Financial Times

Business in brief

BOI to establish $5 mln Technology and Management Institute at IT Park
A venture to establish a US $ 5 million higher education institute which has facilities to educate 1200 students was approved by the Board of Investment (BOI) earlier this week. The institute will provide higher education in Communication, Mass Media, Business Management, Engineering and Languages.
Dhammika Perera, Chairman / Director General signed the agreements along with Dr. Neville Fernando, Chairman/President of South Asian Institute of Technology and Management Company, on behalf of the latter.
The project carried out by South Asian Institute of Technology and Management Company is an investment of US$ 5 million. “The venture will establish a higher education institute for Technology and Management studies at the IT Park, Malabe,” Dr Fernando was quoted as saying in a BOI press release.
The BOI also signed agreements for several projects worth US$1.31 million which include with Lanka Cat Ltd for a project for web designing and software development for foreign clients; with Openskies Flight Training Ltd to set up a flying training academy; and with Oxigen Plantations to set up a project to grow forestry and cash crops.

Hunters' third EGM
The third Hunter and Company Ltd (Hunters) extra-ordinary General Meeting (EGM) called by Al Nakib, a shareholder, in a bid to resolve some accounting discrepancies in the company was resolved by the directors during the meeting on Thursday after auditing the accounts for the second time by Gajma and Company Ltd.
The meeting unlike the last two EGMs saw both the shareholders and the directors acting with decorum, but at times there were some snappy remarks by both parties. Mr. Nakib (with 15.58 percent shareholding in the company) who moved to convene the EGM was absent but his lawyer was present, according to a reporter from The Sunday Times FT who was present.

Al-Futtaim now has 96% in AMW
The Dubai based Al-Futtaim Engineering LLC has purchased 96.16 % shares of Associated Motorways PLC (AMW) as at end of trading on October 10, after the company’s mandatory offer to the shareholders closed on Tuesday, an AMW statement said. AMW’s 51 % controlling stake held by Associated Electrical Company (AEC) was sold in July to Al Futtaim Group while John Keells Holdings’s (JKH) also disposed its 20 % holding which it acquired over two years ago in the company.

PDL to venture into hydro power
Bank of Ceylon's (BoC's) maintenance arm, Property Development PLC (PDL) in a diversification drive wants to develop a hydro power plant, its CEO said. "For some time we have been searching for a development project in the island and found that developing a hydro power project is the most financially and economically viable project in the country today," G.C. Rajapaksha, CEO, PDL told The Sunday Times FT.

He said the company has been trying to identify a suitable project site for this purpose for the past six months. "The ones we located could only get us about 1000 kilo watts, but we want slightly more power generation. So we are still looking," he said. When asked whether such diversification is allowed for in the PDL Company Articles, he said, "In the new Companies Act, there is no requirement to specify the objectives of the company. As such we have changed the PDL Articles in line with the new Companies Act and now we have provision for such development."

He also said PDL has in-house expertise in undertaking a hydro power plant. "Dr. M.S. Perera, who is a director at PDL, has vast experience and expertise in this field," he said, adding that how much money the company will invest in such a project depends on the project site and its capacity. "Approximately Rs. 125 million to Rs. 140 million is required to develop a 1000 kilo watt power plant," he added. He said as a long term plan, the PDL will also put up a commercial high rise within the Colombo city limits. PDL made a profit of Rs. 192.9 million last year, compared to Rs. 159.3 million in 2006.

Advanced techno institute in Jaffna
The newly-opened Advanced Technological Institute in Jaffna is for students in the north and aimed at improving facilities in the study of engineering, accountancy and information technology.

The Ministry of Higher Education said in a press release that this Institute was created as a result of a proposal by Minister, Prof Wiswa Warnapala where Rs. 160 million from the Kuwait Tsunami Fund was allocated to this project. The Institute has 12 lecture rooms, 10 classrooms and three IT labs. Some 50 new computers have been already installed. K. Kathiramalai, a qualified educationist has been appointed as the director of the Institute, the Ministry said.

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