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Foreign workers

A Chinese worker peels a banana while travelling to work with other colleagues to a Colombo construction site. Sri Lankan professionals are vociferously protesting over trade agreements which are likely to permit foreign workers without proper protocols in place. Pic by Indika Handuwala

President orders removal of crippling gem levies

President Maithripala Sirisena recently ordered the removal of crippling levies on the gem and jewellery trade followed concerns raised by the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association (SLGJA). Association officials said a decision about 2-3 months ago by the National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) to impose a levy of Rs. 25,000 per 100 carat [...]

CNN blitz gets “conditional” approval

The Government this week approved the CNN blitz set to promote the destination but subject to certain observations by the Finance Ministry. Tourism Ministry officials told the Business Times that the CNN campaign was approved at this week’s cabinet meeting but that the amount allocated US$650,000 was an issue as a result the ministry has [...]

CB watches over rupee trends

The Central Bank (CB), in a bid to curb volatility in the US dollar, has begun monitoring all bills and trades to ascertain the reason for a depreciating Sri Lanka rupee. While the CB has assured of sufficient foreign reserves in an effort to stabilise the market, money market dealers say the fluctuations are essentially [...]

Better results from listed firms in Q1

Colombo’s publicly listed companies are showing improved results in the latest end March 2018 quarter against the 2017 quarter as these firms weren’t affected by floods. Last year’s consumption spending slowed owing to the floods and as a result the bottomlines were hit badly, analysts said quoting results that have come in. This year fortune [...]

Fuel taxes at around 40% in 2000 to 2017/18

Contrary to claims and counter-claims by all sides of Sri Lanka’s political spectrum, an analysis by the Business Times shows that during the 17-year (2000-2017) period, tax on petrol and diesel has averaged 40 per cent of the retail price of both fuels. Fuel prices, year-on-year, have increased except for three instances: It was reduced [...]

‘Achcharu’ – Sri Lanka’s political pickle

‘Achcharu’ – Sri Lanka’s political pickle

While Kussi Amma Sera and Serapina have dominated these columns with their juicy gossip and ‘handy’ column ideas, this time it was the turn of another equally, belligerent woman to steal the show. Thursday was a rainy morning and a no-show by Serapina for her usual garden “tete-a-tete” with Kussi Amma Sera. The rain was [...]

Brexit: Exit from the EU to an FTA

Brexit: Exit from the EU to an FTA

Brexit is “Britain’s exit” from the European Union (EU). On June 23, 2016 the majority of British people voted for Brexit. Britain is now packing its suitcase to leave the EU. The departure date is fixed as March 29, 2019. However this departure too is a gradual process allowing for a smooth transition which is [...]

Dockyard seals contract to build two vessels for Iraq

Colombo Dockyard PLC (CD) has secured a contract with Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC) of Japan to build two vessels; Pilot Station Vessel and Buoy Tender Vessel, for General Company for the Port of Iraq (GCPI). TTC and GCPI signed the contract on April 27 in Dubai, CD said in a media release. TTC is a [...]

Diversifying exports thro’ incentives for entrepreneurs

Sri Lanka is to diversify its export products considering the current demand in the export market and develop a mechanism to reach non-traditional destinations, Finance Ministry sources revealed. This initiative launched under the Enterprise Sri Lanka Programme has given priority to encourage the existing exporters and start-ups and strengthen the supply chain of the export [...]

Bharti Airtel rolls out first-of-its-kind Carrier Digital Platform for wholesale voice biz

New Delhi – Bharti Airtel, India’s largest telecommunications service provider, last week announced the launch of a first-of-its-kind carrier digital platform which will enable global carriers to do wholesale voice business with Airtel at the click of a button. The innovative digital platform [] will offer paperless sign-up, quick voice interconnects and real-time traffic analytics [...]

Sri Lanka grappling with economic nationalism, says Eran

Sri Lanka grappling with  economic nationalism, says Eran

Sri Lanka is grappling with economic nationalism by imposing tariffs and other restrictions on the movement of labour, goods and capital. The country must open up from this state of ideology, argues State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne. Attending the ‘Boost your Business’ programme organised by Facebook and Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri [...]

DCSL pays more dividends

The Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka PLC (DCSL) board of directors has revised the dividend policy of the company to that of paying out a minimum of 70 per cent of the Net Profit After Tax (NPAT) of the company as dividend. “This revision was made due to the fact that non-liquor investments of the [...]

Investment from Scandinavian countries grow by 54 % since ’13

Investment from Scandinavian countries grow by 54 % since ’13

The Nordics – Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland which have a global reputation for excellent performance in investing that emphasises on Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) standards and Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) and related international rankings – are eyeing Colombo’s stocks. Investments from Scandinavian countries have grown by 54 per cent per annum compound annual [...]

Tundra Sustainable Frontier Fund adds Ceylinco to portfolio

Tundra Sustainable Frontier Fund says that it bought shares in Sri Lanka’s insurance company Ceylinco valued at around five times of its annual profits making it very cheap in a frontier context. “The company is well placed to continue to grow its bottom line by above 10 per cent per year going forward. Insurance premiums [...]

South Asia Investment Conference 2018 in Colombo

South Asia Investment Conference 2018 in Colombo

The inaugural South Asia Investment Conference (SAIC), jointly organised by Capital Alliance Securities (Pvt) Ltd, AKD Securities – Pakistan and Lanka Bangla Securities – Bangladesh was held on May 7-8 at the Taj Samudra Hotel in Colombo. The two-day event played host to round-the-clock meetings, attracting over 100 participants from eight countries.

Three Carson firms in talks with SEC on fate of being listed

Carson Cumberbatch PLC firms – Indo-Malay PLC, Good Hope PLC and Selinsing PLC – are gearing to delist from the Colombo Stock Exchange owing to minimum public holding issues, company sources say. As per Rule 7.13.1 (a) of the Listing Rules of the Colombo Stock Exchange, a Listed Entity on the Main Board having a [...]

Three Acre, Ceylon Grain income high on good market conditions

Three Acre Farms PLC group revenue increased during the first quarter ended 31 March 2018 as a result of improved market conditions for Broiler Day Old Chicks (DOCs), although the demand for Layer DOCs had been adversely affected by continued volatility in the table egg market, the company has said. “The group profitability during the [...]

Lanka Hospitals to start facility in Seychelles

The Lanka Hospitals PLC (LHPL) is eyeing setting up a facility in Seychelles and plans to commence work on it this year, top officials say. “This will be a pilot project for Lanka Hospitals and progress will be monitored carefully to refine it further for replication in other locations,” LHPL Chairman Dr. Sarath Paranavithana has [...]

nCinga Innovations wins spot at Microsoft Tech Centre, Singapore

nCinga Innovation, a Sri Lankan company focusing on digital transformation of manufacturing companies, has been chosen by Microsoft Corporation to be featured at its newly opened industry zone at the Asia Pacific Technology Centre in Singapore. The Microsoft Technology Centre (MTC) is a facility that assists companies in their digital transformation journey by capitalising on [...]

United Professionals Movement perturbed over FTA with Singapore

Although the government agreed with the United Professional Movement three years ago to formulate a clear cut policy on bilateral agreements with other countries, the state so far has failed to map out such a policy, said Gamini Nanda Gunawardana, Media Spokesman for the United Professional’s Movement (UPM). The UPM is a collective professional group [...]

Lanka’s LHI completes 2nd coastal protection consultancy in France

Lanka’s LHI completes 2nd coastal protection consultancy in France

Sri Lankan engineering consultancy company, Lanka Hydraulic Institute Ltd (LHI) recently completed a coastal rehabilitation project in Bormes les Memosas, Southern France. LHI has been serving international markets for over three decades and its work saw Corinthe Ingenierie, a renowned French engineering consultancy company, commission LHI for the rehabilitation work. This project comes soon after [...]

Global Innovation Index Founder keynote Speaker at SLASSCOM Innovation Summit

SLASSCOM’s annual Innovation Summit & Awards “Celebrate Ingenuity!” is to be held on June 14 at the Cinnamon Grand, Colombo with Dr. Soumitra Dutta, Founder and Co-editor of the Global Innovation Index (GII) as the keynote speaker. “Innovation has become the buzzword of the decade across the world. Understanding truly what it stands for and [...]

SL’s population under poverty level could increase based on daily spend

While the absolute poverty level in Sri Lanka today is at a low 3.8 per cent of the population with a US$ 1.30 spend per day, if this goes up to $2.5, then a quarter of the country’s population will be considered poor, says Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. Attending [...]

Groundbreaking HSBC blockchain transaction set to revolutionise trade

HSBC and ING Bank have successfully executed, what is claimed to be the “first scalable live trade finance transaction using blockchain” for Cargill, an international food and agriculture conglomerate. Last week, a shipment of soybeans was transported from Argentina to Malaysia, via Cargill’s Geneva and Singapore subsidiaries. The deal was financed using a Letter of [...]

Ogilvy PR Sri Lanka wins prestigious global Bulldog PR award

Ogilvy Public Relations Sri Lanka won a coveted Bulldog Award at the Bulldog PR Awards 2018, which recognised outstanding PR and communications campaigns from 2017. The agency’s ‘Uncover the Truth’ campaign for Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) topped the ‘Campaign on a Shoestring Budget’ category winning the Gold Award, in a competition that saw a [...]

COYLE chamber team meets Rajapaksa

COYLE chamber team meets Rajapaksa

The COYLE chamber officials recently met former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to discuss improving the efficiency of the public sector for ease of doing business in Sri Lanka, the chamber said in a media release. From left: Aminda Rodrigo – Senior Vice Chairman COYLE; Dinuk Hettiarachchi – Chairman COYLE; former President. Mahinda Rajapaksa and Dinesh Jayawardena [...]

New management strengthens Pelwatte Dairy

Sri Lanka’s Pelwatte Dairy Industries Ltd (PDIL) recently strengthened its operations with the appointment of a new Managing Director and Operations Director at its state-of-the-art Buttala manufacturing plant. Akmal Wickramanayake, appointed as Managing Director of Pelwatte Dairy Industries in early 2017, is taking over management responsibilities of the company that was founded by his father [...]

Resilient Hameedia promises to rise from the ashes

Resilient Hameedia promises to rise from the ashes

Hameedia, the reputed Sri Lanka’s menswear fashion store following the massive fire that broke out on May 12 at the company’s main storage facility at Borupana Road, Ratmalana, causing extensive damage to the building and goods inside, has vowed to recover fast and swiftly to continue to serve the public. “Together with my undaunted team, [...]

Lanka must open doors to skilled professionals – expert

Lanka must open doors to skilled professionals – expert

Sri Lanka which lacks knowhow needs to find it from its immigrants willing to make the island their home and not set obstacles in their path to their arrival, observed a reputed globally-renowned economist. Economist and consultant to the government on improving the Board of Investment (BOI), Prof. Ricardo Haussmann said that the immigration policy [...]

MA’s Kitchen supports Fairtrade to improve farmer livelihoods

MA’s Kitchen supports Fairtrade to improve farmer livelihoods

MA’s Kitchen, one of the country’s top food processors, has highlighted the importance of continuously supporting and integrating Fairtrade practices to create better livelihoods in recognition of World Fair Trade Day. As the proud recipient of the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation’s Fairtrade Certification, MA’s Kitchen is certified for processing fairtrade materials and manufactures fairtrade certified coconut [...]

Baker Tilly International conference in Sri Lanka

The Asia Pacific Regional Conference of Baker Tilly International will be held in Colombo on May 18-22, hosted by Baker Tilly Edirisinghe & Co, the group’s local member, Baker Tilly International is one of the world’s leading networks of independently owned and managed accountancy and business advisory firms. The conference will bring together over 100 expert [...]

US$ 14 mn fund to double milk production in Sri Lanka

While the demand for milk is on the rise at 13 per cent per annum in Sri Lanka, there is shortage of processes and facilities in place to meet the demand. For this purpose the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing US$ 14 million (approximately Rs. 2 billion) to Sri Lanka through a new [...]

SLT Group 1Q 2018 EBITDA up by 8.5% to Rs. 6.1 bln

Sri Lanka Telecom PLC has reported EBITDA or Operating Profit before depreciation and amortisation of Rs. 6.1 billion during 1st quarter 2018, with a year-on-year (y-o-y) increase of 8.5 per cent. However, the company noted in a media release this week that … “Large investments made by the group during the recent years have continued [...]

Foregoing SLFRS 9 saves banks’ bottomlines

A major trend seen in the recently released corporate results is that banks are taking larger impairments into the books. This is as a result of the banks taking a prudent measure on higher provisioning to prepare for the SLFRS 9 standard implementation in financial year 2018, as well as taking into account the rising [...]

Seminar by Borouge on flexible packaging

Seminar by Borouge on flexible packaging

Borouge a leading petrochemicals company and a joint venture between Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Austria-based Borealis, held a technical seminar at the Colombo Hilton on May 8 to showcase its diverse portfolio of differentiated and sustainable polyolefin solutions for flexible packaging. The event was co-hosted by Falco International Trading Pte Ltd, the [...]

Digital technology in place once Port City develops

Sri Lankans need to be digitally savvy and be in readiness when the Colombo Port City’s Financial Project is completed. Speaking at an event in Colombo, Minister of Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure & Foreign Employment Harin Fernando also noted that Colombo will be next to Dubai and Singapore. There are also plans to develop six main [...]

Singer quarterly revenue up 13% despite challenges

Singer (Sri Lanka) PLC said this week that its quarter ending March 2018 saw revenue rise by 13 per cent to Rs. 13.6 billion from the 2017 quarter even though there were challenging business conditions. Pre-tax profit was Rs. 419.8 million, slightly up 3 per cent while corporate taxes increased during the period under review [...]

TRI, RRI to draft new import rules for glyphosate

Sri Lanka’s research institutes for tea and rubber are currently working on a new protocol to be adopted for imports of glyphosate specifically for these two sectors. With the ban on glyphosate lifted, the Tea Research Institute (TRI) and the Rubber Research Institute (RRI) have been asked to come up with a methodology on how [...]

Winds of change sweeping across apparel industry

Winds of change are blowing across the apparel industry in the world and Sri Lanka also needs to adapt to these reforms fast. Emeritus Prof Lakdas D Fernando, Chairman, Sri Lanka Apparel Institute, making this comment recently also noted that the apparel industry is thriving in the country. He was making the introductory remarks at [...]

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