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Allegation against state bank hits investor confidence

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

CSE investor sentiment was affected yesterday close on the heels of Samagi Jana Balawegaya legislator Harsha de Silva telling parliament that a state bank had defaulted on a contract payment, stock market analysts said.

De Silva said that Sri Lankan banks had faced counterparty limit cuts since a downgrade of sovereign credit, which has tightened in recent times, making it harder to roll-over contracts.

“A few months ago, I warned in parliament about state banks borrowing dollars at high rates through swaps where premiums were negative, de Silva told parliament. The main opposition questioned in parliament whether a state bank had delayed payment on a contract, as the country struggles with a foreign exchange crisis triggered by money printed to maintain low interest rates.

Amid those developments the stock market was somewhat volatile and buying interests were noted in blue-chip counters but lower turnover level/ or below average turnover did not support the market to sustain its momentum. However, the market has some hope as the government has taken some steps to salvage fiscal and monetary consolidation via an IMF bailout, stock market analysts said.

Consequently, both indices showed mixed reactions. The All- Share Price Index went down by 6.1 points and S and P SL20 rose by 22.2 points. Turnover stood at Rs 1.7 billion with a single crossing. The crossing was reported in LB Finance, which crossed 323,000 shares to the tune of Rs 20.7 million, its shares traded at Rs 64.

In the retail market, top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Expolanka Holdings Rs 294 million (1.1 million shares traded), LOLC Holdings Rs 160 million (200,000 shares traded), ACL Cables Rs 133 million (1.6 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 119 million (11.6 million shares traded), JKH Rs 116 million (740,000 shares traded), Royal Ceramic Rs 94.8 million (1.8 million shares traded) and Chevron Lubricants Rs 74.7 million (764,000 shares traded). During the day 50.9 million share volumes changed hands in 14000 transactions.

Sunshine Holdings has entered into a sales and purchase agreement with another high-net worth investor, Govindasamy Sathasivam, for acquiring a 100 per cent stake in Sunshine Teas Pvt Limited for a Rs 1.4 billion consideration. Meanwhile, Sunshine Holdings plans to purchase a 28 per cent stake in Sunshine HealthCare Lanka Limited for a Rs 2.6 billion financial consideration from Akbar Brothers. However, a 72 per cent stake was purchased from the same company some time ago.

Though the index began trading on an upbeat note, retail favourite counters started losing the positive momentum and eventually led the market to close lower for the eighth consecutive day on the previous day at 10,458, losing 33 points.

It is said that high net worth and institutional investor participation was noted in JKH, Lanka IOC and Vallibel Finance. Mixed interest was observed in Hayleys and Expolanka Holdings, while retail interest was noted in Browns Investments and SMB Leasing voting.

Separately, the National Development Bank announced a first and final dividend of one rupee per share and a scrip dividend of Rs.4.50 per share.

Yesterday the US dollar rate was quoted at Rs 280.90, which was the free float of the rupee against the dollar. Its rate differs among commercial banks.



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Dialog Smart Home Enables Seamless Home Automation via Range of Intuitive Solutions 

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Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, introduced a range of convenient and integrated solutions via ‘Dialog Smart Home’ to enable intelligent automation and intuitive control of homes.

The newly introduced range of future-fit smart home solutions by Dialog Smart Home ranges from Home Automation, Home Security & Surveillance and Home Connectivity, and are designed to enable any home to work as one harmonious system where all elements work in tandem together to create a truly intelligent home.

The Home Automation solutions offer homeowners seamless and convenient control of their electronic appliances through their smartphones anytime, anywhere. With the Smart Touch Wall Switches, Smart Power Strips and Smart Fan Controllers, homeowners can take control of existing light bulbs, table fans, rice cookers, chargers, ceiling fans and more appliances. Additionally, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered TeDi Alexa Solution enables users to control connected smart devices including TVs, air conditioners, home security systems and more through voice commands.

Home Security & Surveillance solutions transform basic cameras into high-powered CCTV solutions. Baby and house monitoring smart cameras can be placed inside homes to keep a 360-degree eye on children and pets. The Indoor Security Camera has the ability to sound a siren and notify users if a stranger enters their home. Dialog Smart Home has also partnered with Singer to offer customers world-renowned Dahua CCTV solutions.

The Home Connectivity solutions offers consumers Wi-Fi extenders to facilitate uninterrupted internet connectivity across the house to fit the homeowner’s lifestyle and requirements.

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CBSL implements extraordinary measures to support banking sector

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The Central Bank of Sri Lanka, considering the prevailing macroeconomic conditions and its impact on the banking sector, has decided to implement the following regulatory measures to support the banking sector to facilitate effective financial intermediation and the flow of credit to the economy, whilst ensuring the soundness of the banking sector.

• Sri Lankan banking sector maintains a Capital Conservation Buffer (CCB) of 2.5% to ensure that banks have an additional layer of usable capital that can be drawn down during stress times. An industry wide flexibility is granted for banks to drawdown the CCB (up to 2.5%), if needed, subject to restrictions on distribution to shareholders/ repatriation of profits and submission of a capital augmentation plan to rebuild CCB during a period up to three years.

• The current deadline for licensed banks to meet the enhanced minimum capital requirement (31.12.2022) is extended up to 31.12.2023. Licensed banks which are unable to meet the minimum capital requirement by 31.12.2022, need to submit their capital augmentation plan, including plans to consolidate or merge with suitable financial institutions, by 31.12.2022 and these licensed banks too shall refrain from distribution of dividends/ repatriation of profits until the minimum capital requirement is met.

• Licensed banks are encouraged to move to approaches such as The Standardised Approach (TSA) or alternative TSA for computation of risk weighted assets for operational risk for the purposes of computing the Capital Adequacy Ratio, subject to supervisory review.

• Licensed banks are given the flexibility to stagger the unrealised mark to market loss on Government Securities denominated in LKR on account of the recent interest rate hike for Capital Adequacy purposes until Q2 of 2024, subject to conditions.

• Licensed banks are granted flexibility on the treatment for Other Comprehensive Income (OCI) for Capital Adequacy purpose in line with the International Standards.

• The deadline for licensed banks to submit the document on Internal Capital Adequacy Assessment Process (ICAAP) for 2022, to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka is extended by one month, until 30.06.2022.

• As a short-term measure to support licensed banks to adjust their liquidity profiles, licensed banks are provided with the flexibility to operate maintaining the Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) and Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) not lower than 90% up to 30.09.2022. Furthermore, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, on 06 May 2022 decided to restrict certain discretionary payments of licensed banks, such as declaring cash dividends and repatriation of profits, until the financial statements for the year 2022 are audited by its External Auditor, engaging in share buy backs, increasing management allowances and payments to the Board of Directors until 31 December 2022 with a view to strengthening the liquidity and capital positions of licensed banks under these exceptional circumstances.

The above measures were introduced with the aim of providing the licensed banks with more flexibility and opportunities to operate in these challenging conditions and support economic recovery, while taking measures to improve their safety and soundness. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka will periodically review the implementation of these policy measures and expects licensed banks to avail these measures in the best interest of the customers and the economy at large, while supporting the banking sector to remain resilient.

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CEAT official tyre supplier for locally assembled Tata Ace HT 

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CEAT Kelani Holdings has been appointed as the official tyre supplier for Tata Ace HT series compact trucks which are assembled in Sri Lanka by DIMO in collaboration with India’s largest automobile manufacturer TATA Motors.

 CEAT RHINO PLUS TL tyres in the size of 155R12 8PR, manufactured at the CEAT Kelani plant in Kelaniya are used for the TATA Ace HT series vehicles, popularly known in Sri Lanka as “DIMO Batta” under this project. The locally manufactured CEAT RHINO PLUS TL tyre features a zig zag pattern on its circumference and ribs with lateral notches that contribute towards uniformity and better wear and tear on local roads.

 Commenting on this latest OEM agreement of the company, CEAT Kelani Holdings Managing Director Mr. Ravi Dadlani said: “As a brand that has been at the forefront of local value addition in Sri Lanka, CEAT is excited to contribute further to the process through its association with this assembly operation. This is particularly relevant in the prevailing situation in the domestic market. We are able to provide high-quality tyres engineered for local conditions at competitive prices and ensure uninterrupted supply, while at the same time helping to conserve foreign exchange.”

In January this year, CEAT was appointed as an OEM for a range of heavy-duty trucks, tippers and light commercial vehicles assembled in Sri Lanka by Lanka Ashok Leyland PLC (LAL), a joint venture company of Ashok Leyland India. In November 2021 the brand was chosen as the OEM for Bolero City Pik-up vehicles assembled in Sri Lanka by Mahindra & Mahindra India in collaboration with Ideal Motors.

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