key markets such as the UK had stepped up buying as a result. 

    The brokers reported that pre-winter buying for Russia, the pre-Ramazan buying for Middle East and increased interest from Iran, contributed to a healthy price level in most categories. 

    Money Market Update

    The inter-bank call money market and the overnight repo market
    During the shortened week ended 14th September, the inter bank call money rate saw holding in the range of 13.25% and 13.75%. As the major borrowers continued to borrow from the Central Bank's overnight reverse repo window, pressures on the inter bank money market was eased to a certain extent. 

    We estimate the liquidity shortfall to be in the range of Rs. 4-5Bn. During the week, the call money rate moved in between the boundaries of 13.75% and 12.75%. The term money rates too witnessed a reduction, consequent to the lowered overnight rates. However, as most of the transactions were in region of 13.13%-13.75%, the weekly call money rate edged marginally to close at 13.47%. As the pressure eased in the overnight money market, the overnight repo rate saw settling in the range of 13% to 13.5%. 

    Central Bank open market operations

    The Central Bank overnight repo and reverse repo rates remained unchanged at 11.75% and 15% respectively. On Wednesday, Rs. 4.9bn was recorded at the Central Bank's reverse repo window, most probably the renewal of the reverse repo obtained in the previous week. On the squaring off day of the commercial banks, both lenders and borrowers widows approached the Central Bank borrowed and lent Rs. 3.3bn and 1.5bn respectively. During the week the Central Bank went through a trial secession of auctioning the repo and reverse repo. 

    The treasury bill auction.

    The Government of Sri Lanka called bids to offer Rs. 2232 mn worth of treasury bills as Rs. 2732 worth of treasury bills matured during the week. Rs. 500mn worth of bills, which were issued in the special auction in early August, were retired. Though the auction in general was oversubscribed,the 91 days category did not received sufficient bids. The Central Bank intervention in the bill auction kept at a lower level, and purchasingwas limited to Rs. 287Mn worth of bills. The treasury bill yields continued rise. The highest gain was witnessed in the 364 category and the yield escalated by 41 basis points. The spread between 91 days yield and the 364 days yield stretched to 185 basis points and the highest in the recent history.

    Treasury bond auction

    Rs. 1000Mn worth of two-year treasury bonds were offered in the auction held during the week. The auction was over subscribed by more than three times. As the investor expectations remained unchanged, the pressure on bond yields continued to go on. The two-year bond yield improved by 19 basis points. Yet again the secondary market activities were on a lackluster note and were mostly restricted to two years on the yield curve.

    Foreign exchange - dollar spot movement

    The Central Bank continued further with the unchanged dollar/rupee trading band, buying at Rs. 75.60 and selling at Rs. 79.47. Renewed buying interest for dollars, mostly fuelled by the comparatively low inter bank interest rates that prevailed during the week, made the rupee weak against the dollar. Consequently, the rupee tumbled further against the dollar. The weekly spot average rose up to Rs. 78.43, as compared with Rs. 78.36 the previous week. Three months forward was quoted at Rs. to Rs. 80.10 to Rs. 80.20, while six months was at Rs. 81.65 to Rs. 81.80. 

    91 Days 182 Days 364 Days

    Last Week 12.97% 13.04% 14.48%
    This Week 13.04% 13.16% 14.89%
    Change 0.07% 0.12% 0.41%
    Maturity 01-August.-02
    Coupon 10.75%
    Amount offered R .Mn 1000
    Amount Accepted Rs.Mn 1000
    Weighted average 15.38%
    Change 0.19%

    EFC given notice on Trade Union action

    The Employers Federation of Ceylon (EFC) was given 14 days notice of trade union action by the Lanka Jathika Estate Workers' union and the Joint Plantation Trade Union Centre in a letter dated September 8. They demanded that the Rs. 400 devaluation allowance be extended to plantation workers but in the mean time resorted to strike action, an EFC press release said.

    Although notice of strike action has not been received from the Ceylon Workers' Congress, their membership has also resorted to strike action, the press release said.

    The EFC has pointed out to the government and the three trade unions that the on going strike or any form of trade union action in support of the demand for the added allowance is illegal. It is also inconsistent with the provisions of the collective agreement between the unions and the EFC and in violation of the Industrial Disputes Act.

    The collective agreement signed in June provided for the remuneration package for plantation workers to be increased from July 1. It was agreed that there would be no further increases for two years.

    The June 2000 collective agreement was concluded after long drawn out negotiations between the plantation companies and trade unions with consideration being given to cost of living factors and the capacity of companies to meet additional payments, the press release said. 

    The over riding need for the industry to achieve a productive and profitable operation in the highly competitive global environment was also considered. It has also been emphasized that the plantation industry which faces a crisis cannot afford any additional wage increases at this stage and the demand for further wage increases if conceded to, will be fatal. Plantation workers have been urged not to cause disruption to work in the plantations as this would destabilise the economy.

    The laws incorporating the wage hike excludes all employers who have granted wage increases under collective agreements during the period from January to August 2000.


  • PSA evicts Maersk Sealand from Singapore
  • Concerns about QEQ expansion
  • Changi air freight well on course to beat all records
  • City of Trinco completes first voyage 
  • PSA evicts Maersk Sealand from Singapore

    By Gunapala Ranasinghe
    Following the decision by Maersk Sealand to invest a 30 per cent stake in Malaysia's Tanjung Pelpas (PTP) Maersk Sealand vessels will be refused entry to Singapore from October, 2000.

    PSA is of the view that the investment by Maersk Sealand in Malaysia amounts to conflict of interest, and have decided not to renew Maersk's terminal agreement, which expires at the end of September.

    Incidentally Maersk has been the top customer of PSA so far.

    "I believe other shippers will be looking at alternative lines because of the disruption caused by a switch from Singapore to PTP," said John Lu, Chairman of the Singapore National Shippers Council.

    Assurances made by Flemming Ipsen, CEO of Maersk Sealand, that a loss in service levels will not take place, have failed to assure Lu, who is not convinced of Maersk's intentions.

    PSA is not obliged to serve Maersk vessels after September 30, the agreement expiry date. 

    Industry sources have revealed that the operator has, so far, secured only a fraction of Singapore's berth allocation, prompting queries as to whether PTP is capable of handling Maersk Sealand's total volumes beginning October, this year.

    In a similar move, Maersk Sealand pulled out of Colombo, dropping SLPA and moving all its transhipment volumes to Salalah, after obtaining concessions from SLPA.

    The erratic behaviour on the part of Maersk, towards the SLPA in particular, has had a detrimental effect on the country's transhipment volumes, which are in continued decline.

    Meanwhile, Minister of Ports and Shipping, M.H.M Ashroff is involved in recruiting a potential voter base to the port to entice a larger slice for the SLMC.

    Concerns about QEQ expansion

    Despite the initial success of the Queen Elizabeth Quay (QEQ) hand-over, plans to expand the site to accommodate more container berths are not without their critics. Doubling the breadth of the quay means extending 100m out into the already limited harbour water basin.
    "There is no justification for reducing the water area," complains A (Wicky) Wickramanayake, head of local vessel owner Master Divers. "They are also narrowing the harbour entrance by building across it, and it will cause problems."

    Officials at both the SLPA and SAGT dismiss such fears. "Access to any of the berths from the outside will not be obstructed," insists SLPA chairman Samarasekera. "There will be a slight extension towards the harbour mouth but it will no obstruct the entrance in any way. I can confidently say that it is not going to increase the risk of collision by a huge percentage, but an increase in traffic volumes may increase the chance of collisions." Wicky is not so easily appeased. He points out that Colombo harbour boasted 605 acres of water are in 1970, which has gradually been reduced to about 328 acres. This will be depleted further by the QEQ expansion scheme. "If we go ahead with this, Colombo harbour is finished. There will be a disaster and a ship will sink. Why build such a trap?"

    Concern was particularly heightened in September 1998, after the 2,480 TEU container ship Zim Paraeus hit and sank the 582 TEU Leerort while entering the harbour. The feeder ship, which had been berthed at JCT2, blocked the container berth for more than two months. 

    But Samarasekera points out that an inquiry blamed the collision on machinery failure on the Zim vessel. Navigation was not an issue.

    Other port users worry that the reduced manoeuvring area will mean longer berthing times and slower turnaround. However, Samara-sekera maintains that all SLPA pilots have been well trained in Japan on simulators within confined waters and such specialised training will continue to ensure smooth operations. 

    The SLPA is also adding a third new, powerful tug within the next six months bringing the total to six.

    "If P&O wants to invest in Colombo, let them operate the terminals and improve productivity but put the investment in the right places," continues Wicky. 

    "I would like to have in writing from someone in charge of this expansion project that it is absolutely safe and no accidents will happen."

    Changi air freight well on course to beat all records

    Air cargo traffic at Singapore Changi Airport "is recovering" from the economic troubles of 1997/98 in the south-east Asia region

    Total cargo handled at Changi Airport in the first five months of this year was 665,458 tonnes, of which 333,516 tonnes was discharged and 331,952 tones loaded, an improvement of 17.8 per cent over the same period of 1999, with imports and export shipments evenly balanced, says the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).

    The January-May figures put the airport on the way to beating its record of 1.5 million tonnes of cargo handled in 1999.

    Although the total import/export cargo movements are balanced, shipments to the US represent almost twice the inbound tonnage, helped with the launch by Evergreen International Airlines earlier this year of a twice-weekly B-747 freighter service between Singapore and the US.

    Earlier plans to introduce a third weekly frequency in June had been postponed, but according to Evergreen's Asian sales coordinator, Kalvin Harmon: "Singapore has been a tremendous success for us...If you look at the traffic moving back and forth, it's always full going from Asia to the US and practically empty, if not empty, going back, so that is really where the world cargo market is growing."

    Evergreen's service out of Changi flies to Hong Kong, where the carrier has between eight and 10 departures a week to the US, and cargo is loaded onto a flight either to San Francisco or Rickenbacker International airport in Columbus, Ohio. As Harmon explains: "San Francisco is for west coast freight, Rickenbacker is for mid-western freight and then that flight into Rickenbacker continues on to JFK for east coast local freight."

    Singapore shipments are destined primarily for San Francisco and the US west coast, he continues.

    "That seems to be where most of the freight has come to, and so Rickenbacker has not played as much of a role in the development as the west coast has," Harmon adds.

    "With Singapore, and electronic components, that is just a natural place towards the Silicon Valley and all the manufacturing facilities up and down the west coast of the United States."

    CAAS inaugurated a new facility for forwarders at Changi last year, and work is currently under way on building a seventh air freight terminal at the airport, which is scheduled for completion this year.

    "This multi-level facility will have a capacity of 800,000 tonnes of cargo per year," says a spokesperson for CAAS. "In addition, a second express and courier service, ECC2, is also being developed. This will provide 13,500m2 of warehouse and office space and a handling capacity of 170,000 tonnes of express freight."

    City of Trinco completes first voyage

    MV City of Trinco, under the ICRC flag, has successfully completed its first voyage - passenger carriage between KKS and Trinco, under the management of the Greenlanka Group of Company's shipping subsidiary.

    In addition to assisting the civilian population in the north and east, the City of Trinco has marked a new leaf in passenger transport for the country. Captain Gamini Nanayakkara, owner of the vessel, is justifiably proud of the venture, which is free of any political affiliation or race discrimination, and serves to promote brotherhood in the nation

    Index Page
    Front Page
    Sports Plus
    Mirrror Magazine

    Return to Business Contents


    Business Archives

    Front Page| News/Comment| Editorial/Opinion| Plus| Business| Sports| Sports Plus| Mirror Magazine

    Please send your comments and suggestions on this web site to 

    The Sunday Times or to Information Laboratories (Pvt.) Ltd.

    Presented on the World Wide Web by Infomation Laboratories (Pvt.) Ltd.
    Hosted By LAcNet