5th December 1999

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Fuji's crystal archive paper scores highest

Fujifilm's Crystal Archive Paper, will retain its colours for up to 60 years in controlled conditions and is the longest lasting standard photo paper in the market, a world authority on the subject has confirmed, says a company news release.

The findings, reported in the September 1999 issue of Practical Photography (Published by EMAP Active Ltd., of UK) are based on extensive tests conducted by Henry Wilhelm, one of the world's leading experts on the permanence of prints. Wilhelm, author of "The Permanence and Care of Colour Photographs" has subjected several leading brands of paper, including Fujicolor, Kodak, Konica and Agfa, to accelerated glass filtered fluorescent light fading tests.

His findings, quoted by "Practical Photography" and available at his Internet site ( predict the number of years a print can be displayed before noticeable fading occurs. According to Wilhelm, Fujicolor Crystal Archive Paper will last 60 years, Kodak Ektacolor Edge 7 and Kodak Royal VII papers last 18 years, Kodak Ektacolor Porta III Professional paper 14 years, Konica Colour QA type A7 14 years and Agfacolor Paper Type 11 will last 13 years.

The magazine report, titled 'Stopping the rot' adds that "Clearly, the make of paper your lab uses affects the longevity of your prints."

Commenting on these findings, the local Fujifilm distributor Hayleys Photoprint's Director/General Manager Ashan Abeyesundere said such definitive research would in future play a key role in consumer trends. "It is most gratifying to see that all the research and development efforts of our principals have paid off," he said.

"There are many factors which affect the lifetime of a print, the quality of processing the paper used for printing and the card used for mounting the print.

Gateway goes to Kurunegala

Gateway Kids School of Computing will open its seventh branch in Sri Lanka next month. Mr. R.I.T. Alles, Chairman, Gateway says that the organisation has lived up to the promise made at the beginning of the year to offer IT training facilities available for kids in Colombo to the outstations before the next millennium. In addition to the 4 centres in Colombo, Gateway now operates in Kandy, Negombo and Kurunegala. Gateway will open first overseas branch in Dhaka, Bangladesh on December 4, a news release said.

Gateway provides training through the "Kids School of Computing" to kids of 4 to 14 years and through the "Centre for Information Technology" (CFIT) to school leavers and adults. Training offered at CFIT includes courses in Office Applications, Visual Programming, Desktop Publishing and Computer Aided Designing. CFIT courses are offered at all Kids centres on weekday mornings and weekends.

Hemas unveils new look

On the threshold of the 21st century, the Hemas Group has introduced a corporate look in keeping with its Vision for the new millennium. A modern corporate logo for the Group has been created, along with Sector logos to represent the 6 key sectors of business which the Group is engaged in. These are Healthcare, Consumer Products, Leisure, Transportation, Apparel and Property Development. All companies belonging to the Hemas Group are now categorized under one of these 6 sectors depending on the nature of their respective businesses, says a company news release.

Hemas which first began as a retail chemist and druggist in 1948, celebrated 50 years in business last year. Rapid organic growth has seen the Group expanding its operations through 14 subsidiary companies. Several of these businesses occupy leadership positions in the marketplace and have established a reputation for quality and reliability.

Home Loans from HSBC

HSBC has introduced a new concept in Home Loans, offering the choice of flexible interest rates to make a home loan more affordable.

Interest rates are paid quarterly or annually to take advantage of prevailing interest rates. In addition, the maximum amount which can be borrowed is as high as 10 million and this could be repaid over a maximum period of 25 years. The scheme also offers a 12 - month grace period for repayment of principle during construction, early repayment options and speedy approvals, a news release says.

So if you are employed by a recognized employer, have a net monthly income of over Rs. 25, 000/= and fulfill our entry criteria, we will be pleased to offer a home loan to build your "dream home'' a spokesman for the Bank says in a press release.

ADB to improve job training in Sri Lanka

A mismatch between Sri Lanka's large pool of unemployed and a strong demand for workers is some sectors should be reduced by a Skills Development Project for which the Asian Development Bank recently approved a concessional loan of SDR 13,724,000 (US $ 18.8 million equivalent).

The project will prepare over 100,000 young people from poor backgrounds for jobs, especially in the construction, insurance, real estate, transport, storage, communications and manufacturing sectors where employment growth rates have been high in recent years.

The project will restructure and reorient the vocational training system to ensure the quality and relevance of programs to match the demands of industry. It will introduce competency-based training, supported by career guidance, entrepreneurship training, trade tasting, accreditation, staff development and the establishment of a national vocational qualifications system, the news release said.

The project also includes innovative initiatives such as environmental education and the promotion of self employment - with a focus on women. Another feature is the introduction of a performance contracting scheme to encourage the participation of the private sector and NGOs in skills training.

There is a great need for skills training. Unemployment is high in Sri Lanka, especially among rural youth aged between 15 and 29. Eighty five percent of the jobless are from rural areas and over half are female. Yet ironically, 70 percent of current vocational training courses provide trainees with low level skills that have little relevance in the job market.

The Ministry of Vocational Training and Rural Industries will be the executing agency for the project which is scheduled for completion in April 2006.

The ADB loan, which will come from Bank's concessional Asian Development fund, will cover 49 percent of the total project cost of US $ 38.5 million. The loan is repayable over 32 years, including a grace period of 8 years. The interest charge is 1 percent per annum during the grace period and 1.5 percent per annum thereafter. The balance of the cost will be financed by the Nordic Development Fund, the OPEC Fund for International Development, and the Sri Lanka Government.

Pan Asia bank is now Y2K compliant

Pan Asia Bank has developed contingency plans to deal with possible Year 2000 related problems that could hinder the smooth operations of the Bank. As part of its contingency plans, the Bank has developed a business continuity plan to ensure the continuity of business during and after the transition to year 2000. The Bank has also made arrangements to provide additional information regarding Year 2000 compliance and contingency plans to its valued customers, a bank release said.

The bank has carried out legal audits to review the contracts that have a bearing on the Year 2000 issue. The relevant legal implications have been studied and remedial measures taken.

The Bank's critical information technology systems are now Y2K compliant. The Bank has respected the needs of its valued customers, not only to provide modern and technologically advanced banking facilities, but also to give satisfaction that the Bank is fully Y2K compliant to function without disruption at the turn of the new millennium. In addition, the Bank's contingency plan will take care of continuous functioning during the transition to Y2K in the event of any unforeseen disruption.

Ceylinco Insurance in top four

Ceylinco Insurance company Ltd the leading private sector insurance company in Sri Lanka was selected among the top four insurance companies in Asia at the 3rd Asian Insurance Awards ceremony held in Singapore recently.

Asian Insurance Awards was sponsored by the Asia Insurance Review with the objective of rewarding the most outstanding insurance companies in Asia. The criteria for selection was not only financial performance but for the value added innovative products and services introduced and for adding that "definite extra" to lift the industry as a whole to higher levels. "The spirit of the to be" quotes editor in chief of Asia Insurance Review.

Ceylinco Insurance - General Division, widely accepted as the most innovative insurance company in Sri Lanka, several years ago initiated the trend of moving away from conventional insurance schemes and introduced several innovative customer friendly products to the local market. Also the package policy concept was first introduced to the market by Ceylinco Insurance General Division.

Abans Environmental Services awarded ISO 9002 certification

Abans Environmental Services (Pvt.) Ltd., was awarded of the ISO 9002 certification by Bureau Veritas Quality International BVQI.

The company provides cleaning and maintenance service on long term contracts to various institutions and establishments and has the largest customer base in Sri Lanka, which includes prestigious customers such as Presidential Secretariat, Bank of Ceylon Head Office, World Trade Centre, Nawaloka Hospitals, Town Hall, Galle Face Green, Liberty Plaza and most major installations and branch networks of Banks in the country.

We are the largest Janitorial Maintenance services company operating in Sri Lanka with 3500 employees and over 1000 regular contracts and is a BOI approved company in association with International Service System of Denmark the largest multi service company in the world, says a news release.

Maintenance of service quality is extremely important and meeting the quality standards cannot be achieved by inspection alone. It takes the use of our individual skills, personnel interest and commitment to provide high quality service through prevention of non conformities, said Nath Perera, Director.

The cleaning operations are based on 5 "S" principles relating to good housekeeping and adhering to the best international cleaning practices. Quality control and Quality assessment are the methods by which we measure the quality and standard of our work.

Hnb to sponsor Lankan Pavilion

At the invitation of the Consul General of Sri Lanka in Dubai, Hatton National Bank has agreed to be the Official Sponsor of the Sri Lankan Pavilion at Global Village 2000 to be held from the 1st March to the 31st March 2000, a HNB Press Release said.

This is the first time that Sri Lanka will be represented at this trade fair which will provide Sri Lankan businesses an opportunity to showcase their products in 'Global Village' and find new markets, the release said.

The Sri Lankan Pavilion will have 30 stalls which will give an opportunity for only 30 Sri Lanka Business entities to participate. Due to this limitation there will be a very high demand for the stalls.

As Official Sponsor of the Sri Lankan Pavilion, Hatton National Bank will be responsible for co-ordinating with the Consul General of Sri Lanka in Dubai and also the relevant authorities in Dubai. HNB will also be responsible in identifying the local business entities for participation in the Sri Lankan Pavilion, the release said.

The Dubai Shopping Festival Annual event, attracts a large number of visitors to the country. A majority of the business community in Dubai participate in this event, and goods are offered at very attractive discounts. The Dubai Shopping Festival is held approximately for a 4 week period during which the city acquires a carnival atmosphere.

It estimated that around 3 million will visit Dubai during this period.

ATE Lanka wins Top Agents Gold Award

ATE Lanka won the Top Agents Gold Award for cargo sector from the new born National Carrier, SriLankan Airlines. The very first award ceremony after the establishment of SriLankan Airlines, which was held at Colombo Hilton on the 16th of November 1999. Being in the freight forwarding business for not more than 5 years, it was a great achievement to win this award within a short span of time. ATE Lanka belongs to the ATE GROUP a worldwide freight forwarding organization with headquarters based in New York, USA, is having a network of more than 120 own offices and affiliated agents worldwide. The growth of airlines, growth of industries and growth of cargo has made ATE to become aggressive, more competitive in the world of transportation.

This is one of the reasons that ATE Lanka has being successful in achieving award from other airlines such as Gold and Plantinum from LTU, Silver from Saudia and British Airways, Bronze from Royal Jordanian Airlines and also Lufthansa, Emirates, American Airlines, Kuwait Airways, LTU and Air Canada to name some. It was not only from the airlines, but also Gold and Silver awards were received from National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka for medium category for the service sector during the year 1997 and 1998 respectively.

ATE more than in the freight forwarding business, want to make customers believe that they are in the shipping and transportation industry. Their main motive is to ensure that freight is being transported smoothly and efficiently as possible to all destinations, where the customer will have least worry and anxiety. ATE has being recognized by the exporters and importers around the world and have placed their confidence with ATE GROUP. Day by day, ATE is spreading its wings and continues to grow in business in the ever changing world. ATE motivated by the desire to grow has launched a long-term strategy plan looking at the growing market and to serve the customer by providing specialized logistics services towards the next millennium.

Mr. Lasantha Rodrigo, the managing director of ATE Lanka said "It was the confidence and the satisfaction placed on us by our customers which has merged us as winners. The glory is for us, but that is not how we measure our success. Customers inspired us to win the Gold and I along with my staff thank whole heartedly all customers for placing confidence in us which allowed us to emerge as winner of this prestigious award from SriLankan Airlines". He also appreciated and thanked the Country Manager Mr. Chandana de Silva and Mr. Naveen Gunawardane, Senior Manager, Cargo and Mr. Niran Seneviratne Manager Cargo Sales for the extended support and recognition given towards the freight forwarding industry, and also for organizing such a remarkable evening.

Chang wants to stay forever at Evergreen

EVERGREEN's group chairman, Dr Chang Yung-Fa, is a remarkable man. If he could be reincarnated, he said during a briefing two weeks ago, he would like to come back as a king. Presidents and prime ministers "change so often", he lamented. When they step down, they "just become commoners." A king, on the other hand "can be forever," just as he intends to be at Evergreen. It is much easier for the leaders of "the small countries that recognise Taiwan" to get to know him, he suggests, than for him to keep up with their musical chairs.

He is remarkable, too, for the people he remembers. Although it is years since he held a press briefing of the sort he convened in late October, he had not forgotten those of us whom he had met before. He was confused by one attendee, however, whom he named as a reporter he had met many years before. He was mistaken; that reporter had long ago retired in the way that even kings must eventually do.

At the other end of the spectrum from us rarely-met journalists are those presidents and premiers who beat a path to his door.

And Lloyd Triestino (LT) has every reason to be grateful that they do. Take Romano Prodi, now president of the European Commission but who, earlier in the game of musical chairs, was ltaly's prime minister. He was concerned about the dire straits that the state owned company was in, yet it had a 160-year history behind it and he wanted to find a solution for its troubles without closing it down.

Shipping Corporation Chairman passes away

It is with sadness that the passing away of the Ceylon Shipping Corporation Chairman Sundra Jayawardena of a sudden heart attack London recently is noted. He held the highest position in the Sri Lankan Maritime field as Chairman of the Sri Lankan Ports Authority before assuming the Chairmanship of the Ceylon Shipping Corporation.

His passing away is indeed a tremendous loss to the Maritime and Shipping trade sector in Sri Lanka since he is reputed to have been one of those responsible for rescuing the Shipping Corporation from the losses it was incurring before he assumed its chairmanship.

His name will be long remembered in the annals of Sri Lanka's Shipping history for the invaluable services he has rendered in the Maritime and shipping field.

New film from Kodak

Kodak announced the launch of a new colour print film, Kodak MAX,

Kodak MAX is designed to take the guesswork and frustration out of film selection and photography said Mr. Richard Fleming, General Manager - Distributor Markets, Greater Asia Region on the launch of the Film, "Every film is designed for a particular condition. We often don't realise this, and end up with poor quality photographs because the film was not right for those conditions. Here's a film that will give you great results anytime, anywhere".

Engineered to be flexible enough to handle a wide range of picture-taking conditions, MAX allows customers to shoot in sunlight or low light, indoors with a flash, still life or fast action, without changing films.

This lets the snapshot taking public - accounting for about 45% of all households and 60% of all film sold worldwide - to simply aim and shoot and yet get excellent results everytime.

The new film builds on Kodak's patented colour management technology to deliver more accurate colour in flesh tones, and consistently better picture of people. Kodak scientists employing breakthrough Kodak ColoursharpTM technology made modifications to the film's structure to enhance the image colours. The result is more pleasing flesh tones - especially with Asian and African skin types.

Informix and CIIT enter into education alliance

Informix International Inc., the US based technology provider of Corporate computing environments and CyberSoft Institute of Information Technology [Pvt.] Ltd. [CIIT], a BOI approved company, recently announced their strategic education partnership to establish the first ever Informix Authorised Education Centre in Sri Lanka - the 'CyberSoft Institute of Information Technology [Pvt.] Ltd.' [CIIT], a company release said.

In Sri Lanka for the inauguration of CIIT was Mr. Angus McDougall, Regional Director Informix Asia Pacific, along with Mr. N. Muralidharan - Managing Director Informix India.

CIIT has a fully fledged training facility with state-of-the-art computers and audio visual equipment which will make available the Informix Authorised Education Centre [IAEC] programme which was developed to train and authorise partner training organisations to meet the ever increasing demand for Informix certified professionals. Director Govind said the IAEC would provide the full spectrum of courses designed to help people successfully deploy and maintain their Database Applications, Database Warehousing & E Commerce solutions.

CIIT will conduct courses on Relational DataBase Management [RDBMS], System Management, Performance Tuning, On-line Transaction Processing [OLTP], Data Warehousing, Internet, Web & Content Management, and Object Oriented DataBases. The course material for all courses will be provided to the students by Informix. Initially CIIT will offer courses training people for the Informix Certified Professionals Programme [ICPP], an internationally recognised certificate which provides formal validation of the skills that one has derived through training and/or on-the-job experience.

Celltel reports all time record sales on Nokia Ringo II

Celltel Lanka Limited has reported an all-time sales record during August to November 1999, following the introduction of the Nokia Ringo II hand phone.

Celltel's Chief Executive Officer Michel Schluter said in a press release that the company had connected an average of 200 new subscribers to the network on every working day since the phone became available, generating a mammoth 20,000 new subscribers in the past four months.

The Nokia Ringo II at Rs. 4,499 is inclusive of free airtime worth Rs. 1000 till the end of the year and a free leather case.

Celltel is the only cellular company in Sri Lnaka to offer subscribers free e-mail facilities, and Internet facilities at a nominal charge, news release said.

Rhino invests Rs. 200 million in new plant

Rhino Roofing Products Ltd., has opened a new plant at Ekala recently. This new fibre cement manufacturing plant which was purchased from Voith Bell Company of Switzerland and installed at a cost of Rs. 200 million will enhance the production by 200 metric tons per day which will bring the total production to 600 metric tons per day.

The unique feature of this most modern plant which is the only one of its kind in South East Asia, is that it is fully automated enabling density control, accuracy of measurement and weight and fibre orientation arrangement.

At present the company is enjoying more than a 45% market share and "Rhino" products carry SLS standard, Assistant Marketing Manager, Priyantha Jayasinghe said. Advanced Swiss technology resulting in better product quality and less turnaround time coupled with a spirit of innovation and dynamism have helped establish Rhino Roofing Products as the No. 1 roofing sheets in Sri Lanka ahead of all their competitors. The Company's production staff are committed to produce a zero defect product through continuous upgrading product quality. Rhino, with its present strong position is the premier supplier of roofing sheets to the government sector, private sector and corporations. The Company has a dealer network of more than three hundred reputed dealers and BMC sales outlets islandwide which will help reach the consumer from every corner of the island to purchase Rhino Products without any inconvenience, the press release said.

Our aim for the new millennium is to find solutions for roofing industry and to introduce high quality innovative fibre cement roofing products to the nation. The company has also donated millions of rupees towards community projects. Rhino Roofing Company is always working to fulfil customers and the nation's needs in the construction industry.

'Ran Thilina' raises Rs.432 million in deposits

'Ran Thilina', The Finance Company's value-added Fixed Deposit scheme which pays above-average interest rates, has raised approximately Rs. 432 million in deposits since its launch in May this year, says a company news release.

The first Fixed Deposit scheme in the market to offer an additional incentive of monthly draws at which many valuable prizes are on offer, 'Ran Thilina' culminates with a grand prize of a Honda City car in May 2000. Certificates for this fixed deposit scheme are available in denominations of Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 25, 000.

Encouraged by the positive response of depositors from all parts of the country The Finance has decided to increase the rate of interest under this scheme from 13.5 per cent to 14.5 per cent per annum and launch a special 'Ran Thilina' week from December 1-7 to coincide with the festive season. "This is a bonanza for our customers," The Finance Company's Chief Executive Director, Senaka Bandaranayake said.

The Company recently conducted the sixth draw of the 'Ran Thilina' scheme, which has to- date awarded 120 prizes including Gold Sovereigns, Vacuum Cleaners, Diamond Jewellery. "Plans are underway to award more valuable household appliances ranging from VCRs, fully automatic Washing Machines to 21" Colour TVs to depositors," Ray Ford, Senior Product Manager of The Finance Company said.

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