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CCD bulldozes Presidential orders

CCD bulldozes Presidential orders

Sri Lanka’s coastal protection agency is determined to tear down illegal structures on the beaches of Negombo, Dehiwala, Mt. Lavinia and Mirissa according to plan amidst Presidential orders to temporarily suspend such operations on the Southern belt. “We are planning to go ahead with it (removing illegal structures) and it will be on the coasts [...]

CSE told of director resignation, 18 months later

The resignation of a board director of a listed Sri Lanka company has been announced to the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), more than a year after he stepped down, probably the first instance where there has been a long delay in such a disclosure. AFA Corporate Services Ltd, secretaries to troubled Blue Diamonds Jewellery Worldwide [...]

CB intervenes to arrest rupee depreciation

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank (CB) this week intervened in the local money markets, for the first time in 16 months, to halt pressure on the rupee against the US dollar. The last time such intervention happened was in January 2017. Money market dealers on Friday confirmed comments to a foreign news agency by CB Senior [...]

State hotels sale held up on AG capacity jam

The Ministry of Public Enterprise Development is among many institutions affected by inadequate capacity at the Attorney General’s (AG) Department, Ministry sources say. Under fire for delayed action by many institutions that they are dealing with, the AG is strapped for capacity and is gearing to fill some 200 vacancies, AG officials confirmed. They said [...]

Foreign buying sinks: Rs. 1.7 bn in Apr. 2018 vs Rs. 10.8 bn in Apr. ‘17

Colombo shares, amid continued political uncertainty, have seen low foreign buying spilling into this month from April with some analysts saying the situation seems to be going down without any remission in sight. Foreign investors bought shares worth Rs.1.7 billion in April, sharply down from the 2017 April data which showed buying worth Rs. 10.8 [...]

Workplace accidents: Ticking time bomb

Workplace accidents:  Ticking time bomb

Kussi Amma Sera was disconsolate. Pointing to a news item from her favourite newspaper, she told her friend Serapina – during a conversation on the garden bench: “Mona aparadayakda, meka (what a tragedy).” Their discussion was over the recent deaths of five workers from ammonia poisoning at a rubber factory in Horana, south of Colombo. [...]

iPencil and iPhone

iPencil and iPhone

Leonard Read; I am not sure whether he was a poet or an economist, probably a “poetic economist”. He has published a lot. Among them, a famous short story titled “I, Pencil” which he published in 1958 in the magazine The Freeman, explaining the power of “invisible hand” or market mechanism. As this character in [...]

India remains Sri Lanka’s major trading partner followed by China in 2017

Sri Lanka’s exports surpassed US $1 billion for the fifth time propped up by apparel which topped $5 billion and considerable growth of 42 per cent in seafood, the Central Bank (CB) said in its 2017 report. However a year-end increase in imports hiked the trade deficit to over $1 billion for the first time [...]

NTB’s Open API to disrupt the financial services industry

The future of banking as a whole is in for some serious disruption and it will be challenging to stay as a key player in the financial services sector if you don’t go digital, a top official in the banking sector emphasised. Nations Trust Bank (NTB) for the first time in Sri Lanka launched the [...]

Safety standards lacking in most Lankan factories

Recent incidents like the horrifying deaths of five workers from ammonia inhalation at a Horana rubber factory and two others at a spices factory at Dambulla also due to poisonous gases, are due to lack of proper safety and health standards. Flagging these concerns, Ms. Simrin Singh, Director, ILO Country Office for Sri Lanka and [...]

Move over Miami Vice, new-look tourist police to help safeguard foreigners

Move over Miami Vice, new-look tourist police to help safeguard foreigners

It will not be exactly Armani, but our tourist police will soon be wearing more public-friendly uniforms and they will have gear to match, including jet-skis, as the government attempts to raise its game in the face of growing criticism from the tourism sector that the industry lacks the infrastructure to provide visitors a safe [...]

Hutch-Etisalat merger will ease competitive pressure: Fitch

The merger between Hutchison Telecommunications Lanka (Pvt) Ltd and Etisalat Lanka (Pvt) Ltd is likely to relieve some competitive pressures that have undermined Sri Lankan telecom companies’ revenue and EBITDA growth in recent years, says Fitch Ratings. But it is unlikely to affect the ratings on market leaders Sri Lanka Telecom PLC (SLT) and Dialog [...]

China’s CHEC to construct Blue Mountain’s Iconic 7-star Achilleion project

Sri Lanka’s Blue Mountain, has signed an agreement with China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd. (CHEC) to build Achilleion, its Seven Star Luxury Project, which will be a landmark development in the country and the South Asian region, the company said in a media release. Currently, CHEC operates in over 80 countries around the world and [...]

BoardPAC ranked among top 25 global ‘Collaboration Technology Cos.’

BoardPAC, the Colombo-based developer of the award-winning iPad-enabled paperless board communication and meetings solution of the same name, has been ranked among the global Top 25 Collaboration Technology Companies in 2018 by CIO Applications, US, a leading media brand and sought-after magazine. This accolade is based on BoardPAC’s success in providing collaboration technology solutions to [...]

Privacy laws will come into play soon

Many companies in Sri Lanka are unaware of the knowledge of Cyber Security Protection and that is why it is important to acquire knowledge on data protection and privacy application, according to Manish Sehgal, an industry leader of the Deloitte of India and in the Asian subcontinent, delivering a lecture on Cyber Security at the [...]

World Bank $100 mn support to help Sri Lanka modernise education

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors last week approved a US$100 million credit to support Sri Lanka’s efforts to strengthen and modernise its education system. The General Education Modernisation Project (GEM) will modernise and diversify the curriculum of general education in keeping with the transformation taking place in Sri Lanka’s society and economy. Greater [...]

DFCC post-tax profits drop in 1Q2019, but positive on growth

The DFCC group, for the quarter ended 31 March 2018, recorded a pre-tax profit of Rs. 1,545 million and post-tax profit of Rs. 1,110 million, down from Rs.1,647 million and Rs. 1,301 million respectively in the comparative period in 2017. In terms of the bank alone, the post-tax profit was Rs. 1,074 million compared to [...]

IFC invests in Melwa Hotels’ Hilton brand

IFC invests in Melwa Hotels’ Hilton brand

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is investing US$27 million in Melwa Hotels and Resorts Pvt Ltd towards the development of three hotels across Sri Lanka. The investment will increase Sri Lanka’s capacity in the tourism sector, create jobs, and generate more foreign exchange. The hotels will be operated by Hilton Hotels, IFC [...]

AIA invests in creating world class financial advisors

AIA Insurance recently launched its AIA Premier Agency Circle (PAC), inaugurated by Regional Chief Executive Bill Lisle, CEO Pankaj Banerjee and Deputy CEO/Chief Agency Officer Upul Wijesinghe. Located in the plush office premises in the centre of Colombo’s business hub, the PAC office will be home to AIA’s new high performing sales personnel. AIA’s PAC [...]

Foreign sentiment signals confidence in Lankan economic performance: CB

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank (CB) has stepped in to defend the Government against negative vibes and criticism of the economy. In a lengthy statement it said that in recent days, serious concerns have been expressed regarding the performance of the Sri Lankan economy. “In this context, it is instructive to gauge the level of external [...]

Lankan Angel Network and Ideamart present #IAMHER Startup Spotlight

Only 4 per cent of Sri Lankan start-ups have female founders, according to the “Start Up Sri Lanka 2015” report. To aid in bridging this gap, Lankan Angel Network and Ideamart recently presented the #IAMHER Startup Spotlight. Kicking off with a panel made up of well-respected industry leaders like Linda Speldewinde, Founder of AOD Colombo [...]

Jude Fernando, new Janashakthi Life CEO

Janashakthi Insurance PLC has announced the appointment of Jude Fernando as the company’s Director / Chief Executive Officer with effect from May 1. “Having divested its General Insurance business earlier this year, Janashakthi has focused its efforts on the country’s underpenetrated Life Insurance segment. With Jude at the helm, Janashakthi Life is set to embark [...]

Sri Lanka in tough negotiations to finalise trade agreement with India

Sri Lanka is currently in tough negotiations on finalising a new trade agreement with India this year and the two countries so far have conducted eight rounds of negotiations, a senior cabinet minister said adding that the proposed arrangement will encompass trade in Services, Investment, and Economic and Technology Cooperation. The country needs a longer-time [...]

Keells and Cargills Food City to increase buying vegetables direct from farmers

Keells and Cargills Food City to increase buying vegetables direct from farmers

Through the intervention of Minister Dr.Sarath Amunugama, the two biggest consumer products trading organizations in Sri Lanka, Keells and Cargills Food City have commenced the purchase of vegetables direct from farmers as an immediate solution to the serious problem farmers in the vegetable growing areas in the hill country and other areas like Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura [...]

Dialog Axiata, Ideamart to host South East Asia’s largest Google event

Dialog Axiata, Ideamart to host South East Asia’s largest Google event

Sri Lanka’s most anticipated tech event of the year, ‘Google I/O Extended Sri Lanka 2018’ will be hosted by Dialog, Ideamart and the Google Developer Group Sri Lanka. It is expected to draw crowds in excess of 3,500, as South-East Asia’s largest Google I/O event. Dialog will kick off the event under the theme ‘A [...]

Permanent Vesak Pandal made of INSEE Sanstha Cement

Permanent Vesak Pandal made of INSEE Sanstha Cement

A large number of Vesak sightseers thronged Ranmuthugala, Kadawatha this year witnessed a unique Vesak pandal. It was illuminated with the customary flickering coloured lights, but what was most unusual was that perhaps for the first time in the world the Vesak Pandal was artistically moulded out of cement. Pradeep Kumara created the pandal along [...]

Chinese travel partners to boost Sri Lanka tourism

Outside of the big cities of China like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, most Chinese are unaware that they could vacation on an island called Sri Lanka and this needs talking about. So, travel firm Green Leaves Leisure with its Chinese partner is promoting the destination to generate, on their own, at least 10,000 tourists monthly. [...]

Seven things you didn’t know about the “Deep Web”

APRIL 20 – It is estimated that only 4 per cent of the Web is visible and 96 per cent of the Web is invisible or Deep Web. You’ve probably heard about the Deep Web; it becomes more well-known circa 2013 when the FBI took down the Silk Road drug marketplace. This brought widespread attention [...]

Lankan hotel rates on the rise despite supply surge: Report

Hoteliers have managed to maintain pricing power despite slowing demand for hotel rooms in Sri Lanka, according to an analysis from STR, but growing supply especially in the upper-scale segments could begin putting pressure on rates. Over the 12 months ending March 2018, Sri Lanka’s supply (room nights available) grew 6.2 per cent, while demand [...]

Mövenpick Hotel’s internal Vesak lantern competition

Mövenpick Hotel’s internal  Vesak lantern competition

The Mövenpick Hotel Colombo team of employees displayed their creative side at the hotel’s Vesak lantern competition last week. The event was judged by both Dr. Stephan Anthonisz, CEO/ Director Softlogic Properties Pvt Ltd and Udaya Indrarathna, CEO, designation with the F&B team emerging winners. All departments participated in this event, from Sales & Marketing [...]

‘Cold storage’ of broker licences likely to be approved soon by SEC

Had the ‘cold storage’ process of broker licences, where stockbrokers are able to retain licences without doing any trades, been approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), certain brokers may not be in the dumps now, market analysts say. Clients of Nation Lanka Equities, Navara Securities, TKS Securities and Claridge Stockbrokers whose trading activities [...]

Sri Lanka Tourism leverages ATM for major push in ME

Sri Lanka Tourism participated at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) with the addition of three road shows, B2B and industry meetings in Dubai last week in a major push in the West Asian market. The country was showcased as an attractive holiday destination at the 24th Arabian Travel Market (ATM) which took place on April [...]

Idea Group unveils fully furnished recycling plant

Idea Group unveils fully furnished recycling plant

The Idea Group of Companies, that offered local consumers revolutionary trend setting roofing solutions and other construction supplies, recently commissioned a recycling plant to recycle discarded and leftovers of their i-Roof and i-Panel products. The recycling plant was commissioned at the same premises at Katana where the main factory, renowned as South Asia’s largest ASA [...]

Steady growth in Seylan Bank’s 1Q2018 amidst challenges

Seylan Bank made a steady start in 2018 by posting a post-tax profit of Rs. 1,053 million in Q1 despite less than ideal market conditions. Net interest income increased by 17.21 per cent as the volume growth outperformed the impact arising from the narrowing of NIMs, the bank said in a media release. Net fee [...]

Lanka’s private sector professionals up in arms against new PAYE tax

Sri Lanka’s private sector professionals are set to lose a large portion of their take-home pay after a PAYE tax hike to 24 per cent from 16 per cent came into effect on April 1 prompting them to find greener pastures in foreign countries, a recent CEO’s forum in Colombo revealed. An appeal calling on [...]

Sampath Bank achieves post-tax growth of 41% in 1Q

Starting the year 2018 in a positive note, Sampath Bank says it has achieved a post-tax profit (PAT) of Rs. 3.3 billion for the quarter ended 31st March 2018, up by 41.4 per cent from 1Q 2017. “The results stem from higher profit before tax (PBT), which grew by 39.6 per cent YoY to reach [...]

PABC sees improved growth this year

Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC (PABC) reported Rs.498 million in profit before tax for the quarter ended in March 31, 2018 (1Q2018). The bank, in a media release, said these results were “powered by a steady growth in new loans and improvement in overall margins which was due to prudent asset – liability pricing amidst [...]

Idea Group’s ‘i-homes’ showrooms soon in some countries

Idea Group’s ‘i-homes’ showrooms soon in some countries

Another home-grown Sri Lankan product, which has met a lot of success, is now boldly aiming to capture sections of the international market. After its successful signing of the Maldives, ‘i-Homes’ showrooms are planned to be open in some countries including Ghana, Malavi, Madagascar and Egypt. The locally-successful ‘Sivilima’ showroom chain by the IDEA Group [...]

Steady progress at UA in 2017

Union Assurance PLC (UA) reported steady progress in 2017, recording Rs. 10.1 billion gross written premium, a 22 per cent growth compared with the previous year. Regular new business premiums grew by 25 per cent compared to the previous year and UA was the third largest new business producer with the highest growth amongst the [...]

Sri Lanka-Pakistan trade: Huge potential to grow

The potential for trade between Pakistan and Sri Lanka is somewhere between US$ 5 to $10 billion but based on the current annual results of just $350 million, the two countries need to work harder to achieve this potential. Maj. Gen (Rtd) Dr. Shahid Ahmed Heshmat, Pakistan High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, made these remarks, [...]

Threadsol to launch Intellocut V2 at Lankan apparel fair

ThreadSol, the technology leader in material management solutions for the apparel industry, has announced the launch of their flagship product IntelloCut, Version 2.0 for Sri Lanka. It will be available for live demonstration at the Apparel Industry Suppliers Exhibition on May 8-10 at the BMICH in Colombo. IntelloCut Version 2.0 is the world’s first artificial [...]

Dining cashback offer from Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered says it is the first bank in the country to give its clients 20 per cent cash back on their dining spend. The campaign is set to run over a period of two months (May/June) and is extended to all card holders, the bank said in a media release. The mechanics of the [...]

Thrice-proposed EXIM Bank plan on the back-burner

Sri Lanka has put the proposal made to establish an EXIM Bank on the back burner despite a pressing need of export finance for the acceleration of the country’s exports, a study conducted by an independent think tank revealed. The government has repeated this 2016 budget proposal in 2017 and 2018 budgets respectively carrying forward [...]

Veteran plantations industry official wins “Best CEO” award at CMI event

Veteran plantations industry official wins “Best CEO” award at CMI event

Hayleys Plantations Managing Director, Roshan Rajadurai was presented with the ‘Best CEO – Agriculture Sector’ award at the recently concluded CMI Management Excellence Awards 2017. “It is truly an honour to receive this award. However at the outset, I must emphasize that a CEO can ultimately only be as good as the team of employees [...]

Excel Restaurants takes over FLOOR by O! and SHORE by O!

Excel Restaurants Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Browns Investments PLC (BI), has been granted franchise rights of FLOOR by O! and SHORE by O!, two leading pub and restaurant brands owned by Pubs ‘N Places Pvt Ltd, a sister company of Lion Brewery Ceylon PLC. The strategic move of Excel Restaurants gives it a substantial [...]

Inside a ‘cybernetic newsroom’: Reuters’ robots are great at research but not at writing articles

Inside a ‘cybernetic newsroom’: Reuters’ robots are great at research but not at writing articles

Reuters, the historic news agency that once delivered its reports by pigeon courier, is building what it is calling the world’s first ‘cybernetic newsroom’. The 166-year-old organisation is a global pioneer in using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in news gathering and has created two major programmes; one that enables it to laser in on breaking news [...]

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