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Aeturnum Lanka celebrates 2nd anniversary

Aeturnum Lanka recently celebrated its second anniversary having made significant inroads into the ICT sector. Aeturnum Lanka is a global expansion initiative of Aeturnum Inc, headquartered in Westford, MA and functions as a subsidiary engaged in providing a variety of software services, the company said in a press release.

While the company does not offer software solutions to the Sri Lankan market, it is fast becoming a preferred employer in the Sri Lankan ICT sector. Offering above industry average salaries and exposure to cutting edge technologies, Aeturnum Lanka recruits an average of 15 engineers a quarter. “Since its inception in 2006, Aeturnum Lanka has been the cornerstone of Aeturnum’s global success.

The innovation, professionalism and tenacity of our Sri Lankan team has helped Aeturnum grow globally, increasing its operational revenue by 135% in the last financial year. We have ventured into new geographical markets and new business domains expanding our service offerings and areas of expertise,” said Rajat Bhakhri – CEO, Aeturnum, Inc. The company recently exceeded Rs. 100 million in its investments in Aeturnum Lanka.

Hotel Sigiriya commended at WTM Responsible Tourism Awards

Hotel Sigiriya has received a ‘Highly Commended Status’ in Best large hotel / accommodation (more than 50 rooms) competing with many large popular hotels from around the world at the Responsible Tourism Awards announced at the World Travel Mart (WTM) in London this week.

Dr. Harold Goodwin, Professor of Responsible Tourism Management at Leeds Metropolitan University and Chair of the Judges, said, " Hotel Sigiriya has retro-fitted the hotel to increase its energy efficiency and sustainability. It measures its performance as a management tool for continuous improvement and shares that info with others to encourage them to reduce their own environmental impacts". Abbas Esufally, Chairman of Serendib Leisure and Srilal Miththapala Director /CEO of Serendib leisure were present at the WTM to accept the plaque of recognition. In May 2008, Hotel Sigiriya won the Green Award from International Restaurant and Hotel Awards California USA, making it the first Sri Lankan Hotel to have won a Green Award in the USA, according to a Serendib Leisure press release.

Rohini Nanayakkara appointed Touchwood Chairperson

The need for investment and finance companies to carry out its activities in a transparent manner to gain public confidence was emphasized last week by newly appointed Chairperson of Touchwood Investments Ltd, Rohini Nanayakkara.

Addressing a ceremony to welcome her at the company office, she said that under the present global financial crisis, where top banks, stock exchanges and financial institutions were on the verge of collapse, new and safest financial instruments such as investing in agro- forestations and plantations should be popularised among the people.

She added that innovative changes should be introduced for local financial and banking sectors.
Ms Nanaykkara pledged to transform Touchwood, the only forestry investment institution in South Asia, to a vibrant investment company meeting the current challenges and giving priority to human resource management.

CEO Touchwood Asitha Koralage said the company has recorded a profit of Rs.284.5 million and the total asset value has increased by 21% during the financial year of 2007-2008 over that of the previous year to Rs. 2.6 billion. He said that the company followed a strategy of maximum profit generation by offering a variety of investment options in view of the financial constraints in the market place.

Lankaputhra Bank’s newest product for children

Lankaputhra Development Bank’s Lakmuthu Ithurum Themasa product which focuses on promoting the saving habit among children is now underway till December 31. The objective of the scheme is to promote saving and also to generate funds for the country’s development, the state-owned Bank said.

Under this a souvenir (till and pen) will be given to every child opening a Lakmuthu Savings Account which comes at a 12% interest rate and is fully guaranteed by the state. “.. another special feature (under this scheme) is the ability to open up an account immediately on making contact over the telephone,” the Bank said.

Lankaputhra Development Bank has so far disbursed a sum of nearly Rs.2.5 billion as loans to small and medium scale projects.

Metropolitan Group donates 5 houses to tsunami victims

The Metropolitan Group recently offered a pre-Christmas bonanza to five families in the Talpawila division in Matara – providing them a new home.

“We have waited a long time for this dream to realize and thanks to Metropolitan it finally has,” said Vidanage Magilin Nona, one villager who received a house, according to a press release issued by the Group.

The medium size houses are built on seven perches and include two bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom and a living room area. The selected beneficiaries are either labourers or casual workers some of who have also been displaced by the December 2004 tsunami, and are struggling to make a living. Magilin Nona said that she works as a caretaker of an elderly person in a close-by house to make ends meet.

She is the only family known to her grandchildren whose mother is in the Middle East. The Metropolitan Group aims to further assist similar less fortunate families through their CSR projects. “This is a joint initiative taken by the staff, management, well wishers and principals of Metropolitan under our group corporate social responsibility efforts,” noted Dulani Nissanka, AGM/Group HR.

Top author at CIMA Sri Lanka session

CIMA Sri Lanka said last week that Stephen Berry, author of the book ‘Strategies of the Serengeti’ will lead a half-day presentation in Sri Lanka on business strategies and formulation on November 20.
Berry is a highly qualified speaker, consultant, trainer and international MBA lecturer in business strategy. CIMA said the session is designed for CEOs, Directors, Senior Managers and those who will soon have such responsibilities. Berry ‘s book has been read by a number of influential business people on both sides of the Atlantic and his speeches have been heard in the USA, UK and many European countries, CIMA said.

Tokyo Cement sponsors Peradeniya University’s conference

Tokyo Cement recently sponsored a 2-day international conference at the University of Peradeniya that was attended by over 150 eminent academics, scientists and practising engineers from all over the world.

The conference in end September on ‘Advances in Continuum Mechanics, Materials Science, Nanoscience and Nanotechnology’ was held in honour of Professor M.P. Ranaweera, one of the finest and outstanding products of the Faculty of Engineering from the University, on the occasion of his retirement following 40 years of distinguished service, the company said.

Last year Tokyo Cement agreed to support the university’s research and development activities of the civil undergraduate program by funding final year research projects and incorporating the construction industry’s R&D requirements into the department’s research program.

Harry asks for more time

The two cases filed by Raj Obeysekere and Zaki Alif, directors at Stassen Exports Plc (SEP) and Milford Exports Plc (MEP)) challenging the attempt by their fellow director, business tycoon Harry Jayawardena to appoint his wife as a director in both these firms came up before Commercial High Court Judge Rohini Walgama on Friday for filing of objections by Mr. Jayawardena.

S. A. Parthalingam, PC appearing for Mr. Jayawardena informed court that a large amount of documents were filed together with both petitions and that he needed time to peruse these in order to get instructions from his client. The court then gave time till December 4 to file objections.

The two parties are currently embroiled in a battle to split their two companies. Romesh de Silva, PC with Chanaka de Silva, Aruna Samarjeewa, Sugath Caldera, Shanaka Cooray and Eraj de Silva instructed by G.G. Arulpragasam represented the petitioners. S. A. Parthalingam PC, Nihal Fernando, PC and N.R. Sivendran instructed by D. N Thurairajah appeared for Mr. Jayawardena.

Crude oil prices slip to $52 per barrel

World crude oil prices slipped to $52.50 per barrel for Brent on Friday while the OPEC Basket was trading at $47.73, the Central Bank said.

Oil prices have been falling rapidly over the past few weeks triggering a major debate over the oil hedging deals between the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and commercial banks. In the Singapore Refined Products Market, petrol was offered at $47.10, diesel at $64.15 and kerosene at $72.05.

Vidullanka Plc moves to CSE main board

Vidullanka Plc has moved to the main board of the Colombo Stock Exchange with effect from October 15 from the second board. The company currently owns and operates two mini hydro projects which supply a total capacity of 5.2 MW to the main grid under a 15-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPP) with the Ceylon Electricity Board.

The company said in a press release that Vidul Construction, a fully owned subsidiary engaged in construction of mini hydro plants, hydraulic structures and water supply works, was incorporated in 2007.

This company was formed to maximise on the economies of scale and expanded activities in the mini hydro industry. This company commissioned the 600kwh sheen mini hydro power project owned by Elpitiya Plantations PLC earlier this month where Vidullanka PLC is an investment partner.

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