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New brand:Ceylon Tea in a mug!

New brand:Ceylon Tea in a mug!

Officials and ministers toasting tea in a mug instead of the ubiquitous cup at the global tea party celebrations in Colombo on Thursday. Pic by Indika Handuwala.

Converting municipal waste to green energy

Converting municipal waste to green energy

An Australian-based Sri Lankan entrepreneur has proposed a novel solution to get rid of one of the country’s stinking problems – transforming garbage to energy. While the concept of transforming garbage to energy is not new and has been proposed in the past with these proposals often thrown to the WPB (waste paper bin) due [...] use FTZ to dump garbage?

The government saddled with the issue of a venue to dump its garbage is considering the Katunayake Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in its quest for a probable location much to the dismay of workers, employers and authorities. Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faizer Mustapha, State Minister of City Planning and Water Supply Dr. Sudarshini [...]

Decision on SriLankan Airlines by end-July

The SriLankan Airlines restructuring process is to be finalised before the end of July, according to a decision taken at the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) recently. The CCEM has instructed the Public Enterprises Development Ministry to arrive at a final decision as to whether to go-ahead with the model of public-private- partnership or [...]

Perpetual suspension won’t affect market

The Central Bank (CB) decision to suspend suspect dealer Perpetual Treasuries Ltd (PTL) from trading activities won’t impact on the smooth functioning of the money market, dealers said on Friday. The CB’s suspension of PTL is for a six month period effective July 6 and comes more than a month after the Appeal Court dismissed [...]

Government throws cold water on Dhammika Perera’s Queensbury project

Sri Lanka government has thrown cold water on the US$200 million mixed development Queensbury Leisure Ltd project of billionaire business tycoon and local casino owner Dhammika Perera. The project was for an integrated super luxury tourist resort, which consists of 500 rooms including high end shopping malls, high quality residencies and office spaces/service spaces with [...]

Comment – Credit cards: The slow killer

Comment – Credit cards: The slow killer

Two weeks ago, a customer received a call from a reputed Sri Lankan foreign bank. Confused at first, because it was a call that had a ‘recorded message’ which could not be understood, the customer ignored it, when to his dismay it came again for the second time a few days later giving the customer [...]

Feature – Norochcholai power plant has already paid back its investment

Feature – Norochcholai power plant has already paid back its investment

One day possibly in April 2014, the President called the Minister of Power and Energy to meet her. He rushed to Temple Trees with his deputy, to be told that she would have no objection to the Ministry proceeding with the Norochcholai coal power project. The Minister and his deputy were astonished; they could not [...]

CIM empowers Sri Lankan marketers to take on the digital transformation

CIM empowers Sri Lankan marketers to take on the digital transformation

This year’s CIM Sri Lanka Annual conference is themed, ‘Digital Transformation – are you ready?’ and will be held on July 17-18 at the Cinnamon Grand, Colombo. The theme this year has been triggered by the understanding of the harsh reality that most businesses are not yet ready for the digital transformation that would disrupt [...]

Electronic device ban fully lifted on flights from Abu Dhabi to the US

The US Department of Homeland Security has lifted a ban on electronic devices on flights between Abu Dhabi and the US with effect from July 2, Abu Dhabi national carrier Etihad Airways said. “Effective immediately, the removal of the restrictions allows passengers flying to the US to carry all laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices [...]

UDA gets tough with building approvals

All large scale buildings with a potential critical impact on the built environment have to get approval from the Urban Development Authority (UDA) under new rules that came into effect in February. This is after corruption and rampant malpractices in recent times when obtaining approvals for buildings, officials said. Earlier granting these approvals was vested [...]

English Tea Shop acquires Joe’s Tea Company

Two of the UK’s leading premium organic independent tea brands are joining forces to better capitalise on the organic and speciality tea boom. English Tea Shop, a leading independent speciality tea company, announced the acquisition of Joe’s Tea Company, a premium lifestyle tea brand based in East London. English Tea Shop UK Ltd, owned by [...]

An airline is the best marketing arm

An airline is the best marketing arm

An airline is the best marketing arm a country can buy. In the absence of a strong national carrier we must open and make it attractive to other airlines to come into the country. Tourism is central and the key to make airlines operations viable. As an island Sri Lanka needs airlines to connect and [...]

HSBC marks 125 years of banking in Sri Lanka

HSBC marks 125 years of banking in Sri Lanka

HSBC Sri Lanka celebrated a milestone 125 years of banking in the country on July 1, having begun its operations in the country in 1892, just 27 years after its first offices were established in Hong Kong and Shanghai. A special ceremony to mark the 125th year anniversary was held on Monday with the unveiling [...]

Tropical Transformers – inspiring new book on Sri Lankan champions

Tropical Transformers – inspiring new  book on Sri Lankan champions

With Sri Lanka yet to establish a platform featuring Sri Lankans who have championed change and entrepreneurship, locally and internationally, the Book Project Sri Lanka has come on board to highlight the successes and trials of exemplary Sri Lankan and Sri Lankan-origin leaders from diverse backgrounds. Authors Indira Kithsiri and Hashendra Wijesinha believe that the [...]

Eran resuscitates Sri Lanka’s Tax Appeals Commission

Around 1500 tax appeal cases are pending since 2011 – 300 since 2016 – owing to delays in constituting the Tax Appeals Commission, and as an immediate priority new State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne is to get this commission fully functional with all nine members appointed last week, Finance Ministry officials said. The Minister [...]

CMA national management conference on July 17

The CMA National Management Accounting Conference 2017 hosted by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka will be held on July 17 to 19 at the Cinnamon Lakeside under the theme “Digital Transformation – A New Strategic Imperative”. The national partner of the event is the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) Sri [...]

Suspend bank facilities to errant listed companies

Referring to recent reports on public listed companies not submitting financials, one of the best ways to regulate these errant companies is as follows: “If – for example – the audited annual financials are not provided within the stipulated period after the end of the financial year, withdraw all banking facility limits until submission for [...]

Minimum float requirement: A naughty-but-nice situation

Minimum float requirement:  A naughty-but-nice situation

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) is in the midst of a sword of Damocles-kind of dilemma following its decision to enforce a minimum float requirement on quoted companies that have been continuing in such a manner for more than three years. The SEC announced last week that from July the Colombo [...]

EPF holds onto old investments

The Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), the country’s largest pension fund in a tight spot with its investments during the last regime, still holds onto some of those past stakes in listed firms, data shows. The EPF had a 9.6 per cent stake in Amaya Leisure December 31 last year and has 8 per cent in [...]

Dr. Senthilverl: Biggest mover and shaker on the CSE

Dr. T. Senthilverl is still the ‘most active’ high net worth investor (HNWI) in the Colombo stock market this year, trading data say. The media-shy medical doctor has been trading in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) for decades. He’s the major voting shareholder of The Finance Company ((TFC) with 9.85 per cent as at March [...]

First State Investments amongst JKH buyers since April

John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH) is the first listed firm to dispose shares of its subsidiary Union Assurance PLC (UAL) after the ‘Minimum Public Holding’ rule was brought in last month with firmer directions as a continuous listing requirement. As per the directive issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on this rule, Whittall [...]

Lanka Tiles seeks production plant in India

Lanka Tiles seeks production plant in India

Lanka Tiles PLC (Tiles) has plans to buy a tile manufacturing facility in India in a bid to meet tile demand stemming from the construction boom that’s being witnessed now, officials say. The company which had a tough FY 2017 will be expanding capacity and is eyeing to buy a tile factory in India to [...]

Watawala split in two to attract more investors

Watawala Plantations PLC in a bid to be more feasible to potential investors announced recently that it intends to separate tea from other businesses, forming two separate independent listed companies. One will focus on tea, the other on rest of the products, Vish Govindasamy, Managing Director of the company told the Business Times. With this [...]

A toast to Ceylon Tea!

A toast to Ceylon Tea!

A cut from its colonial masters, the Colombo centric tea industry was there on Thursday to toast for the next 50 years of Ceylon tea at the main event of the Global tea party celebrating 150 years of tea in Sri Lanka. During the main tea party celebrations held at the Galle Face hotel there [...]

Sri Lanka to urgently import 200,000 MT rice

Sri Lanka is urgently importing 200,000 metric tons of rice from three countries to meet a shortfall in the domestic market, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said. For this purpose, a four-member delegation left on Friday to Pakistan and from there will proceed to Myanmar. India is the third country. The team is led [...]

Japan’s Rs. 358 mln support to continue public sector schols

The Japanese Government’s Grant Aid for Human Resources Development Scholarship (JDS) Programme introduced in Sri Lanka in 2010 to provide opportunities to the executive level public sector officials to undergo Master Degree Programmes in prominent universities in Japan, is to be continued to 2020. After the first framework (2010-2013), the second framework ends this year. [...]

ETF Act to be amended after 23 years

Changes to Sri Lanka’s Employees Trust Fund (ETF) Act are forthcoming to streamline and strengthen supervisory and regulatory powers entrusted to the ETF board. The ETF amendment draft bill is now being finalised providing provisions for representation from the Ministry of Labour and Trade Union Relations in the ETF governing body, Cabinet Committee on Economic [...]

Emerald and AOD aim to redesign local industry

Emerald International (Pvt) Ltd, Sri Lanka’s premier menswear brand, recently signed an MOU with the Academy of Design (AOD), Sri Lanka’s pioneer in Design Driven Innovation, to formalise its collaboration. Speaking on the collaboration, General Manager of Emerald International, Fazni Amanulla said, “In the business of building strong menswear brands in our own manufacturing plants, [...]

Preethi Jayawardena at helm of SL Institute of Directors

Preethi Jayawardena has been elected unanimously as the new Chairman of the Sri Lanka Institute of Directors for the year 2017/18 after Ms. Shiromal Cooray completed her term as Chairperson. The other officials elected to the Council at the recently-held AGM are Rasakantha Rasiah as Senior Vice Chairman, Faizal Salieh as Vice Chairman and Ms. [...]

Proposed asbestos ban will have huge economic impact – new report

A new report analysing the value and potential losses if and when asbestos roofing sheets are banned in Sri Lanka places the annual value of Chrysotile asbestos roofing material at Rs. 21.5 billion and the total value at around Rs. 395 billion. The report presented by Susil Premjayantha, Minister of Science, Technology and Research in [...]

UNP-led panel discussion on GSP+

A panel discussion featuring Minister Dr. Harsha De Silva, Economist Deshal De Mel, and industry representatives of apparel and seafood exporters association will be held on Wednesday July 12 at 5.30 pm, under the theme of “GSP+, How Real is It?” Organized by the Young Professionals Organisation of the United National Party, the event will [...]

Mt Lavinia residents’ calls responded to by authorities

Some good eventually, happens. After complaints by the Mount Lavinia Residents Association over unauthorised constructions, government agencies conducted a survey of potential violators in the area on Monday. Following the Business Times report highlighting the association’s issue in its Sunday edition, Enforcement Division officials from the Urban Development Authority (UDA) accompanied by Sri Lanka Army [...]

State’s Elkaduwa, Chilaw and Kurunegala on the way to recovery

After getting Cabinet approval for restructuring state owned plantation companies, Elkaduwa, Chilaw and Kurunegala Plantations have all turned around, Public Enterprise Ministry sources said. “There’s so much more to be done, but we managed to slash costs, bring in efficiency and give certain lands at these plantations for small projects,” a source told the Business [...]

INSEE-IESL challenge boosts engineering skills of university students

INSEE Cement partnered with Sri Lanka’s premier Engineering professional body, the Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka (IESL) to launch the INSEE-IESL Concrete Challenge 2017. The competition powered by INSEE Cement for the fourth consecutive year, will see final year Civil Engineering students of Moratuwa, Peradeniya, Ruhuna, Jaffna, South Eastern Universities and the Open University battle [...]

IRD officials up in arms against new Inland Revenue Bill

IRD officials up in arms against new Inland Revenue Bill

The government’s move to overhaul revenue collection and introduce tax reforms by enacting the new Inland Revenue bill without creating awareness has prompted tax officers to take to the streets, Inland Revenue Department (IRD) trade unions said. The IRD joint trade union committee demanded the government to withdraw the new IR Bill which is devised [...]

Energy supply in Sri Lanka moves to the private sector, individual users

The Government while acknowledging that the cost of power is the highest in the world in Sri Lanka is stepping away from its role of producing electricity hereafter leaving it in the hands of the private sector. These revelations were made by Ajith P. Perera, Deputy Minister of Power and Renewable Energy at the launch [...]

Ceylon Chamber AGM

Ceylon Chamber AGM

The 178th AGM of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce was held last week in Colombo. Seen here (from right) are: Chamber CEO -Dhara Wijayatilake outgoing Chairman Samantha Ranatunga; new Chairman Rajendra Theagarajah; guest speaker – Binod K. Chaudhary Chairman, CG Corp Global, Nepal; Vice Chairman Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya and Deputy Vice Chairperson Vish Govindasamy. Pic by [...]

Softlogic buys Suzuki

Softlogic Holdings PLC is entering the annual 60 billion-rupee local motorcycles market after it purchased Suzuki Motors Lanka Ltd (Suzuki). On Thursday, the company said in a stock market announcement that they entered into a Share Sale and Purchase Agreement on June 30 to acquire all of the shares in issue. Suzuki is engaged in [...]

Millennium Housing Developers PLC eyes luxury housing

Millennium Housing Developers PLC (MHDP) has plans to build luxury beach villas, holiday homes in the hill country and luxury living spaces in strategic locations in the island. Officials told the Business Times that MHDP sees tremendous potential in this sector and has a plan to expand its revenue streams beyond developing neighbourhoods. “Now many [...]

IPM Sri Lanka awarded ISO 9001:2015

IPM Sri Lanka was recently awarded the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System Certificate covering all its operations including branch operations in Galle, Kurunegala and Kandy. The certificate was presented to Prof. Ajantha Dharmasiri-President, IPM Sri Lanka and P.G. Tennakoon-Chief Operating Officer, IPM Sri Lanka by Gamini Dharmawardena-Director General, Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI) at the [...]

Unauthorised constructions at Mount Lavinia

I have been living in Mount Lavinia for nearly 45 years and fairly familiar with the surroundings of Dehiwala, Mount Lavinia and Ratmalana. My first observation is that the Mount beach had unauthorised sheds and huts 50 years ago. Now they have been converted to hotel and guest houses. The Coast Conservation Department promised to [...]

Tea smallholder woes: Incentives, embargos or subsidies

Sometime ago I was running a well established furniture factory. It was then time to retire with my son able to take over the business. With my body physique and past experience, I simply didn’t know how to retire and my silent motto was ‘work till you drop dead’. I mentally scanned through my childhood [...]

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