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Bangalore & San Francisco headquartered Algonomy to acquire local tech firm Linear Squared



Global artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithmic decisioning software company Algonomy announced its plans to acquire the business of Linear Squared (Pvt.) Ltd., a cloud-based technology company in Sri Lanka specializing in building demand planning and forecasting products. The acquisition is subject to corporate and regulatory approvals.

This acquisition paves the way for both Algonomy and Linear Squared to integrate their efforts in helping clients better understand their customers’ behaviors and patterns, as a result driving forward clients’ sales and frontend marketing performance.

Commenting on the acquisition at the media conference, Atul Jalan, Founder & CEO of Algonomy said: “The intended acquisition would allow Algonomy to augment its product offering for consumer products and grocery retail industry segments by integrating Linear Squared’s best of breed demand planning and forecasting product technology into Algonomy’s retail merchandising and supply chain solutions portfolio. It would also allow Algonomy to meet its objective of quickly and efficiently scaling up its AI technology operations by setting up a highly skilled AI & ML Engineering Centre of Excellence in Sri Lanka.”

Responding to a query as to what influenced Algonomy to acquire the business of Linear Squared, Jalan noted that the exceptional talent and the sophistication of the products offered by Linear Squared were promising. He emphasized that therefore, the current leadership team of Linear Squared will remain with larger global roles, along with the employees.

Currently, Algonomy’s client base includes big names such as Walmart Canada, Comcast, Honeywell, Carrefour, Love’s, Future Group, Flipkart, L’Oreal, Coop Danmark, United Supermarkets, Price Chopper, McDonald’s India, Pizza Hut, KFC Canada, Dominos India, Alshaya, and Robinsons, among many others.

Linear Squared specializes in developing end-to-end solutions leveraging on a combination of cutting-edge technologies such as AI, machine learning, and cloud platform as well as statistical models to deliver solutions to business problems across multiple domains including CPG, grocery retail, apparel, FMCG, financial services, and telecom. Home to the largest pool of AI & ML engineers in the country, among the key clients of Linear Squared are Dialog Axiata, Sunshine Holdings, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

We founded Linear Squared with a vision to deliver ready-to-use AI and machine learning-driven products that convert data to proactive actions to solve some of the most complex industry problems. We have spent the last six years building fantastic products that receive validation from global customers every day,” said Sankha Muthu Poruthotage, CEO and Co-Founder of Linear Squared.

As per the acquisition, Linear Squared will be rolled into Algonomy, where Linear Squared’s products will be part of Algonomy’s wider suite of products. Algonomy believes this acquisition provides the opportunity for the company to be among the top three companies in the industry globally.

Moreover, the Centre of Excellence in AI & ML Engineering in Colombo will focus on research and development (R&D) and product development. The addition of this new centre will bring the total number of R&D centres across the world to four, with others already established in Seattle, San Francisco, and Bengaluru. Notably, through the centre in Colombo, Algonomy aims to set up Sri Lanka as a centre for specialized talent, especially in the areas of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

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Seven factors of concern at upcoming Monetary Policy Review



by Sanath Nanayakkare

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) is scheduled to announce its latest monetary policy review on 20th January 2022, with all eyes on dwindling foreign reserves and foreign currency exchange in the country.

In this context, First Capital Research has named 7 factors of concern that could be taken into account at the upcoming monetary policy review. They are as follows.

* Foreign Reserves USD 3.1 billion – Dec 2021

* Inflation CCPI 12.1% – Dec 2021

* GDP Growth -1.5% – 3Q2021

* Private Credit LKR 60.5 billion – Nov 2021

* 03M T-Bill rate 8.38% as at 12.01.22

Liquidity and CBSL Holdings LKR -364.0 billion and LKR 1.42 trillion

Balance of Trade (BOT) and Balance of Payment (BOP) USD -6.5 billion and USD -3.3 billion for Jan-Oct 21

First Capital Research’s Policy Rate Forecast – Jan 2022-Apr 2022 notes that they believe the CBSL may highly consider tightening the monetary policy rates in this policy review but given the concerns over economic growth, there is a probability of 40% for CBSL to maintain its policy stance at current levels.

“With high frequent indicators improving in line with expectations, we have eliminated any probability of a rate cut. We expect a continued increase in probability for a rate hike in order to prevent overheating of the economy amidst the given fiscal and monetary stimulus,” they said.

As per First Capital’s view, CBSL either can choose to hike policy rates by 50bps or 100bps or hold policy rates steady, while a rate cut is off the table due to the high debt repayment and the high domestic borrowing requirement.

First Capital believes that there is a 60% probability for a rate hike due to the remedial actions required in achieving external stability.

However, there is also a 40% probability to maintain the policy rates at its current level in order to further improve the high frequency indicators.30%, they noted.

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Sri Lanka’s dash brand enters international markets



Multichemi International Ltd, which manufactures and distributes a wide range of products under dash, one of Sri Lanka’s leading detergent and household care brands, has begun exporting its products to several international markets in Asia and Oceania, with plans also to enter Africa. The dash brand includes a wide range of products in car care, household care, home fragrances and laundry care sectors. Multichemi International Ltd, which has been awarded ISO 9001:2015 certification, is a Sri Lankan pioneer in environment-friendly cleaning products, having launched the country’s first biodegradable, safe cleaning products over 28 years ago.

Amila Wijesinghe, General Manager of the Company said,”Having conquered the domestic market, we are now ready to capture the international market. We are confident that our products which are of high quality will receive a good demand overseas as well. The feedback we have received so far from our overseas customers is extremely encouraging. We are dedicated to taking our products to the international market, to bring in foreign currency to the country and help uplift the economy”,

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Janaka Abeysinghe appointed SLT CEO



Sri Lanka Telecom PLC has announced the appointment of Janaka Abeysinghe as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with effect from February 1, 2022.

The incumbent CEO Kiththi Perera will be overseas on leave for a period of two years to pursue higher studies, according to a stock market filing by the company.

Abeysinghe joined SLT in 1991. In his present role, he leads the enterprise and wholesale business of SLT that provides integrated voice and data solutions to enterprises, government institutions, domestic telco operators and global wholesale carriers.

In his career at SLT spanning 29 years, he has held a number of senior positions, including general manager Enterprise and International Sales and has extensive experience in the areas of Enterprise Digital Services, Enterprise Communications Solutions, Data Communications, Business Development, Domestic and International Switching Operations and Global Wholesale Voice & Data Business.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Kansas, USA and a BSc degree in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering with a First Class Honours from the University of Moratuwa.

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