stagnant, lukewarm response to SLT IPO
initial public offer of Sri Lanka Telecom failed to generate the
expected enthusiastic response from investors last week, brokers
The stock market remained virtually stagnant and trading is most
likely to be sluggish in the days ahead because of uncertainty about
political developments and the peace process.
The all share
price index ended the week at 802.39, having opened on Monday at
805.01 while the Milanka price index closed at 1339.1, down from
1347.87 at the beginning of the week.
the response to the SLT IPO, which opened on Thursday, was not as
good as expected but many Singapore and Honk Kong investors evinced
some interest. About 70 percent of the issue had been subscribed
up to noon on Friday.
A broker for Asia Securities said that the IPO could not attract
many institutions which are not able to invest in shares unless
they could put it down in their financial accounts before December
That would be
possible only if the shares are allocated and traded before December
31. Brokers attributed the "sluggish" trading to uncertainty
about what would happen after December 5 when President Chandrika
Kumaratunga would have the power to dissolve parliament.
also worried about the future of the peace process, they said.
These worries keep the high net worth individuals away from making
big investments. A broker for DSA Securities said that December
5 "could be a market disaster" and that many investors
were pessimistic about the prevailing dull market.
The most widely
traded shares of the week were Richard Peiris, O'nally Holdings,
Asia Capital, NDB, JKH, Sampath Bank, Agalawatte Plantations, Aitken
Spence Hotels Ltd, Connaissance, and Lanka Walltiles.
Jewellery Worldwide Ltd announced it had entered into a manufacturer,
marketing and distribution agreement with Damas Jewellery LLC with
the aim of exporting jewellery to the Gulf region. Damas Jewellery
will purchase a minimum value of $750,000 during the first year
of the agreement. (TM)
lowers workplace productivity, efficiency
is a matter of perception and better stress management can lead
to increased productivity in the workplace. "Events and various
individuals themselves don't create stress. It is only our attitude
and outlook towards these that create stress. If we learn to look
at everything in a positive way then it is impossible to be stressed,"
noted S. Srikanth, a stress management specialist, speaking at The
Sunday Times' monthly Business Club meeting held at the Trans Asia
hotel last week.
an inevitable outcome in life. Adaptation to pressure would lead
to growth while lack of it would result in stress and impaired performance.
S. Srikanth, Training and Scientific Affairs Manager of Emerchemie
NB as well as Country Manager for Renata Ltd, said stress-related
absenteeism in the US alone cost about $450 billion and in UK 60
percent of absenteeism was believed to be due to stress. In addition
stress among the employees led to reduced level of performance,
low quality service and high staff turnover.
Stress is not
necessarily caused by negative things, it can even be caused by
positive things too, he said. "Stress is a negative emotional
and physiological process that occurs as individuals try to adjust
to or deal with stresses, which are environmental circumstances
that disrupt or threaten to disrupt an individual's daily functioning
and cause people to make adjustments," he added.
of pressure must be balanced by coping mechanisms which will help
counter the build up of stress which in turn will eventually lead
to exhaustion. Srikanth cited meditation, yoga massages, hydrotherapy
(lots of water) and a good diet and nutrition as ways of reducing
At the request
of the audience, Srikanth showed a simple way of dealing with stress.
The method is as such: When stressed assign a number to a colour
and think of a colour and inhale it. Then add all your troubles/problems
to it and think of exhaling the colour. Doing it several times with
different colours will ease out stress to some extent, he said.
(Rajika & Thushara)
scheme for professionals
Bank last week launched "Sampath Professional", a novel
account scheme to fulfill the needs of professionals who are monthly
The bank's Assistant
General Manager G. Kariyawasam said this is another innovative product
of the bank which is technology driven and caters to needs of a
be given to professionals working in any bank who earn a minimum
salary of Rs. 20 000 per month. Benefits from this scheme include
personal loans up to 10 times the net income and special loans with
low interest rates. (HS)
Inconsistent policies retard growth
Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) says inconsistent national telecom
policies which doesn't safeguard national interests and inconsistent
privatization policies are some of the threats retarding growth
at the country's main telecommunications provider.
are also not cost based with local call charges being subsidized
with the premium earnings of international call charges," SLT
chairman Thilanga Sumathipala has said in a presentation to be made
to the government, a copy of which was obtained by the Sunday Times
SLT's challenge would be to maintain its core business as the protection
of its backbone and telephony network while solutions like Internet,
payphones, data, prepaid cards, mobile networks, call centres would
be viewed as SBUs'.
Lanka's telecom infrastructure serves only seven percent of the
population, a total of 1.525 million connections combining fixed
line and mobile phone penetration. Of this SLT accounts for 750,000
fixed line connections and 40,000 mobile phone connections through
its recently acquired cellular service, Mobitel.
A great barrier
restricting the growth of fixed line connections is the high cost
of $ 1,693 per connection including backbone costs of which the
consumer bears only $ 203 while the rest is borne by SLT.
to Sumathipala, prevents his organization from implementing a national
rollout adding that this would be even more unaffordable in a liberalized
economy. As a result SLT currently functions on a business model
whereby its revenue from international calls are used to subsidize
the local tariffs and network costs. Hence, the impending liberalization
of international call licensing is a threat to SLT's survival.
He says the
weaknesses of SLT is that it is dependent on its core business with
problems such as overstaffing in non-technical areas and strong
unions resisting change.
complemented his organization's monopoly and revenue base, the majority
holding by the government and an 8,000 plus islandwide employee
workforce as some of its strengths.
the SLT chairman said the immediate challenges are to improve the
quality and performance of the organization while adding a further
200,000 lines to the network by 2004, and to restructure the management
He further added
that to stay competitive SLT would need to explore possible mergers
and partnerships that will enhance revenue, service and image from
existing market players; and expand into revenue generating businesses.
In the light
of these challenges, Sumathipala believes the organization should
not be privatized yet but continue to provide revenue to the government
and benefit the people by providing more lines in under-developed
areas with a better control on tariffs and superior product offerings.