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Merril’s 25-year journey with Dilmah tea

Merril’s 25-year journey with Dilmah tea

Merril J. Fernando relaxes with a  cup of his favourite beverage – tea while chatting with the Business Times (BT) at his residence at Rajagiriya on Thursday. In a long interview while sharing a simple breakfast with two BT journalists, the 83 year-old iconic businessman who transformed Dilmah tea into a globally-acclaimed brand related its [...]

Tax hike for special permit vehicle imports

In a desperate move to increase revenue, Sri Lanka’s cash strapped government has increased the customs duty payable for the importation of vehicles under duty slashed permits issued to senior public sector officials. The Ministry of Finance has issued a new circular in terms of trade tariff and investment policy on the 2nd of August [...]

New Presidential Salaries Commission

Sri Lanka will introduce a national policy on wages of employees for the first time in history to make salary revisions applicable to both the public and private sectors. A Presidential Salaries Commission is to be created by President Mahinda Rajapaksa within two weeks to devise this national policy and settle salary anomalies of employees, [...]

Packer upset over change in casino building plans

Highly perturbed Australian casino operator Crown Ltd has expressed concern and rejected a government decision to change the building plan of its mixed development at D.R. Wijewardane Mawatha in Colombo, informed sources said. Following this refusal, the government has now asked that the development be shifted to another location on the same road, completely disrupting [...]

DPL overseas buyers pull plug on orders

Dipped Products Ltd (DPL), whose factory at Weliweriya has been closed on a government ruling until cleared of tests that its industrial waste was not polluting ground water, was scrambling this week to convince overseas buyers to stay with the company until the issues are sorted out. DPL officials, vehemently denying that their factory was [...]

Controversial Krrish project runs into troubled waters

The US$650 million Krrish square mixed development project tainted by scandalous financial deals has run into further problems and is unlikely to take off this year, official sources said. This means it would lose the strategic development project status as the final 15 per cent payment to lease out the prime Transworks property at Colombo [...]

Investors and the rule of law

It was indeed unfortunate that three young people had to die when the army fired at protestors at the Colombo-Kandy road last week. The protest was over the alleged contamination of wells in the area with villagers targeting a rubber gloves factory belonging to Dipped Products Ltd (DPL). It was unfortunate that the situation got [...]

Lankan ceramics industry urges renewal of GSP+

Renewing the GSP+ for exports in the European Union will help Sri Lanka recover cross markets in ceramics, a top official said, adding “in the past few years we have lost many markets due to the loss of GSP+”. Sri Lanka Ceramics Council (SLCC) President Mahendra Jayasekara made these comments while speaking at this week’s [...]

ABC Group, Australia, decides to stretch their wings to Sri Lanka

ABC Group, Australia, decides to stretch their wings to Sri Lanka

A Sri Lankan-led group involved in the travel industry in Australia has branched out to Sri Lanka based on the growing economic demands for travel and tourism in the country. Ajith Perera, Chairman of ABC Group, Australia, said that in the wake of this boom in the tourist industry, he decided to stretch the company [...]

Crisis: Frequent power failures in Dehiwela

Residents and business establishments in Dehiwela area have been experiencing frequent power failures, sometimes five times a day since the change in ministers some time back. During the tenure of the former minister power supply in this area was smooth and CEB personnel was managing and maintaining the electricity supply efficiently. Since late it has [...]

‘YouthJobs’ tops MIT GSL start-up programme at Moratuwa Uni

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Global Startup Labs programme, affiliated locally to the University of Moratuwa, recently completed its third “Launch Day” in Sri Lanka. The culmination of an intense, and comprehensive, 7-week long business incubator to develop start-ups geared towards mobile and web applications (apps), this event was the finale wherein the five [...]

Lessons from small businesses

Unarguably small businesses present a number of unique challenges compared to large corporations. However, there are some valuable lessons that large corporations could learn from them, especially during challenging economic times. The very strength of larger corporations can sometimes be their biggest weakness. This feature would focus on four of those aspects of small businesses [...]

SriLankan Airlines strives to overcome debt burden and operating losses

SriLankan Airlines strives to overcome debt burden and operating losses

Aimed at overcoming a heavy debt burden and operating losses, national carrier SriLankan Airlines this week announced a 5-year plan to secure profits of US$19 million in the financial year to March 2018 by introducing new products and other measures to boost revenue per passenger km. SriLankan Chief Executive Officer Kapila Chandrasena told a media [...]

New CIM Fellows in SL

New CIM Fellows in SL

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) recently conferred five eminent marketers who had contributed immensely towards the professional excellence in marketing possessing over 15 years of experience coupled with strong marketing background with the Fellowship (FCIM) status. The fellows are Ms. Chitrangani Herat Gunaratne – Senior Vice President of Quantum Consumer Solutions; Roshan Kaluarachchi – [...]

Just In Time implements LankaClear’s LankaPay common ATM switch

The Just In Time (JIT) Group together with LankaClear (Pvt) Ltd recently implemented the LankaPay Common ATM Switch branded as LankaPay. Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal inaugurated the live system in Colombo . The Common ATM switch is a milestone in the Sri Lankan banking industry which was on the cards for the last [...]

Mobile phone orders from Keells Super

Keells Super has introduced mobile shopping for the first time in the supermarket industry, adding greater ease and convenience to its shoppers, according to the company. “The launch of the mobile commerce site comes as an extension of its pioneering e-commerce website in 2002 which has enjoyed the privilege of being the first and [...]

New-look Laksala aims for 40 % growth this year

New-look Laksala aims for 40 % growth this year

Laksala, the state-owned handicrafts dealer, outlets is aiming for 40 per cent growth this year compared to last year, according to Chairman and CEO, Anil Koswatte when he spoke last week at the opening of the new souvenir boutique ‘Laksala Museum Gallery Café’ at the rear premises of the Colombo National Museum in the capital. [...]

Aon Hewitt launches new HR and employee selection tools in Sri Lanka

Aon Hewitt, a global HR consulting and outsourcing firm, last week announced the launch of its suite of selection and assessment tools for Sri Lankan organisations. The suite covers a range of solutions – campus and entry level candidate selection, middle management assessments, senior management development centres and virtual development centres, a statement from the [...]

Pioneering firm, Rotax marks 50 years

Rotax Ltd founded in 1963 by John Roche with a vision to establish a reliable company for supplying high quality safe and advanced electrical equipment to the Sri Lanka market, is celebrating 50 years in operation The company said, in a statement to mark this anniversary, that Rotax Ltd became synonymous in the electrical business [...]

Many entries for ‘EU-SWITCH Asia Greening Hotels Awards’

Many entries for ‘EU-SWITCH Asia Greening Hotels Awards’

Applications have closed for the second ‘EU-SWITCH Asia Greening Hotels Awards – 2013’, organized by the EU sponsored “EU-SWITCH Asia Greening Sri Lanka Hotels Project” (GSLH) implemented by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. The award scheme is designed to recognize the outstanding environmental performance and the innovative green technology solutions of the hotels registered with [...]

CB Governor optimistic that SL could narrow budget deficit

Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal, though 2013 budget targets have already gone awry, has expressed optimism that Sri Lanka will be able to narrow the budget deficit to around 5.2 per cent of GDP while maintaining single digit inflation. In the backdrop of interest rates coming down further, the Government would witness a significant reduction [...]

PIM helps develop another batch of Keells Managers

John Keells Holdings continues to hire the Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIM) to develop its middle level managers. The second batch of Keells middle management underwent a management development programme (MDP) from January to April 2013. The PIM’s executive/management development programmes are designed keeping in view the ever changing demands on business/professional executives, the institute [...]

3 LOLC Group companies among top ‘5 Best Companies to Work in Sri Lanka’

Three companies of the LOLC Group have been picked among the best companies to work in Sri Lanka according to the inaugural study “Best Companies to Work for 2013 – Sri Lanka”, the “Global Great Places to Work”. Lanka ORIX Finance PLC (LOFC), LOLC Micro Credit Ltd (LOMC) and Commercial Leasing & Finance PLC (CLC) [...]

Nature’s Secrets opens herbal beauty store at BIA

Nature’s Beauty Creations (NBC), owners of Nature’s Secrets, opened a new Herbal Beauty Store at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) recently. The company said its products are sold in more than 50 countries including the United States of America, as well as countries across Asia and Europe. “In the past, an agreement signed by the Airport [...]

Standard & Poor’s to discuss funding options for SL issuers

Sri Lankan issuers have significant opportunities to improve the diversification of their funding sources, says Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (S&P) adding that this topic and current credit trends for Sri Lankan issuers will be discussed at a seminar hosted by the rating agency in Colombo on August 16. Surinder Kathpalia, Managing Director, Standard & [...]

Union Bank conducts SME Workshop in Anuradhapura

Union Bank of Colombo PLC recently held its 42nd “Viyaparika Saviya” customer training workshop in Anuradhapura, organised in partnership with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. The programme was attended by both existing and potential entrepreneurs. K. H. Nandasena – Minister of Co-operative, Trade and Food, Industries, Textiles Industries and Rural Development, Tourism and Housing; [...]

SLASSCOM joins NOA to promote Sri Lankan IT Services in UK

The Sri Lanka Association of Software and Services Companies (SLASSCOM), the IT and Knowledge industry body which plays a catalyst role with aggressive plans to capitalize the opportunities for Sri Lanka, was recently admitted as members of the prestigious National Outsourcing Association (NOA) in the UK. Commenting on the recent tie up, Jeevan Gnanam-Head of [...]

Nivard Cabraal speaks at the Fitch Ratings Lanka Ltd’s inaugural Sovereign & Banking Roundtable

Nivard Cabraal speaks at the Fitch Ratings Lanka Ltd’s inaugural Sovereign & Banking Roundtable

Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal speaks at the Fitch Ratings Lanka Ltd’s inaugural Sovereign & Banking Roundtable in Colombo. He said rating agencies were not providing a proper picture of the country’s finances.

Colombo not yet ready to take up apartments; may face a glut : Analyst

Colombo is not yet ready to take up many apartment units and if all its proposed developments come at once, the city would face a glut of apartment units, making it difficult to market these condominiums to the locals at present given its pricing, analyst says. “In a way these projects getting delayed is a [...]

Foreign fund in Piramal’ top shareholder list; company set to expand in two years’ time

Foreign fund, Forward International Dividend Fund has become the fourth largest shareholder in Piramal Glass Ceylon PLC, which is planning to expand in two years’ time, according to officials. Forward International Dividend Fund is an open-ended equity mutual fund launched and managed by Forward Management, LLC. It invests in public equity markets across the globe. [...]

CSE revisits image building exercise

The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is restarting its image building exercise, which was put on hold early this year and has called for proposals by leading ad agencies for this campaign, according to sources in the advertising agency industry. The proposals for this mega media initiative are due by the month end, and the CSE [...]

Aitken Spence pre-tax profit up 2.1% in Q1

Aitken Spence PLC reported a pre-tax profit of Rs 937 million for the first quarter, a growth of 2.1 per cent, over the previous year, while the group’s profit attributable to shareholders of the parent grew by 4.1 per cent to Rs. 667 million, a company media release said. The company’s financial results for the [...]

Nestle revenues up 7 % despite ‘tough market conditions’

Sri Lanka’s Nestle unit has revealed a 6.9 per cent growth, in company revenues, in its first-half 2013 financials, to Rs. 15.3 billion, despite claims of “tough market conditions”, according to a statement. The statement also highlighted what Nestle called its “highest monthly procurement of fresh milk in history”, with the company sourcing 6.5 million [...]

JKH share price to see more volatility owing to the Integrated Resort Project : Analysts

The John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH) share price will see more volatility in the next few months following the launch of its new Integrated Resort Project in Colombo 2 where the head office is located, analysts say. This land is owned and occupied by subsidiaries Ceylon Cold Stores PLC (CCS), John Keells PLC (JKL), John [...]

Drop in exports source of worry for SL economy, economist says

Sri Lanka exports dropped to 17 per cent of GDP last year from a high of 32 per cent of GDP in 2000, according to economist and former Commonwealth Secretariat director Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy. Speaking as the guest speaker at the AGM of the British Scholars Association in Colombo last week, he said these facts [...]

ILO experts sceptical about SL’s 2.5 million tourist target

Sri Lanka’s target of attracting 2.5 million tourists to the island nation while increasing the room capacity to 50,000 under the Five-Year Strategic Plan is totally unrealistic and cannot be achieved, top tourism experts say. According to information gathered from a workshop conducted in Colombo, Wolfgang Weinzan, a German tourism specialist, told the Business Times [...]

Green entrepreneurs rewarded

Green entrepreneurs rewarded

The Association of Professional Sri Lankans in UK (APSL-UK) recently presented awards to Sri Lankan entrepreneurs of a variety of green products based on a recent competition in Colombo. The “Green Energy Ideas (GEIs) into Green Energy Products (GEPs)” competition was organized with the assistance of the National Science Foundation (NSF). Fifteen projects were submitted [...]

BT columnist ‘honouree’ at Asian information security event

Sri Lankan information security professional Sujit Christy, a columnist for the Business Times, was recognised by (ISC)2 as its sole local honouree at the seventh annual Asia Pacific Information Security Leadership Achievements (ISLA) programme, held this week. According to a statement; (ISC)2 was recognising 28 honourees and announcing three showcased workforce initiatives and a community [...]

KPMG signs MOU with Accounting Dept, of Jayewardenepura University

KPMG in Sri Lanka recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Accounting of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, enabling the two organisations to work in collaboration towards the advancement of higher education and professional career opportunities in the field of accounting and finance in Sri Lanka. The arrangement is aimed at [...]


“Basil enjoys a yoghurt” Richlife Dairies has pointed out an error in the caption of the picture carried last week under the above headline. It says Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa was relishing a “Rich Life Kiri Pani” and not a ‘Peni cadju’ yoghurt at the annual ‘Hotel Show which opened in Colombo.

Where has all the research gone?

Over a 1000 presentations and publications on research output by our scientists are made every year. These include presentations at annual research sessions of the universities, government institutes, research institutes, publications in local and international journals and at workshops and training programmes. More than one thousand every year! Some of these presentations have won awards [...]

CEAT launches radial tyres for SUVs and high-end cars

CEAT launches radial tyres for SUVs and high-end cars

Leading radial tyre brand CEAT this week launched radial tyres for Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and high-end passenger cars. The all-new ‘Czar’ radial tyres have been specifically manufactured to meet the increasing needs of the SUV and 4×4 vehicle markets, the company said. They will initially be available in two popular sizes — 235/75 R [...]

PC House chairman complains to SEC on recent share deal

PCH Holdings (PCH) Chairman S.H.M. Rishan has written to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) complaining that the recent share transaction in a PCH subsidiary, PC Pharma, was unethical, SEC sources said. British American Technologies Ltd., (BAT) acquired a 24 per cent stake or 24.4 million shares at Rs. 1.50 per share in PC Pharma [...]

Deposit and borrowing rates to remain at current levels

Interest rates will hover around current levels due to a loose monetary policy and lack of demand for credit, according to JB Securities Research report outlining its outlook for equities in 2013/14. Deposit rates are at 10.5 per cent and borrowing rates at 16 per cent. The report says that pawning which accounts for 22 [...]

Challenges in education and employment

An integrated society is like a fabric. A fabric is made up of yarns woven longitudinally and laterally to create beautiful designs using colours. Yarns that make fabrics are not strong individually but all the woven yarns make the fabric very strong. Yarn is made by spinning raw fibres to produce long threads. A strand [...]

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