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New series: “Strictly NO Business”

New series: “Strictly NO Business”

The Business Times is launching a new series today on business personalities who’ll share their hobbies, pursuits and family times – outside the workplace. The first column on Page 4 shares some insights into the life and hobbies of Ajit Gunewardena.

Unhappy over FCID progress

Unhappy  over FCID  progress

Sri Lanka’s controversial Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) received mixed reviews from the public in a joint new poll by the Business Times and Research Consultancy Bureau this week with one street critic saying the drama during arrests is “like a Tamil film in South India with a different script everyday”.  The unnamed respondent said: [...]

Sri Lanka’s co-operative society banks face credit and deposit risks

Sri Lanka’s Thrift and Credit Co-operative Society Banks (financial institutions) are facing a risk to their credit profiles and deposit base due to rising exposure to micro finance, corruption, fraud, malpractices and mismanagement of the administration, financial analysts warned. The situation is grave for depositors of those financial institutions controlled by provincial councils as it [...]

NDB isn’t private property, says Deputy Minister Eran

The Government this week firmly reiterated that the chairman of the National Development Bank (NDB) should be ‘independent of the bank’ in line with good governance after the former state development bank was stopped in its tracks by a plan to alter the articles of association and do away with the current ‘independent chairman’.  Deputy [...]

Minimum hotel rates termination shakes tourism industry

The tourism industry has expressed mixed feelings following a Government announcement to scrap the minimum room rates’ policy in Colombo city hotels.  Marketing the destination which has become a big issue due to the its lack of competitiveness on the global scale has led to many tour operators calling for the removal of the ceiling [...]

Sri Lanka to sign ETCA with India by end 2016

Sri Lanka to sign ETCA  with India by end 2016

The Government is set to sign the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India, which has triggered a major controversy from professional groups, by end this year with a working draft prepared by Sri Lanka to be discussed with an Indian trade delegation due here in the next fortnight, it was officially announced on [...]

No cause for alarm; Brexit could take longer

No cause for alarm; Brexit could take longer

Negotiations for Britain’s exit from the EU could take longer than stipulated (two years) and there is no reason for immediate panic (from Sri Lanka and the rest of the world), a meeting was told on Tuesday.  It was also disclosed at the Sunday Times Business Club (STBC)’s monthly meeting that there is a small [...]

SL’s future lies in tech companies

Remember that pithy saying “talk till the cows come home”. While Sri Lankan businesses and investors wait for government handouts, state facilitation and until the Government stops changing the goalposts in policy formulation (VAT as an example), Sri Lanka’s growing community of tech companies is surging ahead – with or without a helping hand from [...]

Sri Lanka-Germany relations have ‘excellence’ written all over it

The Sri Lanka Government now has excellent relationship with Germany, the country’s departing ambassador said last week.  “We have seen changes in Sri Lanka that we never thought was possible and all of a sudden during the past 18 months Sri Lanka turned around and reached out to Germany politically,” said Ambassador Dr. Jurgen Morhard [...]

Top speakers to share insights at the Sri Lanka Economic Summit

Successful leaders of acclaimed global firms, such as the ones from, Google, McKinsy & Company, AirBnB, DERTOUR, Shangri-La Hotels and Pemandu Malaysia and high profile public officials of foreign countries are lined up to share their expertise at next week’s upcoming Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2016.  Among the speakers are Dato Sri Idris Jala, CEO [...]

Innovation – the only way to outdo hyper competition

There is no scarcity of competition today in the business world so much so that barriers to entry are so low with new competitors coming out of nowhere and disrupting entire industries at the blink of an eyelid.  To be successful, you must always find new ways to innovate and distinguish your company, no matter [...]

Lessons to learn and study for local marketers and advertisers at the LBR LBO Summit this year

While advertising is on the rise in the digital space in today’s modern world, there are many lessons to learn for local marketers and advertisers. People need to get away from the mindset of Sri Lanka being an island and work towards improving its standards and priorities by looking at other countries in the world. [...]

Ajit Gunewardene’s art of living a dream

Ajit Gunewardene’s  art of living a dream

KOSGODA – Ajit Gunewardene is refreshingly frank. Early in our conversation, he admits he is quite useless as an artist. This comes as no surprise for what I can recollect from school days is that he was a tough-as-nails rugby flanker at Royal whose ferocious cover tackling left many opponents dazed and wondering what they [...]

Parliament to resume VAT debate on August 11

The controversial Value Added Tax (VAT) discussion in Parliament is to be held on August 11, it was disclosed in the course of a media briefing by Central Bank (CB) Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy on Friday.  He said Sri Lanka’s revenue collection is expected to normalise following the parliamentary approval of the VAT Bill next month. [...]

Noritake unveils its latest range of fine porcelain-ware, stoneware and cutlery

Noritake unveils its latest  range of fine porcelain-ware,  stoneware and cutlery

Noritake Lanka Porcelain recently unveiled its latest range of fine porcelain, bone china, stoneware and cutlery at the Hilton Colombo. The theme of the evening revolved around the Nil Manel – the blue lotus – which symbolises many of the aspects that are shared by the creed of Noritake, such as “Harmonious Co-existence”, “Mutual prosperity”, [...]

Union Bank continues strong growth momentum in 1H 2016

Union Bank of Colombo PLC and its subsidiaries UB Finance Co. Ltd and National Asset Management Ltd (Namal) has reported a surge in pre-tax profit growth in first half 2016 of 233 per cent to Rs. 275 million.  Operating income of the group grew 31 per cent to Rs. 2,120 million for the same period. [...]

Australian delegation offers SL tech companies platform for business/investments

Twenty-five Sri Lankan technology companies are being provided an opportunity to pitch for business and potential investment from a high level Australian business delegation set to visit Sri Lanka from 10-12 August.  The event is organised jointly by the Sri Lanka and Australia Chamber of Commerce (SLACC), Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB), Sri Lanka [...]

Janashakthi Insurance empowers children to achieve excellence at the Grade 5 exams

Janashakthi Insurance PLC, in a continued commitment to help education, recently announced the second phase of its annual Grade 5 Scholarship programme, ‘Shishshathwayen Wishishthathwaya’, offering free seminars at key locations island wide to children sitting for the scholarship examination in 2016.  Conducted for the second consecutive year, the programme will be led by renowned educationalist, [...]

Country and markets remain in psychological paralysis

Country and markets remain in psychological paralysis

Holidays provide space for introspection. An extended sabbatical from these pages has provided time to delve in to various aspects of political economy that hold the key to our future. Both markets and consumers in Sri Lanka are currently suffering buyers’ remorse. As most business leaders keep reminding me, ‘whatever you do, please don’t mention [...]

Colombo and Galle residents think differently on government performance

Respondents in Colombo and Galle, while in agreement that the FCID is not performing the role it set out to do, has also displayed wide disparities in a RCB poll, jointly held with the BT.  The poll was to ascertain the effectiveness of the government’s main financial crimes unit set up mainly to rope in [...]

JKH profits marginally up in 1stQ 2016/17

Group profit before tax (PBT) at John Keells Holdings (JKH) reached Rs.3.58 billion in the first quarter (April-June) of the 2016/17 financial year, up 7 per cent over the same period in the previous year.  In JKH Chairman Susantha Ratnayake’s report to shareholders which was released to the media, it was stated that profit attributable [...]

LOLC Life and LOLC General on a steady growth path

The insurance arm of the LOLC Group declared this week that it half-yearly performance for FY2016 was ‘satisfactory’.  In a media release, the Life insurance segment posted significant numbers by recording 73 per cent growth in gross written premiums (GWP) in the first half of 2016 over the corresponding period in FY2015, which is an [...]

PromoLanka Marketing introduces cold press juicers to Sri Lanka

PromoLanka Marketing introduced premium cold press juicers Kuvings to its portfolio in Sri Lanka at the Hotel Show Colombo 2016 at the BMICH last week. These models are available for both domestic and industrial use, a media release issued by the company said.  Kuvings juicers have been manufactured in South Korea for over 35 years, [...]

Desperate depositors now claim human rights violations in plea to HRC

Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission (HRC) and the diplomatic corps appear to be the only salvation for a group of mostly, elderly depositors whose appeals and pleas for a return of their money – from one of the many failed finance companies – have not succeeded, so far.  Helpless depositors of the failed Standard Credit [...]

Brandix wins two awards at Gap Inc.’s 2016 vendor summit

Brandix wins two awards at Gap Inc.’s 2016 vendor summit

The Brandix Group has won two top awards including the award for ‘Outstanding Vendor – Overall Excellence’ from Gap Inc, a leading global retailer of clothing, according to a company media release.  The awards, presented at the Gap Inc. Global Supply Chain’s 2016 Vendor Summit in Hong Kong, recognise Brandix’s contribution to Gap in terms [...]

Dilmah launches 1st t-Lounge in Indian capital

Dilmah, Sri Lanka’s most recognised international brand that produces finest and freshest Ceylon Tea, launched its exclusive t- Lounge concept in Delhi, India on July 20 at an event attended by its founder, Merrill J. Fernando and his son, Dilhan C. Fernando.  The newly set up t-Lounge by Dilmah offers a unique tea experience for [...]

John Keells educates more than 100,000 persons via HIV & AIDS Awareness Campaign

The John Keells HIV & AIDS Awareness Campaign – a long-term CSR initiative of the John Keells Group – recently passed the milestone of sensitising 100,000 persons on HIV and AIDS since project inception, the highest recorded impact created by a private entity in Sri Lanka. The initiative is aimed at prevention through education and [...]

Japan to fund light rail transit project

Japan has agreed to fund the proposed new LRT (light rail transit) project under Sri Lanka’s Megapolis initiative.  A high level delegation from Government of Japan concluded a visit to Sri Lanka on Thursday, according to a media release from the Ministry of Megapolis. The visit follows Cabinet approval for LRT system proposed in the [...]

75 % of Sri Lankan start – up entrepreneurs are aged between 20-35 years, SLASSCOM survey reveals

Start-ups that received funding from external sources (i.e., banks, angel investors etc.) have shown a higher growth rate than startups that were funded through personal savings, a new study shows.  According to a survey on start-ups conducted by the Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM) Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum to create a [...]

Sri Lanka should aim to create at least 5 Fortune 500 companies

Sri Lanka should  aim to create at  least  5 Fortune   500 companies

50 per cent of the ‘Top companies in the World’ will come from emerging marketing by 2025 according to a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI).  This means that there is an incredible opportunity for Sri Lanka to gain from this movement in the next 10 years. As in most things in life [...]

Driven, delivered, done and all in a few hours

Driven, delivered, done and all in a few hours

If you suddenly have a craving for homemade thosai and sambar for lunch, or if you have spilled gravy on your pristine white shirt and need a change before the evening cocktails, then Hire1 provides the busy businessman or corporate executive a convenient get-out-of-jail card.  ”These are some of the examples of the services we [...]

Learning the fun way with Layup

Learning the fun way with Layup

A diehard basketball fan – Lakers is his favourite NBA team – it comes as no surprise that Sheran Corera opted to run with the tag Layup when he was looking around for a name that would best describe his start-up which is all the rage now.  Just a few weeks ago, Layup was picked [...]

Being young: Start-up solutions for Sri Lanka’s ageing population

To cover-up haphazard and unplanned economic policies, policymakers appear to have made the universities in Sri Lanka the ‘scapegoat’ blaming them for producing a glut of arts graduates after following courses that are not employment oriented.  Further these halls of knowledge have been gradually politicised and have lost their autonomy. However some universities have penetrated [...]

Hospitality institute finds good chefs in SL students

Hospitality institute finds good chefs in SL students

Sri Lankan hospitality management students have created a wow impact at the Colombo Academy of Hospitality Management (CAHM) institute, graduating after producing great ‘fine dining experiences’ with good food.  At least eight students have decided to become chefs using their own culinary experience in churning out authentic specialities specific to the provinces, Australian based institute’s [...]

Chinese university offers to study Chinese tourists’ feedback

An interesting offer was made at a tourism conference in Sri Lanka recently – studying Chinese tourist trends and providing this data to local policymakers.  Liu Yi, Deputy Head of Tourism Management and Planning in School of Tourism Management, Sun Yat-sen University in Guangdong, China, made the offer during the UN World Tourism Organisation conference [...]

Hotel Show last week

Hotel Show last week

The 11th edition of the Hotel Show Colombo 2016 was held last week at the BMICH in Colombo. Picture by Indika Handuwala shows an interesting chair on display.

Solid results win Renuka City Hotel Booking. com’s Best Performance Award for 2015

Solid results win Renuka City Hotel Booking. com’s  Best Performance Award for 2015

Exceptional occupancy rates and top-notch revenue generation by Renuka City Hotel resulted in the hotel winning’s Award for Best Performance in 2015, a media release from the local hotel said.  Recognition for the hotel’s performance was based on its outstanding occupancy rates over the previous year, during which Renuka City Hotel was able to [...]

Onyx hospitality to expand in five years

Sino Lanka, owners of the two OZO hotels in Sri Lanka, is looking at expanding their hospitality experience to Sigiriya and Nuwara Eliya and have options to move to the East and North of the country within the next five years.  The Thai-based Onyx Hospitality Group has now upgraded destination Sri Lanka as a regional [...]

Widening human resources gap, a threat to Sri Lanka’s tourism growth

Sri Lanka’s tourism growth and competitiveness could be constrained by the widening human resources gap, which could potentially be a threat to the industry as a whole.  This could even be a threat to price tourism related products or services if this gap is not addressed, said Omega Global (Pvt) Ltd. Director Sudesh Kolonne. Focus [...]

Legends lure future Indian tourism boom

Sri Lanka Tourism invited one of the top Indian regional TV Channels ‘TV9′ in June to create a promotional television documentary targeting regional communities and sates of India, a media release issued by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) stated.  Under this promotional media activity the proposed ‘Ramayana TV Documentary’ will be aired in [...]

Powerboats set to hype tourist traffic

Powerboat riders are set to boost tourism in Sri Lanka which has been increasing in attractiveness to most locals. The country is also set to hold the opening of the World Aqua bike Championships next year.  Lanka Powerboat Association (LPA) President Prasanna Ranaweera in an interview with the Business Times last week said Sri Lanka [...]

CSE to take part in a roadshow to Japan

In a last ditch attempt to turn the stock market -in doldrums- around, the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is gearing to go on a roadshow – this time to East Asia.  CSE’s Japanese counterparts are organising this roadshow in August and but there is a catch for stockbrokers interested in taking part. The stockbrokers have [...]

Government promotes domestic charters at Mattala airport

The Government is to promote domestic charter airlines at Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) as the air transport hub in the South is almost defunct except for a daily flight or two, official sources said.  A flying school and a domestic charter airline is to be established near the MRIA on a proposal submitted by [...]

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