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Amãna Bank Board fortified by four versatile directors

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Experienced chartered accountant Tishan Subasinghe, fintech entrepreneur Omar Kassim, legal luminary Mohamed Adamaly and Islamic finance legal professional Paul Mercer recently joined the Board of Directors of Amãna Bank.

The appointment of Omar Kassim is in the interest of the Bank’s former chairman Osman Kassim, who retired after completing the maximum 9 year period of directorship of a Licensed Commercial Bank as per CBSL directions, but continues to be amongst the top 10 shareholders of the Bank. Tishan Subsasinghe replaces retired senior director Jazri Magdon Ismail who also retired after completing the regulatory 9 year period while Mohamed Adamaly was appointed as the replacement to Harsha Amarasekera PC who resigned from the Board in the beginning of 2020 in lieu of his imminent retirement having served the board since its inception. Paul Mercer’s appointment fills the vacant position of the second nominee director from ICD, the Bank’s strategic shareholder. While Tishan Subasinghe will function as a Non-Executive Independent Director, the trio of Omar Kassim, Mohamed Adamaly and Paul Mercer will serve as Non-Executive Non-Independent Directors.

Commenting on their appointment the Bank’s chairman Asgi Akbarally said “We are honoured to have our Board of Directors strengthened by four versatile directors in Tishan Subasinghe, Omar Kassim, Mohamed Adamaly and Paul Mercer. Their collective experience and business insight will be of valuable benefit in guiding the Bank towards achieving its strategic goals.”

Tishan Harendranath Subasinghe, is a Fellow and Council Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) and the Managing Director and Joint Managing Partner of Moore Stephens Consulting (Private) Limited and Moore Stephens Aiyar respectively. Before that he was the Head of Audit and Assurance at BDO Partners. He is also the chairman of Sanasa General Insurance Company Limited and is also a Council Member of the University of Moratuwa. His profession also expands overseas where he had work experience with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Botswana spanning several years. These were supported by the international training that he has undergone in USA, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Malaysia, Indonesia and Rome. As a member of CA Sri Lanka, Tishan has served as the chairman of the Annual Report Awards Committee, National Conference Committee and Examinations Committee. He also held the post of Vice President of the Young Chartered Accountants Forum (YCAF). Tishan is a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA-USA) and has an MBA in Finance by the University of Colombo with a Gold Medal and has earned an LLB (Hons.) degree from the Buckinghamshire New University. He is also a visiting lecturer at several government universities and had also conducted international training in Maldives and Bhutan.

Omar Kassim is a fintech focused technology entrepreneur, who specialises in conceiving, building, and exiting interesting technology ventures. Omar is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nomod, a London headquartered startup building a highly efficient, scalable, business banking platform to empower millions of entrepreneurs and startups around the world to start and grow their businesses with inventive payment and banking tools. Omar also Co-Founded and was the Chief Executive Officer of Esanjo, a trading, investment, and technology business based in Dubai, where he remains a member of the Board. Omar previously founded and exited JadoPado, a highly regarded e-commerce technology platform addressing the Middle East, North African, and South Asia. Omar holds a BsC in Electronics Engineering and Business Studies from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.

Mohamed Adamaly is a leading legal professional in Sri Lanka having a wide Civil Law practice in the Original Courts and Appellate Courts, with a focus on Commercial Law, Labour Law, Insurance Law, and Banking & Credit related laws. Adamaly also specializes in Investment Advisory, Business Set-up/Restructuring Services and Corporate Acquisitions. Adamaly graduated from the Faculty of Law University of Colombo with Honours while also achieving First Class Honours from the Sri Lanka Law College before being admitted as an Attorney-at-law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka in 1994. Adamaly has served as a visiting lecture at the University of Colombo and at the Sri Lanka Law College. He also holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM UK) and is a leading lecture for CIM and formerly for CIMA, in Sri Lanka. Due to his vast legal expertise coupled with his business acumen, Adamaly holds and has held directorships in several public and private companies including in the David Peiris Group, Bogala Graphite Lanka PLC, Assetline Leasing Company Limited and Sinwa Holdings Limited. Adamaly is also a leading thespian in the country and has received the National TOYP Award for his contribution to Drama and Literature.

Paul Mercer is an English law qualified lawyer with over 20 years of experience working in banking, particularly in Islamic Finance. Paul has extensive experience in corporate governance and has used his skills and experience as a Director on a number of boards representing the Kuwait Finance House Group. Paul was the Chairman of Bahrain Investment Bank, Ibdar Bank, and as Chairman of the Board, he oversaw a three-way bank merger involving Elaf Bank, Capital Management House and Capivest. In recent years Paul has been actively engaged on Islamic Banking regulation in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and the implementation of capital and governance requirements. While working as a lawyer in private practice and as in-house legal counsel at Kuwait Finance House (Bahrain), Paul has advised on a full range of legal issues relating to Islamic Finance and helped in the preparation of transactional documentation designed to comply with Islamic Law. Paul is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is registered as an arbitrator on the GCC Commercial Arbitration Centre Roster of Arbitrators.

With the recent appointments Amãna Bank Board of Directors constitute as follows : Ali Asghar (Asgi) Akbarally (Chairman), Rajiv Nandlal Dvivedi, Pradeep Dilshan Rajeeva Hettiaratchi, Aaron Russell-Davison, Mohammed Ataur Rahman Chowdhury, Syed Muhammed Asim Raza, Khairul Muzamel Perera bin Abdullah, Tishan Harendranath Subasinghe, Omar Kassim, Mohamed Adamaly and Paul Mercer. Retired directors Osman Kassim, Tyeab Akbarally, Harsha Amarasekera and Jazri Magdon Ismail will continue to serve as trustees on the Bank’s unique flagship CSR venture, ‘OrphanCare’ Trust.

Amana Bank PLC is a stand-alone institution licensed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange with Jeddah based IsDB Group being the principal shareholder having a 29.97% shareholding of the Bank. The IsDB Group is a ‘AAA’ rated (S&P, Moody’s & Fitch) multilateral development financial institution with a membership of 57 countries. In June 2020 Fitch Ratings Sri Lanka declared an upward revision of the National Long Term Rating of Amãna Bank to BB+(lka) with a Stable Outlook. Amãna Bank does not have any subsidiaries, associates or affiliated institutions, other than the ‘OrphanCare’ Trust. 

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New IPS report on ‘Elasticity Estimates for Cigarettes in Sri Lanka’

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• New study finds that increasing taxes on cigarettes will have twin advantages of reducing cigarette consumption and increasing government revenue.

• Calculated tax and price elasticities of demand for cigarettes show that smokers are price sensitive: increasing cigarette taxes by 10 per cent will reduce consumption by 8 per cent.

• A simulation exercise shows that when cigarette taxes are raised in line with inflation and streamlined between 2020-2023, government excise tax revenue will increase by LKR 37 billion by 2023 and 140,000 premature deaths from cigarette consumption can be prevented in the future.

The Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) has released a report which provides a comprehensive assessment of Sri Lanka’s historical and current tobacco tax policies to assess whether they are in line with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended best practices. The new report ‘Elasticity Estimates for Cigarettes in Sri Lanka’ is authored by Dr. Nisha Arunathilake, Harini Weerasekera and Chamini Thilanka, and is part of a series of IPS research focusing on health and education.

According to the WHO, significant increases in tobacco taxes are the best means of controlling tobacco consumption. High taxes are an incentive for quitting tobacco, reducing consumption, and for not initiating smoking. The report finds that although cigarette prices have gone up over time, cigarettes are still affordable for smokers as tax increases have not kept up with inflation and income increases. Further, the tax structure is not streamlined, and tax policy changes have been implemented in an ad-hoc manner.

The report provides an estimate of price and income elasticities of cigarettes, and uses these to assess the effectiveness of tax increases on smoking prevalence in the country by conducting a simulation analysis. The results show that increasing cigarette taxes by 10 per cent will reduce consumption by 8 per cent. Finally, the study used the estimated tax elasticities to model the health and fiscal benefits of moving to inflation-adjusted and uniform excise tax system over 4 years.

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DFCC Bank and AIA virtually recognise CEO Club award winners

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Launched in 2018, the ‘CEO’s Club’ Awards organized annually by AIA Insurance for DFCC Bank staff, has since been held in grand style each quarter. The event is intended at recognizing and celebrating DFCC’s staff on their exceptional achievements in providing protection to the bank’s customers by introducing AIA’s insurance solutions.

Despite the limitations posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the management of both DFCC and AIA were determined to continue the tradition of much deserved recognition for the DFCC staff who have excelled in providing insurance solutions to customers. As the first ever virtual AIA-DFCC CEO’s Club Awards Night, the event was held on Microsoft Teams. This pioneering event connected fifteen locations simultaneously, taking digital adoption to a new level, to celebrate award winners.

AIA CEO Nikhil Advani congratulated the winners, while commenting on the long-standing partnership between AIA and DFCC; “AIA are pioneers in Bancassurance in Sri Lanka and DFCC is one of our most valuable partners. Together over the years we have created a strong bond, driven by the common goal of providing protection and financial security to our customers. We are constantly defying odds and challenging the status quo and that is why we were able to take digital to the next level and ensure that these merited recognitions and celebrations took place, uninterrupted.”

DFCC CEO Lakshman Silva also applauded the winners and commented; “DFCC Bank, one of the oldest development banks in the country and now a full-service commercial bank, has had many trail-blazing initiatives. We entered into a partnership with AIA with the objective of enhancing our customer value proposition- and over the years have complemented each other, bringing exceptional value to customers. It was great, that together we were able to overcome the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and create an opportunity out of it, in creating a first of its kind digital event. This is what great partnerships do.”

Fifty-four CEO’s Club winners from across the island were recognized at the virtual Awards Night, for their achievements in 2019, with six others getting special recognition for their contribution as well. The top ten performers were Samitha Jayathilake ( Kottawa Branch) , Chamindu Anjana (Hikkaduwa Branch) , Dilini De Silva (Moratuwa Branch), Dinusha Jayathilaka (Anuradhapura Branch), Nuwan Abeywickrama (Kiribathgoda Branch), Anjalina Kumarihamy (Piliyandala Branch), Dilanka Jayawardena(Kaduwela Branch) , Lahiru Madushan(Central Sales Unit ) , Paskaranathan Ghengatharan (Kotahena Branch) and Lakshman Thambiraja (Batticaloa Branch ).

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Tokyo Cement and Chevron Lubricants quarterly results boost market

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

The CSE turned positive  yesterday with the releasing  of impressive second and third quarter results by two investor favourite counters, Tokyo Cement and Chevron Lubricants, stock market analysts said.

It is said that Tokyo Cement’s second quarter results recorded  Rs. 2.1 billion profit, which was a 183 percent increase compared to the corresponding quarter for year 2019, while Chevron Lubricants recorded Rs. 803 million in profits, which was a 29 percent increase compared to the corresponding quarter the previous year. Therefore, Chevron Lubricants announced a dividend of Rs. 3.50 per share for its shareholders yesterday.

Tokyo Cement’s impressive growth plus Chevron Lubricant’s dividend announcement removed the negative sentiment from the share market, which witnessed negative sentiments as a result of the government’s announcement of the three day Covid 19 curfew from today, market analysts said.  

Amid those developments, the market experienced a day full of fluctuations and both indices moved upwards, i.e., the All Share Price Index was up by 126. 39 points and S and P SL20 went up by 51.82 points    Turnover stood at Rs. 1.64 billion with a single crossing reported in JKH.  The latter’s 1.26 million shares crossed for Rs. 157 million and its share was traded at Rs. 130.50.

In the retail market top five contributors to the turnover were,  Tokyo Cement (Non Voting) Rs. 234.7 million (4.4 million shares traded), Tokyo Cement (Voting) Rs. 176.6 million (2.8 million shares traded), Expolanka Rs. 162.6 million (9.1 million shares traded), Dip Products Rs. 117.9 million (382,000 shares traded) and Chevron Lubricants Rs. 78.2 million (900,000 shares traded). During the day 55.1 million share volumes changed hands in 16138 transactions.    

 Further, two finance companies are going to merge to meet the co-capital requirement of the   Central Bank, which is, Rs. 2 billion; they are Nation Lanka Finance and Sinhaputhra Finance. With the merger the surviving entity would be Sinhaputhra Finance. At present both companies are struggling to meet co-capital requirements of the Central Bank. Once the merger happens they will be able to meet the requirement, stock market analysts said.

Sri Lanka rupee was quoted at 184.25/40 to the US dollar on Thursday while bond yields were largely unchanged, dealers said. The rupee closed at 184.25/35 against the greenback on Wednesday. Bond markets were dull with little activity, dealers said.

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