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Aitken Spence shows strong comeback in Q1 through improved performance in June 2020

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Aitken Spence PLC made a strong comeback in the month of June 2020 with the Group’s main sectors excluding tourism recording a growth in profits compared to June 2019, despite the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on overall economic activity.

It is noteworthy that three main sectors of the Group; maritime & freight logistics, strategic investments and services collectively recorded a profit of Rs. 513 million during the quarter with the performance of these sectors improving steadily month on month.

The tourism sector of the Group both in Sri Lanka and overseas was significantly impacted due to the global pandemic and lockdown in the country during April and May 2020, resulting in the first quarter ending June 30, 2020 recording a loss of Rs. 1.5 billion compared to Rs. 216.7 million profit attributable to the shareholders in the previous year.

Resilience was seen in the Group’s diversified business portfolio and strategic direction, particularly, in integrated logistics, plantations, elevator agency, insurance and money transfer services that was commendable amid unprecedented challenges.

The maritime & freight logistics sector performed remarkably under challenging conditions to deliver a profit-before-tax (PBT) of Rs. 459 million. Most companies within the maritime and freight logistics sector, operated continuously without a disruption during the quarter under review with increase in profits from the integrated logistics segment and airline cargo division of 58% and 71% respectively over the last year. Another outstanding sector performance was recorded by the elevator agency, insurance, money transfer segments in the services sector recording PBT of Rs. 96 million.

The strategic investments sector recorded a loss of Rs. 42.4 million for the three months ended June 30, 2020 due to foreign exchange translation losses arising from the strengthening of the rupee by nearly 2% during the quarter, although the plantations segment recorded an excellent performance with a growth in profit of more than 350% over the previous year and the power generation segment also making a noteworthy contribution to profits. (Aitken Spence)

 

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SLT & Mobitel successfully conclude digitization of Lankagama Village

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Fulfilling its role as the nation’s pioneer in Telecommunication Services, the SLT Group successfully completed the President’s directive of providing high-speed connectivity solutions to the Lankagama Village recently.

An event was held to mark this proud achievement on 20th September 2020 in the presence of Oshada Senanayake – Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), Lalith Seneviratne – Group CEO of SLT & Mobitel, Kiththi Perera- Chief Executive Officer of SLT, M.B.P. Fernandez – Chief Operations Officer of SLT, Prabath Dahanayake – Chief Marketing Officer of SLT, Sudarshana Geeganage – Chief Financial Officer of Mobitel, Shashika Senerath – Chief Marketing Officer of Mobitel, Rasantha Hettithanthrige – Senior General Manager, Engineering & Operations at Mobitel along with SLT & Mobitel technology partners Huawei, ZTE and the community.

The SLT Group provided high-speed 4G/LTE broadband and enhanced voice services within record-time despite the fact that the Lankagama Village is located at the southern boundary of the Sinharaja Rain Forest, in the Neluwa Divisional Secretariat, Galle District; posing severe logistical challenges. Further, the SLT Group also offered SMART classroom solutions consisting of tabs, laptops and school supplies including stationery thereby opening up a world of possibilities for the students in the remote village. (SLT)

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A ‘phygital’ experience at HSBC Premier Centre in Pelawatte

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With the demographic equation changing and the mass affluent customers now also choosing to live in the suburbs, HSBC is gearing its branches of the periphery of the city to service customers in this segment.

Pelawatte has become the latest HSBC branch to be upgraded to be an exclusive Premier Banking Centre to meet the growing demand of the affluent population in the residential hub of the Colombo metro region.

The newly refurbished Premier Centre was declared open by Mark Prothero, CEO for HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives. Also present was Nadeesha Senaratne, Country Head of Wealth & Personal Banking, together with senior management and staff.

Nadeesha Senaratne, said, “HSBC has established a long history of 128 years in Sri Lanka, and in the past few years we have seen the value of strategically expanding to meet the specific needs of our customers.”

HSBC’s Pelawatte branch was opened in 1998 and is conveniently located at no 418B Battaramulla – Pannipitiya Road, Battaramulla which currently serves a diverse portfolio of retail banking customers. With the new improvements undertaken, HSBC hopes to provide customers with an inclusive banking service, and attract potential new customers with its Premier banking proposition and worldwide banking service, within the expanding residential neighborhood.

The Premier Centre in Pelawatte models HSBC’s flagship Premier Centre located in Flower road- Colombo 7, with an expansive ‘open’ space concept for casual open dialog with customers. The space has been optimized to enhance the customer experience by providing a ‘phygital’ banking experience with private meeting rooms specially designed to give customers an exclusive banking service with the assistance of a dedicated Relationship Manager. It also features video conferencing facility, which enables customers to connect with their Premier RM’s internationally, while enjoying the highest standards of privacy. Customers can walk out of the branch with the ‘Bank in their pocket’ by opening an account in less than an hour and begin transacting digitally, almost instantly.

(HSBC)

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Low valued companies’ stocks in demand

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

Share price increases of low valued stocks were a highligh of CSE trading yesterday, market analysts said.

It is said that HNB Finance, which featured one of the smallest Initial Public Offerings (IPO) in February this year, witnessed more than a 75 percent share price increase, thus adding 21 index points to the All Share Price Index. According to stock-brokers,  when the HNB Finance shares started trading, it stood at Rs. 8.80 and at the end of the day it  shot up to Rs. 15.50, which was a Rs. 6.60 or 75 percent increase.

At the IPO  in February it is said that the  number of issued shares reported 10 million  at Rs. 5.70 per share. However, during the day  more than 1.9 million  shares or close to 20 percent  traded, which was an unusual occurrence, brokers said. 

Further, there was a significant price  increase in the stocks of several low valued companies, including Pan Asia Power, Mackwoods Energy, Laugfs Power, Vallibal Power Erathna, Vidula Lanka, Lotus Power, National Lanka Finance and many more. These listed companies’ share prices noticeably increased and traded well. Those companies’ share prices are all below Rs. 10, market analysts said.  

Amid those developments profit taking was noted since it is near to the month end and both indices showed mixed reactions. All Share Price Index was up by 18.23 points and  S and P SL20 went down by 16.06 points. The slight drop in the banking sector resulted in indicating a downward trend in S and P SL20, market sources said.

Yesterday, turnover stood at Rs. 2.53 billion with three crossings. Those crossings were reported in JKH, which crossed 540,000 shares to the tune of Rs. 73.44 million; its share price traded at Rs. 136, HNB 250,000 shares crossed for Rs. 32 million, its share price traded at Rs. 128 and Sampath Bank 150,000 shares crossed for Rs. 20.3 million, its share trading at Rs. 135.

In the retail market top five companies that mainly contributed to the day’s turnover were,  Kelani Tyre Rs. 151.5 million (91.9 million shares traded), Royal Ceramic Rs. 130 million (1.15 million shares traded), Hemas Holdings Rs118.3 million (1.68 million shares traded), Expolanka Rs. 112.6 million (11.8 million shares traded) and Richard Pieris Holdings Rs. 93.2 million (6.2 million shares traded). During the day  134.2 million share volumes changed hands in 26024 transactions. Sanasa Development Bank is going for a right issue, which was conveyed to the CSE yesterday

On the previous day, Hayleys PLC dominated turnover  at the CSE with 2 million of its shares trading for Rs. 467.3 million, accounting for 13 percent  of the total.  Finco had bought the shares (amounting to a 2.6 percent stake) done via two crossings at Rs. 230 per share. 

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