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Sri Lanka Equity Forum » Stock Market News » Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012

Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012

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1 Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:04 pm


Global Moderator
Bourse takes a bow in 2011, IPOs surge
*Foreign investment welcome: Economy going through rough patch, will recover says broker

The Colombo Stock Exchange fell 8.46 percent in 2011 as the bourse continues to be on correction mode, brokers said. The exchange which was the best performing market in 2010 dropped to 10th place.

The All Share Price Index fell 8.46 percent to end the year at 6,074.42 while the Milanka Price Index of more liquid stocks fell 25.96 percent from a year earlier to close 2011 on 5,229.16.

Foreign outflow from the exchange amounted to Rs. 19.1 billion during the year, down from Rs. 26.4 billion the previous year as domestic retailers dominated activity at the bourse.

"Initial Public Offerings during the year raised Rs. 19.15 billion as against Rs. 4.34 billion the previous year, which is an increase of more than 340 percent," Securities and Exchange Commission Assistant Director External Relations and Market Development Tushara Jayaratne, told The Island Financial Review. The year saw 29 equity issues as against 10 in 2010.

"Rights issues raised around Rs. 26.3 billion for the period January to November 2011, up 8.23 percent from Rs. 24.3 billion raised the previous year," he said.

Turnover from the corporate debt market saw a vibrant surge amounting to Rs. 2.7 billion as against 72.2 million the previous year but this market continues to perform well below its potential. The number of trades for 2011 amounted to 62 as against 92 the previous year with a little more than 26.8 million debentures changing hands as against 693 thousand in 2010.

Government debt traded on the Colombo Stock Exchange declined to six trades in 2011 as against 18 in 2010. The number of government debentures traded amounted to 27.9 million, down from 46.7 million in 2010. Turnover declined to Rs. 27.3 million from Rs. 45.6 million.

"Investors who plan to trade the bull side in January should still trade cautiously as we must understand that all investors big or small are holding on to losses and once certain price levels are hit there will be selling that comes into the market," Bartleet Religare Securities said. "However if the market does not take off as we expect we could see the Index being sold down to the 5,800 level."

Welcoming news that a Canadian firm was planning a US$ 300 million leisure project the brokering firm had a message for foreign investors: "It’s important that long term investors realize that the economy is going through a rough patch but the economy will recover in the long haul and the investors who sit tight will make huge gains in years to come. One sector that has another leg up to boom will be the hospitality sector. The strategic plans and global investment that is going to take place here will change the very dynamic of Sri Lankan economy," Bartleet Religare said.

2 BOP under stress on Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:07 pm


Global Moderator
*Interest rate tightening better option than rupee devaluation
*Lower commodity prices, foreign inflows to ease pressure, says HSBC Treasury head

Going in to 2012, the balance of payments (BOP) would continue to come under some stress which would put pressure on the exchange rate and interest rates, but the head of Global Markets of the Sri Lankan unit of global banking giant HSBC says these pressures could moderate to an extent as expected foreign currency inflows materialise, and inflation would not be a major issue during the year.

HSBC Head of Global Markets Sri Lanka Sachith Perera said the stress in the balance of payments experienced towards the latter part of 2011 would continue this year as well as the trade account deficit continues to expand on higher import demand.

"This does not mean that there is overconsumption in the domestic market, rather we see the import of investment and intermediary goods increasing, a necessary evil to fuel the post-conflict infrastructure development that is taking place. How often does a country find itself in a situation where it is just after a thirty year conflict? The challenge however is not to stretch short term capacity for such expansion," Perera said speaking to The Island Financial Review.

Dealers said ‘severe’ import demand over the past few months had put pressure on the rupee to depreciate but the Central Bank had kept the exchange rate stable by selling dollars from the reserves.

Total export earnings for the first ten months of 2011 slowed down to 23.4 percent to US$ 8,702.1 million while the import bill grew at a much faster pace, up 50.7 percent to US$ 16,436 million. The trade deficit had expanded by 100.6 percent year-on-year to US$ 7,733.9 million.

Gross official reserves have fallen 14.8 percent in October 2011 to US$ 6,896 million from a high of US$ 8,099 in July 2011. From July to August, the bank had sold US$ 1.1 billion to defend the exchange rate.

The dollar closed 2011 on Rs. 113.89/90 and the Central Bank had sold around US$ 690 million since the 3 percent devaluation in November 22, 2011, according to a Reuters report.

The IMF and other economists have been advocating a devaluation of the rupee to reflect the widening trade deficit as means of safeguarding the reserves which has a bulky debt component, which some estimate to be over 1/3 of the reserves, and also boosting the country’s export competitiveness as other regional economies have allowed their currencies to depreciate. The 3 percent devaluation of the rupee in November 22 has so far failed to ease the import pressure.

Perera said a devaluation could help. "But in real terms, the benefit to exporters from a devalued rupee would be lost because of the impact it would have on inflation and wage pressures on their local value addition. And this could also seep into the fiscal account where the government has done well so far to keep the budget deficit on a declining trend. Also the majority of imported goods are essentials and we would not really see a significant drop in import demand. A depreciation does not have much of a short term cost benefit for an economy such as ours as I don’t believe we have excess production capacity to boost exports in a hurry – but a depreciation perhaps could help us not to lose orders to other countries in the short term" he said.

Perera said foreign currency inflows are expected to improve this year and that the Central Bank stance to defend the exchange rate was not out of place. Global commodity prices are also expected to ease this year which could benefit the balance of payments.

Perera however advocates for a degree of flexibility in both interest rates and exchange rates.

"A wholesale depreciation would not help, but there should be some space for the market to express itself on the exchange rate with the Central Bank intervening to prevent only sharp volatilities. This goes for interest rates as well. This approach would give policy makers early warning signals of stresses in the market and a chance to act early, rather than having fixed rates which really does not say much," he said. "The problem with a totally market determined exchange rates is the wild speculations by the larger market as to where the exchange rate should be. It can range from 100/- to 140/-. With that kind of wide range in speculations a free floating currency can be very volatile to nobody’s benefit," he added.

However, he suggests that there should be some tightening of domestic interest rates. This is expected to ease the growing credit demand, attract foreign investment with Western economies still in an economic rut and also encourage domestic savings. Many banks have increased their rates irrespective of where monetary policy rates are at the moment.

Monetary policy rates have changed little during the year in sharp contrast to many other economies in the region which tightened their stance. The repurchase rate was 7 percent and the reverse repurchase rate was 8.50 percent end December 2011. These transactions represent commercial bank deposits with the Central Bank and overnight borrowings respectively.

By end December 2011, the Sri Lanka Inter Bank Offered Rate (SLIBOR) had increased to 9.01 percent from 8.16 a year earlier. The average prime lending rate of commercial bank to their high net-worth clients reached 10.77 percent, from 9.29 as at end December 2010. Benchmark Treasury bill rates also closed 2011 higher than they did in 2010. The yield on the three month bill reached 8.68 percent from 7.25 a year ago, the six months bill saw its yield increase to 8.71 percent from 7.38 percent and the one year yield reached 9.31 percent from 7.55 percent.

Credit to the private sector from domestic banking units rose 35.6 percent year-on-year in October 2011.

Apart from highlighting that pressures would continue Perera declined to speculate as to where interest rates and the exchange rate would head this year. "We do not expect inflation to be a major problem this year, but policy rate decision will have to consider the impact to the balance of payment, especially foreign investments in domestic bonds which makes up a sizable chunk of our reserves," he also said.

Headline inflation inched up to 4.9 percent in December 2011, from 4.7 percent the previous month, but this was the second lowest rate in 18 months. The annual average rate of inflation continued to moderate from a peak of 7.2 percent in September to 6.7 percent end December 2011.


Global Moderator
A serious global slowdown looks likely in 2012 - or, at least, that’s the way conventional wisdom is shifting.

The eurozone, of course, remains the epicentre of world-wide angst, its debt crisis threatening to cause havoc across an economy about the same size as that of America. Eurozone sovereign yields eased slightly last week but massive questions remain.

Will the "Merkozy" plan work? Will Germany print money? Will monetary union be slimmed-down in a relatively ordered manner, with some smaller countries leaving? Or will the entire structure collapse, the pan-European edifice crashing down amidst chaos and recrimination? No one knows. But the stakes are now so high, and the doubts so acute, that just the threat of a "euroquake" has brought the global economy, in the eyes of some, to the brink of recession.

Just three years ago, at the end of 2008, our economic predicament looked dire. Yet here we are once more. The difference is that, back then, while Western governments were heavily indebted, they still had fiscal ammunition in their locker. That is not the case today.

Having squandered countless billions bailing out rather than shutting-down insolvent financial institutions, the West is on the edge of a fiscal precipice. The resulting "zombified" banks, by refusing to lend, are stultifying economic activity, weakening government balance sheets even more. The economically-illiterate claim that the likes of the UK and the eurozone are barely growing because "austerity isn’t working" and government spending is being cut "too far and too fast". What tosh!

The reality is that state expenditure is still rising and borrowing remains extremely high, with West European national debts still spiraling to the point where some of the world’s most advanced economies can barely roll over their loans. Yes – yields eased in recent days, but largely as a result of covertly printed money, central bank bond-buying and governments forcing nationalised banks to buy sovereign paper. This situation isn’t sustainable. So it will not be sustained.

The reason we aren’t growing has nothing to do with "austerity". Tough measures to rein in fiscal deficits have barely begun. The principal cause of the West’s economic torpor is that our banks remain utterly moribund, weighed down by cash-hoarding and undisclosed off-balance sheet losses, the inter-bank market paralysed by fears of counter-party risk. Fixing that, breaking the deadlock, involves shaking-down the banks, taking their mendacious executives down a peg or three and, while standing behind ordinary depositors, forcing a wholesale restructuring. The banks, though, are still too powerful.

Our political leaders, in a show of cowardice that future historians will deride, remain incapable of standing up to the money-men. And so we carry on, sleepwalking towards disaster, as Western Europe heads towards a toxic combination of high inflation, economic stagnation and explicit sovereign defaults.

Having said all that, I still don’t buy the idea of a global recession in 2012. In my view, the world economy will continue to expand next year, albeit by 3pc or so, down from the 4pc that looks likely in 2011. One reason is that in the US, for all the regulatory lapses and policy faults, the banks are being slowly restructured and the wheels of finance are once again starting to turn. The American economy could grow by 2pc in 2012, roughly the same as this year.

The main reason I don’t foresee a global recession, though, is that I remain relatively optimistic about prospects for the large emerging markets – not least China. The Peoples’ Republic, to say the least, is no economic sideshow. The second-largest economy on earth, China expanded by around 9.2pc this year, accounting for around two fifths of global growth. Yet concerns are mounting that the world’s most populous country is heading for a hard landing. And that, of course, would have grave implications for economies elsewhere.

It’s certainly clear that growth is rapidly replacing inflation as Beijing’s main policy concern. The Chinese leadership last week agreed, at its most important economic summit of the year, that the major macro risk for their country, amidst a worsening global outlook, has now shifted from rising prices to an economic slump. A slew of recent Chinese data shows growth easing, driven by fewer housing sales, lower construction spending and slowing exports, not least to Europe. The most alarming data, perhaps, comes from the all-important residential property market. The vast majority of Chinese savers, hemmed in by a closed capital account, have few investment options. They have to choose between a state bank (which gives them a negative real interest rate), the domestic stock market or property. Many go for property, with house prices an even bigger topic of conversation among China’s growing middle class than among their counterparts in the UK’s leafy home counties.

Back in 2009, in the aftermath of the Lehman collapse, Beijing’s central economic planners launched an almighty stimulus package, driven by a huge increase in bank lending. This did the trick, and kept the economy expanding, but at the cost of an overheated housing market and high inflation.

In response, state banks have since been ordered to curtail loan growth, which has hit the property market hard. The price of new residential units fell month-on-month in October in no less than 34 of the 70 mainland cities tracked by China’s National Bureau of Statistics. Property market weakness has now spread from Beijing and Shanghai to the smaller cities.

The reality is, though, that the Chinese government can reverse this trend pretty much as and when it chooses. The important goal, up until now, has been to squeeze inflation, which has recently been achieved. During the year to November, China’s CPI growth was 4.2pc, down for the fourth straight month. That done, the likelihood now is that Beijing’s policymakers will yank on the policy-lever marked "expansion". Already, reserve asset ratios on Chinese banks have been cut by 50 basis points. It won’t be long, in my view, before we see a sizeable rise in the vital loan-quota to which the banking sector must adhere.

Many assume that China will ultimately choose to bail out the eurozone as a result of self-interest – not least because the European Union is the country’s biggest trading partner. While this view might be reassuring for some, I don’t believe it is true. For one thing, even if the eurozone stagnates badly, the demand for cheap Chinese goods won’t dry up. In relative terms, as European household budgets are squeezed, it could even increase.

Intra-Asian trade is also rapidly expanding. Commercial flows between China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan now account for more than half of their total trade. The Chinese economy also depends heavily, for the foreseeable future at least, not on European demand, but on infrastructure spending funded by the country’s vast $3,200bn haul of foreign currency reserves. It was this kind of spending power that kept China growing by 8.7pc in 2009 – despite widespread predictions the People’s Republic would be dragged down by the West. A hard landing in China? I don’t think so. Now inflation looks licked, Beijing will soon unleash higher loan growth, while channelling yet more billions into more construction and other capital investments, not least by state-owned enterprises.

China has this policy flexibility because it has the money, so can finance a meaningful "Keynesian boost" from cash. European governments, on the other hand, are not only broke, but face massive future liabilities. Assuming China will pick up the bill would amount to yet another policy mistake.


Global Moderator
The global economy will grow by around 3pc this year, down from 4pc in 2011. The US should manage a 2pc expansion, while Britain and the eurozone will struggle. A West European recession, the UK included, now looks unavoidable.

The emerging markets, meanwhile, will keep forging ahead during 2012. Even if China slows a bit, the world’s second-largest economy should expand by 8pc to 9pc.

The "big four" emerging markets – China, India, Russia and Brazil – now make up a quarter of the global economy. These "emerging giants" will account for the lion’s share of world growth in 2012, just as they did in each of the past three years.

Such countries aren’t insulated from the Western world’s sovereign debt debacle. Far from it. But with lower debts, much higher reserves, relatively stable banking systems, and trading ever more between themselves, the emerging markets will outpace the "advanced industrialised nations" this year too.

Turn-of-the-year columns generally dwell on top-down macroeconomic forecasts.

Having added my headline numbers to the predictive fray, I’d like to focus on an issue I believe will weigh heavily on the minds of Western economic policymakers during 2012 – namely, the price of crude oil.

When the Western world has previously hit the economic skids, the resulting fall in global oil demand has caused crude prices to fall too. As such, the West has benefited from a "self-correction" mechanism, our own economic slowdown creating the lower oil prices that, in turn, have assisted our recovery.

During previous slowdowns, lower fuel costs have boosted the profitability of Western firms. Reduced inflationary pressures have provided our central banks with the room to cut interest rates. So cheaper oil has helped the West climb out of periodic economic slumps. Yet this vital mechanism is now broken.

Oil prices averaged $111 a barrel during 2011, up from $79 in 2010. Crude prices could stay at similarly elevated levels this year. Sky-high oil, it seems, is now compatible with Western recession. Commodity prices are compounding our economic woes, rather than helping us escape them.

What’s changed recently is that even if the big Western economies remain sluggish, and our oil use falls slightly, the fast-growing markets of the East retain their insatiable appetite for crude.

With per capita oil use across much of Asia still only a fraction of Western levels, and these countries engaged in the fastest, most widespread industrial revolution in human history, global oil demand keeps rising, whatever is happening in the West.

During 2011, global oil consumption averaged 89m barrels per day, according to the International Energy Agency, the Western world’s oil think tank, up from 88.3m in 2010. The global economy was relatively subdued, but oil use still rose to an all-time high.

Back in 2001, global oil consumption was just 76.6m barrels daily. So during the decade to 2011, worldwide oil demand rose 16pc. We now face another sharp rise, with global usage set to reach 95m barrels daily by 2016. That would amount to a 25pc consumption increase in just 16 years.

On the supply side, global crude production expanded to 90m barrels daily in November, up from 89.1m the month before. In addition, OPEC crude output rose to 30.7m barrels per day, a three-year high, with Saudi Arabia and Libya accounting for most of the 620,000 barrel increase.

Last month, in addition, OPEC raised its production ceiling to 30m barrels, the first change in three years, moving the target nearer current output as the exporters’ cartel struggles to absorb rising exports from post-war Libya. But, still, despite these favourable supply-side developments, Brent crude has remained stubbornly above $100 per barrel.

One reason oil markets are tight is that inventories are very thin. Oil stocks held by the OECD group of advanced industrialised nations have lately fallen to 2,630m barrels. That’s around 57 days of forward cover, several days below the five-year inventory average.

In fact, US crude inventories are ending 2011 at their lowest level since late 2008, while European inventories are now at an 11-year low.

This inventory dip reflects two important aspects of global oil production. Several of the world’s leading oil fields are losing pressure – not least Ghawar in Saudi Arabia and Mexico’s Cantarell. Two of the very biggest fields on earth, both are now producing at levels significantly below their medium-term production forecasts.

At the same time, oil-well exploration and development were hit badly by the credit crunch. Crude production is a seriously capital-intensive business with long "lead times". In recent years, a lack of available finance has hit the oil industry hard.

Getting production back "on track" will take years of heavy investment. But venture capital remains thin on the ground, not least after the Gulf of Mexico disaster led to an escalation of the oil industry’s already sizeable insurance costs.

Back in 2008, of course, oil prices fell spectacularly, from around $150 a barrel to $40. Will the same thing happen again, in the event of a "euroquake" say, or if the Western world suffers from another systemic shock? Well, if we are to face another "Minsky moment" in 2012, and we might, then oil prices could well decline rather significantly.

In my view, though, there are good reasons why the fall will be much less dramatic than last time, so less helpful in terms of rescuing the Western oil importers from an economic slump.

In mid-2008, crude markets were caught in a speculative bubble. Cheap loans were available for practically anyone who wanted to punt on oil to keep rising, which sent crude prices spiking. Today, though, the crude price is far less dependent on leveraged investment, reflecting instead the underlying demand/supply realities.

Most mainstream investors now understand that even if the West exhibits oil "demand destruction" during a severe slowdown, population pressures and rising per capita wealth in the emerging markets mean global commodity use will keep growing. This has been a difficult message to accept, seeing as Western recession now looks compatible with triple-digit oil.

Yet the new reality has punched through, becoming conventional wisdom. This is very different from 2008 - when influential voices said crude would hit $10. No one is saying that now.

Something else has happened on the supply side too. The "Arab Spring" means that Saudi Arabia and other major Middle Eastern exporters are now running budgets with break-even oil prices above $100, needing to spend even more going forward to check social unrest.

Rather than restraining oil prices, and keeping Washington happy, the world’s swing producer now has a much closer eye on domestic political concerns. So OPEC’s outlook has also significantly changed since 2008.

Another reason crude could stay high during 2012, so punishing the West even in the midst of a slump, is the currency-debasing policies those very same oil-importers are imposing on the rest of the world.

For now, the "dollar standard" remains in place and the greenback remains the world’s reserve currency. Many investors, trying to take money off the table, by force of habit or regulatory dictat are still buying US government IOUs.

Increasingly, though, the smart money is moving into tangible assets, "things that governments can’t print more of", in a desperate bid to preserve value.

As talk grows of yet more US and British QE, and multiple eurozone rescue plans, mainstream money managers are increasingly looking to genuine commodities, and other expendable real assets, as a "Western debasement hedge".

So, if oil prices do remain high during a severe Western slowdown in 2012, we Westerners will in part have ourselves to blame.

5 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:09 am


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
BSLCC wooing UK Tamil diaspora
UK delegation for Expo 2012:
The newly formed British Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce (BSLCC) is looking at wooing re introducing Sri Lanka as an investment destination mainly to the Tamil diaspora based in the UK. Chairman BSLCC, Jayampathi Perera based in the UK speaking to ‘Daily News Business’ said that over 65% of expatriate businessmen in London are of Tamil origin and they are keen to reinvest in Sri Lanka especially in the North East. “We are looking at linking with them,” he said.

Jayampathi Perera
They are keen on the health, education, real estate and leisure sectors,” he said. Setting up of BPO centres is another area of business.

He said that due to the 30-year old conflict most of these Tamil origin entrepreneurs have invested in other countries and with peace and the healthy economic and political climate they are keen to revisit Sri Lanka.

Perera also said that he would visit Jaffna and meet with the members of the Yalpanam Chamber of Commerce and other positive businessmen to get an insight of investment opportunities to make a bridge of opportunity.

He said that in addition he would once again present Sri Lanka to British investors as well as those who are keen to get involved in major infrastructure projects not only in the North and the East but in other areas as well.

Perera said he also had a successful dialogue with the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce CEO, Assmi Thasim last week. “We will be presenting opportunities available in both the Hambantota Port and the Airport. “Opportunities in the proposed international airport seem very big,” he said.

“I was surprised to see the massive development taking place in Hambantota and happy to note about its success. It is shaping out to be one of the most planned cities in the region,” he added. He said that despite the unfortunate situation in Tangalle, hotels in Hambantota were fully occupied. “Incidents of this nature happen all over the world but that is not an excuse that it should happen in Sri Lanka,” he said.

He said that Britain is a very important market for tourism in Sri Lanka and authorities must ensure that a repetition of last week’s unfortunate incident won’t happen again.”

BSLCC also disclosed plans to bring in a high powered business delegation from the UK for the Expo exhibition taking place in Colombo next March.

The UK based entrepreneurs would also look at opportunities in agriculture, real estate, and value addition in tea. “I am hoping to take this delegation to Hambantota as well,” he said.

He said that back in the UK they are all feeling the biggest economic recession in 36 years and 2012 would intensify it.

6 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:11 am


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Sampath Bank facilitates online visa
Sanjeevi Jayasuriya
Sampath Bank will facilitate the payment gateway to support business integration of the online visa application process came to effect from 1st January. This will be mandatory for all visitors except for visitors from few countries such as the Maldives and Singapore. “We are providing facilities as an advanced platform to apply visa online.

The system will capture payment process and required information to enable effective operation of the system,” Sampath Bank Enterprise IT Solutions Head Mangala P. Wickramasinghe told Daily News Business.

The online system will provide visa approval within 24 hours under normal circumstances.

A reference number is given to the traveller to ascertain the stage of the approval process. A confirmation is given once the visa is issued and the traveller can get the visa stamped at this point, he said.

However, there will also be a counter at the Bandaranaike International Airport to facilitate who do not apply online with an additional fee. This move is to discourage over the counter visa application and encourage to apply online.

Sampath Bank’s role in this system is in facilitating payment integration of the system for customer information and interface.

There will be daily settlement of account as dollar collection and revenue is expected to be substantial. The online visa application system is expected to generate US $ 400,000 to 600,000 monthly.

The entire process is well secured and we will not store any information other than confirmed transactions by the Immigration and Emigration Department.

We will also not capture full information on card transactions in any temporary data bases, he said. The entire business system is a well secured and for availability purposes multi sites are in operational to make it intact.

Sampath Bank has taken a lead role to facilitate e-SriLanka initiative by the Information Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka, where they provide a collaboration and service delivery platform, ‘Lanka gate’ to government departments.

Sampath Bank was also instrumental in introducing on-line renewal of motor vehicle revenue licences few years back.

We were selected among many service providers of on-line payment solutions due to superior technical and business capabilities. We have an integrated system with the Immigration and Emigration Department and banking system for seamless transaction processing and reconciliation.

The B2B integration will facilitate quality and uninterrupted services to visitors to the country.

There will also be a help desk operative 24/7 to answer any queries to support this private public initiative, Wickramasinghe said.

7 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:12 am


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
LB Finance moves to new premises
LB Finance will focus on new business development in terms of new markets and products with its newly acquired seven storied corporate office building to be opened on Thursday for business. The new premises will generate adequate business to sustain its operational activities and will function as a separate strategic business unit L B Finance Executive Director Niroshan Udage told Daily News Business.

The company will be looking at different products and different markets to create new business culture in both lending and funding portfolios.

“We started introducing some products planning to have them ready to generate income with the start of the activities of our corporate office.

This will ensure returns from the beginning as immediate business execution is possible,” he said.

High end leasing, cash flow based property mortgages, short term financing such factoring, margin trading and power drafts are among the newly introduced products .

The corporate office will have dedicated floors for personalized financial services, currency exchange facilities and a state-of-the-art auditorium for staff training.

The strength of the company workforce is 1,600 members and the training centre will facilitate training needs to upgrade the service delivery quality.

The corporate office will have VIP gold loan centre those who are interested in facilities of that nature.

The whole concept is to take the company into the next level meeting international standards, Udage said.

8 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:13 am


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Colombo Continental to be re-branded Amaya City
Colombo Continental is to be re-branded as Amaya City from mid 2012 and would be incorporated to the Amaya Group of Hotels. The property would also be converted to a fully pledged five star hotel.

The hotel is currently undergoing a massive refurbishment drive with some wings of the property closed.
Hayleys PLC and its group of companies acquired Amaya Leisure PLC on September 1, 2011, marking a significant milestone in the development of the conglomerate’s leisure and aviation business sector. Amaya Resorts and Spas consist of three properties, namely Amaya Lake in Dambulla, Amaya Hills in Kandy and Langdale by Amaya in Nuwara Eliya.

It was built by construction magnate, U. N. Gunasekera and was the first five star hotel to be built in Sri Lanka.

9 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:13 am


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Phoenix Ogilvy trounces global players
Phoenix Ogilvy Sri Lanka scored a major victory by beating leading global advertising agencies and international sports marketing companies to win the pitch for the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced that Phoenix Ogilvy will be the official marketing and communications agency for the ICC World Twenty20 2012. The tournament will be held from September 18 to October 7 in Sri Lanka.

In a media release, the ICC stated that it had arrived at the decision after a lengthy selection process where a number of agencies had submitted proposals. From these, five agencies were shortlisted to make their final presentations to ICC and Sri Lanka Cricket officials in Colombo.

Among the firms that vied for this prestigious business were JWT, which collaborated with a consortium that included FidelisWorld, a Dubai-based international sports, entertainment, and media company; Hayleys, and Maxus Global Media. Teaming up with Grant McCann Erickson was Havas, a global agency specialising in sports and entertainment marketing. The other agency was Leo Burnett. Beating this formidable list of contenders was Phoenix Ogilvy, which emerged victorious.

Following the win, Phoenix Ogilvy will work with the ICC in developing and implementing an integrated strategic global event promotion plan for the fourth edition of the tournament. This will also mark the Twenty20 World Cup’s debut in Asia. The global event comes in the wake of the highly successful ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, which was co-hosted by India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. This is the latest success for Ogilvy & Mather.

It had previously won the business for the ICC World Cup 2011 following a joint-pitch by the network’s offices in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

“This remarkable victory over many local and global players signifies the power of our strategic thinking and creative excellence,” said Phoenix Ogilvy Chairman Irvin Weerackody.

“It is a well thought through and truly integrated campaign that brings out the best of our creative, strategic, activation, digital, PR, and media strengths. It is an exciting campaign that we can be justly proud of,” he said.

Weerackody added: “It also underscores Phoenix Ogilvy’s capabilities of not just handling major local campaigns but international events of this magnitude as well. It is not only about cricket and promoting the event. It is also about promoting the destination, Sri Lanka. And we will make Sri Lanka proud.”

Previously, Phoenix Ogilvy has had the rare privilege of handling the communications and marketing campaigns for two other mega international events - The 2011 Cricket World Cup, and the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards festival held in Colombo in 2010.

“This goes to show that if there was ever a level playing field, Phoenix Ogilvy always won,” said Weerackody. “And true to form, we look forward to this opportunity to shine and deliver yet another successful global campaign because this is huge,” he said. The win also bolsters Phoenix Ogilvy’s credentials as Sri Lanka’s premier marketing and communications agency. It is the only Sri Lankan agency to have won a Gold award at an international advertising festival.

10 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:14 am


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
RDB to consolidate stance
Indunil Hewage
Regional Development Bank (RDB) is ready to zoom its approach across the country with new products, branches to be introduced in the coming years and will further deepen its relationship with the rural community.

Keshala Jayawardena
Picture by Mahinda Vitanachchi
The newly appointed RDB Chairperson Keshala Jayawardena emphasized the importance to empower the rural community thereby giving them holistic banking solutions to come out of poverty. The future strategy of RDB would be to have a better rapport with the government and the relevant institutions to assist agriculture and fisheries sectors in Sri Lanka.

Accordingly, RDB is expected to play a vital role in providing financial assistance to develop the government initiated projects such as rice and grain export villages, Divi Neguma and handicraft and handloom sector projects.

The RDB which counts over 253 branches with over three million clients base and it is the third largest bank in Sri Lanka in terms of number of branches. RDB has already received the Central Bank approval to put up another 20 branches in identified areas in the country.

RDB will follow a door to door marketing campaign to broaden the savings percentage among local farming community, in addition, planting materials and machineries will be supplied to them under a special loan and low interest rates.

The total deposit of RDB stands at Rs 59 billion, of which almost 95% are issued as lending for its clients, it also maintains a non-performing ratio of three percent and it was expected to bring it down up to 2.7 % by the end of last year.

RDB has been advised by the Central Bank to raise Rs 4 billion capital target in 2014, however, the RDB is optimistic about reaching Rs 6 billion capital target by 2014.

11 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:15 am


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
t-sips: first tea brand to win SLS
t-sips produced by Expolanka Teas was awarded SLS certification making it the first and only tea brand to be SLS certified.

t-sips comes from a family of award winning tea that has been a prolific exporter for over 20 years.

During this period, the company has emerged a top 10 exporter, making their products available in more than 35 countries. t-sips is marketed locally by Castle Commercial (Pvt) Ltd, the recently incorporated distribution arm of Expolanka Group.

SLS certification is a scheme granting an ultimate guarantee on the quality of a product that confirms to Sri Lankan standards. While SLS certification has been awarded in many sectors, it is for the first time in history that SLS certification has been awarded to a brand of tea.

The certification mark on t-sips signifies that it is consistently manufactured in accordance with Sri Lankan standards and could be purchased with a sound assurance on quality. Compliance with the requirements of the specification is made certain through regular monitoring of the quality assurance system by audits carried out by qualified auditors of the institution and through thorough product testing.

A fast rising competitor in the local tea market, t-sips comes in two main variants, namely: t-sips Supiri Kahata and t-sips Supiri The.

Furthermore, a range of t-sips green tea and a range of flavoured tea are also marketed.

Expolanka Teas is already GMP, HACCP, ISO 9001 and ISO 22000 certified.

Stringent quality assurance systems are in place to ensure compliance with all quality standards.

Expolanka Teas is part of Expolanka Group, a diverse conglomerate listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange.

The vision behind t-sips was best described by its CEO who stated that ‘it is the birthright of every Sri Lankan to enjoy a great cup of tea’.

t-sips assures that the winning of SLS certification is just another step in their journey towards winning the hearts of every tea lover.

12 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:16 am


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
‘New industry start-ups rise by over 4% in 2011’
As Sri Lanka reported strong third quarter GDP growth numbers pushed by the industrial sector, country’s new industry registrations too have jumped. ‘Sri Lanka’s new industry registrations rose by more than 4 percent at 2011’s close.

Minister Bathiudeen
The experimental Single Window System project launched by the Industry and Commerce Ministry too is successful’ revealed Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.

Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the officials of the Industry and Commerce Ministry on December 30, at the Ministry premises at Colombo 3.

‘As of the last business day of 2011, an overall total of 1877 non-BoI medium and large scale industries have been registered in our own database.

In 2011 alone, 72 new such industries have been registered spanning many sectors.

This is a 4.36% increase from the overall totals seen at the end of 2010’ Minister Bathiudeen said.

Data obtained from the Management Info System (MIS) Division of the Industry and Commerce Ministry showed that the ‘Chemical, Petroleum, Rubber and Plastic’ and ‘Textile and Apparel’ sectors equally reporting the highest new industry registrations in 2011 (increasing to 451 and 450 total industries registered in these sectors, respectively), followed by ‘Fabricated Metal Products’ and ‘Food and Beverage’. Basic Metal Products and Wood and Wood Products sectors reported comparatively lower number of industry start-ups in 2011. Sri Lanka’s GDP grew 8.4 percent in the third quarter, boosted by expanding industrial sector (10.8 percent increase) from a year ago, compared with 8.8 percent in the same period of 2010, according to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

It should also be noted that the new industry start-ups commencing operations without registering through the Industry and Commerce Ministry and the new micro scale start-ups are not accounted for here. As per the Industry and Commerce Ministry criteria, a new industry, to be considered as medium and large scale, needs to invest Rs 10 million (US $ 87000) or more, initially.

‘I am also very pleased to inform that the ‘Single Window Industry Registration and Facilitation System’ (SWIR and FS) piloted by us, is successful.

We already processed 14 new registrations successfully through our first new test system after proper inspections and verification procedures’ Minister Bathiudeen revealed. Sri Lanka’s first SWIR and FS has begun its test pilot recently at the Kolonnawa Industrial Zone located in the vicinity of Gothatuwa.

The first SWIR and FS has successfully slashed the usual 30 day new industry registration period to just a single day.

Officials of the Ministry stressed that if the necessary documents are in proper order, the registration process could be completed in one day (for the tested industrial zone).

13 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:19 am


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Govt committed to see all benefit from IT - Minister Siyambalapitiya
The government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa aims at seeing everyone use IT in their living for greater comfort and ease, said Telecommunication and Information Technology Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, while participating in the launch of the issue of copies of birth, marriage and death certificates in a few minutes in the Polonnaruwa District recently.

An applicant receives a certified copy of a birth certificate from Telecommunication and Information Technology Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya under the BMD project just launched in Polonnaruwa. (From left) ICTA Re-engineering Government Programme Head D C Dissanayake, Telecommunication and Information Technology Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya and Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena.
Speaking further at the inauguration held at the Polonnaruwa District Secretariat, Minister Siyambalapitiya said that there would be a huge transformation in the country’s information technology sector soon.

Recalling the assignment of ICT to a new Ministry and its responsibilities the Minister said “At the cabinet reshuffle in November 2010 the President gave us several responsibilities.

“While attempts are made for Sri Lanka to become the Wonder of Asia by 2016, the President instructed us to make the ICT literacy of Sri Lanka which is currently about 35 percent, become 75 percent by 2016.

“Another challenge the President asked us to meet was to generate 200,000 new ICT-based jobs by 2016. Making Sri Lanka’s current IT-BPO industry revenue reach US $ 1 billion by 2016 is another challenge the President has instructed us to meet.

“But the most important challenge given to us by the President is to take ICT to every citizen; in other words, to use ICT to make the life of everyone more comfortable, to make us able to see every citizen use ICT to make his life more comfortable,” he said.

A collorary to this is to make government service more efficient by the use of ICT, the Minister said underlining a core responsibility that has to be addressed in accordance with the Mahinda Chinthana ‘Vision for the Future’.

Referring to the 2012 budget the Minister said that the budget 2012 contained several proposals which were a shot in the arm for using ICT in all sectors targeting national development.

“Apart from the specific allocations for the institutions under the Telecommunication and Information Technology Ministry the budget has allocated Rs 500 million for the Ministry for developing IT in the rural areas.

“Accordingly we selected the Polonnaruwa District for IT development in coincidence with the Anuradhapura-based Deyata Kirula 2012. As stated by ICTA Re-engineering Government Programme Head D C Dissanayake I requested that this programme in Polonnaruwa be launched under the patronage of Health Minister Maitripala Sirisena. I am now going to explain what we just launched today.

“Those days, I can remember, to get a birth certificate, my father used to get ready two weeks ahead. ‘Whom do I know in the Kachcheri? To whom should I speak first?’ My father would pose questions like these to himself and make preparations for obtaining the birth certificate.

“Today there is no need for such elaborate preparations. Today anyone from the Polonnaruwa District could obtain his birth certificate not only from the Polonnaruwa District Secretariat but even from any Divisional Secretariat in the Polonnaruwa District within a few minutes. So could the marriage certificate be obtained. A relative could obtain the relevant death certificate with similar ease.

“Those days a mobile phone was a prerogative of the elite. But today most of the population have mobile phones. Sometimes one person has more than one phone. Our population is 20 million. There are 21 million telephones in the country. Out of these 17,500,000 are mobile phones and 3,500,000 land phones .

“We want to see everyone in the Polonnaruwa District, - be he a farmer, grama niladhari, fresh water fisherman - use this IT tool,” he said.

Participating in the occasion as chief guest Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said that it was gladdening that the government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa gave top priority to ensuring the use of technology for the well-being of all.

Speaking further at this inauguration, the Health Minister thanked all concerned for extending the BMD project to the Polonnaruwa District in response to his invitation. The Ministries of IT and Technology and Public Administration, the Registrar General’s Department and the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) were particularly commended for their roles in bringing BMD to Polonnaruwa.

Moving from technology that enables the issue of vital certificates in a few minutes, the Minister referred to the area of both mental and physical health per se. The Health Minister said that the government had launched several programmes for regulating the use of the mobile phone and for ensuring the use of technology for people’s well-being alone.

“No country in the world has taken steps as Sri Lanka to ensure the use of mobile phones and internet subjected to healthy monitoring. The government has by now taken steps to draft regulations necessary for the use of mobile phones and internet under a sound monitoring system. The government has done so to ensure the highest good of the country’s future generation and to prevent anti-social activities that could take place by abusing new technology. Decrying this abuse Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said “ It is regrettable that although new technology should be used for man’s well-being, many abuse it.

“Moreover many accidents take place as a result of people crossing roads and driving while holding the mobile phone to the ear. All these, finally impact on the Health Ministry. The Health Ministry incur heavy expenditure for providing treatment to a large number of victims of accidents caused by the use of mobile phones”.

Participating in the occasion ICTA Re-engineering Government Programme Head D C Dissanayake said that BMD enabled the issue of birth, marriage and death certificate within a few minutes, thanks to computerisation.

“Currently BMD is fully operational in the Colombo, Kegalle and Moneragala Districts. In addition it has been introduced to the Ampara, Anuradhapura, Badulla, Hambantota, Jaffna and Puttalam Districts”, he said.

14 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:20 am


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
St. Coombs tea fetches record prices
S.M. Jiffrey Abdeen - Kandy South Group correspondent
St. Coombs Group, Talawakelle, embellished the final tea auction sale for 2011 by selling a line Dust 1 at an all time record price of Rs 590 per kilogramme at the tea auctions held on December 21.

This line of tea was sold through tea brokers Forbes and Walker Tea Brokers (Pvt) Limited. At the tea auctions held on December 14, Craighead Estate, Udahentenna owned by Kahawatte Plantations sold a line of Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings (PBOPF) for an all time record price of Rs 700 per kilogramme through their brokers Forbes and Walker under the Western medium high grown category.

Craighead Estate also obtained the top prices for several other grades of tea at this auction.

15 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:21 am


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Etisalat’s Group names new GCFO
Etisalat has appointed Serkan Okandan as a new Group Chief Financial Officer. This appointment comes amid the requirements of the new phase the company is pursuing to strengthen its position regionally and globally. Okandan is expected to join the company within a month.

Okandan is a recognized expert in regional and international telecoms. He came to Etisalat from Turkcell enriched with years of experience as a Group Chief Financial Officer and as the acting CEO to Ukraine operations in 2010.

Serkan Okandan
He started his professional career at PricewaterhouseCoopers in 1992. Prior to his appointment as a GCFO to Turkcell, he was entrusted with the job of Group Financial Controller and Head of Reporting Division at Turkcell.

In his prior assignment as a GCFO he led the finance function of a publicly quoted company Turkcell and its operations across eight different countries. He was known for his wealth of experience in merger and acquisitions businesses, and conducted a number of deals estimated at millions of dollars through bonds, syndications, acquisitions and divestitures activities regionally and internationally.

Commenting on the appointment, Etisalat’s Group Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar said, “The appointment of Serkan Okandan as Group Chief Financial Officer is at the heart of Etisalat business to attract the best talent, and will bring further impetus to the realization of the Etisalat Group strategy to become one of the world’s leading telecommunications companies.

“With the wealth experience Okandan has, we are confident that he will be a great value to help lead the group to the next phase ahead.

Okandan will help Etisalat to focus on optimizing and value creation from its operations in the existing markets, grow in adjacent opportunities and selectively expanding beyond the 18 countries we operate in,” Julfar added.

In his first statement following the appointment, Okandan said: “I’m pleased to be selected by Etisalat as a Group Chief Financial Officer and the entrusted confidence in me by the company to lead the group finance to the next phase.” He added “It is a pretty big responsibility yet I’m glad to have chance to be part of it and excited as it’s going to be an interesting journey.”

Serkan Okandan is a graduate of Bosphorus University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences.

He started his career as a senior auditor in PricewaterhouseCoopers and then worked as a Financial Controller for DHL Worldwide Express and Frito Lay before he joined Turkcell group in 2000.

He is a Board member of all Turkcell domestic and international subsidiaries.

16 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:56 am


Vice President - Equity Analytics
Vice President - Equity Analytics

Sri Lanka today scrapped the visa on arrival facility for citizens of all but two countries, replacing it with an online application system whereby visitors will have to apply before arriving here.

The new electronic travel authorisation system (ETA) is now applicable to 78 nations, including India.

Only passport holders from Singapore and Maldives are exempted from it and will be eligible for on arrival visas.

Following representations from India, the visa fee payable by Indian and SAARC region tourists under ETA was reduced to USD 10 from the originally-planned USD 50.

Non-SAARC nation visitors would, however, be charged USD 20 as visa fee.

The government said that on arrival visa system where bona fide tourists were given 30-day visas had to be scrapped due to increasing number of abuses, PTI reports.

17 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:31 pm


Manager - Equity Analytics
Manager - Equity Analytics
Seven common investment mistakes

The proven tactics learnt from investment experts are very helpful to achieve quick success in investment. Generally, you could go for some investment books written by the most renowned investment gurus or experts such as Peter Lynch, Warren
Buffett etc

From page 1 Though investing in the stock market has emerged as a great resource of making money, it always has some risks involved, just like any investing activity. There are some common investment mistakes which can easily be avoided if someone follows the footsteps of the investment legends.

As preached by many gurus and teachers, the fastest way to succeed is to copy the methods of those who have done it. The proven tactics learnt from investment experts are very helpful to achieve quick success in investment. Generally, you could go for some investment books written by the most renowned investment gurus or experts such as Peter Lynch, Warren Buffett etc.

Seven mistakes

In addition to the lessons from the investment experts, it is possible to derive knowledge from the common mistakes made by other investors, especially those who make retail investments. When we have sufficient knowledge on the most common mistakes and the key factors behind losing money, it becomes very easy for us to get rid of such mistakes that our fellow investors have previously made. It can even help to maximize our profit by applying the opposite strategy.

Let’s have a look at some of the most common investment mistakes:

1. To be in a hurry to take profit

It has been observed that by being in a hurry to take profit, most of the investors sell out the money-making stocks instead of the loss-making stocks. In this process, they run out of quality stocks and become a typical accumulator of ‘rubbish’.

When the investors take early profit, they are exposed to a number of mistakes. Hence, the right approaches are as follows:

Taking early profit should never be applicable for investment-grade stock but may be applicable to stocks meant for trading.

The investors need to preserve quality stocks instead of the poor quality stocks.

It is important for investors to adopt a cut- loss strategy as the profit-taking strategy alone doesn’t make any sense.

2. Not prepared to take losses

Generally, investors are reluctant to cut losses and it can be considered as one the greatest mistakes made by investors. Apart from the emerging investment markets, this phenomenon exists even in the developed markets such as that of the US where investors appear to be savvier.

As a matter of fact, the intensity of pain goes higher when someone is confronted with a loss. It is evident from a study that the intensity of pain due to suffering a 30% loss is about 2.5 times higher than the pleasure from having a 30% gain.

As the investors are reluctant to face the pain, they keep their lossmaking stocks year after year. They don’t feel the pain until they sell these loss-making stocks. It does sound silly but that is the way people deal with pain and pleasure. Sooner or later, you will kind of ‘forget’ about the losing stocks and also the pain associated with it.

It is not surprising at all to find a long list of loss-making, low quality stocks in an investor’s portfolio. They make the delay in selling these stocks as they believe that it would be possible to recover its cost in the course of time. The hope remains alive until the stock is sold. In fact, there is no underlying principle other than hope in holding onto these poor stocks. The odds of a profit-making company to continue making even more profit is much higher than a poor-performing company to turn the company around.

But the most dangerous thing is that the poor quality stocks may ultimately be delisted as the fundamentals go on deteriorating. Investors may eventually find all their hopes ending in smoke in such a situation, where 70% deterioration in price may result in 100% loss.

3. Lack of specific goal and strategy

The lack of specific investment goals and strategy can be considered as one of the most common mistakes among investors. Despite having different characteristics, investors generally mix up the investment stock with trading stock. It is highly recommended to treat these two types of stocks separately where investment strategy is concerned.

Investors generally purchase trading stock depending on rumor or predictions which ultimately may not turn out to be fruitful. On the other hand, the investment-grade stocks are purchased after reviewing fundamentals which include business potential, earning outlook, growth prospects etc. So, a trading stock needs to be monitored based on the dependability of the information source. The study of charts reflecting the trend of a stock can be very effective for an investor to decide when to sell, to hold on or even buy more.

On some occasions, investors get involved with a low-grade stock knowingly with an intention to make some quick gains. But once the stock comes to a loss position, they treat it as an investment-grade stock by holding on for a long period. This is how the gamble of making some quick profits ends up as a pain of holding up some poor stocks for several years.

It has also been observed that some investors initially go for investment-grade stock with a view to make a long-term investment after evaluating fundamentals or dividends of such stock. But they panic as the price goes down a little bit. They sell out the stock in fear that the price might go down further. In this process, a long-term investment now evolves into a short-term trade where early profit is concerned.

As long as the investors fail to specify their goals and remain confused between trading and investment stocks, between short-term speculation and long-term investment, their investment will be in danger. Of course, there are different kinds of investors in the market today and regardless of your investing style (trading, buy and hold, buy based on dividend yield, buy based on profit growth etc.), you will eventually make money if you know what you are doing.

4. Going for penny stocks

Fundamental value has a great significance where investment is concerned. Undoubtedly, the main objective of purchasing stock is to ensure future earnings. In general sense, a stock of 50 cents is cheaper than a stock of Rs.10. But, the perception is quite different in investment market where a 50 cent stock appears to be more expensive than a Rs.10 stock in terms of profit obtained from a share.

The penny stocks are generally known as retail stocks which obviously lack fundamentals. This type of low-priced stocks are popular among retail investors but not among the institutional investors. The gamblers and syndicates target these stocks as it is very easy to exaggerate or move up. In fact, the price of these penny stocks is unable to move up without help of the socalled syndicates as no fresh money is involved in lifting the prices of such shares.

On the other hand, price of heavyweight stocks goes up with the improvement of fundamentals which in turn attracts more money including foreign funds as well. Moreover, these prospective stocks having the characteristic of more demand than supply and are generally benefited by strong price support and results in a steady price appreciation over time.

5. Easily influenced by tips

It has so far been a popular practice among the retail investors to depend on tips to prosper in the investment market. Unfortunately, the tips didn’t work for most of them and the loss was such a huge amount that some of them left the market for good. Though trading on the basis of tips seems to be exciting, the experienced investors would definitely acknowledge that it is not so easy to make money just only relying on tips.

At first, we need to know about ‘tips’. It can be a piece of news or information obtained from an insider who has a clear perception on the things that are going to happen. The insider could be someone like company directors, senior member of a management team, corporate lawyers, auditors or even bankers. These types of individuals generally have access to some confidential information. Even lawyers, analysts, fund managers or any person who has a close contact with the senior management of an organisation, can be a great source of tips.

A few tips might be very useful but most are pure speculation and the rest are fabricated by the so called syndicates as a part of their gamble. The tips are generally spread in the market through an insider. It is not firsthand information to an investor as it passes down over several hands. If there is any change to the information, the investors are the last persons to know it. By the time they become aware of the scenario, it is too late for any remedy.

6. Becoming impatient

Impatience of the investors can be treated as one of the most common mistakes. It is more common among the retail investors who generally want to make quick gains. They generally don’t have any interest in the stocks which yields 10% per year. They rather go for those stocks which make 10% within a week or become double within a year.

Moreover, retail investors mostly rely on tips and keep monitoring the stock very closely immediately after purchasing it. They praise the person for his tips when the prices go up. On the other hand, if the prices don’t move up within a few weeks, they become very impatient. But, according to the investment experts, investment-grade stocks need to be kept for a long time with minimal monitoring for getting the best outcome.

7. Always buy high and try to sell higher

As retail investors are very impatient, they are not interested in buying when the market is down and wait until the prices move up once again. They have a tendency to chase a stock. Since they are keen to make some quick profit, they always like to buy high and sell even higher.

This is a common phenomenon in a bull market. This clearly indicates why the retail investors are seen in a huge number during a bull market. And, such investors are hardly found when prices are low.

Obviously, the risk is higher in a strategy of ‘ buy high and sell higher’ than that of ‘buy low and sell high’. The strategy of ‘buy high and sell higher’ is not inappropriate indeed, yet, the investors have to quit the market if they make even a single mistake. As a matter of fact, it is very painful for most of the people to cut loss and unfortunately many retail investors get caught in the same trap again and again.

Lessons to be learnt for remedy

Before you make any investment, you need to get prepared to accept losses as a business component. At the same time, you need to be rational and consider stocks from an impartial point of view. In case of any mistake, you should not hesitate to take losses and cut the stock as much as possible. You can also choose a small time frame to sell out the loss-making stocks at a slightly higher price. You can trim down those stocks (if any) further, as your main objective should be to get rid of those poor stocks as early as possible.

Another important thing is that there is no alternative to a specific and solid investment plan. There should not be any mix up between investment stock and trading stock. You need to have different strategy while dealing with these two types of stocks with different characteristics. You can’t afford to make a blunder to keep a shortterm trading stock like a long-term investment stock. It is unwise to sell out investment-grade stocks and accumulate speculative-trading stocks.

Finally, it should always be remembered that speculative stocks are trading stocks and you need to specify a time frame to make proper utilization of tips. It is always helpful to have a close look at the tips or to make some simple analysis on stocks. This is like a game where win and loss are the natural phenomenon.

Source: An article written by Ang Kok Heng, Chief Investment Officer of Phillip Capital Management Sdn Bhd

18 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:47 pm


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
The World’s Most ‘Liked’ Brands
The word “like” has taken a whole new meaning in the age of social media, with Facebook’s ubiquitous “like” functionality allowing users to quickly share content across the social network. When users click a button to show they “like” a Facebook page, they are effectively signing up for continued interactions with that page and the entity behind it. Corporations have increasingly made social media connectivity an important aspect of their marketing campaigns, allowing them to communicate with their customers, develop their brand, and even offer special promotions.

As always, some companies have been more successful than others in drawing a massive online following and millions of “likes” by Facebook users, but succeeding can have a direct impact on the bottom line. A recent study by ComScore found that users who “like” a page are more likely to make a purchase from that retailer than from a user with no affiliation. In addition, using Nielsen Brand effect studies, Facebook has found that over the past two years, consumers are 65% more likely to remember social ads compared to non-social advertising.

Brands also gain exposure to users who are “friends of fans,” those who are connected with users that “like” pages and will see actions of those users show up on their Facebook news feeds. With the average Facebook user having 130 friends, potential distribution can get very large, very quickly. According to Facebook, for the top 1000 fan pages, adjusting for duplication of friends, the friends of fans number is approximately 81 times larger than the pure fans number alone.

Although being “liked” offers direct, immediate access to users and their friends, it does not always translate to success on Facebook.

To get a measure of how well companies are utilizing their social connections, Facebook recently launched the “people talking about this” feature, which measures user engagement - a much more valuable metric than “likes” alone.

The new measure tracks structured activity on Facebook, such as users commenting on posts or sharing links and photos. When users engage in this brand-related activity, it becomes a mini-endorsement of the company or piece of content and offers immediate visibility to their friends.

“Companies look at ‘people talking about this’ as a way of understanding something that business has always cared about: Chatter or buzz about brand, and how well they’re seeding their product or idea,” says David Baser, the product manager at Facebook who oversees the “people talking about this” feature. “This is a metric that lets you know how much users are talking about and engaging with a brand or topic, what marketers refer to as ‘reach,’ “ he says. “Much of the value you get is having the users to spread the word about you through word-of-mouth.” “Many companies have said they wanted to understand virality and the people who are taking the first step in the viral chain,” says Baser. “We wanted businesses to understand that engaging users is important.”

With this feature, it’s easier for companies to target their campaigns to focus on engagement, something some have already done.

Among all corporate brands, Facebook itself would be at the top spot, with approximately 60 million “likes” on its main fan page, but this list includes only non-Facebook companies so the social network is excluded from the list.

So, what are the most “liked” brands on Facebook, and what they are doing right to maintain such a massive following? Click ahead to find out! Courtesy:

19 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:48 pm


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Enhancing revenue ratio vital
D D M Waidyasekera
While Sri Lanka’s fundamental economic indicators continued to be favourable in the recent past with a growth rate of 8% in 2010, inflation at mid-single digit levels, overall deficit at 7.9% of GDP in 2010, unemployment rate at 4.9%, foreign reserves at US $ 6,610 million equivalent to 5.9 months of imports, and government debt reduced to 82% of GDP, still what Sri Lanka should do is to avoid being lulled into a sense of complacency.

For instance, a sectoral analysis of the deleted indicates that almost 60% of the growth is in the services sector, with 22% being in wholesale and retail trade and only 10% being in the vital agricultural sector; while the percentage debt ratio may have decreased in nominal terms, long and medium term debt has increased from US $ 15,564 in 2009 to US $ 18,823 in 2010; the foreign reserves should be looked at from the non-loan point of view to ensure stability; interest payments account for over 37% of annual current expenditure; and the trade balance shows an alarming trend with a negative balance of US $ 3,122 in 2009 to - US$ 5,205 in 2010 and further increasing in 2011.

In the background of these positive and negative features, this article attempts to focus on the need to enhance the government revenue ratio and arrest the long continuing declining trend which is also the government’s fiscal objective.

The 2012 Budget aims to keep a growth rate of 8%, inflation at 6-7%, the budget deficit at 6.2% and public debt further reduced to 75%.

The Appropriation Bill presented to Parliament estimates the total expenditure for 2012 to be Rs 2,220 billion necessitating an increase in recurrent expenditure from Rs 1,029 billion in 2011 to Rs 1,101.9 billion in 2012 and capital expenditure from Rs 938 billion to Rs 1,111 billion. The total revenue is estimated to be Rs. 1,115 billion and the budget deficit to be maintained at 6.2%.

To achieve these overall objectives without incurring economic imbalances by way of increasing debt or inflation, the overall policy has to be either reducing government expenditure or increasing revenue or both.

Let us consider whether the first approach is practically possible in the current context.

With post-conflict development taking place at a rapid and accelerated pace in all parts of the country including the North and East, and the rapid expansion of the economy in terms of infrastructure, it is not a practical proposition to cut down on government expenditure though theoretically, arguments can be adduced particularly on a neo-liberal economic framework to do so in many areas, apart from the necessity to cut down on wasteful expenditure, and reduce rampant corruption, which of course is necessary.

Expenditure structure
The expenditure structure in Sri Lanka is composed of broadly four elements - general public services, social services, economic services, and others. Can expenditure on any of these categories be reduced? Civil administration which was at a peak in 1977 at 77% has gradually declined to 36% in 2010 but in the context of providing employment to the expanding labour force particularly in the pre and post- university sectors, and current government policy, it is doubtful if any significant cuts are possible in this respect.

Defence including public order and safety increased from 26% in 1977 to 63% in 2010 and as per the 2012 Appropriation Bill, Rs 229.94 billion the highest amount has been allocated to the Defence Ministry and Urban Development, a 7% increase compared to the previous year.

In the area of Social services, education and health had incurred 1.86% and 1.32% of GDP respectively in 2010, and in 2012 has been allocated Rs. 33.25 billion (an increase of 8% from 2011) and Rs. 74 billion (an increase of 18.8% from 2011), respectively. Other social services include housing, welfare, community services etc.

Considering the importance of these services in the long-term development of the country and the predominant role of the government in the provision of these services, it is politically impracticable for the expenditure on these services to be reduced.

In respect of economic services such as agriculture and irrigation, fisheries, manufacturing and mining, energy and water supply, transport and communication, roads, highways and infrastructure, etc. far from reducing them, these have to be increased further.

In respect of other areas such as subsidies, and welfare facilities etc, there is little scope of reduction as such except improvement in administering these, monitoring. The fertiliser subsidy (Rs 30 billion in 2011) is considered more an investment rather than a mere subsidy as it has a vital impact on productivity.

Declining trend of tax and GDP ratio
In this context, the main focus of fiscal policy falls into the vital need to increase government revenue, both tax and non-tax. It is a well-known fact that there has been a declining trend of government revenue during the past decade in terms of GDP.

For a country to become developed economists estimate it should collect taxes at a ratio of 20 - 30% of GDP.

In higher income countries the ratio is around 42%, middle income countries 26% and developing countries 20%.

20 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:48 pm


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Kotmale hydropower to national grid this month
Shirajiv Sirimane in Kotmale
The Upper Kotmale Hydropower Plant (UKHP) will go down in the history of Sri Lanka as one of the most time consuming power projects to be ever completed.

Politics controversies, environmental issues, resettlement and funding marred this project since it was discussed way back in the 1960’s when UNDP initially identified its potential.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa inspecting the progress
Several political leaders shunned this project since they thought it was too hot to handle and it would have negative impacts for their reelection due to its controversy.

Since Sri Lankans are paying the highest electricity bill in the region and are heavily dependent of thermal power a cheap energy source is a crying need. It was due to this factor that the government decided to review this project and after almost half a century since the first day it was identified in the Mahaweli Master Plan subsequent to a UNDP and FAO Study.

The Upper Kotmale Hydropower Project (UKHP) was conceived with the preparation of a master plan for hydroelectric development in the Mahaweli Basin in 1968. The concepts in the master plan were further studied in 1985-1987 when the Japanese government funded a feasibility study to examine hydropower options in the upper reaches of Kotmale Oya (Stream). Five sites and eight alternative development schemes were examined in the feasibility study and the report concluded that the development of two sites were technically and economically feasible. The two sites were a reservoir type development at Caledonia and a run of river project at Talawakelle. The project at Caledonia involved the displacement of 2700 families and inundation of large area of tea land.

The Japanese government then provided further funding for the Engineering Service Study, which included the review of the feasibility study, selection of the optimal development plan, the development of the detailed design and preparation of Tender Documents and an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR). The EIAR was issued in September 1994. The Final Design Report was completed in March 1995. The Environmental Impact Assessment identified key issues associated with the UKHP such as, impacts on waterfall aesthetics due to stream flow reductions, social impacts due to resettlement of affected people, possible effects on ground water due to tunnelling, impacts due to de-watering of streams on down stream water uses and impacts on biodiversity.

Further detailed studies on alternatives were completed in 1996 and the Forestry and Environment Ministry Secretary granted approval for the project under the National Environment Act in July 1998 subject to strict adoption of proposed mitigatory measures to minimise possible environmental impacts, which included the development of a watershed management plan, maintenance of daytime flows over the waterfalls, monitoring of groundwater levels, an assessment of biodiversity, management of tunnel waste and a resettlement programme.

One of the generators
This decision was challenged in the Court of Appeal in October 1998. The Forestry and Environment Ministry Secretary gave final order in March 2000, subsequent to the settlement of the appeal. The government secured financial support in March 2002 from the Japanese government to implement the project, signing of Loan Agreement in 2002 and soon it would add the first 75 MW to the National Power Grid under its first phase.

Project funding
The Upper Kotmale Hydropower Project is funded by the Japanese government on an Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) loan executed between the two governments on March 28, 2002. The loan is extended to Sri Lanka by Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Loan Agreement No. SL - P74. The details of the loan are as follows. JBIC Provides Special Yen (ODA) Loan of 33,265 million yen to Sri Lanka to Support Stable Power Supply.

Entrance to the tunnel
The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC; Governor: Kyosuke Shinozawa) signed a loan agreement with the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka for a total loan of up to 33,265 million yen to be used for the Upper Kotmale Hydropower Project being implemented by the Ceylon Electricity Board.

When completed Upper Kotmale Hydro Electricity Project which was launched in 2006 is expected to produce 409 million units of electricity annually. The UKHP located in the Nuwara Eliya district will be using the water flowing from the Kotmale Oya, a branch of the Mahaweli River and there is an assurance that the waterfalls around the area would not dry up. Prior to commencement of construction activities in 2003, a Comprehensive Environmental Management Plan (EMP) was prepared. This EMP served to provide supporting information to the tender process so ensuring that the environmental responsibilities of the contractors are known from the beginning.

A resettled village
The water of the Kotmale Oya will be diverted from the head pond through the intake, from which the water enters into the headrace tunnel (about 13 km long). The headrace tunnel conveys the water to the powerhouse cavern, through the inclined penstock tunnel, where two Francis turbine units will be installed.

Nearly 500 families were relocated and they have all beeing resettled with better living conditions in new homes. Housing and other infrastructure facilities provided for them are of very high standard. A majority of the 495 displaced families belong to the plantation community. Many of them were living in tin-roofed line rooms which had one verandah and a room with no separate kitchen or bathroom facility, forced to use one bathroom by several families. The Project has also constructed three new Kovils, and two Christian Churches to replace those affected by the project acquisition.

Giving these villages a new lifestyle too was another indirect benefit from the project. Talawakelle area will also be developed as a tourism zone, with St Clair Falls being the main attraction. A viewing deck too is to being constructed.

The Upper Kotmale Project will provide five percent of country’s power requirement annually providing 409 GW hours of electricity.

The project will save Rs 8 billion per year. It has no negative impact on the environment.

21 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:50 pm


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Sampath Bank in aggressive expansion drive
Sanjeevi Jayasuriya
The Sampath Bank completed an aggressive expansion plan for the last year by widening the reach from 100 to over 200 branches thereby having an extensive presence in the country.

The Bank’s branch expansion and the exceeding of the industry average in terms of credit and deposit growth created a milestone in its 25 years of operation in the country. However, the credit growth and branch expansion were not carried out at the expense of credit quality as the deleted ration dropped from seven percent four years ago to a healthy 2.8 percent at present, Sampath Bank newly appointed Managing Director Aravinda Perera told Daily News Business.

Sampath Bank Managing Director Aravinda Perera
Picture by Sulochana Gamage
“We are at present having our presence in most important towns in the country. This enabled us to book new deposits and loans where most of the new branches are looking to break even in this year,” he said.

The bank will continue to branch expansion process where potential locations are available. The bank expects that the continuous growth will reaffirm its efforts to become the number one commercial bank in the country.

We are progressing towards this goal and it is a long process. The bank will undergo changes and the board of management will see major changes shortly. We have performed better than the competition on profitability and plan to do well in 2012 as well, he said.

‘The banking industry is very competitive and we could envisage increased competition in 2012. The competitiveness is good for the customers and there will be a fierce battle for deposit mobilization as a few more foreign banks including an Indian Bank is looking at business opportunities in Sri Lanka, he said.

The entire banking industry showed positive results and this augurs well in the long run as the country has an emerging economy. The regulatory framework has made banks more stable coupled with financial standards and risk mitigating techniques introduced in the recent past that are in the process of implementation.

This will have positive impact on the long term stability of the system.

“Banks were given considerable tax concessions under the 2010 budget and we are directed to use this saving for development projects where the country could benefit and achieve economic progress. “The country is not overbanked and our savings habits when compared with other Asian countries are below than average. The bottom of the pyramid is not served properly.

It is necessary for the banks to go out to all remote areas of the country. The banks should focus more on internet and mobile banking and innovative products to cater to this market segment. “The mergers among the banks are not happening at present. However, capital adequacy requirement will lead to merges.

It is important not to kill the competition in the process. The draw back for Sri Lankan banks to go overseas is not having substantial capital. With the deposit drive we will be looking at venturing outside,” Perera said.

22 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:51 pm


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Indian High Commissioner visits HDCC
The Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K. Kantha visited the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce (HDCC) recently. This was the High Commissioner’s second visit to the Chamber.

Hambantota Chamber CEO, Azmi Thassim greeting the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K. Kantha
During the visit the High Commissioner met with officials of HDCC, Board of Directors, past Presidents and business community of the Hambantota district.

The High Commissioner was accompanied by Consul General of India in Hambantota K.N. Mohanakumaran. Discussions were very cordial and fruitful and both parties agreed to work together to increase trade between local business and India and to invest in joint projects in the fields of industry, agriculture and tourism.

The High Commissioner stressed that, with the construction of the harbour and the international airport in Hambantota, there is ample scope for increasing the trade between local business and India. He encouraged the business community of Hambantota to directly link with Indian businesses not only for importing but also for exporting. He said that this was the main purpose of opening the Consulate in Hambantota.

The High Commissioner pointed out that most of the items of export from Sir Lanka are free from tax in India under the Free Trade Agreement. He said that the Consulate and the High Commission would be happy to facilitate linkages and also visits of local businessmen to trade fairs in India to make direct business contacts. He said that the Consulate would be happy to issue long term visas to genuine businessmen. The High Commissioner advised the Chamber to make use of the large number of scholarships offered by India under ITEC for capacity building.

The High Commissioner mentioned that the business people of Hambantota should get the maximum benefit from the developments.

The High Commissioner informed members of the Chamber that the Indian Government is starting a special train for Buddhist pilgrims from Sri Lanka. The train, named Dambadiva Vandana, will start from Chennai and cover 15 pilgrimage sites in 21 days before returning to Chennai. The test run started on November 3 and regular service is expected to start in February.

They reiterated their commitment to work towards the strengthening of the relationship between India and the people of the Southern Province of Sri Lanka.

23 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:51 pm


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Etisalat gives back to rural community
Etisalat gives back to the Gabbela Maha Vidyalaya in the village of Endana, a rural community of primarily plantation workers. The community of Endana caught Etisalat’s attention following the erection of an Etisalat Telecommunication tower in the area.

CSR activity Etisalat carried out for a school in Endana.
Etisalat CEO, Dumindra Ratnayaka said, As we look to expand the coverage of our network in our quest to become Sri Lanka’s number one mobile telecommunications operator we aren’t forgetting that we as one of Sri Lanka’s largest corporate entities have a social obligation to help uplift struggling communities.

So we want to give back to some of the rural communities that could use our contribution, and we chose to give through their school because its through education that we can empower citizens to uplift themselves in the future.This initiative by Etisalat was planned in concurrence with the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Gabbela Maha Vidyalaya.

The move saw 350 school bags being gifted to the students, the donation of a new printer and a selection of books being added to the school library, which is open to students and parents alike.

Endana, located south east of Watapola in the Sabaragamuwa province, became one of the southern locations to fall under Etisalat’s expansion and see the establishment of a telecommunications tower in February of this year.

Come year end the community of Endana is boasting one of the highest concentrations of Etisalat subscribers and users amongst the rural locations.

“As mobile technology evolves and the role it plays in the lives of people becomes increasingly vital, the demands of the market increases. Rural communities such as Endana are developing, as they do they look to the services that Telcos can provide to empower them,” Ratnayaka said. He said,

“Providing mobile connectivity to Endana was only the first step, we then provided the community access to our industry leading mobile broadband services. Less than a month in and we have already seen substantial subscription numbers. Endana has been a testament to the growing potential in rural communities and their demand for cutting edge mobile connectivity.”

24 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:52 pm


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Spa Aura opens
Sanjeevi Jayasuriya

Spa Aura treating a customer Pictures by Saliya Rupasinghe
Going beyond the concept of beautycare to include wellness in it comprehensive service range, the Spa Aura the latest addition to the Chandani Bandara salon chain was launched recently at Nugegoda.

The Spa Aura will provide holistic treatment for relaxed and stress-free mind and body.

The varieties of services from the Spa include massages for body, face and foot, milk bath, sauna acupuncture and Ayurveda body treatment.

Spa Aura treating a customer Pictures by Saliya Rupasinghe
“The Spa Aura was launched to cater to the growing demand for such services from our longstanding clients. They have requested for this kind of facility for some time as they were satisfied with our range of beautycare treatment,” 4Ever Natural Skin Products Company Chairperson and Managing Director Beautician Chandani Bandara told Daily News Business.

“The lifestyles of the modern day Sri Lankans have changed and they live in a stressful environment. Therefore, it is important to engage in de-stress activities and the Spa Aura provides ideal solutions for total relaxation,” she said.

“We have employed a well trained staff to attend to the customized needs and the services are reasonably priced to cater to all strata of society.

The approach to the service is total satisfaction and hence, this will be a special feature in the chain of salons that are very popular among women of all ages,” she said.

The Spa serves exclusively women and it is operating on all seven days except Poya days.

Hainan Lanka, ZOA partnership for bicycle industry
Ramani Kangaraarachchi
A leading bicycle manufacturer Hainan Lanka signed a MOU with ZOA Refugee Care Netherlands recently to manufacture bicycles as a cottage industry.

This will be a sustainable livelihood project for the grass roots level people in the North and East.

Seva Lanka and UNHCR work as facilitators to this project worth Rs 150 million, Managing Director Hainan Lanka Amal Suriyage said.

He said 300 to 500 units will be assembled in these areas consisting four to five people in each group. Manufacturing of various parts of the bicycle will be sub contracted to them as self-employment and finally 5,000 bicycles will be assembled in the factory in Vavuniya.

It is significant that 50 percent of these people are female and the balance consists of disabled and displaced people.

Suriyage said a permanent factory will be constructed in Vavuniya.

25 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:53 pm


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Imesha’s passion for colours, shapes, ideas
Sanjeevi Jayasuriya
Creativity plays a key role in shaping the ideas into monetary values. It also gives the momentum to do things differently and enables to achieve end results. If not for creativity the world would have been a monotonous place to live in. The jewellery designer in Imesha Wijewickrama proves to be a successful combination in building an effective business model for Sala Enterprises (Pvt) Limited.

Her involvement in this technology firm now operating as a family business by way of providing expertise in designing, architecture and interior decor has contributed immensely to become a reputed venture in the field of information technology.

Imesha’s passion for colours, shapes, ideas
Operating under the tag line ‘We make technology affordable’, Sala Enterprises has emerged as a popular choice for quality technology products within the reach of masses simultaneously making these products available in Sri Lanka when launched worldwide.

This move has ensured that highly advanced products are in the Sri Lankan market providing the opportunity for customers access to the latest technological devices without a time lag.

As the Advertising and Promotions Director she looks into minute details when it becomes her responsibility to maintain excellent standards in the work undertaken. When at work, her abundance of creativity knows no boundaries, but is focused on reaching targets always.

As IT is a constantly changing field, Imesha has kept vigil to track revolving trends to make Sala Enterprises ahead of time and aligned its futuristic approach by periodic product introduction to meet the technological transformation.

She was interviewed by Daily News Business. Excerpts of the interview.

Q. How do you describe your line of business?

Imesha Wijewickrama
A. My husband Chintaka Wijewickrama started Sala Enterprises in 1992. He was in the USA for nine years pursuing higher studies and came back to Sri Lanka to take care of his parents. The venture was started going beyond his liking to technological developments to make them available in the country.

The selling of Seiko Electronic Dictionaries gave the right opening for the business to flourish. We met in 1994 and married a year later. The venture was initially set up at Alfred Place and moved to Galle Road, Kollupitiya. At this point I joined Chintaka and after three years of hard work the business grew steadily.

We have been taking part in every Techno exhibition since inception and this boosted our sales volumes. We have won several awards and our pride has been computer assembling and selling. In the early years of business selling one computer on a given month was rewarding and it soon became ten computers per month. The gradual increase in sales, speaks for the technological thirst in the country and we see much potential and crave in the younger generation regarding IT. We strive to bring in latest technology and travel frequently to Singapore for purchases.

My contribution comes in the designing and organizing aspects where a blend of creativity and managerial skills is put into good use. The Sala Enterprises head office is located at Rajagiriya and we have few showrooms including in Pamankada and Pepiliyana.

Q. How do you strike a balance between family life and business?

A. The venture has become a full-time job for me. We have three sons, Malinda (13), Charitha (10) and Rakitha (7). As my mother lives next door things have become easier for me. She gives me the flexibility of spending more hours at generating businesses. However, once at home I see that the house is in order. I spend quality time with our children and help them in studies.

Q. What motivated you to venture into business on your own?

A. My business involvement comes as a case of attraction of opposites. When it comes to designing Chintaka has no clue and I fill the void. I also come from a business background and my father was involved in a successful food related venture. The liking for business is inherent and my creative talents were beneficial in running the business.

Q. What are your goals?

A. My prime concern is to think out-of-the-box. This comes with the goal to improve performance continuously. I make an effort to do the best in whatever I do, be it business or household. I try to achieve the best while giving the best within my capacity. This ambitious aim has made me to help the business to move in an upward curve and remain at the peak.

Q. How do you face competition?

A. I consider every step as a new beginning. I engage in business moves with an open mind to have room for perfection. Every challenge provides a lesson and competition is no difference.

Q. What example do you provide others?

A. I am a person who likes to see smiling faces. For this I go that extra mile in making others comfortable in whatever way possible. My value proposition is change for the better and I work to reach the desired level.

I am for sharing and caring and I want to provide inspiration in the efforts to make a difference in our society.

Q. What is your specialty?

A. I am a qualified jewellery designer. I also have the ability to do flower arrangements and making cakes.

I have made maximum use of my skills thanks to the business started by my husband. My passion is for colours and I have a dream of having a dessert parlour one day complimenting the culinary skills.

Q. What are your achievements in business?

A. We started in a humble way and the business has grown steadily. We have a reputation as a supplier of quality and timely technological products at affordable prices. We have a well connected dealer network islandwide for greater accessibility. When looking back from where we started and where we stand today, the entire journey is an achievement. We have stayed in front and the difficult part is to maintain this level.

The number of awards we won is testimony to our success. Among them are Sala Enterprises became the overall award winner at the Infotel 2008 and have won Techno awards consecutively.

The GPS solution was commended at the recently concluded e-Swarnabhimani event.

Q. What is your message to society?

A. The country needs socially conscious people and we need to play a key role in the development process to make Sri Lanka a better place. In realizing this, there should be a society that upholds family ties and values to mould productive citizens thus making them prime movers of economic progress.

26 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:54 pm


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Software such as hhims play pivotal role in fulfilling Mahinda Chintana aims - Minister Siyambalapitya
Software such as the Hospital Health Information Management System (hhims) can significantly improve service delivery to the citizen. They are pivotal in achieving the goals of the Mahinda Chintana ‘Vision for the Future’,” says Telecommunication and Information Technology Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, at a ceremony held at the Karavanella Base Hospital in Kegalle recently at which the Hospital Health Information Management Systems (hhims) was presented to him.

Karavanella Base Hospital Medical Director Dr.Anuruddha Jagoda presents the hhims computer software to Telecommunication and Information Technology Minister Ranjth Siyambalapitiya. Associated in the presentation are Telecommunication and Information Technology Ministry Secretary deleted Athukorala and ICTA Re-engineering Government Programme Director Wasantha Deshapriya.
The Minister said that one of the core aims of the government’s policy statement is to make people’s lives comfortable through the use of ICT.

Thanks to this new software, the fruition of a joint effort by the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) and the Health Ministry, patient care will receive a shot in the arm. This will do away with the need for patients to register themselves on each and every visit to the hospital. Moreover, the software will enable the hospital to preserve and retrieve medical records bringing relief to both patient and doctor.

“Software such as this contribute much towards making Sri Lanka the Wonder of Asia by 2016, the challenge placed before us by the President, the Minister attested.

Expressing views in this regard ICTA CEO Reshan Dewapura said that the software - hhims - was a great step forward in taking the benefits of ICT to the people. The ICTA CEO further said that this software was recognised a winner at the National Best Content award e-Swabhimani Awards, being a product developed and deployed locally. He said this type of initiative would contribute towards making Sri Lanka the knowledge hub of the region. Participating in the occasion ICTA Re-engineering Government Programme Director, Wasantha Deshapriya explained the progress of the development of the software.

The software - hhims - was produced by the Regional Health Services Director, Kegalle District and ICTA. It has been tested in five hospitals in the Kegalle District for over six months - Karavanella, Mawanella, Undegoda, Kitulgala and Deraniyagala and now it is ready to be installed in other Government hospitals islandwide.

The software allows doctors and nurses to maintain the patient’s medical record electronically. When the patients return for treatment, their medical record is easily accessible. For the first time in Sri Lanka, doctors in government hospitals can view the patient’s medical record - visits, drugs prescribed, any allergies noted etc - on a computer screen. The patient only has a number - the hospital dispensary and the laboratory identify the patient from this registration number and will dispense medication and carry out tests as per the doctor’s ‘prescription’ which is documented on the electronic patient record and available to them on their computer screens.

This user-friendly software (hhims), enables accurate diagnosis and will lend itself to a paperless hospital. It also facilitates the production of many routine but essential hospital reports thus saving time and much paperwork. A positive indirect effect of the system is that the medical staff has more time to attend to their patients, Deshapriya attested. hhims is available as a free and open source software. More information on the software could be found by visiting the web-site

27 Re: Sri Lanka Newspapers - 02/01/2012 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:59 pm


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Minister assures safety for tourists
Deputy Minister of Economic Development Laxman Yapa Abeywardena said that the government and Sri Lanka Tourism jointly convey their deepest regret about the very unfortunate incident that took place in Tangalle on 24th December, resulting in the death of a tourist and injuring his partner.

"The Police Department is conducting a full scale investigation about this incident and so far, within 48 hours duration, five suspects including the chief suspect have been arrested and the weapon used for committing the crime too has been found by the police.

Special police teams and a group of CID officers are deployed round the clock to further investigate the incident and arrest other suspects connected to this incident." The Russian lady who was injured by the clash, has been admitted to a private hospital in Colombo (Lanka Hospitals) and she is undergoing further treatment now.

We are constantly overlooking her condition and have made all arrangements to provide the best of medical attention for her speedy recovery.

Both Russian Ambassador and Sri Lankan Ambassador in Moscow (Udayanga Weeratunga who is currently in Sri Lanka) have seen the patient who is recovering fast along with the Chairman, the Director General of Sri Lanka Tourism and government representatives.

The dead body of the tourist has already been brought to Colombo and the British High Commission is awaiting instructions with regard to transportation of the remains to England from his family.

The External Affairs Ministry, Sri Lanka Tourism, the two Embassies and the Ministry of Defence are fully employed in coordinating the investigations and updating the media, public and other stakeholders about the progress of this incident.

As the government of Sri Lanka, we take the full responsibility of handling this incident and all suspects will be brought to justice without despite their ranks and positions. We strongly condemn what took place in Tangalle and express our condolence to the family of the victim and the injured.

"These incidents, though unfortunate, have happened in other tourist destinations in the past and can happen anywhere in the world.

This will by no means overshadow the warmth that is offered to Tourists by our hospitable nation and people and responsible service offered by the Tourism Industry," he said.

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