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Industry backs SriLankan Airlines’ move to retain European flights

Industry backs SriLankan Airlines’ move to retain European flights

SriLankan Airlines, looking for ways to cut huge losses and debt accumulated during the last regime, this week decided to continue flying to key European destinations, barring Rome, reversing earlier plans to discontinue or reduce these flights. The move drew welcome relief from all sections of the travel industry. Separately the airline, according to its main [...]

COPE likely to resurrect CB bond probe

The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) is likely to re-examine next week the controversial bond issue by the Central Bank (CB) in which a firm associated with the son-in-law of Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran was allegedly favoured in the bids Parliamentary sources said. They said that COPE is meeting on Thursday, February 25 and this [...]

Two CSC ships to be sold due to payments crisis

Sri Lanka is seeking buyers for two Chinese built bulk carrier ships purchased in the past five months by Ceylon Shipping Corporation (CSC) with a People’s Bank loan the corporation is unable to pay back the loans. Bids are to be soon called from interested parties for this purpose. The two ships were intended for transporting [...]

Compulsory board seats: CCC recommends it only as best practice

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in a letter to the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs has pointed out the legal implications and the detrimental impact to the capital market pertaining to the proposal to allocate a board seat for any individual holding 10 per cent and over in a commercial bank or [...]

Burdened with debt, Sri Lanka turns to the Islamic world for help

Sri Lanka, burdened by debt and a growing payments schedule, is appealing to the Islamic banking world for financial help, applying for membership of the Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and drafting the necessary Sharia-compliance regulations required for this purpose, official sources revealed. During a recent visit by a high level Sri Lankan delegation of bankers [...]

Foreign debt commitments trigger macro-financial risks

Foreign debt commitments  trigger macro-financial risks

Until recently, there had been a surge in capital flows from advanced countries to developing countries. Foreign loans to low-income countries tripled between 2007 and 2013. Given the near-zero interest rates in US and European capital markets, investors diverted their funds to emerging markets. With its unprecedented growth, the Chinese economy too became a major [...]

IMF urges 15 % VAT, to retain NBT at 2 %, consolidate debt reduction

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has stepped into provide technical assistance for a financial review on 2016 fiscal accounts in determining the status of unpaid claims, contingent liabilities and other information related to appropriation and spendng in that year. This was revealed in a memorandum submitted by the Central Bank (CB) to a government Sub-Committee [...]

Beer or jobs: which is more important?

Ever since the liberalisation of economic policies and transfer to an open-doors economy in 1977 from inward-looking policies, every successive regime has preached about the greatness of small and medium scale entrepreneurs, the need to nurture these orgnisations and make them grow. These pronouncements however are, and has always been, just on paper. The plight [...]

US helps Sri Lanka Customs to develop trade potential

US helps Sri Lanka Customs to develop trade potential

Legal experts from the US Department of Commerce and US Customs and Border Protection collaborated with 20 senior officials from Sri Lanka Customs in Colombo last week on reforming customs procedures to enhance trade. The effort seeks to improve efficiency and transparency for businesses, allowing Sri Lanka to develop more fully its export potential and [...]

SriLankan Airlines to scrap Rome sector while continuing other European flights

SriLankan Airlines said this week it will discontinue flights to Rome from May onwards but continue its other European sectors including increasing some frequencies. While Paris operations will continue with four weekly frequencies, a fifth Frankfurt frequency will be added from July 2016, which will continue during summer 2016, the national airline said in a media [...]

Sri Lanka to celebrate 50 years of tourism on May 2

A colourful eye catching logo encapsulating Sri Lanka’s diverse biodiversity was launched at a ceremony to coincide with the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Sri Lanka’ s tourism which fell on February 12. The Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga launched the Golden Jubilee logo on the Internet at a ceremony held [...]

From cash to ash – Five business lessons after Unilever fire

From cash to ash – Five business lessons after Unilever fire

‘Its flames’ – shouted someone, and – yes – flames they were. That would have been a likely scenario that engulfed the multinational giant Unilever (factory) complex in Horana – Sri Lanka on Independence Day this year.  As we wake up, not every morning do we hear about corporate fires, but now and again they [...]

Renowned furniture manufacturer A T Cooray (Pvt) Ltd nears its 90th year

Renowned furniture manufacturer A T Cooray (Pvt) Ltd nears its 90th year

Renowned furniture manufacturer A T Cooray (Pvt) Ltd is nearing its 90th year in a journey that began when its founder A.T. Cooray who hailed from the southern parts of then Ceylon began trying his hand at carpentry.  Explaining the background of the company as it enters a decade that would end with a century [...]

Sri Lankan photojournalists to attend Canon show in Tokyo

Sri Lankan photojournalists to attend Canon show in Tokyo

A group of Sri Lankan photojournalists has been invited to attend the Camera and Photo Imaging Show and Press Tour 2016 on February 24-26 at the International City Yokohama, Tokyo, Japan.  Taslim Rahaman, Managing Director of Metropolitan PhotoHub Pvt Ltd, local agents for Canon, said Sri Lanka media representatives will get an opportunity to visit [...]

Sri Lanka’s main plantation union demands decent wages, decent work on estates

The Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), the largest estate worker union, is proposing the establishment of an estate village and the provision of decent wage and decent work on the plantations. Estate workers need to be given a right to land and property and live outside the plantations on a separate village of their own and at [...]

Dialog Axiata sees 9% revenue growth at Rs. 63 billion

Dialog Axiata PLC (Dialog) said its mobile, international and tele-infrastructure segments of the group portfolio continued to contribute a major share of group revenue (84 per cent ) and group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation(EBITDA) at 85 per cent. ”On the back of its mobile customer base of over 10.8 million subscribers, Dialog’s revenue [...] launches course on making money on the Internet

Can individuals make money safely and legitimately on the Internet? The answer, according to is yes, and Sri Lanka’s leading edutainment website has launched an online course to teach how.  Available at just Rs 10 per day, ‘How to do Online Jobs’ shows how any skilled person with imagination can market himself or herself on [...]

Ceylinco General and Ceylinco Life Insurance announce premium income of Rs. 27 billion

Premium income of Ceylinco General and Ceylinco Life reached Rs.27 billion for the year ended 31st December 2015 indicating an increase of Rs.2.8 billion or a growth of 11.7 per cent over the previous year, the company said.  Ajith Gunawardena, Jt. Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Ceylinco Insurance PLC, announcing the results of Ceylinco General [...]

Motor traders suggest one-day vehicle registration service

Motor traders are urging the government to introduce a one-day service for vehicle registration similar to the one day service facility offered by the Department of Registration of Persons and the Department of Immigration and Emigration when issuing Natonal Identity cards and passports. In a letter to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Ceylon Motor Traders [...]

United Motors sees profits double

United Motors Group profit for the first nine months of 2015/16 doubled to Rs. 1.48 billion in comparison to Rs. 723 million achieved for the same period last year. Group Revenue for the first nine months increased by 50 per cent to Rs. 11.7 billion from Rs. 7.8 billion during the corresponding period last year, [...]

Financial fraud cases likely against officials including Gota and PBJ

The Attorney General’s Department is examining 25 files relating to misappropriation of public funds by powerful politicians and top officials of the previous regime including former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and former Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera.  The Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) has completed investigations into these 25 cases and has submitted relevant files to [...]

Confusion over whether Google Loon Wi-Fi is free or a paid service

Confusion over whether Google Loon Wi-Fi is free or a paid service

While on one side Google successfully launched its first test in Sri Lanka by deploying a ‘Google Loon’ balloon over the central province, on the other hand the general public and the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are confused as to whether it will be a free Wi-Fi service or not.  When the Business Times contacted [...]

Top 5 Social Engineering attacks

Top 5 Social Engineering attacks

Social engineering is called the science and art of human hacking. This has become popular in recent years given the exponential growth of social networks, email and other forms of electronic communication. This term is widely used to reference an array of techniques used by criminals who obtain sensitive information or to convince targets to [...]

Genomic Medicine – Next big thing in healthcare

Genomic Medicine – Next big thing in healthcare

A friend asked me recently “you have been writing about digital health, but what is the next big thing in health care?” The next big thing in health care is Genomic Medicine. Digital Health and Genomic Medicine are going hand in hand and revolutionising healthcare in the future. A few years ago, I decided to sequence [...]

Cryptocurrency is a global currency that will be Sri Lanka’s future too

While digitisation is happening around the world and Sri Lanka is moving on the same track as other developing nations, cryptocurrency is something the country needs to seriously consider in the future.  Speaking to a few industry experts at the recently held ISACA Sri Lanka Chapter conference on cryptocurrency at the Hilton Residencies in Colombo, [...] plans for offline job fairs to boost its online portal

With one year of presence in Sri Lanka, online job portal plans to have offline job fairs in various parts of the country to boost its online platform, says Gijs Verheijke, Regional CEO for in Asia.  He made this comment to the Business Times on the sidelines of a media briefing at the [...]

All problems cannot be solved with just one tool, says WSO2 CEO

In a world of evolving technology and new innovations, all problems cannot be solved with just one tool, says Sanjiva Weerawarana, Co-Founder and CEO of WSO2. He made this statement while making the keynote speech on the second day of WSO2Con Asia 2016 at the Water’s Edge in Colombo on Wednesday.  Mr. Weerawarana said, “You [...]

Exporters meet northern producers to discuss linkages

Exporters meet northern  producers to discuss linkages

The National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) recently held a seminar between member exporters of the chamber and producers in the Northern Province, following its participation at the Jaffna International Trade Fair (JITF) last month. The NCE has been regularly participating at the JITF during the last two years to fulfill its objective of [...]

Expolanka eyes East Africa for further expansion

The Expolanka Holdings PLC now firmly under the control of Japanese-based SG Holdings which recently increased its stake in the company wants to venture into Africa, officials said.  “We are more a fashion logistics company and in this backdrop we want to increase our reach. So we’re eyeing renting logistics facilities in East Africa. This [...]

Compound Interest should be removed for trades in the stock market

Recently I discovered that a licensed stock broker firm with which I dealt with was charging me compound interest – which is interest not only on the principal debt but also on any interest accrued. If the interest chargeable period or the grace period for repayment of the principal is reduced, then compound interest provides [...]

Ruvini Dias Bandaranayake, new MD Tourism Promotion Bureau

The Tourism Ministry has appointed Ruvini Dias Bandaranayake as its new Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Managing Director. Ms. Bandaranayake, a former Executive Director at Airport and Aviation Services Sri Lanka, assumed duties on Monday, the ministry said on Tuesday. It said Ms. Bandaranayake is expected to lead the team at Sri Lanka Tourism to [...]

NDB Group crosses Rs. 300 bln in total assets

National Development Bank’s total assets in the group for FY15 closed at Rs.315 billion which translated to a 17 per cent growth whilst the same at the bank level was Rs 309 billion, an equivalent of 18 per cent growth over the prior year, a media release said.  The NDB Group’s gross income increased by [...]

MTD Walkers forays into Maldives and Bangladesh

Integrated infrastructure and engineering solutions provider MTD Walkers PLC has made forays into the Maldives and Bangladesh in the construction sector, officials said.  ”We established two firms in these countries and we see a lot of scope,” an official told the Business Times. The company’s results for the third quarter of 2015/16 saw it posting [...]

Hemas earnings Rs. 1.9 bln for 1-3QFY16

Hemas Holdings PLC (HHL) and its subsidiaries achieved consolidated revenues of Rs. 28.3 billion, year-on-year (YoY) growth of 19.7 per cent for the nine months ended December 31, 2005 with operating profit reaching Rs. 2.8 per cent and earnings Rs. 1.9 billion, growth of 25.6 per cent and 65.2 per cent, respectively.  Eliminating the one [...]

Chennai floods affect Virtusa’s revenue

Heavy rainfall and the resultant flooding in Chennai, India in December 2015 temporarily affected Virtusa’s regular business operations at its Chennai facility, Virtusa said in a media release. While operations in Virusa’s Chennai facility have been fully restored, the incident resulted in an unfavourable revenue impact of approximately US$0.4 million of incremental expenses associated with the [...]

Seylan Bank wins ‘Social Media Brand of the year’ and two other awards

Seylan Bank wins ‘Social Media Brand of the year’ and two other awards

Seylan Bank recently won three major international awards for its performance on the Social Media platform at the Indo Lanka Customer Engagement Awards organised by the ACEF Team and held in Colombo.  The awards were presented for Seylan Bank’s innovative Seylan Office Challenge – Events and Promotions; Innovative Web Launch Campaign and as the Social [...]

Hong Kong-based law firm to draft and revise Sri Lanka’s fiscal and monetary laws

Sri Lanka is to assign Hong Kong-based law firm, Baker & McKenzie to draft new laws as well as to revise existing laws relating to fiscal and the monetary sector, restructuring insolvency, real estate, assets, residency and property,intellectual property and tax. The company will be entrusted with the task of also drafting new laws for the [...]

ADB aims to lift SL to upper mid income country bracket

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has allocated US$2.3 billion for Sri Lanka for the next three years to push for upper mid income status. It will also become consultants for the East Container Terminal (ECT) scheduled to be signed when the bank’s President visits the country next week.  Based on a request by the government [...]

Increased consumption of pulses makes you healthy, reduces obesity and diabetes

The United Nations has declared 2016 as the ‘International Year of Pulses’ (IYP) offering the greatest opportunity to help increase food security for those with shortages and to tackle the increase of diseases linked to lifestyles such as obesity and diabetes.  In the Sri Lankan context increased consumption of pulses would also have the added [...]

ACCA sustainability reporting awards on Feb 24 for the 12th successive year

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Sri Lanka, for the 12th successive year, will reward Sri Lanka’s most transparent, accountable and responsible entities at the ACCA Sustainability Reporting Awards on February 24 at the Kingsbury.  This year’s awards spotlight seven categories in addition to rewarding the overall winner and runner up. The seven categories [...]

Aitken Spence sees challenging 3Q 2015/16

Aitken Spence PLC posting its interim results for the quarter ended 31 December 2015 has said that its profit-before-tax fell by 25.3 per cent to Rs. 1.1 billion while profit attributable to equity holders decreased by 26.7 per cent to Rs. 637 million. The company’s income for the quarter also fell by 14.6 per cent [...]

CSE to give brokers time before implementing capital adequacy rules

The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) will give time for stockbroker firms to get their accounts in order before implementing the Risk-based Capital Adequacy (RBC) Requirement that would ensure that stockbrokers retain an appropriate level of liquid capital in relation to the total risks faced by them when trading in securities, a CSE official said.  ”We [...]

AIA Insurance says social experiment goes viral

In an eye opening social experiment, AIA Insurance made people come face-to-face with their future retirement life. A group of Sri Lankans from varied demographics came together in one interesting exercise to discuss what their realistic retirement would look like.  Having picked their likely retirement homes, vehicles, travel destinations and shopping preferences from a pack [...]

Sri Lanka’s rich should pay wealth tax, says Prime Minister

Sri Lanka’s poor are paying most of the taxes in the country compared to the rich who contribute far less, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said this week. Speaking at the launch of a World Bank study in Colombo, he said that 80 per cent of the taxes were paid by the poor in the country while [...]

SMEs urge President to scrap voluntary winding up fee

A group of around 50 small and medium scale enterprises have pleaded with President Maithripala Sirisena to repeal clauses in the 2016 budget providing for a fee to wind up a company and amend the exorbitant licensing fee. In a letter, the group urged the President to “amend the 2016 budget proposal to charge an annual [...]

Serendib’s new fortified flour in the Sri Lankan market

Serendib Flour Mills (SFML) recently introduced fortified wheat flour to the Sri Lankan market for the first time. SFML’s fortified wheat flour is part of the company’s ‘7 Star’ range and is the only wheat flour available in Sri Lanka that contains essential minerals such as iron and folic acid, making it the healthiest and [...]

Sri Lanka to host 2017 Asian Business Angels Forum

Asia’s largest premier angel investor gathering and conference for emerging and growing businesses, ‘Asian Business Angels Forum’ (ABAF) to kick off in Sri Lanka next year. Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, founder member of the Lankan Angel Network (LAN), told the Business Times that the 2017 ABAF which is to be held in Sri Lanka would significantly impact on [...]

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