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Asgi Akbarally appointed Amãna Bank chairman

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Ali Asghar (Asgi) Akbarally has been appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Amãna Bank upon the retirement of the Bank’s Founder chairman Osman Kassim. Leaving a strong legacy in the Islamic banking industry in Sri Lanka, Osman Kassim retired from Amãna Bank having completed the maximum 9 year statutory period of holding a directorship in a Licensed Commercial Bank as per CBSL directions. Despite retiring from the bank, Osman Kassim continues to be one of the bank’s top 10 shareholders.

Asgi Akbarally joined the Board of Amãna Bank in July 2020 as the nominee director from Akbar Brothers, taking over the position vacated by Tyeab Akbarally, who also retired upon completing the maximum 9 years of directorship as per CBSL regulations.

Asgi Akbarally is an Executive Director of Akbar Brothers (Pvt) Ltd, one of Sri Lanka’s largest diversified corporates, globally renowned for its tea exports. Asgi Akbarally holds directorship in multiple subsidiaries and affiliates of the Akbar Group covering sectors such as Manufacturing, Property Development, Hotels & Leisure, Healthcare, Power Generation, Packaging & Printing, Logistics and Environmental Services. He is the Managing Director of Renewgen (Pvt) Ltd and chairman of Windforce (Pvt) Ltd, Hermitage Resorts (Pvt) Ltd, Uthurumaafaru Holding (Pvt) Ltd Maldives, Lhaviyani Holdings (Pvt) Ltd and Cocoon Investments (Pvt) Ltd Maldives. He is also a director of Alumex PLC.

Asgi Akbarrally is currently the Honorary Consul of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordon. He holds a BSc Degree in Industrial Engineering from the California State University and is a Fellow Member of the Institute of Certified Professional Managers. A classic car enthusiast, Asgi Akbarally has authored a coffee table book on “Classic and Vintage Automobiles of Ceylon” and is the Patron of the Classic Car Club of Ceylon.

Commenting on his retirement and appointment of the new Chairman, the Bank’s outgoing Chairman Osman Kassim said “Serving Amãna Bank as its Chairman since inception has been a great honour, specially seeing firsthand how the Bank has grown amidst various challenges to where it stands today. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to my fellow retiring directors Tyeab Akbarally, Harsha Amarasekera and Jazri Magdon Ismail who completed the regulatory tenure of 9 years in 2020. They have been great pillars of strength to the Bank since its formation. I am happy to welcome Asgi Akbarally to take over the stewardship of the Bank. It is heartening to know that Asgi, whose business acumen and experience gained through building and guiding a homegrown company to become a world renowned tea brand, will be leading the Bank’s forward journey. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the other Board Members, CEO Mohamed Azmeer, the Management Committee and Staff of the Bank for their continuous contribution, dedication and commitment towards the Bank’s growth and wish them all the best in taking Amãna Bank to greater heights.”

Also sharing his views newly appointed Chairman Asgi Akbarally said “Amãna Bank will be truly indebted for the visionary thinking and guidance of its Founder Chairman Osman Kassim. Stepping in to fill this void will be no easy task, but I am thankful for the foundation laid, from which we eagerly look forward to build upon to achieve the Bank’s strategic goals and continue making our ‘People Friendly’ banking model available for all Sri Lankans with wider reach and accessibility.”

With the recent changes, 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 and Khairul Muzamel Perera bin Abdullah.

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 its unique flagship CSR venture, the ‘OrphanCare’ Trust.  Retiring directors Osman Kassim, Tyeab Akbarally, Harsha Amarasekera and Jazri Magdon Ismail will continue to serve as trustees on the ‘OrphanCare’ Trust.



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DFCC Bank facilitates the continued growth of Sri Lankan SMEs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

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The unprecedented surfacing of the COVID-19 pandemic has left a lasting scar on the global population and economy. With no precise warning on the horizon, businesses everywhere were thrown into the deep end, and survival seemed uncertain during the peak of the pandemic. In Sri Lanka, a nation where SMEs form the integral backbone of the economy, the ill effects have been taking a heavy toll on businesses both fiscally and mentally.

However, we as Sri Lankans are resilient at our core, and with the integral support of frontline workers, officials, and essential services such as our banking partners, we set forth on a journey to assess, adapt and survive. One such story about perseverance through a valuable relationship comes from K.S.K. Menan of Star Food Store (Pvt) Ltd, and his trusted banking partner, DFCC Bank.

Emerging from humble beginnings, Menan’s story is one that inspires patriotism, and reaffirms the importance of giving back to your motherland. As a self-made entrepreneur, Menan was successfully engaged with the departmental store industry in the United Kingdom, when one day, he decided to leave everything there and come back to his home, Sri Lanka. He was on a mission to give back to the country that had given him so much, and that led to the birth of ‘Star Food Store’ in Kokkuvil, a supermarket equipped with all the necessary household essentials. DFCC Bank had been by his side throughout the entire journey until the opening of his outlet, and even more when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

“When Imoved back to Sri Lanka in 2016, the very first account I opened was with DFCC Bank, and with their support, I was able to open the first‘Star Food Store’ in November 2019. However, when COVID-19 struck, everything came to halt. When restrictions were relaxed, I faced multiple problems with bringing things back to how they were. DFCC Bank stepped in and gave me overdraft facilities, helped clear my cheques, and provided additional funds at a low interest rate”.

Today, Menan has been able to open a second Star Food Store outlet at Achchuveli in August 2020, and a third at Idaikkadu in February 2021. He states that expansion is the last thing most businesses consider during this turbulent time, however, the X factor that has allowed him to do this is his banking partner.

“The confidence an entrepreneur gains with the right banking partner is immeasurable, and I have been able to find that with DFCC Bank. They have always gone out of the way to ensure my venture’s continuity, from sending someone from the branch immediately if there is an issue with the card machine during business hours, or even understanding that loose change is important for a supermarket and sending bags of coins from the Colombo branch for business use. I now have plans of constructing a state-of-the-art shopping complex in Jaffna, and look forward to working with DFCC on this project”.

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Covid-19 third wave fears dampen stock market

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

The CSE witnessed a steep decline following worries over the possible outbreak of a  Covid 19 third wave in the country and the continuation of selling pressure for certain stocks in the market, stock market analysts said.

CSE investors worried over 52 new cases being detected in two retail stores at Pamunuwa and at a state bank in Colombo at the end of the April holidays. Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry warned of a possible surge in COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks, market analysts said.

  Consequently, the All Share Price Index declined by 2.9 percent and S and P SL20 dropped by three percent. Major companies sought after by investors negatively contributed to both indices during the day. According to  market analysts,  these companies  were:  LOLC (27 negative points),  Expolanka (19 negative points), Vallibel One (12 negative points), Hayleys (11 negative points) and JKH (10 negative points).

All Share Price Index went down by 198.39 points and S and P SL20 down by 93.89 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 3.7 billion with a single crossing. The crossing was reported in Ceylon Cold Stores (CIS), which crossed 60000 shares to the tune of Rs. 35.4 million, its shares traded at Rs. 594. 

In the retail market, five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were: Browns Investments Rs. 717.6 million (114 million shares traded), Expolanka Rs. 480 million (9.8 million shares traded), Hayleys Rs. 392 million (five million shares traded), Dipped Products Rs. 389 million (6.9 million shares traded) and LOLC Rs. 193 million (587,000 shares traded). During the day 197 million share volumes changed hands in 31305 transactions.  

Sri Lanka rupee quoted firmer around 192/194 levels to the US dollar in the spot market on Tuesday, while bond yields slightly eased, dealers said. Sri Lanka rupee last closed at 194/198 levels to the US dollar in the spot market on Monday. The Central Banks Telegraph Transfer rates stand at 187.93/191.97 levels below the spot rates on Monday.

Sri Lanka’s rupee has come under pressure amid money printing and low-interest rates, despite the worst import controls since the 1970s, observers said.

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SAT launches F5 portfolio to deliver secure digital experiences

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(At left) : Edgar Dias, Regional Vice President of Channels and Partnerships, Asia Pacific, F5. (At right) : Sanjaya Padmaperuma, CEO of SAT.

South Asian Technologies (Pvt) Ltd, announces its appointment to be a distributor for F5 within Sri Lanka and Maldives to deliver secure digital experience to enterprises.

The cutting-edge technology is a portal for delivering applications and data with greater agility, security, availability, performance, and scalability.

F5’s portfolio of automation, security, performance, and insight capabilities empowers customers to create, secure, and operate adaptive applications that reduce costs, improve operations, and better protect users.

“With the increasing necessity for digitalisation in the workspace, now more than ever, organisations need proven solutions to help secure their businesses. Adding F5 to our existing portfolio gives South Asian Technologies, a more omniscient opportunity to equip our partners and customers with best-in-class application security and delivery solutions. As F5 enables adaptive applications, the SAT team is ecstatic at the prospect of securing our clientele with robust security offerings that have a proven history with Fortune 500 companies across the globe,” said Sanjaya Padmaperuma, CEO of SAT.

Every company today is in the digital experience business. In the wake of COVID-19, customer expectations are higher than ever, as the experiences garnered are the primary way that people interact and transact with just about every organisation at present.

F5 helps organisations deliver and secure the premium digital facilities that customers demand by enabling adaptive applications which, like living organisms, will naturally adapt based on their environment – growing, shrinking, defending, and healing themselves.

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