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Congrats or deepest sympathies?

Congrats or deepest sympathies?

The new board of directors of struggling SriLankan Airlines and officials at the first meeting with the media on Thursday. From left: Thilan Wijesinghe, Chairman/ acting CEO of the Finance Ministry’s PPP Unit and Convenor of the Officials Committee on the airline; Directors – Susantha Katugampala, Mano Tittawella, Ranjit Fernando (Chairman), Air Marshal Kapila Jayampathi [...]

National carrier’s new lifeline

After many twists and turns, Sri Lanka’s national carrier appears ready for take-off, at least in three years’ time. Faced with losses of US$100 million this year, $160 million in 2019 and a total debt of $700 million, the new board of directors is preparing – so they say – to cut at least 2000 [...]

Young professionals add zing to Lanka’s public sector

After the triumph against the joint opposition’s no-confidence motion, Sri Lanka’s beleaguered government has been advised to infuse young blood into the senior public bureaucratic segment with the aim of accelerating rural and urban development activities, a top official told the Business Times. The country’s second tier public bureaucratic workforce needs a fresh impetus to [...]

Foreigners eye insurance stocks

Two large buys by Janashakthi Insurance PLC (JINS) and Japan’s Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company Ltd (MSIC) have got global insurance players eyeing local insurers, analysts say. The Business Times reported this in February when JINS in a Rs. 16.4 billion deal sold its general insurance business to multinational insurer, Germany’s Allianz. Analysts say that global [...]

Dubai investor group in town

A group of high profile Dubai investors met Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama this week for talks on investing in Sri Lanka. They also met the Prime Minister. The delegation led by Mohammed I. Al Shaibani, Executive Director/CEO of the Investment Corporation of Dubai (IC) and Chairman of Dubai Islamic Bank, included [...]

Credit ratings now compulsory for finance companies

Credit ratings by reputed rating agencies have been made compulsory for all licensed finance companies by Sri Lanka’s banking regulator with the aim of ensuring financial stability and operational excellence while creating healthy competition, Central Bank (CB) sources divulged. The CB has directed all licenced finance companies to enter into an agreement with reputed credit [...]

Avurudu: The Great Shutdown

Avurudu: The Great Shutdown

Or call it ‘The Great Escape” or like last year when we termed it “That lonely feeling … again!” I am referring to that time of the year when the delightful Koha’s (cuckoo’s) singing is our morning wake-up call, the days get hotter and, most of all, when Kussi Amma Sera and Co. prepare for [...]

Taxing or Robbing: What’s the difference?

Taxing or Robbing:  What’s the difference?

Once I came across a case study that had been circulated among the economics students in a foreign university. The students were supposed to read the case and review it for their tutorial. I thought of repeating this tutorial for your benefit, reporting the case study as follows: “A robber stopped a man walking on [...]

BoC 2017 profits soar to highest in the industry

Bank of Ceylon (BoC), with 78 years of successful banking, saw another record year in 2017 with pre-tax profit reaching Rs.30.3 billion, up 8 per cent from 2016, the highest in the industry This is after adjusting the one off gain recorded in 2016 (disposal of Mireka Capital Lanka Pvt Ltd). Profit after tax for [...]

CB eases tight monetary policy; worries over political stability

The Central Bank (CB) has eased the tightening of monetary policy by reducing the Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR), by 25 basis points but raised concerns about political stability. “The Monetary Board (the CB’s governing board) felt it is timely at this juncture to give a signal that the tightening phase of monetary policy should [...]

Sri Lanka wants to bridge trade deficit with NZ

Sri Lanka wants to bridge trade deficit with NZ

Recognising New Zealand’s importance as a friendly nation that Sri Lanka supported at the UN Security Council, Tourism Minister John Amaratunga on Monday highlighted the need to bridge the trade gap between the two nations. New Zealand’s exports to Sri Lanka was US$254 million in 2016 compared with US$55 million in exports from Sri Lanka, [...]

People’s Bank says record income in 2017

People’s Bank has announced the consolidated results of its year ended December 31, 2017 with gross income increasing by 31.4 per cent to Rs. 190.2 billion. “Total operating income grew by 15.2 per cent to reach an industry high of Rs. 78.8 billion. Operating expenses increased by a controlled 4.9 per cent to Rs. 37.2 [...]

LOLC retains ‘O’ in LOLC

Lanka ORIX Leasing Company PLC will retain the ‘LOLC’ logo, and possibly incorporate another suitable word to replace the word ‘Orix’, pursuant to the divestment by ORIX Corporation Japan of its shareholding in LOLC, officials say. As mutually agreed, the LOLC board has decided to change its name, by removing the word ORIX, the company [...]

New German industry office opens in Colombo

An office titled the “Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka” was opened in Colombo on Tuesday with Malik Samarawickrama, Minister of International Trade; Dr. Martin Wansleben, CEO, Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Jorn Rohde, German Ambassador in Sri Lanka, in attendance. Dr. Wansleben said that there is a [...]

Trusts Ordinance, Companies Act to be amended soon

Sri Lanka’s banking regulator, due to global issues such as money laundering, drug trafficking and financing terrorism, was compelled to bring in new legislation during 2005-2006 to deal with such criminal acts. Additionally, Head of Compliance, Cargills Bank, Summaiya Macan Marker, speaking at a discussion held at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in Colombo last [...]

Business delegation from Slovak

Business delegation from Slovak

A business delegation from the Slovak Republic led by Peter Kazimir, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance recently visited Sri Lanka. It comprised 20 Slovak companies seeking investment and trade opportunities in Sri Lanka. During their visit a MoU was signed with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

e-passport row heads for AG’s review on a Supreme Court directive

The legal tussle over the government’s planned procurement of the e-passport from De La Rue Lanka Currency and Security Print Ltd takes a new turn with the Supreme Court’s recent directive to the Attorney General (AG) to examine the whole deal. When the fundamental rights case was taken up for hearing recently the court directed [...]

Beredina Micro Finance (BMIC) launched for micro finance

The newest, not-for-profit microfinance organisation of Sri Lanka, Berendina Micro Investments Company (BMIC), essentially poverty-focused and development-oriented, was ceremonially launched on March 22 under the patronage of State Minister of Finance, Eran Wickramaratne. Also present were C.J.P. Siriwardane, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank and Charitha Ratwatte, Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister. The event [...]

Over 40 hospitality brands at Maldives GM’s Forum

Over a 100 delegates representing 40 hospitality brands have confirmed attendance at the upcoming Hotelier Maldives GM Forum on April 18 at Kurumba Maldives, the organisers said in a media release. The day-long event will see the largest gathering of hoteliers and hospitality professionals congregate for a day of keynote speeches, presentations and panel discussions [...]

CSE, India’s National Stock Exchange sign MoU on collaboration

The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd (NSE) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) focused on exploring opportunities to work together and co-operate with each other to foster a deeper and more strategic relationship. The MoU was signed at the CSE on Tuesday by CSE Chairman Ray Abeywardena [...]

SriLankan on crash course to profitability in 3 years

SriLankan on crash course to profitability in 3 years

The new board of directors at the struggling national carrier has assured that plans are underway to turnaround the organisation in three years. SriLankan Airlines new Chairman Ranjit Fernando said that according to the Consultant Nyras they were assured of bringing profits to the carrier. He made this announcement at the media briefing held at [...]

Sri Lanka makes business registration easy via Internet

Sri Lanka’s newly launched online business registration system cuts down the registration process from six to one day, reducing unnecessary time consuming paper work and eliminating red tape. The Department of the Registration of Companies (DRC) launched its online registration portal on Monday making business registration much easier and less cumbersome with effective and efficient [...]

Some unions to go ahead with May 1 rallies

Several trade unions have opposed the state postponement, because it clashes with Wesak, of May Day rallies on May 1 saying they will go ahead with their rallies. One such group, the Free Trade Zones and General Services Union (FTZGSEU) said it will go ahead with its May Day rally on May 1 in Vavuniya, [...]

Public sector and politicians lack accountability

Public sector and politicians  lack accountability

Managing the private sector, the public sector and politics is totally different to each other where considerations differ in managing politics as opposed to the private sector, said Eran Wickramaratne State Minister of Finance. Speaking as the Chief Guest at the Great Manager Awards 2017 held at the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo this week, he [...]

SL makes double digit growth in digital payments

Sri Lanka has made double digit growth in digital payments which is a substantial increase since the arrival of Visa to the country 30 years back. Announcing this at a media briefing in Colombo at the Galle Face Hotel on Thursday, Visa International Sri Lanka and Maldives Country Manager Anthony Watson said that the growth [...]

Hubpoint’s new Grade A office spaces

Hubpoint’s new Grade A office spaces

Hubpoint, a company that provides co-working spaces in the heart of Colombo, has launched Grade A office spaces. The Hubpoint workplaces, situated in Colombo 1, offers a dynamic corporate environment with state of the art modern amenities, the company said in a media release. Also being in close proximity to the WTC and many hotels [...]

Staid postal money orders now thro’ speedier digital transfers

The Department of Post – Sri Lanka has joined up with Sampath Bank to unveil e-Pay Mobile Cash, a revolutionary service using the network of post offices, sub-post offices and Sampath Bank ATMs around the island to enable real time money transfers in a secure and convenient manner. “We are delighted to unveil the e-Pay [...]

Uncertainty over 2018 Budget tower tax on telcos: Fitch

Uncertainty surrounds the implementation of the tower tax on telcos announced in the 2018 Budget, according to a rating report. The Government had then announced that it proposes to tax mobile operators Rs. 200,000 per tower each month. “However, we believe there is a high level of uncertainty about the implementation of the taxes and [...]

Just imagine that: Neela Marikkar wants to turn politicians into statesmen

Just imagine that: Neela Marikkar wants to turn  politicians into statesmen

AT THE BARRICADES IN BAMBA: There is a latent revolution percolating in the mind of Neela Marikkar. Advertiser par excellence, she now wants to start a campaign aimed at the government and policymakers where she can sell the idea that diversity brings peace and prosperity. John Lennon imagined a world without boundaries – no countries [...]

APL reaffirms commitment to Sri Lanka

APL reaffirms commitment to Sri Lanka

APL, a global giant in shipping, has reaffirmed its commitment to contribute to Sri Lanka’s regional hub ambitions just as the company opened its new office premises recently in Colombo. APL, which celebrates 170 years of global shipping in 2018, said that Sri Lanka’s neighbouring economies such as Bangladesh and India that trans-ship significant cargo [...]

PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards in Colombo

The PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Sri Lanka), the premier industry awards ceremony that will be held for the first time in Colombo in July 2018 at the Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo, is slated to showcase Sri Lanka’s brightest real estate talent and most outstanding property developments, across all asset classes, to a global audience, officials at [...]

CB puts in mechanism for real estate sector compliance

CB puts in mechanism for real estate sector compliance

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Central Bank (CB) has included stringent Anti-Money Laundering/Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) criteria into the real estate sector in a bid to prevent black money or undeclared currency creeping in, officials confirmed. Since about a month ago, the condo builders are required to submit a ‘compliance document’ or [...]

No VAT on apartments; Decision deferred to April 2019

The 15 per cent value added tax (VAT) on sales of apartments from projects after April 1 won’t be effected from April 1, as planned earlier, officials said. “The Treasury differed this tax for a year and it will be effected from April 2019,” Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera confirmed at a media conference on Monday. [...]

Kollupitiya resident complains against high rise builder

Condo developers, the Blue Ocean Group has denied claims of wrongdoing on complaints made by some residents of their apartments that Blue Ocean hasn’t transferred their deeds. In one example, a resident of Kollupitiya, A. Priyantha owning four condominium apartments built by Blue Ocean Residencies has complained about the company’s poor construction, among other issues. [...]

Property development projects – grave danger to city dwellers

The rapid growth of multi story apartments and high rise offices around the city in a haphazard and unplanned manner, has caused untold hardships to countless citizens in the recent past. You only have to drive down a road and witness the strange sight of a multi-storey construction rising menacingly over the adjoining one storey [...]

Investments on apartments and condos

While going through the Hit Ads section of the Sunday Times, I observed that the amount of advertisements for sale and rent of apartments and condos has sharply increased during the past 10 years. These apartments are being built by investing large amounts of funds in billions of rupees and due to the high price [...]

Democracy working in Sri Lanka: EU delegation

Democracy working in Sri Lanka: EU delegation

The No-Confidence motion that was debated in parliament on Wednesday proved that democracy is working in Sri Lanka, observed the European Parliamentary Delegation visiting Sri Lanka at the media briefing held at the Office of the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives in Colombo on Thursday. A delegation of six [...]

Ceylon Dollar Bond Fund now open to local investors

Local investors are now eligible to invest in the Ceylon Dollar Bond Fund (CDBF) which invests in Sri Lanka Development Bonds (SLDBs), Dollar Sovereign and Bank Bonds. All Personal Foreign Currency Account (PFCA) holders (formerly NRFC, RFC, RNNFC, SFIDA, etc) or Business Foreign Currency Account (BFCA) holders (formerly FEEA, Exporter’s Foreign Currency Accounts, etc) can [...]

Global Fitch Ratings raises stake in Sri Lanka unit

Fitch Ratings, a global rating agency, has increased its ownership of Fitch Ratings Lanka Ltd to approximately 89 per cent from 45 per cent through its acquisition of the equity interest of several shareholders, the company said in a public announcement on Thursday. “We are excited about Fitch’s commitment to Sri Lanka, one of Asia’s [...]

LKI’s Wignaraja speaks on ‘China in South Asia’ at UK institutes

Dr. Ganeshan Wignaraja, Chair of the Global Economy Programme at Colombo’s Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKI) recently made two presentations in London on the topic of China in South Asia; one at the South Asia Centre of the London School of Economics (LSE), and the other at Chatham House. At [...]

Virtusa acquires eTouch

Southborough, MA – Virtusa Corporation, a global provider of digital engineering and IT outsourcing services that accelerate business outcomes for its clients, has entered into an equity purchase agreement to acquire all of the outstanding shares of eTouch Systems Corp (eTouch US) and eTouch Systems Pvt. Ltd (eTouch India, together with eTouch US, eTouch). The [...]

ComBank, link results in largest day of sales in eCommerce in SL

Commercial Bank partnered with leading e-Commerce platform,, to give incredible savings to its credit card and debit card base for the months of March and April, a partnership that hit record levels. During this period customers were given discounts to up to 12 per cent on a range of more than 13,000 products. The [...]

Central Bank closely monitors EAP Group deal

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank (CB) is closely monitoring the deal between the EAP Group and a Singapore investment fund company to sell its subsidiaries of the group and rescue a struggling finance company, CB Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said in Colombo on Wednesday. The Singapore investment is meant to resuscitate the ailing Edirisinghe Trust Investment Finance [...]

INSEE Cement honours business partners

INSEE Cement recently honoured its top performing Business Partners and their families at the Annual INSEE Business Partner Awards, recognising and rewarded the channel partners of its three leading retail products, INSEE Sanstha, INSEE Mahaweli Marine and INSEE Mahaweli Marine Plus, from across the island. Ranjith Weragala of Lahiru Enterprises won the Business Partner of [...]

MAS begins biodiversity battle with 25,000 acre habitat restoration drive

MAS begins biodiversity battle with 25,000 acre habitat restoration drive

MAS Holdings this year will expand its biodiversity initative to 1,000 acres in the quest to grow and protect eco systems across 25,000 acres by 2025. This is in line with sustainability goals mapped out in 2016 where the group made three clear commitments in its quest to drive sustainable manufacturing in Sri Lanka. As [...]

Japan-Sri Lanka Expo 2018 on April 21-23

Sri Lankans will witness an “exceptional country exhibition” when the Japan Sri Lanka Expo 2018 is held on April 21-23 at the BMICH, according to Ruwan Perera, Chairman, Kizuma International Sri Lanka Association, organisers of the event. Speaking at a media briefing last week to launch the event, he said 80 to 90 per cent [...]

Visionary Lankan engineer trailblazer in low cost machinery

Visionary Lankan engineer trailblazer in low cost machinery

When the British withdrew after Sri Lanka gained independence, they left a legacy of mechanisation in industrial agriculture like with tea factories, coconut mills, and also rubber factories. Most of the other industries like soap making, cosmetics and the like too were mechanised. This mechanisation began more than 100 years ago but around 50 years [...]

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