20th June 1999
By Ananda S. Wijesuriya
The Devil offers sinful pleasures, but alway hides the price tag. That was the slogan staring at me from the rear windshield of a vehicle, while I enjoyed the scenery around me in a traffic jam. Thanks to my fellow motorists, who would not budge an inch to ease the snarl, I had plenty of time to reflect on this innocuous looking statement. Realising that it is a debatable proposition, I invited a distinguished panel of participants comprising,
- a prominent legal luminary
- a most renowned marketing specialist
- a well known economist
- a highly placed accountant, to do an in-depth analysis of its implications. Given below are synopses of their presentations.
The legal luminary: This involves the law of contracts. The most important aspect here is to establish whether there is a contract or not. You see, many do not realise that every sale, be it a consumable item or a service product, involves a contract. One must be conscious that a contract, not necessarily documented and formally signed is still binding and could have far reaching consequences. The fact that a contract being documented will be very useful, if it becomes the subject of a dispute, as otherwise the burden of proof may be enormous.
From the brief made available to us, Mr. Devil is making an offer, which would be the first step in entering into a contract. Although clearly there is an offer, if there is no acceptance, then a contract is not in place. We have to closely examine to see whether Mr. Devil is making an offer or whether it is an invitation to treat, which would make a substantial change in a contract.. The statement '(The?) Mr. Devil offers sinful pleasures, but always hides the price tag', gives the impression that the product is displayed. If one interprets in that manner, then clearly it is an invitation to treat. Nevertheless, we would like to think along the lines of few famous decided cases and conclude that it is Mr. Devil who is making the offer. It is evident that Mr. D intends the other party to accept his offer without further negotiations.
An illegal matter
To establish that a contract is made, there are other facts that needs to be in place, one being the parties should have the capacity to enter into a contract. Capacity here refers to the state of the parties, the ability to understand the nature of the contract the parties are entering into. One must not confuse lack of capacity to contract with inability to perform according to the contract. Before, entering into a contract, it is up to the parties to verify whether the matters represented by each other is genuine and whether they have sufficient authority, etc. The latter is very important if one is entering into a contract with a corporate body. This is why it is queried whether the directors have adequate authority to enter into a contract on behalf of the company. We do have an interesting situation concerning minors and drunken persons who are considered to be unable to understand the nature of the contract they enter. Therefore, since most of the 'sinful pleasures' seem to be indulged in state of drunkenness, one might take the argument that he did not know what she/he was doing, as long as one has not ratified her/his actions when sober!
However, one may still be liable to pay a reasonable price for that part considered being necessary. Next, although the price tag is hidden, Mr. Devil has clearly indicated that there is a consideration (price payable), perhaps he knows that the buyer is not price conscious! The essence of consideration is a 'benefit to the promisee or detriment to the promisor'.
Therefore, one can take the position that as long as the offer is accepted per se, then one can believe that a contract is made. It is up to the party accepting the offer to make inquiries about the price, if he feels that the consideration is material, the principal being 'buyer be aware'.
Lastly, the contract should not be for an illegal matter, and 'sinful pleasure,' as far as we could gather, is not necessarily in conflict with the law, although could be immoral. It is presumptuous to assume that one could have pleasure, by engaging in an unlawful activity, since pleasure could be 'sinful' as well as 'meritorious'. Of course one can argue it. You see, if you sell kasippu you will definitely be breaking the law, but not so a one who enjoys drinking it. Being drunk, with kasippu or scotch is not illegal, but subsequent action may violate the law, say if you drive in that condition. Please remember that President Clinton having an affair with Lewisnsky is not illegal, but lying under oath is. Assuming that other conditions are fulfilled and as long as 'sinful pleasure 'is offered and accepted, there is a valid contract.
I consider 'sinful' is a description of the offer, mere sales talk and it appears to be very subjective. It is unlikely to be material for the purpose of contract, but if there is a dispute of the price, then the degree of 'sinful' might be relevant. There are many decided cases in this aspect. In case some party accepts the offer and does not pay, well then if Mr. Devil decides to sue to recover, the question of price tag being hidden might be pleaded in defense.
However, even then if it is established that the offer was accepted without countering, then the full price can be recovered, as it is assumed that the acceptance is the original offer. If the second party is to make counter offer, say for establishing a relationship to the degree of 'sinful' in the pleasure, or attach some condition to the price, then it will be up to the party who made the first offer, in this instance, Mr. Devil, to accept the counter offer. If it is done, then there is a contract formed under the new terms agreed upon. One must keep in mind that there are many variations in the laws of contract and will depend on the evidence available and the circumstances.
Next we come to the other question that draws our attention, hiding of the price tag. (We wonder whether it is false news spread by our client's competitors who are at their wit's end, since reportedly there is hardly any demand for the competing product). In any event, under consumer protection law, a product offered for sale should have the price marked on it. In that context our client, Mr. Devil is strictly within the law, as we are told that there is a price tag.
However, since there is an allegation that the price tag is hidden then the question of intention comes in. If it is done deliberately and can be proven, a charge could be levied and we could argue the point. However, when we read the act, it is very difficult to find a breach of law. (We must admire the cleverness of our client in exploiting a weakness of the legislature, but then he was not named what he is, if not for his ingenuity!)
One problem we have is that there are no decided cases on this subject we can study and give our opinion. You see our difficulty is that not a single case on these violations of Consumer Protection Law has reached Supreme Court. We have heard of few odd cases involving some small bakery charged at magistrate's level, but they are hardly considered for this kind of opinion.
The important thing is when one is in business, she or he should be aware that there are laws in the country one must abide by. Plea of ignorance of the law, when charged for a breach is not a defence. It is better to spend a little time to get acquainted with the most elementary aspects of the law. Then, you refrain from breaking the law, even unintentionally, and avoid spending your resources and valuable time that could be profitably employed in the business. Take every possible precaution to stay within the law. Some times, you may be tempted and get away by breaking the law once, but do not take that as a license to go on doing it with impunity. It is not worth and if we try to behave as law-abiding citizens, although I will be creating less demand for the service of my fellow professionals, this earth will be a better place to live in. Then perhaps we lawyers can use our talents in business, like how Mr. Devil is doing very successfully.
A renowned marketing specialist: The product is clearly identified as 'sinful pleasures', and our principal, Mr. Devil is clearly aware that he is open to competition with somebody offering a rival product, may be 'meritorious pleasures?' Presumably he has done market research to perceive that his product has adequate demand. We also assume that the supply levels are at equilibrium with the demand. This shows the importance of market information so that either artificial shortages or over supply situations are not created with well-balanced production and distribution being in place.
By closely examining the relevant issues, one could derive a valuable objective lesson in what marketing is all about, i.e. how to satisfy people's needs and wants at a profit. At this time I will not enter into a discussion whether pleasure ('sinful' or otherwise) is a need or a want. What we see is the most efficient manner in which a service product (sinful pleasure) is branded, packaged, priced (hidden?) and distributed.
One has to admire this classical example of positive marketing approach that could launch a product to outsmart a very powerful competitor and achieve market dominance. It is evident these were results of a well-planned marketing mix of the products. Mr. Devil appears to engage all known forms of distribution, not so much from own premises, reportedly un-approachable due to the extreme high temperature. He has been using such methods as direct response marketing, through intermediaries. The success seemingly has been achieved due to the golden rule, 'service first and pay later'. We think this particular marketing exercise can be termed as one of the most successful in the innovative way of using the pricing policy. You see, allowing seemingly unlimited credit is part of this strategy. What has happened is Mr. Devil offers the product to be consumed first and pay later. I think this is the first recorded case of using credit, long before even the barter system was invented. The customers do not incur any expenditure at the time of consumption and left to pay at his leisure or mostly after he 'departs'.
Wait for results
Whereas his com petitor offering a rival product (meritorious pleasure), expects the customers to incur the expenses at the outset and wait for the results. One cannot indulge in 'meritorious pleasures' without parting with a substantial part of your wealth and then one has to wait for a long long time to reap the benefits (merits) of his expenditure. We ask you gentleman, what product will have instant consumer appeal? It is our belief that this most innovative use of credit had a direct effect in booming sales of Mr. Devil's products. Although credit is a powerful tool to increase market share, it could be suicidal, since you could end up with liquidity problems.
You see, the price could be a disadvantage in so many ways. If the consumer feels the price is too low, she/he might be suspicious of the quality. One must keep in mind a good segment of the market today is quality conscious and in developed countries. competition is won in terms of quality, not necessarily price. We know of branded products that have established quality image even commanding a premium. It is called gaining value for the price paid. On the other hand if the price is too high, the possibility exists you might drive the customers away from the product. It is important to keep in mind the policy importance and implications of pricing. A high profit margin, for example, could also allow a competitor to get an edge. When faced with such a situation, lowering the price to meet the competitor could have disastrous consequences.
We are told that there is no truth in this allegation of hiding the price tag, simply Mr. D's competitors are unable to comprehend his pricing policy. Mr. D is very closer to his customers and giving them satisfactory service is his heartfelt concern. He has a deeper understanding of his customers, their taste, behaviour patterns, etc. Therefore, his pricing is 'market oriented', and it could be an economic price (recovers fixed and variable costs and gains the desired profit) or could be the market price (found to be always better than the economic price simply because there is an un-ending demand). Or it could even be a psychological price, one gets the feeling that the price is less than what it really is. (Attention is paid to the well known saying, 'is it a bargain to satisfy one's ability to spread one's earnings further' or is it to impress someone by paying a higher price tag). Mr. D is aware that while it is generally true that you get what you pay for, it also depends on what you are paying for! And lastly it could be even an opportunity price.
Since 'sinful pleasures' is a product available at customer's convenience, the delivery charge is added on and he has chosen it to be special price discrimination, the customer never knows what price he will be charged. Yet, all evidence suggests that Mr. D has achieved a price plateau (i.e. market price beyond which the customer will pay no more)
What product life cycle (PLC) does 'sinful pleasure' belongs to, is it leapfrog product life cycle or staircase? Interesting variation because it is true of the ever-changing modern world. We see that 'sinful pleasure' is a product consisting of ever increasing series of introduction/growth/maturity curves, without any saturation or decline curve. One might argue that it is more a continuos PLC. So Gentleman, in product development, if one can take a lesson from the tactics adopted by Mr. Devil, what you will end up is with a classic product, with the staircase PLC.
Packaging is the other important feature. In the case of a service product such as 'sinful pleasures', the packaging is the way it is offered. It is the totality of the organisation offering the service, the front reception or customer contact and the back room or operations, all these are important. Even the receptionist could be a positive or a negative aspect of the package. The telephone operator, for example, should have adequate information of the range of products available and the departments dealing with it, so that she could properly direct an incoming call. An irate customer kept waiting to get the variety of 'sinful pleasures' he is demanding, is not at all conducive to market growth. We have a slight problem as our terms of reference are not very clear, whether what is offered was 'tools of sinful pleasure' or 'sinful pleasures per se'. We have assumed it to be the latter. One gets the feeling that the packaging here seems to be very exquisite since our client Mr. Devil is confident enough to hide the price. He has very good reasons to believe the consumers will not pay any attention to the price since the product is much sought after or the customers have total confidence of the product. Or is the price variable according to the degree of sinfulness or intensity/variety of pleasures. Here some clarification is necessary. One must remember the availability has a large say in how successful the product could be. Since we get the impression that the product, although meant for mass consumption, is made available at every nook and corner, we are amazed at the organizing capacity of Mr. Devil.
Records reveal that he started very modestly, with just two consumers under the shade of an apple tree. Long before the advent of IT revolution and Internet, he was able to keep up with the market expansion and keep his supply lines open. The beauty is it is made available at any place and whenever it is needed, at the choice of the customer. I do not think even giants like Coca-Cola or Pepsi have reached that level of distribution.
What is amazing is although Mr. D's competitors spend vast amounts of resources and have known to use all available media, right from the inception to propagate 'false propaganda 'about the ill effects of consuming his product, these have not abated the demand for the range. Our research shows that perhaps there are only one or two other products in the history of marketing that have survived the passage of time and acquired the same product life span as 'sinful pleasures'. This is a product that clearly satisfies the wants of the populace through better marketing. It has acquired a place of such an importance, that customers are prepared to forgo their needs to fulfill this want! Reportedly, people are prepared to forgo food (need) and be hungry and opt for 'sinful pleasures', when a choice has to be made.
This shows how powerful the customer pull is, since we find that customers have never ever forgone hunger to indulge in the competitive product, 'meritorious pleasures'. In fact, most evidence shows that customers have opted for the rival product only after their 'hunger' has been fully satiated and mostly at times when they felt that they have over indulged in 'sinful pleasures' and probably as an anti-dote hoping to reduce the after effects.
Although the history of mankind is full of propaganda efforts aimed at curbing the demand for sinful pleasures by drawing attention to the 'after effects' of this product, albeit much exaggerated, yet the demand for it has never weaned. Perhaps the reason being most people think they can avoid repaying what is due from them, the widespread habit of borrowing from the State banks and not having to pay, in Sri Lanka, probably has a cumulative effect in this assumption.
The well known Econo- mist; We would like to know first, whether the product is 'pleasures' and is 'sinful' a mere description of the product or an illustration and have any other meaning? The question of the price tag has to be dealt separately. What we see is a perfect example in providing a service that has enabled individual and collective wants to be satisfied. It appears that the consumers wants to indulge in 'sinful pleasures' are limitless and although, like in every real life situations, resources to satisfy them are scarce we find that through amazing efficiency and productivity gains that the demand has been met. Our interest is finding out how Mr. Devil succeeded in allocating scarce resources amongst the competing and limitless demands of the consumers. Mr. D has been able to establish his services across all the geographical boundaries. Being a clever entrepreneur he is, he has found ways to adapt himself to the system, what ever it is and profit from it, rather than sit and complain. It is found that whatever the economic system, be it market economy or command economy, Mr. D had no problem in meeting his customer satisfaction. When we look at the fundamentals, we discover that there is a demand for the 'sinful pleasures' and Mr. Devil is supplying it. It is evident that Mr.D has understood the principle of Say's law, that in many situations, supply creates its own demand. One must ascertain whether 'sinful pleasures' is an essential product like food, shelter, etc. In that case clearly this product will be competing for a slice of the disposable income. Then it also matters, whether there are substitutes, as consumers would switch from the original at a time of price increase, usually associated with a supply constrains due to various factors, some of them could be beyond the control of the producer. In the case of a service, there may not be readily available substitutes. However, if the consumer is compelled to change his habits or subject to inconveniences, it could drive them away from the product. We have the example of Air Travel. For a long time people did not mind paying high cost of it, considering the saving of time. However, with the high-speed trains, convenience of location and avoidance of waiting time has made train travel, an acceptable substitute to internal flying. Just like margarine not being the perfect substitute to butter, it provides access to an alternative.
Jeweller Earl Gunesekera's first hotel venture is nearing completion. The five-star Earl's Regency commands spectacular views of the Mah-aweli River as it flows down to the Victoria reservoir, says news release.
Situated at Tennekumbura, on the road to Digana and Kundasale, the hotel is five minutes away from Kandy town and fifteen minutes drive from the Victoria International Golf Links. The owning company of the 100-roomed resort, Sumico Lanka Hotels is a US $ 11 million Sri Lanka-Japanese joint venture. Earl Gun-esekera, Chairman is the majority shareholder with 49 percent Japanese collaboration.
"We will strive to give the best five star facilities and service in Sri Lanka," said Ravi Gooneratne, Director/ General Manager, and Earl's Regency. The hotel will be the only resort property to have an Executive Floor and the first hotel to have a 1000-pax banquet facility. Designed by Mihindu Kee-rthiratne Associates the building mimics ancient Kandyan style architecture with a definite modern flair. Hotel staff has already been recruited and are undergoing training to ensure service 'of a six-star standard', Gooneratne said.
Fedex express transportation company, has been represented in Sri Lanka for the past 12 years by Mountain Hawk Express (Pvt) Ltd., a Mercantile Merchant Bank Ltd. (MMBL) Group Company.
The trust and goodwill developed between the two parties over the years was cemented further by entering into an agreement extending the representation of Fedex in Sri Lanka by Mountain Hawk Express, a news release said.
MMBL, which holds 100% of Mountain Hawk Express, is a diversified Group, specialising amongst other sectors, in Supply Chain and Time Cycle management. The MMBL Group, whose strength is in building relationship with high networth customers and in forging strategic international alliances, also focuses on the Financial Services and Tea sectors. Fedex and its licencee, Mountain Hawk Express, signed the new agreement in Dubai.
Keells Business Systems Limited, the IT subsidiary of John Keells Holdings Ltd recently held a presentation and launch on the IBM Netfinity servers at the Jaic Hilton Ballroom on the 28th of May. The objective of the program was to further enhance the knowledge of the IBM Netfinity servers and the solutions offered by KBSL.
The highlights of the program was the official handing over of the Netfinity 5000 Server which is the first of the New Pentium III Processors to the officials of Bank Of Nova Scotia by Mr. Kavan Ratnayake, Country Manager IBM through Keells Business Systems Ltd.
Keells Business Systems Ltd also officially launched the Netfinity 1000 series introduced by IBM for the Asian Region to cater to markets of entry level organizations offering incredible value and performance.
Mr. Keith Modder the Managing Director of KBSL further emphasized that the enterprise level of computing will be the trend in the future and by the year 2002 a billion will be connected to the Web, which is a significant improvement. Keells Business Systems Ltd, has a dedicated and a professional staff focussing on the server markets and plans to conduct many of the presentations of this nature to educate and introduce new technology and solutions offered from KBSL.
Green Award for Jetwing Hotels
Jetwing Hotels, on a mission to clean up their environment, were named as the 'Most Environmentally Conscious Hotel Group' at a major European travel fair recently says a news release.
The group, which exhibited at EIBTM (European Incentives, Business, Travel and Meetings Exhibition) in Geneva last month, was chosen among a number of exhibitors worldwide.
EIBTM organisers named Jetwing Hotels as one of the winners of their environmental drive: "Greening of Business Tourism'. The award was collected by Dhammika Perera of Jet Asia on behalf of Jetwing Hotels.
Philips bulbs popular
Philips has emerged as the country's top selling brand for Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs), Philips local distributor Hayleys Electronics Lighting Ltd., has announced.
This milestone, which was reached in April 1999 came barely one year after the establishment of Hayleys Electronics Lighting as a company dedicated to promoting Philips lighting products, which were earlier marketed by a division of Hayleys Electronics, a news release said. Sales of CFLs and bulbs grew 38.7 per cent in this period, and profits from Philips lighting products rose 22.2 per cent with contributions from both the consumer and design lighting segments, the company's Deputy General Manager Fuard Saibukandu said. "We have had a spectacular rise in sales of CFL's from two years ago, when we hardly had any market share," he added. The growth also reflects a two-fold increase in sales of household bulbs, and the large-scale lighting projects undertaken by the company, all of which resulted in Hayleys Electronics Lighting establishing its dominance in these areas, Saibukandu said.
The popularity of Philips lighting products in Sri Lanka was achieved through awareness programmes such as island-wide street promotions, as well as the easy payment scheme introduced by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) for CFLs to encourage energy conservation, he explained.
SIA service to Lahore
Singapore Airlines (SIA) has launched a new service to Lahore, Pakistan. The three-times-weekly service will be operated by Celestar A340 aircraft, equipped with the state-of-the-art Kris World inflight entertainment system, a news release said.
Two weekly services will be operated non-stop and will depart Singapore on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 1400 hours, arriving in Lahore at 1655 hours the same day (both times local). The return flights will depart Lahore every Wednesday and Saturday at 1810 hours and arrive in Singapore, via Karachi, at 0620 hours the next day.
The third service will depart Singapore every Monday at 1400 hours and stop in Karachi en route, arriving in Lahore at 1945 hours the same day. The return flight to Singapore will be operated non-stop and will depart Lahore on Mondays at 2100 hours and arrive in Singapore at 0555 hours the next day.
Marine Survey & Technology Services (Pvt) Ltd., (MSTS), a leading common user Reefer Container Management & Marine Surveying Company in Sri Lanka was awarded the ISO 9002 certification on March 17, thus becoming the first company in Sri Lanka to achieve it in the field of Reefer Container Management & Marine Surveys, says a news release. Marine Survey & Technology Services (Pvt) Ltd., received the ISO 9002 certification from Det Norske Veritas (DNV), the Norwegian certification body accredited by RVA of Netherlands. It's the 3rd company in the Ceyline Group to achieve such status and the other two being Ceyline Shipping (Pvt) Ltd., and Colombo International Nautical & Engineering College.
HONOLULU - Hawaii based Aloha Airlines achieved the highest rating for customer satisfaction of U.S. airlines deemed as offering "Superior Value" by Consumer Reports magazine. The ratings were revealed in the magazine's June 1999 issue.
The "Superior Value" rating was derived from responses by Consumer report 1998. Annual Questionnaire on airline customer satisfaction and combined with price data compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Within the category of Superior Value, Aloha was described as being "higher than the major airlines in overall satisfaction and offering slightly lower fares than its competitors".
"It is gratifying to receive this top rating by Consumer Reports," said Glenn R. Zander chief executive officer and president of Aloha Airlines.
"Our focus is to provide reliable high frequency, reasonably priced flights with superior service.
We work hard to ensure that our service is one time, friendly and priced right. What is most significant, however, is that a Hawaii- based regional carrier has received national recognition from readers of Consumer Reports.
In December 1998, Aloha became the only carrier in the nation to back up its product with a service guarantee. If Aloha doesn't measure up to customers' expectations for on-time performance, baggage handling or customer service, their next flight on Aloha is free.
In 1998, Aloha Airlines flew more than five million passengers within the State of Hawaii.
As Hawaii's leading inter-island airline, Aloha offers more than 1,200 weekly inter-island flights, and the most convenient interline connections for travel to and from the Hawaiian Islands.
Aloha's sister commuter carrier, Island Air, flies 500 weekly flights to Hawaii's resort and smaller community destinations. Together, the two airlines fly more flights to more destinations in Hawaii than any other airline.
Aloha maintains sales offices in the continental U.S. Canada and Japan and has sales representatives in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
Aloha Airlines flight schedule and general information are found on the Internet at http://www.alohaair.com.
There is another "long weekend" ahead during the latter part of June and for those who want to get out from the daily routine of the "rat race" - here's an ideal opportunity.
Hawk Travels who has been introducing domestic tours to Sri Lankans since April has added yet another tour-off from the "beaten track".
Commencing June 26 you will have the opportunity to visit a Turtle Farm in Kosgoda (Under the guidance of the Wild Life Department), the colossal Wewurukannala Buddha Statue and a traditional visit to Kataragama. On 27th dawn a visit to the Yala Park is in the agenda with a visit to the Madol Duwa in the evening.
Martin Wickremasinghe Museum is a worthwhile visit to the students of contemporary literature.
Kompass, a leading business information provider has set up operations, to give local businessmen additional exposure to the international business arena.
Kompass business information is available in 42 languages and covers 1.6 mn companies located in over 80 countries worldwide, a company official said.
Business information infrastructure in Sri Lanka is underdeveloped while an effective medium to promote business to business information was also lacking. The available limited information sources are also inadequate and expensive, Kompass Sri Lanka hopes to fulfill this need, Managing Director Kompass Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd., Mangala Wickramarachchi said.
"One of the major strengths of Kompass is its ability to provide accurate information globally in any format the end user wants," France-based Business Development Director Kompass International David Portnoy said in a press release.
Data is available in print medium, CD ROM, on-line and through a dedicated website on the internet
A minimum package costs Rs. 8,000 and entitles a company to display its logo, corporate information and products and services in detail.
Enhanced advertising options such as strip advertisements, logo boxes, colour pages and detailed descriptions are also facilitated.
Members of Kompass are entitled to a Kompass Privilege Club card. "A Sri Lankan exporter or importer going overseas may produce a membership card at Kompass franchise offices located in over 80 countries and seek business information free of charge," Mr. Wickramarachchi said.
"Locally, if a Kompass member wants company or product related overseas business information, they need only to fax, phone or e-mail the requirement and we will provide the information by fax or e-mail," he said.
Kompass members will also be provided library facilities at Kompass Colombo office at no extra charge.
"The promoters of Kompass were initially involved in the promotion of the Business Directory Lanka Ltd.
Globalisation of the information industry caused us to seek a strategic partner-Kompass" Mr. Wickramarachchi said.
Ceylinco Insurance Companies General Division recorded a growth of 24% during the first quarter of1999 compared with 1998. General Insurance premium income rose to Rs 406 million for the first quarter three months in 1999 which is an increase of 80 million over the previous year.
Chief executive Director of Ceylinco Insurance- General Division Mr. Ajith Gunawardena attributed this success to their people friendly and flexible approach, prompt settlement in claims and the innovativeness in introducing new products to cater to the increasing and sophisticated market needs.
He further said that the well trained and experienced sales force in the General Division is now geared ,to offer other professional services to their clients not only in Insurance but in other financial needs too . In keeping with this futuristic approach of our Chairman Desamanya Lalith Kotelawlaa- Ceylinco Insurance has introduced leasing facilities to traders policy holders in collaboration with another sister company recently, said Mr Gunawardena.
The innovative new products introduced by the General Division last year were well received by the public and has brought in a considerable premium income he added. The company has also embarked on an ambitious programme to house its branches in their own buildings thus increasing the asset base. Already two branches have moved to their own premises and work will commence shortly to construct the third.
"In expanding our branch network, we opened a new branch in Vavuniya in February this year and our 55th branch will be opened in Trincomalee on 22 May 1999. With this branch now, we operate in every part of the country except in Jaffna," concluded Mr. Ajith Gunawardena.
The Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL), the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre (SLECC), recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding forming a strategic alliance between the two organisations, a news release said.
The agreement was signed by Lal de Mel, President FCCISL and S. Dave, General Manager of Intertrade Lanka management (Pvt.) Ltd., the owners and operators of the Sri Lanka Exhibition & Convention Centre.
Nawaz Rajabdeen, Chairman, Trade Fairs committee of FCCISL and Mrs. Shanthi Outschoorn, Project & Administration Manager of SLECC also signed the MOU representing the two organisations.
The two organisations have identified great mutual interest in organising and promotion of trade and industrial exhibitions and fairs in Sri Lanka and in the development of the local exhibitions industry.
They believe that fostering of such mutual interest will be beneficial to all the parties especially to the business community in the country.
With the signing of the MOU, FCCISL will actively promote industrial exhibitions which will boost trade and industrial development in the country. It will extend its co-operation and blessings in organising and promotion of such exhibitions. The SLECC, in return, will invite FCCISL and its member bodies on a priority basis to participate in such fairs and promote products and services of their members.
Mr. Lal de Mel, President, FCCISL and Mr. S. Dave, General Manager, Intertrade Lanka Management (Pvt.) Ltd. exchanging the copies of the MOU. Mr. Samantha Abeywickrama, Secretary General, FCCISL, Mr. Hassan Sheriff, Co-ordinator, SLECC and Mrs. Shanthi Outschorn, Project & Administration Manager, SLECC are also in the picture.
Sinwa Holdings Group opened a fashionable shoe store at Station Road, Dehiwala recently. They currently have outlets at Majestic City and Crescat Boulevard too. The opening of the shoe store also was an occasion to reveal the new image and positioning of Sinwa as a producer of quality, high fashion footwear for the family, hence the slogan. "High Fashion at Your Feet", which sums up the new look, which is stylish and very contemporary, says a company news release.
Speaking at the opening ceremony Chairman Sinwa holdings Group M. Naizer Cader said the range of shoes at the new shop catered to a niche market, and they hoped to cater to this group further with the opening of another shop in Colombo 6 in the near future.
The new store has a plush modern interior in an art deco style. In addition to the local range, a collection of elegant ladies and gents shoes were specially flown in from abroad for the opening, priced very attractively.
ABS GDH advertising, a joint venture between Abans Ltd and GDH Australia has been handling the inhouse advertising of the Abans group during the last 3 years. Although it has some impressive external clients like ANZ Grindlays Bank & credit cards the agency did not make any growth efforts since it was consolidating its existing business, says a press release.
With the recent appointment of Abhay Kapoor as the new CEO, the agency is making itself ready to make its mark in the advertising industry in Sri Lanka. He is a man with a great passion for advertising and has spent more than 9 years in marketing and advertising in India.
Mrs. A. Pestonjee, Managing Director of ABS Gardner Dixon Hall says, " The advertising market in Sri Lanka is growing at a rapid pace. It has doubled within the last two years.
Apart from getting fresh perspectives on our in-house business we are looking at encashing on this opportunity. We want to work closely with our clients and offer them marketing solutions as well, so that we are seen as partners in their brand building efforts. This will help us break the mould of a typical advertising agency as if exists today in Sri Lanka".
Does this mean that functions like creative and media will be re-inforced as well! " We are overhauling the whole agency and we will not leave any stone unturned in the process. Providing best quality creative and excellent service to all our clients is the singleminded thought behind this exercise".
Mr. Abhay Kapoor who has been entrusted this job says, "Advertising, despite its high growth rate seems to be still in a state of infancy as far as quality of work is concerned. To differentiate ourselves from the crowd we will be focusing on two vital areas, creative standards and strategic brand planning. We will work with our clients in building successful brands by providing strategic inputs and creative that is original, impactful and yet simple".
We wish them luck in their endeavour and hope to see some good advertising in the market.
By Sanath Weerasuriya
"Glucorasa" one of the most popular sweets in Sri Lanka among all in different age categories for the last forty-five years, shipped their first consignment to Canada recently.
According to Neville Perera, the Managing Director of the Uswatta Confectionary Works (Pvt) Limited, the first consignment is worth Rs 2.8 million (US$ 40,000).
"This is the first time that 'Glucorasa' is going out of the Island.
Though the product is more than forty years old, we never thought of sending it overseas. Our other products such as TipiTip and potato snack are already in foreign markets.
We hope to continue this export to Canada fortnightly", Mr. Perera explained.
The Emirates Group - comprising Emirates Airline and Dnata - has completed another successful year with profits up 15.6 per cent to US$ 117 million.
Total group revenue increased 8.8 per cent to US$ 1,315 million in the period under review, ending March 31, 1999, a company news release said.
Emirates Airline contributed US$ 1,211 million to Group revenue, while Dnata's share was US$ 154 million representing increases of 8.7 and 10.8 per cent respectively. Profits by the airline increased 19.3 per cent to US$ 85 million. Dnata's profits were up 6.6 per cent to US$ 32 million.
Financial Year's 1998/1999 results prove, once again, the Emirates Group's resilience during a continued period of difficult economic influences.
Emirates Group's Chairman, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said: "It was an extremely tough year.
There was turmoil and chaos in many of the countries we serve in the Pacific Rim with currency devaluations, bank closures and government take-overs while global markets were characterised by the aggressive commercial policies of the international airline community.
"But despite this, we achieved more than satisfactory results, thanks to an incisive marketing strategy and creative cost-reduction programmes. I am happy to report that we did not reduce our service levels or standards, despite the cost-saving efforts."
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