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All clear for a stronger GDP growth trajectory in 2021 – Asia Securities Research

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Leading stockbroking firm Asia Securities (Pvt) Ltd., maintained that all signs point to a strong GDP growth trajectory in 2021. The latest Economic Outlook report titled Balancing the Priorities – The New Normal forecasts a GDP growth of 5.4% for 2021, driven by improved investor sentiment and consumer demand, an accommodative monetary policy environment, and a pickup in global demand.

Asia Securities’ report on 27 March 2020—the first such report to forecast the impact of COVID-19—forecasted the economy to contract by 13.0%—17.0% YoY in 2Q 2020. The report considered three probability-weighted scenarios combining a top-down and bottom-up analysis. The firm’s assessment was in-line with the 16.3% YoY contraction for 2Q 2020. While the outlook for 2021 remains largely positive due to improved policy certainty and a stable government, the firm notes that several challenges remain.

The 2021 budget emphasizes on a domestically driven recovery amidst fiscal support. With improving business and consumer confidence seen following the end of the first lockdown, a continued low interest rate environment bodes well for investments in the short-medium term. However, a negative real interest rate environment will likely continue in 2021.

Sri Lanka looks to head towards a negative real interest rate environment in 2021

Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) will take center stage in 2021 with the government’s focus on executing investment driven FDIs, particularly related to the Port City and Hambantota Port zone. The Asia Securities report notes that attracting long term non-debt related inflows is a key factor at this juncture of the Sri Lankan economy. Improving the FDI landscape can resolve two long-term issues: (i) the dependance on external financing and (ii) fiscal pressure. The report further highlights that there is potential for FDI to reach 4.0% – 5.0% of GDP in the long term if correct policy measures are in place.

One of the key challenges going into 2021 is the government’s debt obligations amidst a low credit profile. With a USD 4.5bn repayment schedule in place for 2021, the government would need to ensure that reserves are maintained at relatively healthy levels. We expect the government will continue to depend on domestic financing. However, with credit growth expected at ~8.0 – 10.0% YoY in 2021, Asia Securities expect interest rates to face upward pressure. While this may lead to higher debt rollover costs, it could be mitigated if non-debt related investments materialise in-line with expectations. In addition, Asia Securities forecast indicate that inflation will remain within the Central Bank’s threshold of 4.0% – 6.0% in 2021. While Asia Securities forecasts the fiscal deficit to weaken in 2021, the firm notes that an increase in the revenue base and higher growth can bring the overall deficit down by 2023.

Asia Securities is a leading investment firm in Sri Lanka providing Investment Banking, Research, Equities and Wealth Management services to local and international corporate, institutional and individual clients. Asia Securities’ clients can access the full research report titled Sri Lanka: 2021 Economic Outlook – Balancing the Priorities – The New Normal via the online Research portal or their investment adviser. To become a client of Asia Securities, reach out via inquiries@asiasecurities.lk.



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Next Meats, Purveyor of the World’s First Plant-based Yakiniku Meats, Is Now in Singapore

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The Tokyo-based startup makes its debut in the alt-protein hotspot of Singapore Next Meats has collaborated with Aburi-EN to deliver two new meal sets Made with soybean proteins, the Kalbi contains no chemical additives or animal ingredients

SINGAPORE –

 Media OutReach – 14 April 2021 – Next Meats, a purveyor of the world’s first plant-based yakiniku meats, is making its debut in the alternative protein hotspot, Singapore! The Japanese alternative meat company has collaborated this time with popular Japanese restaurant Aburi-EN, which will offer two types of set meals using the NEXT Kalbi (boneless short rib) for the very first time. Made largely from soy proteins, the NEXT Kalbi contains double the amount of protein and half the fats than that of regular meat and even more, it does not contain any chemical additives or cholesterol due to its lack of animal ingredients. Now, Singaporeans can enjoy yakiniku without the guilt! 

The two new menus available at Aburi-EN are the Kalbi Don Set (S$13.80) and the Stamina Teishoku (S$15.80) — which are available for a limited time only. Next Meats has specifically chosen to work with Aburi-EN as they are a Japanese grilled-meat specialist. The two menus are the culmination of many months of research and development, and they will also be Aburi-EN’s first-ever plant-based dishes.

For the Kalbi Don Set, Next Meat’s Kalbi is grilled and served atop a bowl of fragrant Japanese steamed rice. Equally indulgent, the Stamina Teishoku features the Kalbi stir-fried with cabbage along with egg imported from Okinawa. The meat is then served with fragrant Japanese steamed rice, salad, pickles and miso soup. For both dishes, the meats are glazed with a special homemade sauce that packs an irresistible umami punch.   

 Both the Kalbi Don Set and Stamina Teishoku will be available at all Aburi-EN stores from April to July 2021.

 An advocate of sustainable food production and better food security

 The NEXT Kalbi is one of Next Meats’ innovative offerings, which includes other plant-based delicacies such as the NEXT burger and NEXT gyudon (beef bowl). The company champions the importance of saving the planet and humanity through reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (which is produced from meat consumption and animal agriculture) and utilizing biotechnology to combat protein deficiency.

 Through extensive research and development, Next Meats has culminated the knowhow on using molecular binding to mould vegetable proteins from powder. Buoyed by state-of-the-art, proprietary technologies, the company has successfully created vegan substitutes that replicate the texture of real meat.

 

 

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Lanka Hospitals tops healthcare sector in LMD’s Most Awarded Entities

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Lanka hospitals, the internationally accredited multiple award-winning healthcare provider, topped the healthcare sector in the Most Awarded list compiled by LMD magazine for 2019/20.

Designed to rank the most awarded entities in Sri Lanka, LMD conducted the research, the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, involving 204 corporate entities, based on the cumulative tally of awards received from 52 awarding bodies between January 2019 to September 2020.

With a total of five awards, securing the overall rank of 67, Lanka Hospitals came first in the healthcare sector.

Deepthi Lokuarachchi, Group CEO, Lanka Hospitals, said three factors contributed towards Lanka Hospitals’ award winning process; profound commitment to quality, service standard in healthcare and the accreditation of Joint Commission International (JCI).

“Our stringent standards for quality have earned accolades and accreditations from numerous national and international agencies. Lanka Hospitals has been in the forefront of healthcare providers since 2009 and, particularly, between 2019 and 2020, we were able to win seven national and international awards including one for environmental management systems”, he said.

As a result of superior facilities, customer care and quality of service Lanka Hospitals offers, a growth was experienced in terms of medical tourists during the Covid-19 pandemic even though the inbound international population was restricted. JCI, a US-based accreditation agency, rates healthcare services based on several criteria related to medical as well as non medical services”, he noted.

In terms of corporate responsibility, Lanka Hospitals focuses on skills development, medical care and donations. Every year, Lanka Hospitals’ nursing school enrolls batches from outside the Western province and upon the successful completion of the course they are offered employment, he added.

 

 

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AkzoNobel harnesses AI technology to introduce Dulux Preview Service

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AkzoNobel’s Dulux has harnessed the transformative power of machine learning technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to introduce for the first time in Sri Lanka, a new concept that allows customers to accurately visualise their dream space ahead of their next paint job. A first in the industry, the Dulux Preview Service is accessible from a desktop or mobile platform, and enables clients to experiment with different colours, combinations, and themes on the go; enabling informed decisions about what works best for their interiors, a company news release said.

“Gone are the days of lugging around multiple decks of colour cards in an attempt to envision what a new space will look like, or being disappointed on having discovered a better colour scheme right after the walls were painted. The Dulux Preview Service provides a detailed virtual picture of projected living spaces -allowing users to try out over 2000 Dulux colours and multiple instant colour scheming options-, also equipping customers with the confidence to commit to a colour scheme knowing it will transform their space as they envisioned,” it said.

“In just three steps, the revolutionary new feature reduces turnaround time to under 48 hours on working days; making it a no-fuss, no-frill, seamless and hassle-free platform. First, users upload an image of the room or house they want to recolour. Next, a reference image is uploaded, and a colour shade or theme is chosen. Then Dulux colour experts curate the generated results catering to the specific need, and finally, a preview is received for customers to either store or use as recommendations.”

With just a ‘Snap, Preview, and Paint’, the Dulux Preview Service provides clients with the following:

Real-time visualisation. Customers upload a photo onto the platform, and the feature will digitally project how the space will look with the new colours. This allows customers to plan their paint job while taking into account the other furniture or wall fixtures in the room.

Options for multiple colour combinations. The preview service serves up a variety of colour combinations based on the reference image uploaded. Customers can also select from various Dulux colour themes based on the ambience they are looking for, with recommendations even on what other colours would complement the room or energy they are aspiring for.

Personalized recommendations. The tool also takes into account global trends and advice from colour experts to equip users with the best, personalised design recommendations.

Instant accessibility. As an easy-to-use, online tool, the service completely eliminates wait times for assistance from service agents; getting customers to that recreated space much quicker.

For free and customised designs or colour recommendations on how to transform your walls at the click of a button, visit www.duluxpreviewservice.com.

 

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