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New Racecourse shopping complex

New Racecourse shopping complex

The new upmarket shopping complex at the Racecourse grounds on Reid Avenue was scheduled to be opened yesterday (before this section went to print). Seen here are workers on Friday involved in the final arrangements. Pic by Amila Prabodha.

Civil Aviation-Air Force to run domestic airports

Civil aviation authorities are aiming to work with the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) in operating five main domestic airports in the country, an official said. The government aviation official told the Business Times this week that plans were underway to conduct a dual operation between the civil aviation authorities and the military. It was [...]

Softlogic Group to expand leisure sector in coastal areas

The Softlogic Group which recently signed up for a US$ 10 million loan from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to renovate and expand Hotel Ceysands, is likely to expand its leisure business to other coastal areas, officials said. They said that Softlogic, which bought the former Ceylinco group-owned Ceysands for Rs.925 million, is considering expansion [...]

STBC discusses safe use of mobile phones

“What would you do without a cell-phone on a deserted island?” Cell or mobile phones (for better or for worse) has become an important part of the lifestyles of people. While there are tremendous advantages and users cannot do without it, there is also a need to create awareness on the safe use of these [...]

IBSL seeks Indian assistance to address industry gaps

The Insurance Board of Sri Lanka (IBSL) is planning to get assistance from its Indian counterpart in a bid to address gaps in the local insurance industry and also build capacity for actuarial scientists, officials said. “We requested the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India for a consultant to do a report on the [...]

Leapset to take its online POS offerings US-wide in 2013

US-based IT start-up Leapset intends to expand its reach, from a current client portfolio of 98 restaurants in the US state of California, to the entire US market during 2013. It also expects to expand into the UK and Spain, and even Singapore and Malaysia, over the same period, according to Shanil Fernando, a Partner [...]

3CS wins 8 awards at Best Web 2012

Sri Lankan IT company 3CS was awarded eight times at the recently concluded Best Web 2012, a website competition organised by LK Domain Registry. Topping its eight-win run with Gold awards for Best Sri Lankan Website, for the Mount Lavinia Hotel, as well as for Best Web Developer, 3CS was also recognised for the work [...]

Rajarata Uni wins 3rd inter-university mobility competition

A team from the University of Rajarata won the recently concluded 3rd annual Inter-University Enterprise Mobility Solutions Development Competition, according to a statement by event sponsor Motorola. Teams from the University of Kelaniya and University of Jayawardenapura were placed second and third, respectively. Held at the Open University campus at Nawala, and featuring 16 teams [...]

More taxes on imported goods to promote local products

Sri Lanka will further increase import duties and cess on some of the imported goods to curb demand and encourage import substitution aimed at narrowing the fiscal deficit to 6.5 per cent of GDP from 7.0 per cent in 2012 through the 2013 budget proposals, Finance Ministry sources said. These proposals are aimed at increasing [...]

Apparel exports’ drop due to absence of GSP +

The downturn in apparel exports in the past six months is attributed to the impact of the loss of GSP plus concessions effective since 2010, a European Union Trade and Economics Attaché Roshan Lyman said. Addressing the Sri Lanka – France Business Council discussion on “EU Trade Policy 2012” this week, he pointed out that [...]

SEC accuses Vignarajah of ‘malicious’ claims; Harsha runs to his defence

Claims and counter claims flew across the media this week with good governance activists and opposition economists pitted on one side and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), on the other. The issue was over the recent SEC decisions to extend credit to brokers and lift a time-bound ban on brokers and their associates trading in [...]

Melsta Regal Finance begins operations offering incentives for SMEs

Melsta Regal Finance, a subsidiary of Melstacorp owned by Harry Jayawardena and his associates, began accepting deposits of around Rs. 20 million from four top corporate clients at the inauguration of the company on Thursday under the patronage of Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, company chairman Amitha Lal Gooneratne said. It is the newest [...]

Lankan migrants urged to send remittances thro’ official channels

The government is urging Sri Lankan migrant workers to send remittances through official channels instead of unofficial routes, enticing them with a wide range of incentives. Some 30 to 40 per cent of foreign exchange is routed through the ‘illegal’ system, officials said. A senior Finance Ministry official said the ministry will issue a directive [...]

Whither the plantation industry – way forward?

Whither the plantation industry – way forward?

The Planters Association (PA) of Ceylon is one of the oldest institutions in Sri Lanka. It has represented the plantation industry for more than 150 years. During the British Raj it was one of the most influential and dynamic institutions, greatly influencing the social, political and economic activities in the country. In those days, members [...]

Budget: Listening to the people

When the Business Times (BT) and its polling partner, Research Consultancy Bureau (RCB) conducted a poll last July on this year’s budget performance (so far) and expectations in the forthcoming 2013 budget, it was a unique attempt to check the pulse of the nation. The findings published in the July 29 edition of the BT [...]

EFC urges government to ease working hours of employees

The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) is urging the Government to introduce an amendment to the labour legislation easing the working hours of employees. The EFC made two specific proposals to the Government prior to the budget to create the necessary environment for investment promotion, especially taking into account the potential that Sri Lanka has [...]

Asian markets mixed after week’s rally

HONG KONG, Oct 19, 2012 (AFP) – Asian markets were mixed on Friday as a week-long rally fuelled by upbeat data out of China and rising hopes for the future of the eurozone was stalled by profit-taking. Investors did not seem to be immediately moved by news out of Europe that leaders had reached a [...]

Sony focuses on Sri Lanka as a main South Asian market for new TVs

Sony focuses on Sri Lanka as a main South Asian market for new TVs

Sony is focusing on Sri Lanka as a main market in South Asia in increasing the Sony BRAVIA TV business, said Sony South East Asia Chief Representative in (Sri Lanka) M. Razali Ya’acub in an interview with Business Times on the side lines of Sony BRAVIA EX430 and Ex330, new range of Direct Lit LED [...]

Browns bullish on healthcare, leisure and real estate

Browns will focus on expanding its presence in healthcare, leisure and real estate, while consolidating the business with its new parent, the LOLC Group, officials said. “The country has a rapidly ageing population as well as increased incidence of non- communicable diseases brought about by affluence and changing lifestyle habits. Demand for private healthcare is [...]

Germany supports green transportation through gas three-wheelers

Germany supports green transportation through gas three-wheelers

The German Embassy in Colombo recently partnered with Alliance Finance Company PLC to support its gas powered three-wheeler project aimed at promoting green transportation alternatives in the city. Alliance Finance first introduced the gas conversion unit for three wheelers in 2010 and today it has improved the efficiency of the Gas powered engines with the [...]

Cathay soars on cargo from Colombo

Cathay soars on cargo from Colombo

Cathay Pacific completing 19 years in Sri Lanka, continues to focus on its cargo services based on the strong corporate outbound traffic in Colombo, Country Manager Edward Coles-Gale said last week. In an interview with the Business Times on the airline’s 19 year service in the country, he noted “we are definitely more focused on [...]

Canadian NGO to provide skills training to improve businesses

The Canada Sri Lanka Business Council represents a significant group of businesses that link with Canada for business and investment and these businesses employ thousands of workers and they need thousands in the future. Therefore, it is significant to build a partnership between an education and training organization and a business council, according to Richard [...]

Hand washing important for the health and wealth of a nation

The minute task of daily washing of hands which is a must, has however become a big issue in life leading to the declaration of an international Day of Hand Washing that would protect the individual, the family, the nation and the whole world from diseases like diarrhoea and respiratory disorders. In Sri Lanka the [...]

Kulasinghe Memorial Lecture on ‘Sri Lanka’s path to a Petroleum Economy’

The A.N.S. Kulasinghe Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Saliya Wickramasuriya, Director General, Sri Lanka Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat, on ‘Monetization of Reserves – the Path to a Petroleum Economy’ on October 25th at the Wimalasurendra Auditorium of the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka (IESL), Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo 7. Dr. Kulasinghe was born on October [...]

Innovative creations by youngsters

Innovative creations by youngsters

Several innovative creations were displayed at the Techno 2012 exhibition organised by the Institute of Engineers Sri Lanka at the BMICH in Colombo recently. Picture shows a paddy land preparation machine fitted to a hand tractor invented by K.D.P.A Kapuge, a Year 13 student of Mihintale Maha Vidyalaya. Pic by Athula Devapriya.

Hyatt International to manage Hyatt Regency Colombo at Celestial Towers

Hyatt International South West Asia Ltd, affiliated to Hyatt Hotels Corporation entered into a management agreement with Sinolanka Hotels and Spa on Friday to manage the Hyatt Regency Colombo hotel at the state-acquired Celestial Residencies, better known as Celestial Towers, at Kollupitiya. The site is one of the iconic properties of collapsed Ceylinco group of [...]

TRC launches ‘FutureTel’ journal

Sri Lanka’s Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRCSL) recently launched industry trade journal FutureTel, as part of the opening ceremonies for the 12th Global Symposium for Regulators, the recently concluded international conference for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which was held in Sri Lanka. Intended to be a resource for academics, researchers, engineers, etc., the first edition [...]

EPF – Investors/ employees aren’t getting a real rate of return

The Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) doesn’t give a real rate of return to its investors – a perennial issue that got some eminent and interested parties debating at a recent LBR LBO CFO Forum on ‘The Future of Retirement Funding’. A real rate of return is an annual percentage return realized on an investment, which [...]

Sri Lanka steps into a new space age next month

Sri Lanka steps into a new era of space technology by launching the country’s first satellite next month, initiated by The SupremeSAT, a company headed by R.M. Manivannan. The launch would also make Sri Lanka the 45th nation to own a satellite and makes SupremeSAT the first private sector company in the region to own [...]

Lankan citizens submit budget proposals in unique initiative

Citizens across nine districts in Sri Lanka, in a unique initiative, have submitted proposals to the President for inclusion in the 2013 budget to be presented next week, according to the Active Citizenship for Development Network (ACDN). The group, which organized participants from the nine districts, said the recommendations cover four sectors of particular concern [...]

Stockmarket news

Stockmarket news

Amaya Leisure Amaya Leisure said this week it has purchased 0.9 million shares (16 per cent stake) of Hunas Falls Hotels, from Mercantile Investments and Finance at Rs. 65 per share which amounts to Rs.59 million. Asia Siyaka Commodities Ltd announced that it acquired a 100 per cent stake in Siyaka Produce Brokers (Pvt) Ltd, [...]

SL needs to further tighten monetary policy : economists

Sri Lanka needs to further tighten monetary policy since credit growth in the country is still more than 30 per cent, according to economists. “The credit growth hasn’t seen a significant slowdown and we are seeing underlying inflationary pressures,” Leif Eskessen, Chief Economist for India and ASEAN HSBC,told the Business Times at the HSBC Power [...]

ITU appoints Lalith as its ‘Cloud Computing Ambassador’

Lalith Weeratunga, was recently appointed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as its ambassador for promoting cloud computing. This appointment was made during the ITU’s 12th Global Symposium for Regulators, which was held on October 3, in Colombo.Featuring 446 international delegates from almost 100 countries, this annual meeting of telecommunications regulators “recognised the enormous potential [...]

‘My dream is for Sri Lankans to get passports from home’ : Lalith Weeratunga

Some 15% of phone calls being answered by the Government Information Centre’s 1919 call centre are from Tamil speakers, according to Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka. At the same time, he also noted that “President Rajapaksa has connected all government ministries and departments and ministries that needed to be connected, and [...]

Online vehicle number registration available soon via

Sri Lanka’s Government Information Centre (GIC) service, best known locally by its telephone short code 1919, will soon be adding 12 new services to the 25 eServices, from 14 government departments, which are currently available online. Accessible via the Lanka Gate portal (, these new services will include paid services such as the online reservation [...]

Dell holds digital teaching seminar and lab

Dell holds digital teaching seminar and lab

The local office of US-based computer technology company Dell recently held a seminar on digital teaching, as well as a lab on the subject, according to a media statement by the company.

Tech Pacific Lanka tapped as SL’s exclusive Lenovo distributor

Tech Pacific Lanka tapped as SL’s exclusive Lenovo distributor

Tech Pacific Lanka has been appointed as the exclusive distributor for Sri Lanka for global PC maker Lenovo, formerly the PC sales arm for business automation giant IBM. According to a media statement by the local company, Tech Pacific Lanka, its “unique strength of an established dealer network of over 200 resellers, will further help [...]

Fresh application challenges SC ruling on Expropriation Bill

A fresh application was filed in the Supreme Court on Thursday by public interest activist Nihal Sri Ameresekere seeking a review and re-examination by a fuller bench from the Supreme Court over a previous ruling relating to the controversial Expropriation law. He has submitted that this ‘Special Determination’ by the court on 24th October 2011 [...]

Warnings of no use when GK bosses live life of luxury

Depositors of the failed Golden Key (GK) company are well aware of the issues you are currently faced with and apparently do not have the time to look into our long standing issue. In such a case, at least the Governor of the Central Bank should have ensured that this long standing issue was expedited, [...]

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