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18th February 2001
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ISB flying high in the north -west region

Sri Lanka's Industrial Services Bureau (ISB), in Kurunegala, undertook some key projects last year including a cross-country study of the tea industry in India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam in addition to a range of services to industry.

ISB said in its annual report for 2000 that the organization, which is providing yeomen service to industry in the north-central province, is planning on restructuring its operations in a bid to be more efficient and effective.

This process has been organized under three categories that represent technical services, agriculture services and business promotion in a bid to provide a comprehensive coverage to serve industry.

ISB said it hoped to improve the scope of its operations and consolidate its position further in the national and the international scene while fulfilling obligations at a provincial level. "The management has well understood and shared its vision to be the most efficient, effective and recognized service organization in Sri Lanka in the field of industrial development and service, " the report said.

The organization's success attracted many local and foreign institutions to recognize ISB as a partner organization in their projects last year. The Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), the German Agency for Technical cooperation (GTZ), the Ministry of Planning, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, are some of the key partners of ISB. 

Last year ISB participated in a number of international assignments including the regional industrialization project in Vietnam and the cross country comparison of the tea industry in India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam. An ISB officer was assigned the task of undertaking the cross-country study.

ISB was also involved in several key local projects in terms of regional development in the environment. This included an award scheme to honour top entrepreneurs in Wayamba (north-central region), installing a computer system for the chamber of commerce in Hambantota and the performance evaluation of the chambers of commerce of Hambantota and Ratnapura.

ISB main source of funding was the German-based Konrad adenauer Foundation, the provincial council and income generated through operations. 


Hayleys Photoprint to market latest digital cameras 

Digital photography, still in its infancy, in Sri Lanka, looks set to cut across the boundaries separating amateurs and professionals, with the development of a new breed of professional digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera by Fujfilm, the company's local distributor Hayleys Photoprint said. 

The company announced last week it plans to promote Fujifilm's latest range of digital cameras, led by its new flagship model, the FinePix S1 Pro. The camera supports Nikon's F mount, allowing professionals to shift to digital photography while continuing to use lenses already in hand. 

The FinePix S1 Pro utilizes Fujifilm's new Super CCD (Charge Coupled Device) technology, providing ultra-high image quality and very high-speed processing, and can produce image file sizes of up to 6.13 million pixels, the company said. The Super CCD gathers more information than conventional CCDs with the same number of sensors, and delivers greater sensitivity, a wider dynamic range and an increased signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio for clear, sharp and true colour pictures.

"We now have a camera that provides professionals with high image quality combined with the same operability of film-based cameras, competitive pricing and ability to swap camera lenses," HPL's Director/General Manager Ashan Abeye-sundere said. "This is an exciting development which is particularly relevant for countries like Sri Lanka, where photographers may not be able to afford new lenses when they go digital." 

He said the FinePix S1 Pro is one of five new digital cameras that HPL plans to market in Sri Lanka. These cameras were unveiled at Photokina 2000 in Germany in September 2000, and represent the latest technological advancements in digital photography. 


More and more go skywards

The number of travellers who have joined Skywards, the frequent flyer programme of Emirates and SriLankan Airlines, has now passed a major milestone bringing good luck to a UAE national and his wife, the company said.

For Mr. Abdulla Al Muhairi, who became the programme's 100,000th member, the call from Skywards was doubly welcome.

Not only did he hear the good news that he'd won 100,000 Skywards Miles by becoming the programme's 100,000th member - he was able to tell his wife Samiha that he would be taking her on their honeymoon to London, the city she'd heard so much about from her travelling husband.

"I was so surprised to win, as I have never won anything in my life. "I love travelling, and love Britain, but my wife's never been there. Now we can have our honeymoon there and I can show her Big Ben and all the other famous sights," the company release quoted Mr. Al Muhairi, who works for Dubai's Naturalisation and Residency department.

In addition to reward flights on Emirates, SriLankan and partner airlines, such as British Airways and United Airlines, members can also receive flight upgrades, holiday tours with Arabian Adventures or stays at the luxurious Al Maha Desert Resort. 

Mr. Al Muhairi became a member when, as a UAE resident, he applied for the Emirates-Citibank Credit Card. 


iOM installs an inventory system to Senkada Hotel

iOM the exclusive technology partner for the Senkada group installed an inventory and billing management system to Senkada Hotel (Pvt) Ltd., which manages The Lotus Leaf Restaurant in Union Place.

Under this new state of the art system the traditional link between the stewards the kitchen and the cashier will be replaced by an automated system, which will result in a faster service to customers. Greater accuracy and a hundred percent assurance that everyone is served on a first come first served basis will ensure customer satisfaction. Once the steward takes the order, he will key in the customer requirement through a central terminal. 

The system will simultaneously inform the kitchen and the cashier of the order placed and once the order is closed by the steward, a full detail bill is processed immediately at the cashier point.

Established in 1979 as a systems company in Singapore, iOM now operates from over seven locations worldwide and count for over 22 years in the IT industry. With its head office situated in Union Place Colombo (Since 1991 as a BOI venture), iOM's standing in the IT industry is evident by way of its representation of giants in the software industry such as IBM, Oracle and Systems Union.

iOM today takes pride in its prestigious clientele which include names like Whirlpool, Sony and a host of local establishments namely Hemas Holdings, Glaxo, John Keells, Unilver Ceylon Ltd., Dimo and so on.

Mr. Zulficar Ghouse - Managing Director iOM Lanka said "as a result of iOM's diverse experience coupled with the ability to develop in-house solutions and adherence to ISO 9001 standard, we are able to assist any organization in Sri Lanka achieve their corporate goals."


Ceylinco records premium income

Ceylinco Life increased its dominance of the private sector life insurance market in 2000 with a record Rs 1.661 billion in premium income, the company announced last week. 

This performance resulted in the Life fund of the company reaching Rs. 3.731 billion as of December 2000, the company said. A significant contribution towards the growth was made by two new products introduced during the period under review - the Deguna Investment plan and the Ceylinco Personal Pension Plan. 

Total premiums for the period under review grew by nearly 33.3 per cent over 1999, while First Year Premium was up nearly 62 per cent, reflecting a very positive trend of growth in new policies. Ceylinco Life Director/General Manager Mr. R. Rengnathan said. "Our First Year premium of Rs. 634 million is the highest in the industry based on our estimates," he disclosed. 

"Ceylinco Life's performance in the new millennium has been more than satisfactory especially in terms of the prevailing economic conditions in the country. But with the insurance industry becoming increasingly competitive, it is obvious that our professional sales team will have to work even harder this year to ensure Ceylinco remains the market leader," Mr Renganathan observed.


HNB opens its 106th Branch at Wennappuwa

Hatton National Bank the largest private commercial bank in Sri Lanka opened its 106th branch on 29th January at Wennappuwa to its widely spreading branch network. The new branch, situated at 39, Chilaw Road, Wennappuwa, was declared opened by Mr. Upali De Silva, Senior Deputy General Manager (Administration & Marketing) of HNB. 

The Chief Guest Mr. De Silva addressing the gathering stated that HNB has become the largest private commercial bank with a deposit base of Rs. 65 Billion and an asset base of over Rs. 90 Billion. He further mentioned that HNB was fully conscious and aware of its responsibility towards the country and that therefore it has created and launched a range of products and services to serve the needs of the different segment of society. 

Mr. De Silva further stated that NRFC deposit base is the second largest deposit base the Banks in the country and give the higher rate offered by a bank in Sri Lanka. 

He also stressed that the public today come to a bank not merely for traditional banking services, but also for a variety of other facilities such as housing loans, loans to start up a business and also other services and assistance related to their day to day lives.


SriLankan Airlines - Dialog WAP Promotion

Wireless Application Protocol is a technology that allows a cellular phone user to access the Internet on their phones from any place within the service area.

WAPing the flight schedule first, James Kanagaratne of Colombo, won the first ever WAP promotion in Sri Lanka organised by SriLankan Airlines and MTN Networks (Pvt) Limited.

The WAP service is part of SriLankan Airlines' progressive IT strategy to becoming a leading international airline in Asia. The launch of the WAP facility with Dialog is only the first of many more developments to be introduced by the airlines.

The SriLankan Airlines WAP site is hosted by MTN Networks, the marketers of Dialog GSM cellular services. Dialog GSM introduced WAP to Sri Lankan mobile phone market early last year, SriLankan Airlines said in a press release.


Suntel links up with ICS

Suntel Limited, Sri Lanka's largest private telecom operator has joined hands with the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lanka branch of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers established in 1988, has taken the initiative from the parent body in successfully pioneering shipping education with a view to nurture professionalism in the local market.

The three ICS-Suntel awards include awards of the Best Student, Best Shipping Agent Customer Service - Colombo/Europe sector and Best Shipping Agent Customer Service - Colombo/ USA Sector. The Awards ceremony was held at the Galadari Hotel on January 31st.

The best shipping agent award for the Colombo/USA sector was given to Mr. Mohan Pandithage, Managing Director CMA- CGM Lanka (Pvt) Ltd.

The best Shipping Agent for Colombo/ Europe sector Mr. Sampath Gunaratne Sales & Marketing Manager, APL Lanka (Pvt) Ltd.

The best Student Awards as was given to Mr. A.O. Warasuwitharana.

In its four-year presence in Sri Lanka, Suntel has taken pioneering steps to improve the standards of professionalism in the country. It has tied up with the University of Moratuwa to award scholarships to talented engineers. A leadership programme for Suntel executives has also been initiated.


Sisil R60 comes back

Soon after its successful acquisition of the Sisil brand, the Singer Group has revived the legendary Sisil R60 series of Refrigerators which dominated local sales from the "sixties" to the "eighties" and pushed the brand to the pinnacle of market leadership.

Regnis (Lanka) Ltd., Singer parent's subsidiary, has developed a new "R70" model which is named "Classic". A slimmer version of the R60 and R80, this model is 7 cubic feet (190 litres) in capacity, with bigger freezer depth and translucent interiors. It comes with the hallmark "Y" type handle and is an eco friendly fridge available in Beige and Green colours supported by Singer's world famous warranty.

The Sisil R70 will be sold through the Sisil Dealer network and the Singer Megas and the re-launch is based on widespread customer acceptance, thereby further strengthening the local manufacturing base through an outstanding revival.


Company News

  • NDB to promote development in Uva 
  • Nutrena to feed Lankan cows
  • Lankawebdirectory.com,a pathway for business 

  • NDB to promote development in Uva 

    Badulla now boasts a branch of the National Development Bank (NDB). The eleventh with the NDB network, the Badulla Branch promises to usher in a new era of commercial and business development in the Uva province. 

    In its drive to take specialised project lending to the provinces NDB has leveraged its branch network to fill the need gaps in long-term lending and "supervised credit", which are the bank's key thrust areas. 

    Years of project lending experience have built up an expertise and knowledge base with the bank, that has proved to be a huge asset to entrepreneurs across Sri Lanka. The bank has also decades of experience in the small and medium scale industrial sectors, and contributed significantly to the success in innumerable businesses island-wide. NDB's sector expertise and relationship approach has added value to generic lending, and given it a competitive edge that differentiates it in the field. 

    The Badulla branch will offer medium to long-term finance for SMI, provide project loans, working capital and leasing facilities for business enterprises. The branch will also operate special lending schemes such as the Perennial Crop Development Project (PCDP), Tea Development Project (TDP) and Environmentally Frie-ndly Project (E-Friends). 

    NDB, the country's leading financial institution and apex lending body for SMI, also has branches located at Colombo, Kandy, Galle, Kurunegala, Puttalam, Negombo, Matara, Gamp-aha, Kegalle, Kalutara, Ratnapura. 

    "As Sri Lanka's largest development bank we are committed to placing our resources, experience and expertise at the disposal of our clients throughout the country through out network", said A.L. Somaratne Assistant General Manager in charge of Merchant Banking, SMI and Branches.


    Nutrena to feed Lankan cows

    Nutrena, the world's number one Animal Nutrition Company, announced at its 2001 convention, in Sri Lanka that it will play a leading role in the Animal Feed Industry in the coming year unveiling its corporate vision to become the Global Leader in creating distinctive value to its customers by providing world class solution that cannot be matched. 

    Cargill Incorporation USA, Nutrena's Parent Company, has further strengthened its position in the Global Market through its recent acquisition of a leading brand -Purina Feeds, which consists of 70 factories worldwide. Cargill Inc is a US$80 billion Company and is the largest privately owned Company in the USA. 

    The cost of chicken production in Sri Lanka is the second highest in Asia. One of Nutrena's key strategies is to help reduce this cost, by raising the Industry's standard in the higher yielding nutrition and by transfer of modern technology. It has already introduced a specially designed management system that has improved their customer's farm productivity by 25% with no additional capital expenditure. This will give Nutrena's customers the competitive edge to face the challenges of the future.


    Lankawebdirectory.com,a pathway for business

    Lankawebdirectory.com, a web site launched by ISP LANKA (Pvt) Ltd, provides an opportunity to Sri Lanka's business community and the public to generate and receive information from the Internet through advanced communication technologies

    The web directory will operate as a search engine for local and foreign users of the Internet to access information on business, news and pleasure.

    Company officials told a press conference during the launch that the web site would be the portal of Sri Lanka to the rest of the world. Lankawebdirectory.com is a well-diversified site that provides a link into many fields such as news, sports, media, science & technology, heritage, wild life, etc. The directory, developed after undertaking comprehensive research prior to the launch, already has a listing of 12,000 companies spanning over 1200 well organised categories. 

    Officials said listing in the directory would provide a great exposure to any business as the site already has registered over 100,000 hits (visit to the web site) by surfers. The rate is expected to increase up to 600,000 in the first year of operation, they added.

    "The cost of a listing in the directory in the form of a web page for an investor or to a professional is only Rs 125 per month, a true value for money in terms of the benefit received ' said Asanka Hewawasan, manager web operations. The company expects to adopt continuous improvements to the directory based on the demand and developments of the IT industry. 


    Appointments/Awards

  • SLIM receives highest number of entries
  • Stassens tea is certified
  • Delmege Shipping presents award to best student in shipping
  • Ritzbury receives ISO 9002
  • Lal heads Insurance Corp.
  • New CEO of People's Bank
  • Bob Kuperman returns to DDB New York as new Chairman 
  • People's Merchant Bank appoints new CEO 
  • McCann-Erickson named Global Agency of the Year for the third year 



  • Slim update

    SLIM receives highest number of entries

    The Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) awards 2001 has sparked a lot of industry interest in addition to receiving the highest number of entries in the history of the contest.

    SLIM said in a statement that top contenders for advertising excellence were excited about their prospects at this year's awards ceremony to be held on February 24 at the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre.

    Twenty-five agencies have sent 792 entries, the highest ever in the 11-year history of the competition. JWT (Sri Lanka) President Neelani Goonetillake, whose company was the overall winner last year, said that she was hoping for the best though the number of entries they sent this year was lower than 2000. This was mainly because JWT had focused more on promotions and special events than media advertising.

    Irwin Weerakkody, Chairman at Phoenix O&M, which came second with 18 awards (including six Gold) last year, said his agency has increased the number of entries this year. 

    'We have participated in the competition since its inception without a break and whether we win or lose, we have stood by the final decision of the judges," he added.

    SLIM Awards is the recognised platform for Sri Lankan advertising agencies to showcase their works and the effort put in by many individuals in preparing their submissions for the event was evident going on the basis of the creativity in which the entries were submitted. "There was a lot of enthusiasm, reflected not only by the people making the submissions but also in the manner of their presentations," said Sumudu Dhanapala who is coordinating the judging process this year.

    The main partners of SLIM Awards 2001 are Dulux, Ericsson and Coca-Cola. The co-partners are Daily Mirror, SriLankan Airlines, MTV, Yes FM, Swedish Trading, Graphitec, Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre and Trans Asia Hotel.


    Stassens tea is certified

    Demeter International of Germany the premier organisation that inspects and certifies the Bio Dynamic Agriculture Farms all over the world has certified the Stassen Organic Tea Project. This entitles Stassen to use the "demeter" logo in their tea packs. 

    Stassen the pioneers of organic tea cultivation and exports in Sri Lanka were awarded the Pioneering Status by the Export Development Board in 1987. Their project is inspected annually and certified by Naturland of Germany, IMO of Switzerland and NASAA of Australia. Having gone organic, they next extended their cultivation practices to conform to the standards of BIO Dynamic Agriculture. 

    The principles of Bio Dynamic Agriculture were first enunciated by Rudolf Stiner of Germany in 1924. This form of agriculture envisages harnessing the energy of the cosmic forces for the benefit of the plants in utilizing the minerals, plant and animal nutrients supplied to the field. This is achieved by carrying out the agricultural practices according to the Bio Dynamic Calendar and by spraying Bio Dynamic Preparations, which are especially made in situ. 

    The most important Bio Dynamic preparation is made from fresh cowdung which is filled into cow horns and buried in the ground for six months. The contents inside the unearthed cow horns form one of the basic Bio Dynamic preparations. Similar preparations are also made with combinations of Silica, Valerian, Yarrow, Chamomile, Stinging Nettle, Oak Bark and Dandelion. These Bio Dynamic preparations are dissolved in water in minute amounts and sprayed on to the fields at various stages of cultivation to enhance growth, harvest pest & disease resistance and so on. 

    There is a market for Bio Dynamically grown products in Germany, the UK, Australia and many other countries. The "demeter" seal assures the consumers of Bio Dynamic products that the product comes from farms which have been inspected and certified by Demeter International. 

    This is the first time the "demeter" seal has been awarded to a farm in Sri Lanka. It requires much faith in the system and dedication by those involved in the farm. Stassen Organic Tea Project comprises of a good team of people at all levels who are very meticulous in adhering to the Bio Dynamic norms and practices.


    Delmege Shipping presents award to best student in shipping

    The Delmege Forsyth & Co. (Shipping) Award for the top student in the subject of "Shipping Practice" at the annual qualifying examinations of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, was presented for the third successive year at the Institute's awards function recently.

    The award, which was created by Delmege Shipping as part of the company's commitment to promoting professionalism in the local shipping sector, comprises of a handsome shield and a personal cash award. 

    Manjula Agalawatte, Shipping Manager at Standard Trading Co., a tea export firm, won the award for the year 2000.

    A spokesman for Delmege Shipping said one of the key driving forces in its success was professionalism through education and training. "As a company with more than a century of involvement in shipping, Delmege Forsyth is committed to supporting the efforts of the Sri Lanka branch of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers to enhance professionalism in this sector," the spokesman said. "The award for 'Shipping Practice' is intended to encourage those in the sector to seek and achieve high standards."

    Delmege Shipping was incorporated in 1973 to handle the large shipping agency business that had been built up by Delmege Forsyth & Co. over three quarters of a century. The company represents Mitsui OSK Lines, a major container operator who offers fully containerized services for both import and export cargo on their international trade routes.


    Ritzbury receives ISO 9002

    Ritzbury Lanka (Pvt) Limited (RLL) announced its accreditation of the ISO 9002 standard recently. According to Ritzbury this certification makes them the first confectionery and snack foods manufacturer to receive this quality standard.

    Ritzbury Lanka (Pvt) Limited is the manufacturer Chunky Choc, Chocolate Fingers, Chit Chat and many other such products under its brand. The company, a constant investor in modern technology recently purchased new machinery to manufacture its latest confectionery product, "Pebbles". With the procurement of the new machinery, Ritzbury is the first and only Sri Lankan company capable of manufacturing sugar coated chocolate beans locally.

    "Though all our systems comply with the standard, we were waiting to apply for certification until this new line was in place," said Ms. Sheamalee Wickramasingha, Ritzbury's Managing Director.

    The ISO 9002 standard is an assurance to customers of Ritzbury products that the company follows quality systems with regard to material procurement, manufacturing process and storage. Some of the Ritzbury products are also manufac-tured under licence by its parent company, Ceylon Biscuits Limited (CBL). Incidentally CBL was awarded ISO 9002 for its biscuits, wafers and chocolate products, thus RLL's certification comple-tes the group's entire product portfolio of ISO accredi-tation.

    RLL also exports some of its products to international markets while the larger proportion is manufactured for the local market. Its success in the international market has attracted attention from leading brands such as Cadbury's to bring down their prices on occasion in Canada. Owing to RLL's success the CBL has also set up a fully owned subsidiary in India.

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