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2nd May 1999

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  • Shipping Corp shows profits
  • MASS celebrates first anniversary
  • Norasia launches Asia-Pacific service
  • Apollo buys APL stack-train
  • Zim records loss for '98
  • Virtual liner by MOL
  • World ship orderbook stabilises
  • FMC to take action on transpacific abuses

  • Shipping Corp shows profits

    By Gunapala Ranasinghe

    The Ceylon Shipping Corporation which for the last seventeen years incurred loss after loss, is today a profit making state corporation, outstanding in its profit oriented abilities.

    To the surprise of many the Corporation has recorded a netprofit of Rs 10 millon, during 1998. The Shipping Corporation which is Lanka's National carrier to-day, was known as a white elephant of previous regimes, recording losses since 1982. But efforts made during the last period of the previous government, and the first years of the present regime, to pull it out of the rut that it was in, proved to be somewhat successful.

    After taking over the reigns last year its present chairman Sundra Jayawardena changed the trends thanks to his management capabilities, the Corporation has now begun to show profits. Mr Jayawardena was able to restore the Corporation to a profit earning venture in two stages.

    In the first stage, which was a short term one, he planned to cut down the losses by arresting excesses and wastage. In the second, he planned to bring out profits beginning from the year 2000. This will be done by improving the quality of work, and making the men dedicated to their tasks.

    Mr Jayawardena dreams to make the Corporation the best in the world, making use of available new technology and novel methods available currently.

    MASS celebrates first anniversary

    Mass Logistics & Shipping (Pvt) Ltd. celebrated their first anniversary visiting the poor in Bakmitiyawewa where they distributed food and clothing to the families who live in the shadow of the LTTE. Pictures show the Directors and members of their families distributing the goodies.

    Mass Logistics & Shipping (Pvt) Ltd, which commenced its business activities on April 5, 1998, celebrated their first Anniversay by providing food and infrastructure facilities to the poorest of the poor in Bakmitiyawa village situated in the Ampara district.

    The village comprising 150 families living under the continued threat of LTTE, were overjoyed by the gesture of the young Mass team headed by Sads, Buwaneka and Saman who visited this neglected village on April 24 to distribute and share the happiness.

    Spokesman for Mass stated that it is their corporate policy to plough back part of the profits by way of assisting shipping education which they did last year with ICS, and also to assist the needy, instead of throwing Tamashas when the majority of Sri Lankans are poor.

    This gesture of Mass will certainly open the eyes of the well established companies to assist the poorer segment of society, who are affected by the ongoing war and to curtail the tamashas for the wealthy in Colombo.

    LEXZAU SHARBAU (Leschaco) one of the oldest German chemical NVOCC business operators (125 years in business) appointed Mass as their sole agents in Sri Lanka which clearly speaks for the professional manner in which Mass conducts their business activities.

    Mass is the pioneer in shipping to introduce the "out sourcing" concept and this is well accepted by the business community as a viable option and hopeful of shipping lines further acceptance of this new business philosophy.

    A pirith ceremony too was held on the 27th, followed by a dinner to the children of Sri Vajira Orphanage at Kotte to commemorate the first anniversary of MASS.

    Norasia launches Asia-Pacific service

    Norasia confirmed the launch of its Asia - Pacific North West Service, with deployment of their fast and innovative new buildings.

    The service is set to commence with the first sailing from Hongkong on the May 15 with the subsequent and onward sailings starting from niche Ports in South East Asia.

    Norasia will operate the service independently, and will complement her CEX service linking Canada to North Europe and the Mediterranean sea.

    The service will use ships of 1400 teu that have a service speed of 25 knots.

    Norasia has the recent speed record on the Atlantic of 5.5 days between ports of Montreal and Zeebrugge in August 1998.

    The expected port rotation of the service is Laem Chebang, Port Klang, Singapore, Jakarta, Hongkong, Keelung, Busan, Vancouver and one US Port in the PNW.

    By extending into Niche's in South-East Asia and developing reasonable sized ships, Norasia will focus on a select client market, and in the delivery of a fast, direct and reliable service. The service will also look to attract exports from the sub-continent with Port Klang calls. The service will provide excellent connections to Norasia's service to the Gulf (GALEX) and to the sub-continent.

    With this new service Norasia will be able to serve customers in Canada and the US-Midwest through both Canadian getways.

    The transpacific link will establish Norasia's ability to provide global service on the East West tradelanes.

    The interest of the strong Pacific Market was stated in the evidence of Service Contracts already concluded, and the healthy response in the other negotiations now on.

    Norlanka Shipping (Pvt) Ltd, represent, Norasia Line, in Sri Lanka.

    Apollo buys APL stack-train

    Speculation regarding the new owner of APL's stacktrain business unit, Land Transport Services (LTS), is finally over with the announcement that an affiliate of New York based investment firm, Apollo Management, has agreed to pay US$315 million for the company.

    APL the container shipping and logistics arm of Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), following its purchase by NOL in 1997 for $825 million, currently holds the shares in LTS.

    The stack-train unit, which includes a system of containers, chassis, specially designed double-stack rail cars and rail terminals operating in 58 cities over a 50,000 mile network in the US, Canada and Mexico, has been the target of much speculation in recent months, with both Pacer International and Norfolk Southern (NS) being touted as favourites to purchase it. Apollo, which recently announced an equity investment in Lafayette (CA)-based inter model service provider, Pacer International, plans to operate the stack-train business out of Oakland (CA) using the current LTS name and existing management, but with Donald C Orris, chairman and chief executive of Pacer, at the helm. Orris was instrumental in developing LTS in 1984 while an APL executive.

    In addition, the new LTS company and APL will enter into a 20-year agreement which will allow APL to enjoy its existing cost structure and service benefits.

    Zim records loss for '98

    Zim Navigation ended the 1998 fiscal year with an accumulated net loss of US$4.9 million. Whilst this appears a disappointing result, it is a significant improvement over 1997's net loss of $38.9 million.

    The company furthermore made an operating profit of $63.7 million in 1998, compared to only $7.3 million in 1997, but was then hit again by an ongoing debt burden of $65.6 million, compared to $60.2 million the year before.

    Even with this debt burden, Zim still made a pre tax profit of $0.4 million last year, compared to a loss of $49.5 million in 1997, but then felt obliged to make provision for current and deferred taxes of $5.3 million, compared to $10.6 million in 1997.

    Zim continues to blame fierce competition and the Asian crisis for its financial predicament. Even so, it still managed to improve its total liftings from 973,400 TEU up to 1,051,200TEU (+8%). It will be recalled that control of Zim passed to the Ofer Brothers in January 1999, but nothing has yet been announced about any restructuring plans.

    Zim currently operates a fleet of 71 vessels (28 owned) and 170,000 containers. Its latest initiative involves the introduction of a new dedicated weekly container service between northern Asia and Vancouver (BC), so the company is not standing still.

    Virtual liner by MOL

    Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has introduced a "virtual liner company" system for the group's liner business whereby the group's 41 liner units all over the world will operate as if it were a single entity with an independent management policy retaining its own separate corporate accountability.

    The virtual company that began its one-year trial run on April 1 includes the MOL head office Liner Division, its five regional headquarters in North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia, and MOL Japan, overseas shipowning firms, and terminal operators. MOL Japan is the newly created agent for MOL's liner services in Japan.

    Under this initiative, the virtual company will work out its own profit and loss statement and balance sheet on a quarterly basis with a view to ensuring sound management, MOL officials said.

    MOL's new program followed an intensive in-house study that had been under way since last fall.

    World ship orderbook stabilises

    World ship orderbook has stabilised, according to figures published by Lloyd's Register (LR). LR's quarterly publication World Shipbuilding Statistics shows that, to the quarter ended December 1998, the total world orderbook stands at 57.4 million gross tonnage (mgt), a drop of less than one per cent over the previous quarter, but an increase of 0.8 mgt over the same quarter a year ago.

    New orders reported fell 2.2 mgt to 6.1 mgt, and completions also slowed to 5.3 mgt from 5.7 mgt over the previous quarter.

    Almost 60 per cent (33.7 mgt) of the total orderbook is scheduled for completion during 1999, with only eight per cent due to be completed in 2001 and beyond.

    South Korea and Japan share just under 70 per cent of the total world shipbuilding market.

    FMC to take action on transpacific abuses

    The Washington (DC)-based Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is to take action against a number of carriers engaged in the transpacific liner trades.

    The decision by the US government agency follows the publication of Commissioner Delmond Won's three-month 'Transpacific Fact Finding Investigation No 23' report and a meeting of the FMC Commissioners on March 9, 1999. At this meeting, the FMC directed its Bureau of Enforcement to 'prepare and undertake specific enforcement proceedings and actions' against the ocean carriers involved.

    Principally, the malpractices identified by Won related to abuses of Section 10 of the Shipping Act of 1984.

    In his report, Won wrote that information collected from all parties that had submitted information and /or were called to testify 'suggested that carriers, individually or collectively, sought to reduce or eliminate the carriage of less profitable cargo and to replace it with cargo which produced a better financial return'.

    The report also indicated that liner operators had demanded rate increases or premiums under existing service contracts in return for space, and discriminated against invoices and members of some shippers' associations in providing space or demanding higher rates than those applicable under service contracts.

    Won further suggested that 'some shippers had been subjected to higher rates than those apparent or specified in service contract essential terms by some carriers who opted out of the contract rate to substitute tariff rates'.

    Moreover, the investigating officer revealed that several meetings had taken place between ocean carriers without the FMC being notified.

    Last year (1998) proved particularly difficult for ocean carriers engaged in the trade as load factors eastbound reached 100% and over during the peak season.

    In some cases, cargo had to be rolled over, while carriers increased rates significantly and imposed surcharges. It was in this climate that a variety of cargo movers started complaining.

    It was in response to these growing concerns that the FMC started its fact finding investigation in late September 1998. The Bureau of Enforcement will now enact its punishment in the coming weeks.

    Carriers could be fined US$5,000/ day for each 'unwillful or unknowing violation' or up to $25,000 /day for flagrant abuse.

    The killer CV can get you to the top

    Job security is gone forever, and very few people will remain at the same place or job. If you are to win, in today's job jungle, nothing but your best will do. These are some of the observations made by Ananda Rajapakse, International marketing director of Young Asia Television, at the Business Club meeting on April 26.

    Mr. Rajapakse's main presentation was advising the members on how to make a KILLER C.V, the first initiative for success.

    Mr. Rajapakse kept the members at ease and very interactive right throughout his presentation. You should never undersell your skills, he said. He categorized the main skills companies require, which are communication skills, people skills, and computer skills, and that anyone would have either one of them, and should try to improve them. Skills such as communication and people are very important, and at present IT should be taken seriously if you are to improve, he said.

    Top income gainers are mainly from the US The CEO of Walt Disney earns $575 million a year, making an average of an US CEOs earnings per annum 5 million dollars. In Sri Lanka a C.E.O. gets around U.S.$ 10,000 a year. What was remarkable was that most of them do not have good qualifications but better skills. Even companies in Sri Lanka now go for skills rather than educational qualifications, he said.

    The present CEO of Coke paid a large some of money just to prepare his Curriculum Vitae, and as a result he raised his income by US $ 20 million. According to government calculations there are 30,000 graduates in Sri Lanka. It spends Rs. 2.6 billion on education. Very few (25% of the student population) are chosen to enter the university out of which only 10% find employment. This makes a tough competition to find jobs.

    To get ahead in the competition give yourself an unfair advantage of the job market. That is by marketing yourself, identifying the competitive edge, building up a network and creating a KILLER C.V, he stressed.

    A thriving C.V and a covering letter take a lot of effort and preparation going into them Mr. Rajapakse said. He pointed out a few steps of the preparation. First, know yourself. Do a self-analysis to know what kind of job you like and whether it suites you. Companies like people who are willing to dirty their hands.

    Always be different and write a C.V. as a solution to the readers problem. Know to whom the C.V is going. The CV does not get you the job; it can only get you in front of a person who has the power to give you the job. It should also be brief, precise, and clear. Do not add anything that is irrelevant to the job, for instance, religion, race, or whether you are single or married. In a nutshell it must be simple.

    When responding to an advertisement you must be choosy, not responding to everything. Be professional and creative.

    The daily lifestyle also has an impact, Mr.Rajapakse added. Be seen positive and have some humour. An active social life is also important. Keep the mind active by being updated. Keep fit and appearance does count. Have fun! he said.

    Have a budget for a job hunt, when making a CV what you need to do is to rouse an appetite in the reader not create an indigestion in him he quipped.

    Russel's tea campaign

    Russel's-marketers of unblended, specially selected high grown B. O. Ps and B. O. P fannings-conducted on April 10 a publicity campaign which began in the heart of Moratuwa and ended up at the Katubedda flats.

    According to Russel Perera, Chairman Russel's, the aim of the project was to popularise Russel's high quality, tasty tea, specially selected from well-known upcountry estates, and make this superior brand of tea freely available in the market.

    They also distributed sample packets of Russel's tea house to house.

    According to Mr. Perera, the firm has already introduced quality tea bags for use in star-class hotels and airlines.

    Informix's MD to visit Sri Lanka

    Cybersoft (Pvt) Ltd, the sole representative in Sri Lanka for Informix Software Inc,. has announced that Informix International Inc., the technology leader in enterprise database powered solutions, has appointed N. Muralidharan as Managing Director for South Asia.

    Mr. Muralidharan, who has over 20 years of IT experience from various industry segments, will visit Sri Lanka this month to familiarise himself with his new territory and to gain an understanding of customer requirements and the marketplace.

    He takes over from M. Gabriel, Acting Managing Director who reverts to his role as Director, Technical Services, South Asia based in Singapore. Galle Cement takes off

    Galle Cement Company Ltd., in the premises of the Galle port, is a joint venture with the Puttalam Cement Company Ltd (PCCL) and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA). The factory was designed by Union Maritima International (UMAR), a member of the Holderbank Group. Holderbank is the Mother Company of Puttalam Cement.

    The plant uses a flat type storage silo for the storage of cement, which is totally new to Sri Lanka and also to the SAARC region. This replaces the standard concrete vertical silo. The flat type storage silo has the capacity of 12,000 tons.

    The investment in the construction of the Factory alone is about US $ 5 million. Construction began in December 1998 and as was completed in a record span of 5 months.

    Bulk cement and 8,000-ton vessels will deliver fly ash. The cement will be pumped directly to the Silo and the fly ash delivered in huge bags to the 1,500-ton warehouse.

    IMF gold sales for debt relief

    The IMF, at the meeting next week of world finance ministers who oversee the lender, is likely to win authorization to sell some of its $29.25 billion of gold to finance debt relief for the world's poorest countries, report the Wall Street Journal and Wall Street Journal Europe.

    But the Interim Committee, which consider the idea on April 27, probably won't specify when or how much of the IMF's 103 million ounces might go on the block.

    IMF managers have recommended selling five million ounces, while the US, the IMF's biggest backer, would support a sale of as much as 10 million ounces. The question, however, is how to pay for relief without reducing other aid.

    "Replacing new aid by an equivalent amount of debt relief might achieve debt sustainability, but could be seen as a cruel hoax if it did so without providing any gain in resources available for poverty reduction," the story cites an IMF/World Bank document reviewed by the IMF's executive board on Friday.

    IMF gold holdings are a tempting resource, says the story, but such a sale would require approval from the US Congress, where lawmakers critical of IMF rescues of Brazil and other troubled nations are already voicing their opposition.

    Meanwhile, says the story, although gold traders have been expecting an influx of IMF metal for some time, IMF officials want to be careful not to drive its price down suddenly, disrupting markets and cutting revenues for developing countries that produce gold.

    The news comes as UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown and International Development Secretary Clare Short sought to bolster international efforts to bring debt relief to the world's poorest countries by calling on the EC to make a significant donation to the cause, the Guardian reports.

    Reform of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt relief initiative will figure prominently on the agenda [of the upcoming IMF/World Bank spring meetings], writes OXFAM's Kevin Watkins in the Guardian. The UK, the US, Germany, and France have offered proposals for reform. The consensus is that debt relief should be provided within three years instead of six. The case for deeper debt relief has also been acknowledged.

    Instead of insisting on compliance with IMF programs, creditors should offer pro-poor incentives for countries willing to transfer savings from debt relief into schools, clinics, and water supplies, which can make a real difference to people's lives, Watkins says.

    Japan would bear the heaviest burden if the various debt forgiveness proposals are carried out, Yuri Yamamoto of the Nikkei Weekly also comments.

    Of a total of $20 billion in bilateral aid loans by G7 nations, Japan's yen loans make up about 40 percent, making it easily the largest creditor. Confronted with initiatives by G7 counterparts, Japanese officials would like to avoid the image of an unforgiving creditor, but Japan's plan is not expected to include a simple cancellation of ODA assistance claims.

    Just wiping out past debts doesn't really help heavily indebted poor countries, World Bank Vice President for Africa Jean-Louis Sarbib says in an interview with the Nikkei Weekly. What is needed is for creditor nations to have a comprehensive framework for debt forgiveness backed by a solid aid philosophy.

    Need for deterrent punishment to maintain law and order

    By Lal de Mel

    Life has become cheap in Sri Lanka. Criminals think nothing of killing an entire family in Kotte; of gang-raping and killing a newly wed in Mattakkuliya or stabbing an innocent man to death opposite the Surf Club in Mount Lavinia. Some deserters from the forces were involved in some of them, indicating the impact of the 16-year-old war on senseless killings.

    The President must be congratulated for taking executive action to reverse the decision taken in 1977 to commute to life imprisonment, death sentences imposed by Courts of Law for most serious crimes. The war, exposure to violence in films/videos and the absence of focus on creating a good citizen in our educational system, has increased the incidence of homicides and serious crimes in Sri Lanka.

    Commuting death sentences imposed on violent criminals to life imprisonment leaves room for them to under-rate the consequences of the crime and repeat the offence. The consequent over-crowding of our prisons leads to innocent people remanded on suspicion being exposed to the influence of hardened criminals.

    Death sentence has been carried out in Sri Lanka throughout our history, right upto the time it was commuted to life imprisonment. I note from a letter to an Editor written by R. Anthony that the Catholic Church recognises the duty of public authority to punish malefactors by means of penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime, not excluding, in cases of extreme gravity, the death penalty. Deterrent punishment keeps the crime rate down in countries with a Muslim majority. We must apply laws suitable for our own environment.

    Kidnapping and demanding ransoms has now entered the crime scene. If this becomes established, it will be a difficult task to prevent the Sri Lankan businessman from transferring his money abroad and living abroad. Most countries are happy to accept such entrepreneurs who create jobs wherever they are.

    Once again, the President, IGP, SSP 'Show' Wickremesinghe and the entire Police force should be congratulated for apprehending the criminals. This is a serious crime against an individual; and the state, as a result of its disastrous consequences on the prosperity of the country. I hope that maximum deterrent punishment will be imposed on those found guilty after a speedy trial, to drive home the truth that crime does not pay.

    We have signed a Free Trade Agreement with the intention of positioning Colombo as the hub of South Asia. Singapore and Dubai have become the gateways to the Indian sub-continent as a result of their focus on creating law-abiding societies.

    The recent deterrent punishment imposed and carried out in Singapore for hooliganism, inspite of protests by the US Government, shows the importance attached to law and order by this city state, which has emerged as the commercial capital of Asia.

    Our vision of being the hub of South Asia will remain a distant dream, if we do not transfer to Sri Lanka the best practices from Singapore on maintenance of law and order.

    Turning the tide of violent crime cannot be achieved by one party. The all-party approach which successfully curbed violence at the recent elections, must be used to make Sri Lanka a prosperous law abiding nation.

    Credit cards: beware they are easily misused

    By T.C. Rajaratnam L.L.B., L.L.M.

    The barter system of giving something to obtain another became more sophisticated with a credit system where the financial institution gave the authority to the consumer - its client to produce the credit card to purchase goods and in some instances obtain cash which eventually the customer had to pay at the end of a period of time and competing financial institutions relaxed the rigours of the conditions and thereby amended the terms and conditions to attract more customers than their counterparts.

    Credit Cards have become an essential part of modern life, where, one does not have to rely on carrying cash or cheques. Along with this more relaxed form of payment, like any other facility that could be exploited, soon stolen credit cards and misuse of credit cards by unscruplous persons became even more widespread.

    In the United Kingdom, Australia, United States of America, India, Singapore, Malaysia and most other countries the credit limit of the Credit cards were carefully scrutinized by the respective financial institutions and this brought to use the authorization phones instituted in every conceivable card acceptable points.

    However, it was only in rare instances that credit limits were overlooked by financial institutions perhaps deliberately sometimes to recover payments thereafter with colossal profits.

    Debit cards are a more sincere term that could be used for accounting for one's expenses. On the contrary, the credit card is issued to purchase goods on credit. Some banks have an additional feature of lending money on credit cards.

    Although the bank has the right to stop payment on exceeded credit by granting most shops, restaurants, hotels, hospitals the authorization machine check and authorizes the credit limit and the usage.

    The manual voucher users have the option to check the credit limit by contacting the authorization number by telephone - but it has come to pass that certain financial institutions do not stop the credit and thereby the consumer is unaware of the authenticity of the claims - the financial institution or bank waits to cast the the burden on the consumer customer who believes that the credit card is a piece of cake by the false and frivolous methods of the credit card institutions' deceptive advertising.

    Sometime tea kiosks, restaurants, hospitals and every other conceivable place has credit card application forms very attractively displaced as an invitation to treat.

    The transactions are fine and trendy when automated machines are used for approval of credit but then sometimes the manual writing of credit card numbers on vouchers enables the seller to exploit the customer.

    Unless a consumer is vigilant to check the statements on time, some banks would not be prepared to accept the credibility or the authenticity of the user.

    When a credit card is issued in any part of the world the bank gives time for its client to pay back the credit extended in instalments subject to an interest - because it is basically the interest that revolves the business of credit cards.

    CITI training for textile designers

    Clothing Industry Training Institute (CITI) understanding the future challenges for Sri Lanka's, clothing, industry has launched several New training, programmes in the recent past. These programmes will definitely help the professionals as well as newcomers to the Industry. It is also expected that in future in the Quota Free World Market the lead times will be shorter, to cope up with the buyer's requirements, says a news release.

    CITI understood the necessity of a training course for computer aided pattern drawing, Grading and Marker Making and a new Training Program was introduced in March 1999. Initially CITI offers only training in LECTRA system and GERBER training will commence in the near future.

    Each student following this training program will be provided a dedicated workstation for practising. Only 5 students are recruited for a group and the instructor will attend to individual training as and when required. The course is conducted in both Sinhala/English medium.

    The candidates for this course should possess minimum G.C.E. (O/L) qualification with Mathematics and no computer experience is required. However, they should have good basic pattern making knowledge and skill.

    President tele-opens trade web

    President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, on the invitation of Kingsley T. Wickremaratne Minister of Internal & International Commerce & Food, will tele-open for the first time the Cyber Trader Website. This Website on the seventh floor of the Export Development Board will be tele inaugurated from Temple Trees at 11.00 am on May 3, says a news release.

    This is the first time ever that a tele-opening is done in Sri Lanka. Cyber Trader is the electronic business centre for both export and import trade. Cyber Trader mirror stations could be accessed in USA, Canada, Australia and Japan.

    The Cyber Trader combines the state-of-the-Art hardware and the computer network. From Cyber Trader one could access the store house of trade information: search and obtain advisory services: The facilities available on this site are to advertise products which could reach a large network of customers worldwide: Pre-plan business visits for inward and outward marketing missions: communicate using internet & E mail: negotiate business through video conferencing and have promotional materials prepared on CD roms.

    Inmarsat develops high speed data services

    Inmarsat announced it will offer mini-M aero services for small corporate aircraft and general aviation users beginning in May this year, and that it is looking at developing high speed data services, a news release said.

    Mini-M aero is based on technology first developed for land-mobile satcoms users, and features affordable, light-weight aircraft equipment offering a single channel which can be used for voice, fax or data communications.

    The light aircraft for which the mini-M aero service is intended do not operate in airspace using satcoms for air traffic management. Therefore, the system will not be certified for aeronautical safety services applications, minimising development costs.

    Since the provision of mini-M aero services by Inmarsat partners require no additional investment in ground earth station facilities beyond that already made for the mini-M land mobile service, communications services tariffs are expected to be attractive for the light aircraft market.

    At least two aeronautical equipment manufacturers will soon begin marketing mini-M aero avionics and the service will be available as soon as the first of this equipment is granted Inmarsat space segment access approval.

    The single-channel design and its use for only non-safety services will position it with the low-cost sector of the market. Inmarsat's Aero-l services are aimed at short and medium-haul airlines, medium and long-range corporate jet operators and military transport aircraft requiring multi-channel and safety services capabilities.

    "Mini-M aero services will be attractive to a sector of the aeronautical market that previously found satellite communications unaffordable," said David Featherstone, Head of Aeronautical Operations at Inmarsat.

    'Ran Thilina' investment from The Finance

    The Finance Company Ltd. Sri Lanka's pioneer non-banking financial institution, has launched a new value-added fixed deposit scheme that pays above-average interest and provides depositors an opportunity to win hundreds of attractive prizes.

    Paying 13.5 per cent per annum, the "Ran Thilina" Fixed Deposit Certificate scheme is the first fixed deposit instrument in the market to offer an additional incentive of up to 12 monthly draws at which a total of 231 prizes worth several million rupees are to be won .

    "Ran Thilina" certificates are available in denominations of Rs.10,000 and Rs 25,000 where interest is payable at maturity and monthly respectively. The depositors in the first month (May 1999) will have chances to take part in 12 draws culminating in May 2000. TFC's Chief Executive Director Senaka Bandaranayake announced.

    On offer is a handsome range of prizes including a grand prize of a Honda City Car. Each monthly draw will identify 10 winners for prizes ranging from Gold Sovereigns, Vacuum Cleaners, VCRs, Diamond Jewellery to 21" Colour TVs. Ten consolation prizes will also be awarded each month. The value of the monthly prizes will increase as the scheme progresses towards the grand draw in May 2000, Mr. Bandaranayake said.

    "Ran Thilina" will also provide an important new avenue of saving to people in rural areas, who still largely depend on traditional savings schemes offered by commercial and savings banks. "For small and medium size investors, "Ran Thilina" will be an attractive alternative to the existing fixed deposit schemes as well," Mr. Bandaranayake added.

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