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21st June 1998

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Admiral Mohan SamarasekaraNew Chairman of SLOA

Admiral Mohan Samarasekara, former commander of the navy assumed duties as the new chaiman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) recently. Admiral Samarasekara was at one time in charge of security at the Sri Lanka Ports Authority.

Work to rule in port costs millions

By Gunapala Ranasinghe

Workers attached to the Jaye container terminal of the S.L Ports Authority,commenced a work to rule campaign last week,and by the end of the week, Sri Lanka had lost a tidy Rs. 144 million.

A total of fifteen ships had to queue up in the out harbour area of the port as a result of this work to rule campaign. Among these were three ships bringing in LP gas, and five bunkering vessels.

This campaign was a sequel to the introduction of a new roster by port authorities,with a warning that those who sabotage the new scheme, would be interdicted. The protest campaign brought the work of the port in most areas,to a near halt.

Consequently , four workers were interdicted by the authorities for their part in a form of sabotage to the newly introduced roster system . Three ships due to call over at the port, skipped Colombo due to the work to rule campaign.

Meanwhile port authorities were making arrangements to recruit trained employees to tide over the present impasse.

Sri Lanka bunker plans dropped

Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has shelved plans to take part in a private company set up by four ship agents to provide bunkers and other services in Colombo Port following protests by other agents, according to SLPA deputy chairman M.I.M. Rafeek.

The company, Lanka Maritime Services, invited the SLPA chairman and vice-chairman to join its board of directors late last year. SLPA involvement was put off after protests by the Ceylon Association of Ships' Agents.

They felt that SLPA participation would give the company an unfair advantage over other firms offering similar services.

The firm was set up by Aitken Spence, Maritime Agencies, McLarens and Sri Lanka Shipping Co, with the initial aim of serving the principals of the shareholders and later on other agents and shipowners.

Mr. Rafeek said there was an urgent need to improve the supply of offshore bunkers at Colombo because the number of ships calling for bunkers dropped by 60 per cent last year.

Singapore company buys Japanese boxship

Following on from its sale of the 1,200 TEU Singapore Bridge last year, K Line and its partner in the sister ship Bangkok Bridge, Taiyo Kaiun Kaisha, have decided to sell the vessel. There are no reports as yet as to whether K Line wants to sell the remaining sister ship, the Tokyo Bridge.The Bangkok Bridge is only one-fifth owned by Taiyo Kaiun Kaisha, who will reportedly make a gain of 50 million yen from the sale of the Singaporean company Heritage Carrier. (Asian Shipper)

APL hepls get DisneyFest on the road in Asia

DisneyFest, the largest entertainment event to tour Asia, has opened in Taipei - with a helping hand from carrier APL.

The show arrived with the help of the shipping line's logistics-management and intermodal transportation capabilities.

APL, the show's official ocean carrier and sponsor, is the container arm of Singapore's Neptune Orient Lines, which bought the US carrier for US$ 835 million late last year. In 40 days APL and affiliated companies moved and set up 1,000 tons of DisneyFest equipment, which travelled in 134 APL shipping containers from Singapore to Taipei via the port of Kaohsiung.

Included are tons of equipment needed for the show.

The shipment also contains materials for two 4,000-square-metre, climate controlled superstructures.

APL shipped all the DisneyFest gear from Los Angeles to Singapore last autumn.

John Wemlinger, director of site and logistics for Disney Entertainment projects (Asia-Pacific) said: "Without APL's precise scheduling of ocean and inland moves, we would never have been able to meet the tight timeline."

The timescale became compressed when the event was held up in Singapore for an extra week.

After the four-day voyage from Singapore to Kaohsiung on APL's Intra-Asia Express Service, APL managed trucks carried the containers to Taipei.

APL' s sister company, OCWS Logistics, took over the site logistics there. This included everything from assembling the theatrical venues to providing DisneyFest's people with on-site support services.

At the end of the event, OCWS will dismantle the production and prepare it for the journey to the next location.

Meanwhile, American Consolidation Services, APL's cargo consolidation unit, has provided a single point of contact for all parties involved in the transport on both water and land.

APL provides worldwide container transportation and logistics services through an integrated network combining intermodal operations with information technology. (Asian Shipper)

Dollars 15 million dredger to fight silt

Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) is planning to buy a new $ 15m dredger to replace its present outdated vessel to keep Colombo Port free of silt, according to SLPA acting chairman M. Rafeek. A 1,200 m3 hold capacity dredger will be ordered.

"We need to be able to dredge a large volume in a short time - between the berthing and sailing of vessels," Rafeek said.

"Our berth occupancy is very high. Every minute we waste is a minute lost and money lost."

The Jaya Container Terminal, Colombo's main container facility that has made the Port South Asia's transhipment hub, needs to be dredged regularly in order to maintain the announced alongside depth of 12-14 m, he said.

A city storm water outlet inside the Port is the main cause of silting, he said.

Hanjin Nagoya launched

The latest Post-Panmax container vessel from Hanjin Heavy Industries - in a series of 15 - was named at the Yongdo shipyard on April 23. Mrs. Choi, Eun-Yong, wife of the President of Hanjin Shipping Cho, Sooho, named the new vessel "Hanjin Nagoya".

A few days after the naming of Hanjin Nagoya, she went on sea trials and shortly thereafter entered Hanjin's All Water East Coast Service on May 7.

The Hanjin Nagoya has as her sisters a capacity of 4,000 TEU. The capacity makes it possible to carry a variety of containers - 20 foot, 40 foot and 45 foot-dry freight as well as reefer containers.

The new container vessel comes with a highly fuel efficient 60,000 BHP engine that can achieve a speed of more than 25 knots. Hanjin Nagoya - with a length of 290 metres, a width of 32 metres and depth of 22 metres - ensures maximum carrying capacity with the lowest environmental costs.

The introduction of the new vessel is in line with Hanjin's continuing policy of modernizing its equipment and offering its customers an excellent and personalized service.

By the year 2000, Hanjin will introduce into its services a total of 35 new buildings consisting of twelve 5,300 TEU, eight 4,500 TEU and fifteen 4,000TEU - class container vessels.

Evergreen forges intra-America link

Evergreen Marine Corporation has started a new weekly link between the US East Coast and the East Coast of South America (ECSA), calling southbound en route at Colon (Panama), where it has its own terminal.

Launched on May 4, the new-partnerless-service deploys 7 x 1,100TEU ships. These call weekly at New York/New Jersey, Baltimore, Savannah, Miami, Colon, Puerto Cabello (Venezuela), Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Rio Grande, Sao Francisco do Sul and Buenos Aires, where they turn. Northbound, they sail direcly from Rio de Janeiro to New York.

At Colon, the new service interlinks with Evergeeen's RTW services, thereby providing connections from Asia and Europe, and with its extensive Caribbean feeder system.

Evergreen is already well established in the ECSA region, its affiliate Uniglory Marine Corporation having started a pendulum service between Asia, South Africa and ECSA in 1984.

This was recently 'taken over' by Evergreeen. The meeting of these two services will open many attractive commercial and operational avenues.

Containerisation International earlier reported that Evergreen was planning to add a new connection between Colon and ECSA during 1998, thereby linking USEC with ECSA. Now the carrier has gone one better, by establishing a single service all the way through.

While aware of the tremendous competition that already exists on this route, Evergreen has the benefit of being able to feed European, Asian and Caribbean cargo into its mix.

Partly in response to Evergreen's new service, two of the trades largest other independent groupings have rationalised their operations.

In late 1999, Evergreen plans to fuse its Asia/South Africa/ECSA and USEC/ECSA services into one elongated pendulum.

Ecu-Line has its own Japan office

ECU-LINE has opened its own offices in Japan (Nagoya, Tokyo and Osaka).

ECU- LINE is offering a weekly Direct service to Tokyo, Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya and Yokohama with a transit time of 27 to 31 days.

The headquarters of ECU- LINE JAPAN are located in Nagoya.

Yokohama is covered by the Tokyo office and Kobe by the Osaka office. Nagoya office plans to handle Shimizu. Any of the offices can handle any port in Japan case by case.

With immediate effect ECU- LINE JAPAN has started export groupage services to all main ports in Europe and in the very near future they will develop further to Africa and Latin America.

Hanjin chairman highest award

On behalf of the president of Germany, the German Ambassador to Korea, Dr. Klaus Vollers awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit to the chairman of Hanjin Group, Choong Hoon Cho, at a ceremony at his residence in Seoul on April 6.

The order awarded to Mr. Cho is the highest of five orders Germany presents to national and overseas citizens.

Mr. Cho received the Order in recognition of his outstanding service to the international shipping industry. He founded Hanjin Shipping in 1977 and developed the company into one of the largest carriers in the world.

Korea created enormous trade growth in the 1970's and Mr. Cho exploited the opportunity by establishing a shipping line.

Credited with introducing containerised shipping into Korea, Mr. Cho continued his efforts and built a global service network run by a fleet now numbering more than 150 vessels.

( Asian Shipper)

New LCL service to Vladivostok

A new service providing LCL shipments to the Russian east coast city of Vladivostok has been started by ITS.

The service also extends to Vostchny, Nakhodka and Kahabarovsk. LCL cargo originating from Taiwan, Singapore, Pusan, Japan and other Asian points can also be shipped to Vladivostok. (Asian Shipper)

PPA seeks developers

The port of Dumaguete in the Philippines has seen such a growth in users that it has become a victim of its own popularity.

Container cargo being loaded and unloaded at its three piers has doubled in volume since 1993, and this, coupled with a surge in fast passenger-ferry operators calling there, has resulted in severe congestion. The Philippines Port Authority has therefore decided to develop the port, and is looking for investors to help back it in the project.

A land reclamation project that will fill the area between two of the port's piers has already been undertaken, and this is expected to be primarily used for container and general cargo storage.

The PPA hopes to attract investment to build a dedicated passenger terminal at the port, requiring the reclamation of about 1.3 hectares. (Asian Shipper)

Industry needs nurturing to develop

A seminar on India's shipping industry was held recently in the Indian port city of Kochi.

Among the points raised by the speakers attending, one common theme was prevalent; India's container shipping industry has the potential to be of great service to the country, but is currently straining from outdated management and a lack of infrastructural development.

A former harbour master at Kochi Port spoke of the necessity to develop India's coastal shipping, pointing out that the moving of goods, especially bulk commodities, by coastal shipping held many advantages over land-based modes such as road and rail, which are subject to congestion and various delays.

However, in order to take full advantage of the possibilities offered by coastal shipping, India needs to cut away much of the red tape created by customs and other government departments, the speaker said.

At the start of the seminar, attendants heard from the vice-chancellor of Cochin University of Science and Technology, who told them that India was lagging far behind other maritime nations.

Three carrier network offers express service

Alianca, Colombus Line and P and O Nedlloyd have entered into a strategic agreement that will provide their customers and the growing North/South trade with more convenient express Service and better access to more Caribbean, South American and North American markets.

When implemented, the Alianca, Columbus Line and P and O Nedlloyd agreement will connect the three carriers networks and will include vessel integration, cross chartering of combined capacity, terminal co-operative and other co-operation activities.

Initially the carriers' operations will consist of two main line services:

Weekly Express Service connecting US Atlantic Coast ports, including New York, Mid-Atlantic ports, South Atlantic ports and Miami with the main ports of the East Coast of South America with six geared vessels.

Fortnightly US Gulf/ Caribbean/ East Coast of South American service connecting US Gulf ports and Mexico with Panama, Columbia, Venezuela and the main ports East Coast ports of South America with four geared vessels.

Further, it is the carriers intention to develop more services in the future.

Customers, of the carriers will benefit in several ways. The schedules will be fixed day and provide unparalleled service between critical port pairs with reliability exceeding ninety percent.

All terminals will be common and co-ordinated enabling a seamless interchange from the point of origin to final destination. Each carrier in the agreement will maintain its own separate marketing and customer service identity.

Alianca, Columbus Line and P&O Nedlloyd are teaming up to build a comprehensive and efficient network between the Americas.

Stock Exchange essay contest

The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) in assocation with the Sri Lanka Commerce Students' Foundation has organized an All Island Essay Competition for students, a CSE release states.

This competition is open to all Advanced Level students and the essays could be submitted in one of the three national languages. The topics for this year's competition are:

It has been estimated that an investment level of 30% is required to achieve an economic growth rate of 8%. However, National Savings is currently around 16%.

How can the CSE play a role in bridging this gap?

A dynamic stock market is an indication of a dynamic economy.

What are the different aspects that investors should appraise when investing in the stock market as against investing in bank deposits.

The closing date for entries is June 30 and each essay should not exceed 350 words.

The objective of this competition is to create an awareness of the capital market among the student population and encourage students to learn about the stock market. A sum of Rs. 162,000 is offered as prize money.

The prize stucture is as follows.

First Prize - Rs. 7500/= cash prize and a certificate
Second Prize - Rs. 6000/= cash prize and a certificate
Third Prize - Rs. 5000/= cash prize and a certificate
Fourth Prize - Rs. 4000/= cash prize and a certificate
Fifth Prize - Rs. 3000/= cash prize and a certificate
Sixth to Tenth Prize - Rs. 2000/= cash prize and a certificate
There will be prizes ranging from Rs. 2000/= to Rs. 500/= at District Level.

This is the third year that the CSE is sponsoring an essay competition of this nature. The competitions held during the past two years proved immensely successful and have greatly encouraged the CSE to make this an annual event.

It is expected that the prize distribution ceremony would be held in September 1998.

'Athwela' will guide small businessmen

ATHWELA VYAPARIKA SANGARAWA - a new business monthly in Sinhala, was launched in May.

Addressing a media conference, at Hotel Taj Samudra, Director, Athwela Pvt. Ltd. Nihal Dissanayake, explained that the journal in Sinhala fills a long standing vaccum in the market. The journal is targeted to the smaller businessmen who may not be proficient in English to benefit from the available literature in business managemnet.

ATHWELA is planned to enhance the productivity levels of the small and medium sized business sector by providing a new medium through which they can improve their knowledge of the latest management theories and practice.

Mr. Dissanayake explained its two main objectives: to provide an opportunity to the smaller business community to build a positive attitude towards business and to increase their knowledge of the basic management principles and practice.

Articles fall into three categories: life stories of business personalities and enterprises. Articles by prominent authors, both academic and environment. The first issue includes an article with comprehensive analysis of the environmental factors that could affect a business enterprise.

Other articles include an exclusive interview with the minister of industrial development, analysis of the South-East Asian currency crisis.

The first issue also 'Takes a peep' at the future of the economy if peace in the North-Eastern frontier becomes a reality.

The article cautions the banking sector that if the Colombo banking institutions do not make satisfactory arrangements to transfer and invest the monies that would flow into the country to develop the Jaffna Peninsula, the development of an advanced financial and stock market in the North to compete with Colombo, could not be over-ruled.

Mr. Dissanayake stressed that all the articles and advertisements in the journal have one definite object: They should contribute to help the small business sector to improve their knowledge and productivity. In this sense, ATHWELA VYAPARIKA SANGARAWA is essentially an Educational Magazine.

Course in selling begins today

A 30-lecture hour certificate course in Professional Selling will organised by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing is scheduled to begin today at the Family Planning Association Auditorium in Colombo 7.

With the objective of leading participants to a rewarding career in sales management and enhancing professionalism in the selling function, this course ideally suits persons involved in selling and those who intend pursuing a career in sales management.

The student scoring the highest marks at the examination will be awarded a scholarship to follow the Preliminary Certificate in Marketing (PCM) provided he or she has the required qualifications.

Ceylinco looks for better year all round

Ceylinco Securities and Financial Services Limited (CSFSL) has netted a profit of Rs. 21.56 mn for the financial year under review. This is after writing off Rs. 8.5 mn expenses incurred in the share issue in 1993/94.

Although this was to be written off on or before March 31, 2002, the board of directors has written off this amount during the current financial year.

The company was able to register Rs. 29.14 mn in the previous financial year. This performance is considered satisfactory taking into account the subdued level of investment banking activities even though, the profit available for appropriation has reduced. Profit out of trading operations has increased from Rs. 13.59 mn to 36.41 mn.

Main contributory factor for the last year's higher profits available for appropriation was an extraordinary credit of Rs. 30 mn. Steady improvement in operational profit shows that the company has established its core business which augurs well for the company.

This in turn has tempted the company to diversify into other areas. The company's prime trust lies in leasing, trade finance and real estate. Real estate line provides two lucrative profit avenues, namely capital gains and easy payment schemes for buyers.

Financing land purchases has enabled CSFSL to yield attractive spreads. In addition, it has moved into other lucrative areas of other fund based activities such as leasing with success. The company has been able to maintain a high recovery ratio reflecting the quality of the leases and prudent strategies adopted by the company.

The recently concluded debenture issue in which CSFSL was able to generate Rs. 18 mn will add further strength to the fund based activities. Diversification to the outskirts of the metropolis has been very successful with the company setting up branches in Kurunegala, Kandy and Matara and intends to move into Ratnapura in the near future.

It's subsidiary, Asian Finance Ltd., has been able to record a noteworthy performance and is expected to contribute appreciably to the bottom line of CSFSL.

Ceylinco Stock Brokers was unable to contribute much to CSFSL due to torpid stock market conditions. The lucrative business of real eatate development and broking has been tapped by Ceylinco Land Exchange (Pvt) Ltd.

CSFSL is in the process of restructuring the less performing activities, to enable them to contribute notably to the company in the future. In addition, CSFSL is actively looking for various other avenues of diversification thus auguring well for the bottom line of the company. In light of these developments, the company is well footed to host a notable performance in the coming financial year.

Mobitel kit for the driver

Mobitel has launched a campaign to popularise the use of hands free mobile kits..

"We are very concerned about customers who are compelled to use their mobile phone while driving", a company release said. It is a concern for safe driving that made us reduce our price on these hands free kits, the release added.

Mobitel has also slashed prices of a variety of phone accessories by nearly 50 per cent, as a special promotional deal.

Among the accessories in this offer are batteries, total hands free car kit, chargers, antenna stubs, leather case, windshield mount etc for popular brands such as Ericsson, Motorola and Audiovox.

The hands free kit is a very useful piece of accessory for a mobile user who is frequently on the move. The unit answers any calls automatically after three rings, the release says.

This unit will maximise driving concentration of the mobile user.

The 10 who were tops in excellence

Chairman Hayleys Group, Sunil Mendis received the top award from Minister G.L. Peiris at the Top 10 Award ceremony held at the BMICH last Monday.

The awards ceremony which is being held for the second consecutive year is meant to recognise those ten companies that have excelled and stood above the rest of corporate Sri Lanka during the period 1996/1997.

According to the management of 'Business Today' an open competition like the Top 10 would add to the credibility of the country's private sector, help companies improve their transparency and act as a yardstick for potential investors, employees and general public in their dealing with these companies.

The performances of the companies were based on 11 criteria, viz. Sales Turnover, Growth in Sales Turnover, Profitability, Growth in Profitability, Return on Equity, Earnings per Share, Profit per Employee, Market Capitalization, Value of shares transacted, Dividend per Share and Volumes of Shares traded.

Other criteria that are being considered for next year's selection include Quality of Management, Quality of Product, Service Innovativeness and Social Responsibility.

The Top ten companies for 1996/1997 are Hayleys, Ceylon Tobacco Company, John Keells Holdings, Hatton National Bank, National Development Bank, Commercial Bank, DFCC, Central Finance Company, Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka and Seylan Bank.

CB debentures for Rs. 250 m

Commercial Bank has announced the issue of Rs. 250 million unsecured subordinated redeemable debentures through a public offer.

The primary aim of issuing this debenture is to raise long-term funds for the Bank's long-term credit expansion, particularly under its "Nivahana Housing Loan Scheme", which has a growing demand in the market, a bank release said.

The bank will be able to make a significant contribution for the development of the private sector Debt Market in Sri Lanka. At present, the Debt Securities Market in Sri Lanka is dominated by the state debt instruments like treasury and bonds bonds and as a result the investor community has very little choice, the spokesman said.

In this context, the decision of the Bank to launch a long-term fixed rate debenture, which is listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange will definitely broad-base the investment opportunities available to the investor community, the release said.

The bank having one of the highest Capital Adequacy Ratios among commercial banks, are well above the standards required by the Central Bank, although Capital Adequacy is really no issue in the decision of the bank to issue debentures. This debenture qualifies for inclusion in the Tier II Ratio, and will further improve the Bank's already high capital Adequacy Ratios, the release added.

The Rs. 254 million debentures will be issued in denominations of Rs. 1000 and require a minimum investment of Rs. 10,000/-. The interest of 13.5% paid quarterly is equal to 14.2 % annual interest.

The annual yield on the debenture would be higher than the Treasury Bond yield available as at present. It also gives the investor a higher rate of return compared with other fixed income products with similar maturity and risk profile.

In view of the low and fluctuating interest rates prevailing in the market, the high interest rate fixed for five years will be very attractive to investors, particularly to those who are interested in a fixed and good rate of return on their investments.

This debenture is listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange, as a result of which liquidity is easily available to investors a vital factor in a long-term investment of this nature.

It is also unsecured which means that the debenture is not linked to any particular asset of the bank, but is backed by its entire very strong asset base. Being subordinated, it ranks above shareholders' interest.

Being redeemable only at maturity, an investor would not face a situation where the Bank would redeem the debentures prior to maturity, but would do so only at maturity, as against the choice available to the investor to liquidate the investment at any time through the Colombo Stock Exchange.

As an additional feature, individual investors would be entitled to certain benefits which are presently available only to the Bank's shareholders. These include opening current accounts without stipulated minimum deposit, effecting mail and telegraphic transfers free of charge, obtaining drafts, foreign currency notes and travellers cheques without commission and having loan applications processed without charge.

Bonus share issue from Shalimar

The Shalimar (Malay) Estates Co Ltd. - a subsidiary of Carson Cumberbatch & Company Ltd., has announced one of the biggest bonus share issues in terms of proportion in the history of the Colombo Stock Exchange.

The proposal is to issue 109 bonus shares for every 10 held - a little less than 11 new shares for each existing share, a company release says.

The company owns oil palm plantations in Malaysia.

Also three other subsidiary companies within the Carson Cumberbatch plantations sector owning oil palm plantations in Malaysia and incorporated in Sri Lanka-The Selinsing Company Ltd, The Good Hope Company Ltd, The Indo- Malay Estates Ltd, have also proposed a one for one bonus share issue. Both these proposals await shareholders' approval, the release added.

Celltel World helps you roam the globe

Celltel Lanka Ltd., launched an international roaming facility, offering the company's subscribers what is believed to be the lowest cellular international roaming rates available from Sri Lanka.

The new facility, which is branded Celltel World, will offer roaming facilities in Singapore, India, Australia, South Africa, United Kingdom at rates equivalent to the local call charges in these countries, along with most of Europe and Asia.

Celltel will provide the facility to the company's subscribers, at a nominal rental fee of Rs. 150 per day instead of the percentage of the total bill normally charged by most other operators.

Announcing the launch of Celltel World, Celltel's Chief Executive Officer Mr. Serge Guevel told a news conference in Colombo that the company has signed agreements with cellular companies in United Kingdom, India, Dubai, Singapore, Australia and South Africa to provide this facility to its subscribers. The decision to offer roaming in these countries was based on research into the most frequent destinations travelled by local businessmen.

"We believe Celltel World will be the most attractively priced international roaming facility in Sri Lanka," Mr. Guevel said, at a recent media briefing.

Users of Celltel World would have two options when receiving calls while overseas. They may divert calls made to their Sri Lanka Celltel on to the Celltel World phones provided by Celltel or leave their roaming number on their voice mail facility.

(All calls made direct to a Celltel World phone number would be billed at the rate for the specific country and in many cases incoming calls would be free of charge.)

Design your own stained glass

Spectrum glass is the modern face of an age old art of stained glass, with a thousand year history, eternal in its beauty, says a company release.

Kent has perfected this ancient art into a modern craft, blending the vibrant hues of a rainbow into a work of elegance to reflect your lifestyle.

Spectrum glass is the ultimate in the union of colour and style for home interiors. The architects dream come true, the answer to a designers prayer, stained glass makes a vibrant presence in your homes, offices, resturants or hotels.

With just a touch of Spectrum, atmospheres change from cool, warm, dazzling to soothing, adds the release.

Custom made to suit your taste, Spectrum glass can be used on a host of surfaces like pantry cupboards, doors, windows, table top etc.

Our well trained and skilled artists will hand-stain your own designs on sheet glass using a unique method of pigment transfer, thus allowing colour to flow into your atmosphere from just one source of light. Yes, stained glass has descended from the dazzling heights of cathedral domes and castle towers right into your homes, says the release.

Insurance needs level playing field

A top insurance executive is calling for a level playing field among the existing insurance companies. Though the domestic insurance market was open to private participants in 1987, the government-led insurance companies still control a major stake. The four private insurance companies are still barred from bidding for insurance in state companies due to government regulation.

"We expect the revised Insurance Act to regularise the insurance market", Director/General Manager Ceylinco Insurance Ltd., Ajith Gunawardena said. The Act is also being revised to permit foreign participation in the existing insurance companies. Initially, foreigners would be permitted to invest up to 20 per cent in a company. The government intends to increase the stake up to 40 per cent in the future, he said.

With the liberalisation of the insurance industry in 1987, Ceylinco Insurance commenced operations by offering life and general insurance to their customers.

He said, Ceylinco has maintained its market leadership by introducing innovative policies. "The credit goes to our Chairman Lalith Kotelawala who introduced the concept of combination policies. He called them 'Rambo policies', as Rambo is capable of doing ten things simultaneously. So our policies are also tailor-made to cover a wide range of issues with one policy."

For instance, the housing policy covers the house, occupants, household goods, servants and injuries sustained to visitors.

The 'Doo Daruwo' policy covers the family, your parents, and even your funeral. In the event the policyholder dies, the dependants can claim up to about Rs. 10,000 for funeral expenses. These combined policies have become very popular as they cover a wide range and offer affordable premiums, he said.

The biggest fear we have these days is that our expenses are not adequate to cover our parents. With the 'Mapiya thilina' scheme (for elderly parents over 60 years), the children can claim up to Rs. 50,000 for hospital expenditure. The premium is around Rs. 4,000. "These policies are not profit-oriented. We like to be known as a socially responsible organisation in the insurance business," he said.

Our strength lies in our branch network, which are all profit ventures. Each branch has its own insurance policies tailored to the area people, he said.Ceylinco is re-insured with two of the largest re-insurance companies in the world; Munich Re and Swiss Re.

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