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Lankan homes open out to tourists

Sri Lanka is encouraging more and more local families to open their homes to tourists and earn money in the process while increasing the room stock from this category to 10,000 by 2016. The country is targetting 2.5 million visitors by 2016 and currently has 23,000 rooms compared to the 45,000 rooms needed to meet [...]

Are Sri Lankans aware of their rights?

Are Sri Lankans aware of their rights?

Panellists – Chrishmal Warnasuriya – lawyer and civil rights activist, Dr. Deepika Udugama – Peradeniya University Law Faculty head, Suchith Abeywickreme – peace activist and Mohamed Hisham – peace activist at a discussion on “Rights and Responsibilities of Citizens” on Monday at the Cinnamon Lakeside organised by the Sunday Times Business Club. (See story).

SL company registrations via online

Sri Lanka’s company registration process is going online through a new web-based platform for the Department of Registrar of Companies, a senior official said. The advanced system is aimed at saving entrepreneurs or their representatives the trouble of having to visit the state company registrar office in Colombo in person to hand over duly filled [...]

Large stockbroking firm for sale

A large Colombo stockbroking house is in the market either for part or full divestment by the major shareholder, according to stock market sources. “The major shareholder, who is a foreign party, has given the mandate to sell this to some connected parties and they are showing it to interested parties,” a well-informed source told [...]

JKH on track to set up Colombo casino

John Keells Holdings (JKH) is negotiating a gaming operator’s licence to start a gaming operation, sources close to the company said. They said the conglomerate is discussing with another casino operator for a part ownership of the latter’s licence. “Currently the valuers are estimating the worth of the licence,” a source told the Business Times. [...]

Strategic stakes in listed firms for sale

Major shareholders of many publicly quoted companies are trying to reduce their holdings primarily for capital gains and to build the firms’ capital base, industry sources said. The sources said that increasingly large owners of listed companies are realizing that it doesn’t make business sense to hold more than 51 per cent in a firm. [...]

China to open doors to Lanka’s apparel sector

Sri Lanka’s apparel industry is to get a big boost as the world’s largest textile producer, China is exploring possibilities of opening its huge domestic market to the island’s garment exports, an industry heavyweight said. Secretary General of the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) M.P. Tuly Cooray told the Business Times that their umbrella body [...]

Travails of travel and tourism as a GDP contributor

Travails of travel and tourism as a GDP contributor

I was pleased to see the wide media coverage of the “one millionth” arrival in Sri Lanka thus reaching the long awaited magic number, in our tourism statistic. I was pleased because, tourism as an economic sector has been wishing for one million arrivals ever since 1981, when the Tourist Board Chairman of the day [...]

Lankan malady: Vote and forget!

Vote and forget’ … is how law academic and noted civil rights activist Deepika Udugama describes today’s so-called ‘civic conscious’ Sri Lankan citizen. Mohamed Hisham, a young peace activist, put that in another perspective saying while citizens sought their right to basic needs like food, clothes, shelter and education, they were irresponsible in not acting [...]

Slew of funds attracting strong firms in CSE

A slew of new foreign funds have come into the Colombo stock market securing small stakes in listed firms this year. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved some 83 funds since the beginning of this year, SEC sources said. Amongst them, William Blair Emerging Markets Small Cap Growth Fund, has as at March [...]

MPs accept the need to combat corruption

Parliamentarians who responded to the invitation by Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) to discuss an action plan to combat corruption in Sri Lanka agree that it is a problem that needs to be addressed without delay. Thirty MPs, mainly from the Opposition were present at the roundtable discussion held at Waters’ Edge on June 6, [...]

SEC seeks help to iron out issues relating to ownership change in CSE

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is in the process of hiring an external consultant to obtain technical support to draft laws to change ownership of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) from a stockbroker-owned organisation to a more broad-based company, SEC officials said. This will assist to bring the capital market in line with those [...]

Ag- Biz North exhibition in Kilinochchi next month

The third northern agricultural exposure fair, “Ag Biz North” will be held on July 26-27 at the Central College Grounds, Kilinochchi The launch of this event was held this week in Colombo. The exhibition is organized by the National Agribusiness Council and supported by USAID-funded Practical Action. The event is endorsed by the Ministry of [...]

Mihin Lanka begins training 3rd batch of Trainee First Officers

Mihin Lanka begins training 3rd batch of Trainee First Officers

An innovative programme has been put into place by Mihin Lanka with a view to filling the berth for First Officers, with the 3rd batch of these trainees starting their extensive course recently. Initially a very impressive batch of 57 applicants showed interest in the programme out of which 43 were then short listed. 38 [...]

Sampath Bank raises $100 mln through International Loan Syndication

Sampath Bank raises $100 mln through International Loan Syndication

Sampath Bank recently raised its largest international loan transaction of US$100 million in the first quarter of 2013 in a deal that was facilitated by HSBC as the lead arranger and book runner, HSBC said in a media release. “The bank’s consistent performance over the years coupled with its potential for sustainable growth have been [...]

MAS Linea Aqua joins CCC in Rainforest Project

MAS Linea Aqua has joined hands with The Carbon Consulting Company (CCC) to launch the company’s latest Corporate Environmental Responsibility initiative. Commemorating World Environment Day 2013, Managing Director of the company Sarinda Unamboowe, ceremoniously planted the first of over 1,000 rainforest trees that will be planted by the company to expand the Hiniduma Bio Link [...]

Hybrid Homes delivers a unique solution to Colombo Commercial Court

Hybrid Homes, which uses shipping containers as its core production material unveiled one of its flagship projects by delivering a 2-storey storage facility to the Colombo Commercial Court within 48 hours, a company statement said. Dharshana Fernando, Managing Director Hybrid Homes said that Hybrid Homes (Pvt) Ltd signed a joint venture agreement with Logiventure (Pvt) [...]

Eight orders for Lanka Ashok Leyland’s luxury ‘Palace on Wheels’ buses

Lanka Ashok Leyland has received eight orders for its new ‘Palace on wheels’, a luxury bus concept which will cater to high-end tourists, officials said. “We got all these orders from Ebert Silva Holidays and will be custom made for their up market tourists,” Umesh Gautam, CEO, Lanka Ashok Leyland told the Business Times. He [...]

Rising costs of neoliberal economic policies

Widespread discontent and public protests witnessed recently over the electricity tariff hikes are but the latest form of resistance to the government’s economic policy trajectory. The last two years have been marked by many such protests, starting with the massive public action by workers that forced the state to reconsider the private pension bill in [...]

Strong French connection in Krrish Square development

Strong French connection in Krrish Square development

The French connection in Sri Lanka’s urban landscape is getting stronger by the day with the entry of two top French experts into Colombo’s mega Krrish real estate development. While Renaud Dutreil, global investment consultant and a former Commerce Minister, and experienced architect Edouard Francois, were in Sri Lanka this week in connection with the [...]

Stirring call made for Sri Lankans to exercise their rights

A stirring call for Sri Lankan citizens to actively and strongly exercise their inalienable and inherent rights provided for in the Constitution was made on Monday at a Colombo discussion on “Citizens’ Rights ”. Dr. Deepika Udugama, Head, Department of Law, University of Peradeniya, speaking at a panel discussion organised by the Sunday Times Business [...]

Softlogic Finance profits up 36 %, assets exceed Rs. 13 bln

Softlogic Finance says it has seen a significant growth of the company with total assets increasing to Rs 13.2 billion and customer deposits rising by 49 per cent to Rs 6.9 billion for the year to March 2013 In a statement, the company said stringent control of credit quality has ensured that the company retains [...]

SriLankan Airlines signs purchase deals with Airbus, Rolls-Royce

SriLankan Airlines made to two major purchase deals this week running in millions of dollars to acquire six Airbus planes with Rolls-Royce engines. While the Rolls-Royce deal is worth US$800 million, there was no mention of the value of the order for six A330-300s and four A350-900s in which SriLankan Airlines signed MoU with the [...]

Cinnamon Lakeside introduces Express Lunch with express parking

Busy executives in Colombo often compromise on lunch and good food is rarely served with speed and logistics need to be considered too. However Colombo’s busy executives have a new practical option — the new Express Lunch with express parking at Cinnamon Lakeside, hotel officials said. “The hotel serves a quick lunch with no compromise. [...]

Climate-related shocks could slow down SL econ growth

Sri Lanka will be among South Asian countries hard hit by climate change and this could undermine efforts to overcome poverty and increase economic growth, according to a new scientific report released this week by the World Bank Group. An expected 2°C rise in the world’s average temperatures in the next decades will impact island [...]

Hemas eyes regional partnerships to build hospitals

Hemas Hospitals (Pvt) Ltd is looking for regional (international) partners to build hospitals amidst plans to build or acquire two to three more hospitals costing around US$30 million, according to officials. “We are looking at regional partnerships to build hospitals and we want to strike partnerships and affiliations with different hospital chains,” a Hemas told [...]

DFCC posts Rs. 3.5 bln post-tax profit

DFCC Bank in its Annual Report for 2012/13 released last week says it has done well on all fronts. The consolidated profit after tax of the group increased 16 per cent to Rs. 3.5 billion. The contribution from the combined banking business of DFCC Bank (DFCC) and its subsidiary, DFCC Vardhana Bank (DVB) was up [...]

United Motors records Rs. 2 bln post-tax profit, drop from 2011-12

The United Motors Company (UMC) net profit reached its highest ever in history at Rs. 1.89 billion in the financial year ending March 31, 2013, up 41 per cent from last year. However due to a very challenging year for the automobile industry the UML group post-tax profit fell by 13 per cent to Rs. [...]

Drive consumer demand for online services : ICTA CEO

The key to more government and even other services going online is increasing the consumers’ demand for such services, according to Reshan Dewapura, the Chief Executive of state-owned Information and Communication Technology Agency. Elaborating, he also added that the supply of such data services was already growing and that demand had to grow to an [...]

Strong showing for IT start-ups on Venture Engine 2013 shortlist

The 2013 edition of Sri Lankan start-up competition Venture Engine has already shortlisted a number of companies for potential funding, on the way to its Grand Finale slated for end-June. Now in its second year, the competition still continues to feature many IT related start-ups, looking for seed capital to advance operations beyond the infancy [...]

Telcos shifting away from SMS

Telcos shifting  away from SMS

Telcos are increasingly shifting away from offering traditional services such as Short Messaging Service (SMS), Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) and data to subscribers, according to a statement by Sri Lankan IT company hSenid. It further added that, today, telcos function by “integrating businesses, merchants and consumers and increasing revenue, thus [...]

Govt counting on IT/BPO export growth : SLASSCOM chief

All five of Sri Lanka’s main export sectors, except IT/BPO, have shown main negative growth, of about 8 per cent, so the government was counting on the IT/BPO to carry the export sector, according to SLASSCOM Chairman Sujiva Dewaraja. Mr. Dewaraja made these comments at the recent launch of the Inter University Innovation Championship, a [...]

Dell focus on Cloud, Big Data and Mobility

Dell is focusing on the Cloud, Big Data and Mobility as some of its key areas for 2013, according to its Sri Lanka Country Manager Lackshmindra Fernando. Commenting further, Mr. Fernando was quoted in a recent statement as elaborating that his company was “investing to help our customers to be successful and secure in a [...]

Information security watch – Android smartphones

Android has the largest smartphone operating system (OS) market share (75 per cent, 162.1 million units shipped), according to International Data Corporation (IDC) for the 1Q2013. However, most smartphone owners are still using obsolescent OS versions, such as Donut 1.6, Éclair 2.1, Froyo 2.2, Gingerbread 2.3 and Honeycomb 3.x, which were released prior to Android [...]

Case for encouraging gaming investments under integrated tourism concept

Case for encouraging gaming investments under integrated tourism concept

The recent decision to authorize the development of Integrated Tourism Resorts, including gaming, has stirred up much controversy. It is an issue that needs to be examined in a hard headed and rational manner, devoid of emotion, hypocrisy and opportunism. Gambling stirs up passionate, moral indignation which does not resonate with the reality of life [...]

GK depositors President to stop Central Bank action plan

Disgruntled depositors, in yet another development to the Golden Key (GK) Credit Card Company Ltd’s repayment fiasco, now say that some calculations and financial data included in the Central Bank’s plan of action to provide relief to GK depositors are inaccurate. They told the Business Times that certain calculations made in the plan were based [...]

Re-construction of partly built Celestial Towers expedited to accommodate CHOGM delegates

In a desperate effort to provide accommodation for foreign delegates of the November Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo, re-construction of the state-acquired Celestial Residencies, better known as Celestial Towers at Kollupitiya has been expedited on a Government directive, officials said. The building at the former Ceylinco Group-owned property is being fast-tracked to [...]

Electricity Bill and Scientific Management: 100 year- old lesson for the PUC

Frederick Winslow Taylor is known as the ‘father of scientific management’. Taylor and his management thoughts became popular not only in America (USA) but also in Europe and Japan because of a litigation popularly known as the ‘Eastern Rate Case’. In 1910, Eastern Rail Road Company of America submitted an application to the Interstate Commerce [...]

Very little economic integration in SAARC region, experts say

Very little economic integration in SAARC region, experts say

While Europe and Asia – through ASEAN – is speeding ahead with economic integration, South Asia is crawling in achieving even a semblance of strong trade and investment deals with countries in the region, a regional conference of experts was told earlier this month. At a regional conference on “South Asian Economic Integration- A Strategic [...]

Kalutara, Kegalle explored for graphite

Bogala Graphite Lanka is currently exploring commercially viable deposits of graphite in the Kalutara and Kegalle districts. The exploration licence issued to the company from the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau of Sri Lanka was announced this week in a disclosure to the Colombo Stock Exchange. It was noted that the company had obtained a [...]

All social partners in the labour force must work together : EFC DG

Employers need to look beyond their bottom lines while workers must look beyond their rights, a Sri Lankan labour specialist has told an international labour grouping in Geneva. “The time has also come for governments to do what they ought to do in terms of their country’s socio economic requirements without being inhibited by populist [...]

Plantronics hosts First Annual Partner Event in Sri Lanka

Plantronics, one of the global leaders in audio solutions, hosted its annual partner event for dealers and distributors in the South Asian and Middle Eastern region at the Mount Lavinia Hotel recently. The event recognized and celebrated outstanding Plantronics partners within the region from the past year, a company announcement said. Speaking at the event, [...]

Hotel Show 2013 attracts 14 countries, over 250 stalls

The hotel industry’s exhibition in South Asia is scheduled to be held next month in Colombo with the main highlight this year being the world famous chef championship, Bocuse d’Or Competition’s Sri Lanka round held on the opening day. Conducted for the 8th consecutive year under the theme “Hotel Show 2013: The Showcase for Hotel [...]

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