Business Times

e-Channelling to stream unchartered waters with leisure, diamonds and media

By Duruthu Edirimuni Chandrasekera

e-Channelling, well known for centralized doctors’ appointment booking system, after a dramatic turnaround last year following its purchase into a large chunk in troubled jewellery firm Blue Diamonds, is gearing to diversify in identified sectors. Officials said that tourism and leisure are areas they most definitely bullish on.

“There’s a whole vacuum that we can contribute to in these areas. We’re currently working on a web portal for this sector. We’re targeting the mid – end hotel segment through this portal,” Ruwan Silva, Director e-Channelling told the Business Times, adding that the company intends to replicate its success in the hospital sector (achieved through e-Channelling) in other sectors (such as hotels) with similar products.

He said that the company will float a special purpose vehicle for their leisure arm and set up a separate firm for this sector. “We’re trying to buy and run a 20-25-chalet resort mainly to gain experience in handling this sort of thing,” he explained. He added that discussions are on the way to secure this property.

The Business Times in May said that e-Channelling PLC which recently sealed a joint venture (JV) with a British firm, Software Distributions and partnered with IFS, a global ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solutions company to open new avenues for their operations, will go international by forging more such JVs. They formed ECL Soft, to diversify into BPO work. The company early this year struck a deal with Watania Telecom Maldives, owned by Qatar Telecom to provide software services to automate medical channeling services in the Maldives. He said that ECL Soft will find them new markets in healthcare industries and devise market strategies offering all healthcare services in one solution. Mr. Silva also said that ECL Soft is now in the process of deploying the e-Channelling products in Australia, Ireland and Bangladesh.

When asked about their entry into Blue Diamonds, he said that it’s a strategic buy and e-Channelling will act in concert with Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) to turn it around. SLIC owns 12.7% in this firm while e-channeling has 14%. Explaining more on this strategic purchase, Mr. Silva said that what Blue Diamond lacks right now is direction, the same as e-Channelling in last May (before he acquired a major shareholding in it). He has 23% in e-Channelling, which is also the stake that SLIC has in this firm. “We turned e-Channelling around with proper directions together with SLIC and intend to do the same with Blue Diamonds,” he added.

He noted that during the last three four years, this company was run by a board which wasn’t represented by shareholders. “We see Blue Diamonds as an opportunity where it can turn around with shareholder representation and input.”

He said that e-Channelling is also aiming at getting into media and publishing by launching a specialised publication for hotels. The company on Monday said that they entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Millennium Information Technologies (MIT) to provide remote health care solutions to local, regional and international market to provide a network through which doctors will be able to provide initial consultancy to the public. Accordingly, the service will be further enhanced to provide medical consultancy to Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan in future, considering them as potential markets.

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