Financial Times

Commercial Bank resilient in 2008

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC, said it has once again demonstrated its resilience in the financial year ended December 31, 2008 despite global and local volatilities, and an inflation rate that hovered around 20 % for most of the 2008.

Foreign exchange profits recorded a phenomenal growth of 70.46% to reach Rs 2.633 billion mainly due to higher gains realized from forward foreign exchange deals transacted during the year and also due to depreciation of the Rupee against US Dollar by 3.96% in 2008 compared to 0.93% in 2007, a Bank press release said.

Other income recorded a growth of 99.2% over the previous year mainly due to profit made on disposal of shares of Commercial Leasing Company PLC, a former associate of the Bank, and due to higher recovery of loans provided in previous years, it said.

Commercial Bank reported a profit before tax and after financial VAT of Rs.7.520 billion for the year, up by Rs.815 million or 12.16 % over the pre-tax profit for the previous year. The Bank’s profit after tax and financial VAT stood at Rs.4.268 billion compared to Rs 4.104 billion recorded in 2007.

The pre-tax profit of the Bank has been arrived at after charging Rs 692.162 million in payments made on account of oil hedging transactions and after recognizing Rs 405.531 million in profit on sale of Bank’s stake in its shares of Commercial Leasing Company PLC.

“Although the operating environment in Sri Lanka has been tough for many years where rising oil prices, high inflation, the war and low business confidence have made things hard for the industry, that the Bank has managed to perform, and perform creditably in these years is satisfying,” the Chairman of the Commercial Bank Mahendra Amarasuriya said. said.“The Bank is confident it can ride crisis situations by sticking to the fundamentals: strong reserves, optimum liquidity, healthy capital adequacy ratios, product innovation, a lean organisational structure and a motivated management team and workforce. The Bank with its well-structured processes, disciplines and work culture will ride these rough seas and continue to deliver value to all our stakeholders,” he added.

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