Financial Times

SLT seeks Rs.44 bln revenue this year

By Bandula Sirimanna

Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) is targeting a revenue of Rs.44 billion for 2009, up from Rs 35 billion last year, despite anticipated adverse market conditions in the island.

A new business plan has been devised to achieve this revenue target transforming the institute to a complete market oriented organisation, some 1,000 SLT executives were told at a recent conference at the Waters Edge at Battaramulla to announce the current year’s business programme, officials who were present, said.

Chairperson of SLT Leisha de Silva Chandrasena was quoted as saying that according to the new business plan only Rs. 6 billion has been allocated for new projects this year slashing its normal budget by Rs.10 billion.

She added that the publicity and sponsorship budget will also be drastically reduced this year. The SLT has been able to maintain the same profits level during the first nine months in 2008 as of the first nine months of the previous year, 2007. During the nine months ended 30th September 2008 the group achieved a net profit after tax of Rs.4.4 billion and recorded marginal growth compared to Rs.4.3 billion for the same period of 2007.

Meanwhile a team of representatives from Malaysian mobile phone giant Maxis, a major shareholder at SLT and operating through Global Telecommunications Holdings NV-GTH, has recently expressed their concern to government authorities with regard to management control entitled to them. It has been revealed that they have informed the President that full administrative and financial control were given to the previous stakeholder Japan’s NTT. They also brought to the notice of the authorities that their nominee to the post of CEO SLT is ready to assume duties soon and this was delayed due to factors beyond their control. The new CEO will be overseeing the work of 12 divisions managed by SLT chief officers. The new shareholder agreement, which will clearly set the areas of control of Maxis, is yet to be finalized, informed sources said.

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