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Aitken Spence achieves 33% growth in 2Q PBT from non-tourism sectors

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Aitken Spence PLC non-tourism sectors reported a Profit-Before-Tax (PBT) of Rs 1.13 Bn in 2Q, a growth of 33% compared to the previous year in the midst of challenging economic conditions. These sectors also reported an EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest Expense, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation) of Rs 1.59 Bn prior to the impact of forex compared to 2Q of previous year.

The Group’s non-tourism sectors continued their positive performance since commencement of full operations after the lockdown in May 2020. The non-tourism sectors include companies in the plantations, renewable energy, maritime & freight logistics, apparel, insurance, elevator agency, printing & packaging, money transfer and maritime education & management segments.

The Group’s new iconic venture, Sri Lanka’s first waste-to-energy project with an investment of Rs. 13 Bn will commence operations by the end of the year, overcoming all setbacks experienced due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This project will provide a sustainable solution to the Colombo city’s waste management problem whilst adding renewable energy to the country’s energy profile.

The Group’s plantation segment recorded an excellent performance during the quarter with a profit growth of over 140%. The maritime & freight logistics sector also performed remarkably to record a 17% increase in profits for the period. The apparel manufacturing segment delivered a six-fold growth in profits whilst the printing & packaging segment recorded a turnaround during the quarter. Further outstanding performances were seen from the insurance, elevator agency, and money transfer segments in the services sector that recorded a profit growth of 35%.

The Group’s tourism sector EBITDA for 2Q was a loss of Rs. 940 Mn since it was largely affected by curtailments in international travel that impacted the Group’s destination management, hotels and airline GSA. However, these companies commenced operations post-lockdown by serving the local customers and introduced new and exciting experiences to serve this clientele. By offering customised excursions with unique experiences to the local market, the destination management segment of the Group handled nearly 9,000 local clients during the quarter.

With the easing of the lock down restrictions, Aitken Spence Hotels in Sri Lanka commenced operations in the second quarter catering to the local clientele. All hotel properties were highly patronised and recorded satisfactory occupancy levels throughout the quarter. Due to the second wave of Covid-19 in October, operations have once again been curtailed; however, it is hoped that a new-normality will prevail with the implementation of all required health protocols.

Most of the hotels and resorts representing the Heritance and Adaaran brands in the Maldives commenced operations and are seeing an upward trend in the bookings. Maldives as a destination has attracted over 40,000 tourist arrivals since the opening of the country to international traffic post Covid-19 lockdown. Turyaa Chennai and Al Falaj Oman, remains operational throughout the period recording moderate occupancy levels and food and beverage revenue through the domestic traffic secured by these hotels. Aitken Spence Group recorded an EBITDA of nearly Rs. 600 Mn for both tourism and non-tourism sectors for the Quarter.



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LOLC Al-Falaah unveils pioneering Wadi’ah Gold-Storage Facility with multiple customer benefits

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Sri Lanka’s most awarded and trusted Alternate Financial services brand, LOLC Al-Falaah recently unveiled their ground-breaking new product – the Wadi’ah Gold Loan Facility. This is the 1st time a Finance company in Sri Lanka is offering this facility. Al-Falaah Wadi’ah is a unique gold storage option offered to Al-Falaah’s valued customer base. All gold articles are tested for quality and authenticity using state-of-the art equipment by the company’s experienced staff without causing any damage to the jewellery. A unique ‘Gold Storage Certificate’ with the description of articles, including weight, quality and quantity along with the market value will be issued to the customer when obtaining this facility.

Speaking about the new product, Mr. Shiraz Refai, Deputy General Manager of LOLC Al-Falaah said, “Gold is a favourite investment option at all levels within the concentrated community. The metal is usually pawned, sold or exchanged when in need of cash. As the conventional Pawning options and Gold Loan offering has limitations to cater to the specific needs, as well as contradict with certain beliefs of the community, a concept acceptable and practiced in the industry is introduced by LOLC’s Alternate Financial Services Unit to its valued customer segment”.

Accordingly, a unique feature has been introduced to the Al-Falaah Wadi’ah Gold Storage facility offering the Customer the benefit of obtaining an interest-free maximum Cash-Advance in the industry at zero mark-up against the gold storage certificate value for any emergencies. In addition, for the convenience of the customers, the Gold storage facility period is extended from 3, 6 and 12 months without any requirement for a deposit and the custodial fees are comparatively competitive. The stored gold articles will also be offered a free Takaful cover with a reassurance of highest safety and security.

The Al-Falaah Wadi’ah gold storage facility will be initially available at selected branches including Wellawatta, Akkaraipattu, Kalmunai, Pottuvil, Grandpass, Maradana, Mawanella, Matara, Nawalapitiya and Negombo. Al-Falaah aims to make the facility available across all LOLC Finance branches and dedicated Al-Falaah centers island-wide by the end of the 1st quarter of 2021.

Commenting on the new Al-Falaah Wadi’ah Gold loan facility, Nishantha Jayasekera, Chief Manager, SME Unit & Head of Gold Loan Business of LOLC Finance said, “The main aim of this facility is to give financial-access to the grass-root level clients who do not have direct access to banking & finance, but require small cash advances to develop daily businesses and self-employment. Through this product and its value added features, we hope to cover all segments of the population”.

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LANKATILES donates high-end ventilator to Colombo North Teaching Hospital

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A Rs. 4.3 million ventilator has been donated to the Coronary Care Unit of the Colombo North Teaching Hospital, Ragama, by LANKATILES, the country’s leading tile manufacturer.

The machine was described as a high-end, world-class piece of equipment suitable for all patient groups.

Present at the official hand-over were Mr Mahendra Jayasekera, Managing Director of Lanka Walltiles PLC and Lanka Tiles PLC, Dr. S. P. A. Liyanage Ranaweera, Director of Colombo North Teaching Hospital, and Dr. Sanjeewa Rajapakse, Consultant Cardiologist of the hospital.

At a time when state-of-the-art equipment is urgently needed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, LANKATILES reaffirmed its commitment to help frontline hospital staff in their efforts at reducing the spread of the virus and easing patient numbers.

The company said this was a commitment it is ready to stand by at all times in the interests of the country.

 

 

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Sampath Bank hosts Central Bank’s ‘MatarataQR’ event to promote QR code use

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Matara, April 3rd, 2021: Sampath Bank PLC recently hosted the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s (CBSL) MatarataQR event, in a bid to drive awareness and increase acceptance and usage of LANKAQR, the common Quick Response (QR) code standard for the country that was introduced in 2020.

Encouraging consumers to adopt the use of QR codes in their day-to-day transactions, the event was held at the Sanath Jayasuriya Grounds in Matara under the patronage of the Chief Guest, Dullas Alahapperuma, Minister of Power and Guest of Honour, D. Kumaratunga, Director – Payments and Settlements, Central Bank of Sri Lanka; along with senior officials from the CBSL, other commercial banks and financial institutions. Sampath Bank was represented by Nanda Fernando – Managing Director; Tharaka Ranwala – Senior DGM – Operations / Group Chief Marketing Officer and Ajith Salgado – Group Chief Information Officer.

At the event, the Bank actively promoted its ‘WePay’ mobile wallet which helped attract more customers while also onboarding new merchants. A 25% cash back was on offer for payments at over 200 merchants in Matara on the day, made via the LANKAQR enabled WePay digital mobile payment app.

“We are very proud to partner with the Central Bank to host this event that will highlight the safety, convenience and speed of getting onboard the LANKAQR payment standard to the people of Matara. These benefits, coupled with the advanced digital banking solutions offered by Sampath Bank, make it a simple choice to migrate to digital payment technology and we warmly invite the merchants in Matara to come experience the benefits of adopting this new method of payments,” said Nanda Fernando, Managing Director, Sampath Bank PLC.

Sampath Bank is a 100% local bank that has deeply rooted itself in the lives of the people of Sri Lanka. Established in 1987, the bank has become a state-of-the-art financial institution that continues to be a market leader today thanks to its constant innovation and customer focused approach to business. It has introduced many firsts to the Sri Lankan banking sector including introducing ATMs to Sri Lanka, extended banking hours and slip-less banking to name a few. The Bank is steadily transforming itself into a ‘tech company engaged in banking,’ from the traditional approach of a bank engaged in technology.

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