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Getting ready to fly

Getting ready to fly

A happy youngster carries his kite just before flying it at the golf course of the Shangri-La’s Resort and Spa, Hambantota where the hotel management organised a kite festival  involving the village. The resort is due to open on June 1. Pic by M.D. Nissanka.

Seylan in merger talks with NDB

The National Development Bank (NDB) would hopefully be third time lucky in trying to find a bride. This time it has proposed to Seylan Bank and initiated discussions on a possible merger, officials involved in the process, said.  NDB which holds 10 per cent stock in Seylan has initiated this discussion some months ago, according [...]

Rubber to be grown in the North

Sri Lanka’s rubber industry established in the country during the colonial era is to expand to the North, a non-traditional area, as part of the new Master Plan for rubber development scheduled to be launched later this month. The Rubber Research Institute (RRI) says that non-traditional areas found in the Northern Province would be ideal locations [...]

Hambantota Port tender process under question

Questions are being raised over a move by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) to call for tenders to operate the Hambantota tank farm and its bunkering facilities on a 25 year lease to investors, since the time period was just two weeks. The document, received by some companies last week, called for proposals from investors [...]

‘Suspicion’ over recent Treasury bond purchases

Deals by two ‘influential’ money market traders who purchased large stocks of Treasury bonds and sold it at a premium a few weeks later to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) are raising many questions, dealers said. ”We have no proof or evidence but the process appeared to be very suspicious,” one dealer said, adding that the [...]

15% special interest rate soon at finance companies

More than three months after the budget proposal, guidelines on the 15 per cent interest rate on deposits up to Rs.1.5 million for senior citizens will be sent out to finance companies this week, Central Bank (CB) Governor Arjuna Mahendran said. ”We just now (Thursday) received the circular (on this budget decision) and will send it [...]

Fitch rating downgrade further narrows SL’s foreign finance avenues

Fitch rating downgrade further  narrows SL’s foreign finance avenues

Global credit rating agency Fitch has downgraded Sri Lanka’s Long-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) to ‘B+’ from ‘BB-’. Further, the country’s credit outlook is downgraded from ‘stable’ to ‘negative’ indicating a significantly weak credit risk. The negative outlook means more downgrades are on the cards. The issue ratings on Sri Lanka’s senior unsecured [...]

Path-breaking Maths method developed by Sri Lankan could help weak Maths students worldwide

Path-breaking Maths method developed by Sri Lankan could help weak Maths students worldwide

Over the years, it has been observed that the failure rate in Mathematics in the Grade VI to XI levels in Sri Lanka is more than 50 per cent. Given this high failure rate and looking for solutions to reduce the failure rate, a Maths teacher, when he was teaching at the Dickpitiya Muslim Maha [...]

50 years in tourism: Is Sri Lanka marketed properly?

When a Singapore hospitality expert asked in 2014 for a package tour of Sri Lanka, the offering was similar to that she had experienced 10-15 years ago. “It was no different. I have been visiting Sri Lanka for many years and the package was the same as 10-15 years ago. You need to change your [...]

Treasury calls for brainstorming by industry experts on widening tax base

Sri Lanka’s Treasury has called on industry experts to suggest ideas of widening the tax net, in a bid to bring in new areas to collect taxes, an industry official said. The first meeting on Tuesday saw industry experts such as Asite Talwatte, Riyaz Mihular, Duminda Hulangamuwa and Manjula de Silva discuss these issues with the [...]

Tech Pacific Lanka wins Emerson Excellence Award

Tech Pacific Lanka, one of Sri Lanka’s specialised information technology (IT) distributing companies, was recently awarded a certificate of excellence for being the ‘Best Partner for Smart Solutions for the year 2015’ by Emerson Network Power (I) Pvt Ltd, the company said in a media release. Tech Pacific Lanka was recognised with this award at [...]

NDB’s new “shake the phone” app

NDB has introduced a new product called ‘shake banking’ further bringing the bank’s service to the fingertips of customers. With the NDB mobile banking app, customers can now bank at their convenience and access their account to carry out various secured transactions from any mobile devices running iOS, Android or Windows. This comprehensive solution can be [...]

AIA’s football and yoga activities in Jaffna

AIA Insurance recently hosted a range of fun-filled football activities at its AIA-in-Town programme in Jaffna. As the Principal Global Partner of Tottenham Hotspur, one of the world’s best football clubs, AIA had some super activities lined up, which brought out the hidden football star in those that participated, the company said in a media [...]

Kia Motors (Lanka) supports training at Technical Colleges

Kia Motors (Lanka) Ltd has offered on-the-job training at its repair and service facilities to Sri Lankan students who achieved the highest marks on completion of the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Automobile courses at local technical colleges.  This, the company said in a media release, was its contribution to a project supported by the Korea [...]

Sri Lankan businesses waste 4% a year, study shows

Sri Lankan organisations wasted an average amount of 4 per cent of revenue every year with projects being cancelled after their inception, delayed projects and overpaying for goods and services being the main causes, a new study by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) shows. Proving that there is a gap between expectation and reality, [...]

Thumbs-up for PickMe’s Women Drivers

PickMe, Sri Lanka’s latest solution to hailing taxis through one’s mobile device, has taken the initiative to create job opportunities for women in this novel area.  Whilst more and more women are beginning to get interested in the profession based on the enquires received by PickMe, the company has managed to engage the services of [...]

Skyline in Colombo to change rapidly with new malls, 7.5 mln sq. ft space by 2019

Skyline in Colombo to change rapidly with new malls, 7.5 mln sq. ft space by 2019

Surging property prices, rising rentals and demand seen growing for corporate space in Colombo and the suburbs were among a host of interesting issues that surfaced at a recent panel discussion on the real estate market. There was general agreement that joint marketing of the property markets through overseas roadshows was necessary to market the [...]

Travel legend Ebert Silva posthumously recognised at Peterite honours night

Travel legend Ebert Silva posthumously recognised at Peterite honours night

Ebert Silva, a legend and a pioneer in Sri Lanka’s travel and tourism industry, was felicitated and honoured posthumously for his outstanding contribution in ‘Entrepreneurship’ at the 6th Peterite Honours Night held recently. Organised by the Old Boys’ Union of St. Peters’ College, the Peterite Honours Night is an event held to honour distinguished Old Boys [...]

‘The Body Shop’ plans more outlets in Sri Lanka

International brand ‘The Body Shop’ with its new outlet launch in Colombo, plans to expand further in Sri Lanka, says Trevor Rajaratnam, Director of The Body Shop Sri Lanka.  He made this comment to the Business Times on the sidelines of the launch of its second outlet at the Fairline Building in Kollupitiya on Monday. [...]

Launching an SME-led shift to cashless transactions with PAYable

A new home-grown cashless mobile payment system called ‘PAYable’ is set to grow Sri Lanka’s individual, micro and small-medium enterprises (SMEs). Made up of pioneering mobile phone app paired with a Bluetooth card reader, both of which are to be distributed free of charge, PAYable will enable an entirely new and previously untapped segment of Sri [...]

Tremendous opportunities for Sri Lankan goods in Egypt

Tremendous business opportunities exist in Egypt for Sri Lankans who like to export Sri Lankan goods such as gems and tea, a top official said. Egyptian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Hisham Mohamed Assran said trade between Sri Lanka and Egypt was limited despite having an excellent political relationship between the two countries. “When it comes [...]

Yamaha Music Centre launches Marshall Bluetooth speakers and headphones

A new dimension in high quality sound amplification has been introduced to Sri Lanka by the Yamaha Music Centre with the launch of a range of Bluetooth speakers and headphones from Marshall, the iconic British manufacturer of guitar amplifiers. Combining the latest in high fidelity sound with the signature retro designs for which the brand is [...]

Business leaders to mentor MTI’s ‘idea2fund’ women startups

Sri Lanka’s top women business leaders have volunteered to mentor MTI’s ‘idea2fund’ women entrepreneurs. In an effort to promote young women to take to entrepreneurship through the ‘idea2fund’ platform, they have each volunteered to be a mentor to one to two women entrepreneurs who would be selected as having winning entrepreneurial ideas, according to a [...]

K. Sivagananathan memorial oration and awards on March 8

The K. Sivagananathan Memorial Trust (KSMT) and the Association of Professional Bankers of Sri Lanka (APB) will hold its 14th annual K. Sivagananathan Memorial Oration and Awards ceremony on Tuesday, 8th March in commemoration of the late K Sivagananatan, an innovative banker in Sri Lanka. The late Mr. Sivagananathan had contributed most to uplift, upgrade and [...]

Revitalising export finance for export growth

Revitalising export finance for export growth

Since the turn of the century, Sri Lanka’s exports have fared poorly. The share of exports to GDP has steadily declined from 33 per cent to 15 per cent during 2000-2014, and exports have stagnated at around US$10 billion since 2011. Ricardo Hausmann, a Harvard economist who spoke at the Sri Lanka Economic Forum in [...]

Stock market to bring in more portfolio cash in the wake of ratings downgrades

On the back of country downgrades by Fitch Ratings, capital market stakeholders are gearing to carry out aggressive country promotions starting with Sri Lanka Investment Summit – Uncovering Opportunities in Asia’s Rising Gem’ on 15 March in Singapore, inustry experts said. Vajira Kulatilleke, Chairman Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) told the Business Times that this ratings downgrade [...]

Treasury faces dilemma in implementing President’s GK repayment directive

With the recent directive of the President to repay the actual balance due to Golden Key Credit Card Company (GK) depositors, the Treasury is in a dilemma over disbursing more public money as it has already doled out Rs.4.48 billion from its funds for this cause. In a letter sent on behalf of the president to [...]

Master class by Shippers’ Academy Colombo on shipping issues

In a competitive world, mistakes done through the supply chain will cost companies dearly. These mistakes will be in marketing, documentation, operational aspects and due to pure ignorance leading into duplication, delays, cost and time, a leading shipping agency said.  The Shippers’ Academy Colombo in its Global Manager series capacity building initiative will conduct a [...]

HNB Group bullish on Asia and Africa

HNB Group bullish  on Asia and Africa

The HNB Group has set its sight on regional expansion with Asia and Africa on its radar, a top official says.  ”Last year we lent US $50 million    ( to a certain company) in Cambodia, to show that intent. Similarly we gave $5 million to the energy sector in Africa,” Jonathan Alles, Managing Director/CEO [...]

Lion Brewery restructuring certain processes to combat profitability drop

Lion Brewery restructuring certain processes to combat profitability drop

The Lion Brewery Ceylon PLC (Lion Brewery) has restructured certain processes in the company to combat its dent on profitability in the wake of harsh taxation, officials say.  ”We have re-thought certain things in the company and we won’t return to the same levels of profitability as in the month of September 2015, but it’ll [...]

Bank of Ceylon records highest ever profit of over Rs. 25 bln in 2015

Bank of Ceylon (BoC) said this week that it closed the 2015 financial year by recording the highest ever profit of Rs.25.3 billion, made by a single commercial entity in the country.  This is a 25 per cent growth over the previous year. Post tax profit at Rs. 16.1 billion was up 19 per cent [...]

Sunshine Holdings keen on its own pharma plant but unclear policies in the way

Sunshine Holdings PLC (Sunshine) is in the process of evaluating the setting up its own pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, but is treading carefully as state policies are still unclear, a top official says. ”We haven’t made a concrete plan as the policies such as the buy-back agreements aren’t clear,” Vish Govindasamy, Chairman Sunshine told the Business Times. [...]

Janashakthi eager for more purchases in general insurance

Hot on the heels of acquiring AIA General Insurance Lanka Ltd, Janashakthi Insurance PLC (Janashakthi) which reported a consolidated Gross Written Premium (GWP) of Rs. 10.664 billion for the year ended 31st December 2015 will take up similar opportunities like the AIA acquisition. Officials said that if such an opportunity presents itself to them they’ll [...]

Guardian Capital bullish on IT start-ups

Guardian Capital Partners PLC (formerly Watapota Investments PLC), an investment fund under the Carsons umbrella, is in the process of looking at a couple of deals to deploy their Rs. 438 million cash and is bullish on the IT sector concentrated around early stage start- up companies. “We made a commitment to invest a sum [...]

Cargills to consolidate dairy business after merging dairy firm

Cargills (Ceylon) PLC (CCP) has plans to expand the product portfolio in its dairy business after acquiring the balance shares of subsidiary Kotmale Holdings PLC (KHP) and merge it with Cargills Quality Dairies (Pvt) Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary in the group, according to a top official. He said that this will create a unified [...]

2 big Chinese Banks in fund talks with Com Bank

Commercial Bank (Commercial) which recorded a profit before tax of Rs. 17.144 billion for the 12 months ended December 31, 2015, is in discussion on funding assistance with two Chinese Banks, after it went on a delegation early last month with the Centra Bank (CB) Governor Arjuna Mahendran. ”They have requested for appointments to discuss on [...]

Kelani Cables to forge ahead with expansions into a new country each year

Kelani Cables PLC, a manufacturer and distributor of power and telecommunication cables and enamelled winding wires, is re-considering entering Australia with their products while also eyeing other countries to expand into, officials said. Earlier plans to venture into Australia didn’t work out, the company said.  Last year the company went to Seychelles and this year Kelani [...]

Pan Asia Bank concerned over rising interest

The Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC (PABC) saw its post tax profit for the year ended December 31, 2015 (FY15) increasing by 151 per cent to surpass the key milestone of achieving a billion rupee profit, but has expressed concern over rising interest rates, offcials said.  ”Rising interest rates and predictions on further hikes remain [...]

Seylan keen to venture abroad

Seylan Bank after a record Profit after Tax figure of Rs. 3,831 million for the year ended 31st December 2015, is eyeing the possibility of expanding overseas next year, a top official said. ”Myanmar and Vietnam are on the radar, but this will be thought about next year,” Kapila Ariyaratne, CEO Seylan told the Business Times. [...]

Flying cars a reality by 2018

Flying cars a reality by 2018

The Terrafugia “TF–X”, an automated four-seater flying car concept, for every day commuters, could begin testing as early as 2018, according to a recent update from the US. It was also revealed that, if this testing timeframe was realised, these flying cars would likely start selling by 2025. This latest update also follows news from [...]

DIMO wears overall crown at ACCA Sustainability Reporting Awards

DIMO wears overall crown at ACCA Sustainability Reporting Awards

Diesel and Motor Engineering PLC (DIMO), demonstrating its unique brand of corporate stewardship, won the crown as the overall winner at the 12th ACCA Sustainability Reporting Awards held in Colombo recently while Dialog Axiata was adjudged the overall Runer Up.  Pushing boundaries of transparency and accountability in reporting practices, an additional 13 awards were presented [...]

Huawei SL to surpass 50% market share next year

Huawei Sri Lanka is gearing to grow its market share by 30 per cent this financial year in a bid to achieve 53 per cent in total, a top official said. “In Q4, 2015, the market share was 23.08 per cent in smarphones. It was our first time to achieve this and we’re at number [...]

Sri Lankan students to take healthcare innovations to Intel ISEF 2016

Three students were selected to represent Sri Lanka at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) 2016, after they excelled at the recently-held Sri Lanka Science and Engineering Fair (SLSEF) 2016 with their innovative healthcare slutions.  Chamindu Jayasanka from Hanwella Rajasinghe Central College was adjudged the winner at this year’s competition, whilst Abishek [...]

Colombo invites more Chinese project and investment assistance

Sri Lanka is accelerating implementation of ongoing Chinese projects in the country while inviting the global giant of further involvement in other projects including the Megapolis project. This assurance and request was conveyed to the authorities in Beijing during a recent visit to China by Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama and Minister [...]

Ceylon chamber appoints its first female CEO

Veteran civil servant Dhara Wijayatilake has been appointed as the CEO of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), from March 1, the first-ever female to be appointed to this post. She replaces Mangala P. B. Yapa, who has resigned to take up a position as the Head of the proposed Agency for Development under the Ministry [...]

Hirdaramani Group’s Eheliyagoda Facility receives LEED Gold Certification

Hirdaramani Knit, Eheliyagoda, was recently awarded the LEED Gold Certification by the US Green Building Council, the company said this week. The award, which is verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), marks the Hirdaramani Group’s fifth LEED Certified facility in Sri Lanka.  The certification was awarded by Magda Aghababyan – CEO, Co-Energy (Pvt.) [...]

Shangri-La resort reaches out to Hambantota residents with kite flying festival

Hambantota: “Flying Dreams of Kids Come True” was the banner hung across the golf course adjacent to the Shangri-La’s Resort and Spa, Hambantota when a group of reporters entered the golf course last week to witness the biggest kite festival in Hambanthota.  There were around 1000-1500 school kids mostly below the ages of 10 holding [...]

Occupational hazards: Migrant workers in UAE vulnerable to lifestyle diseases

A large number of young male migrant workers from South Asia are developing hypertension, obesity and cardiac problems after adopting the UAE lifestyle especially those who have been in the country for over six years, a study has found. The first population-based study among migrant workers done in the country also finds that drivers, shopkeepers, salesmen [...]

Malaysia mulls easing travel restrictions for Sri Lankans

Malaysian tourism authorities, overwhelmed by protests from Indians and Sri Lankans over a restrictive visa entry process, say they are seriously considering relaxing the rules. ”I am going back (to the hotel) and will send our recommendation on the need to relax the visa rules,” Dato Daljit Singh, member of the Tourism Malaysia Board of Directors, [...]

CB reviews fit and proper rules for bank directors

The Central Bank (CB) is reviewing the fit and proper criteria when appointing directors in banks and plans to make some changes, top official said. ”We’re relooking at these rules and want to introduce new ones and restructure the existing ones this year,” governor Central Bank, Arjuna Mahendran told the Business Times. He said that in [...]

Sri Lanka sees persistent weakening of its export capacity

Sri Lanka has been witnessing a persistent widening of the trade deficit, weakening of its export capacity along with growth in tourism earnings and moderate workers remittances last year, according to a Central Bank (CB) report.  Earnings from exports during 2015 decreased by 5.6 per cent to US$ 10.5 billion while expenditure on imports declined [...]

Workshop on medical products sterilisation, food preservation, etc

Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Board (SLAEB) is organizing a workshop on March 9 on the recent introduction of gamma irradiation technology to local industries. The workshop together with a facility visit will be at the Sri Lanka Gamma Centre in Biyagama Export Processing Zone. Two experts from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will conduct the lectures. [...]

ODEL to delist?

Odel PLC, acquired by Softlogic Group a few years ago, is likely to be de-listed from the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), according to market sources. As at December 31, 2015 Odel’s freefloat was at 6.3 per cent and the CSE’s minimum requirement to be on the second board is 10 per cent. Since the start [...]

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