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Baurs celebrate achievements of women in its board leadership

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Expressing its commitment to gender equality and women empowerment, one of Sri Lanka’s leading diversified business groups, A. Baur & Company (Pvt.) Ltd, also known as Baurs, celebrated International Women’s Day by recognizing the importance of having women on the board and executive leadership positions.

Various studies have found out that women are still underrepresented especially the higher they go up in the corporate ladder. Baurs is one of the many companies challenging the status quo and understanding that gender disparity is a company-wide effort. And what better way than celebrating and recognizing the accomplishments of two of its Directors, Anoja Basnayake, Director IT and Pavithra Samarasinghe, Director Finance.

Ms. Anoja Basnayake’s journey with Baurs spans over 12 years, having joined as Manager – IT in 2008. She now leads the group digital transformation strategy as Director – IT.

“In my journey with Baurs, I have always been inspired by the fact that women are actively encouraged to take bold steps and grasp every opportunity that will help build their self-confidence. One could always be assured that their views are heard and contributed to decision-making irrespective of their gender”, she said.

“I’m always excited to engage and work with the wonderful people at Baurs. The diversity and inclusivity is rich and they truly understand the strengths and contribution women bring into the workplace. The mutual respect and care I find here has always aspired my to grow stronger. I was given the opportunity to take on more responsibilities and oversee more business functions and the continued guidance, training and development I received at Baurs helped me become who I am today”, she added.

Ms. Basnayake previously worked with Brandix, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Hayleys Group. She is a board member of Project Management Institute (PMI) Sri Lanka Chapter and SAP User Group, and a Member of the Sri Lanka Institute of Directors (SLID).

Celebrating her 20th year with Baurs, Pavithra Samarasinghe is instrumental in leading the company’s finances, growth and long-term sustainability as Director – Finance.

“I truly believe that diversity brings a lot of value to any company. I should know because I work at Baurs. I’ve never been discriminated nor deprived of any opportunity or benefit throughout my longstanding career. I am no exception, everyone here is treated the same irrespective of their gender or status”, she said.

“Women are extremely good at building relationships, multi-tasking and negotiations. Many companies are realizing this and paving the way for women to take on key leadership positions. There is nothing holding back women from unleashing their potential and reaching the top with necessary competencies, integrity and the right attitude. Baurs believes in promoting a healthy work-life balance which in my opinion is pivotal for women in workforce. There is a lot of empathy and encouragement across all levels”, she noted.



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Business

OPPO releases new OPPO A54 in Sri Lanka

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OPPO, the leading global smart device brand, announces the launch of OPPO A54 in Sri Lanka.

A54’s attention to design and great usability is evident in both its exquisite appearance and how it helps to capture great looking shots. This starts with the Material of the Rear Cover, which uses metallic material for its 3D panel, but contributes to a stronger and less bendable structure but also a comfortable in-hand feel. As a result, A54 weighs about 192g and is 8.4mm thin. To align the overall look and feel of the phone, close attention is paid to the Middle Frame Process.

“A Series is designed to enhance or complement our users’ lifestyles and OPPO A54 achieves just this with a phone that manages to balance a high-end performance with contemporary design. Its large 5000mAh battery and 18W Fast Charge makes sure you’re fully powered to get you through your day. With A54, you’ll also have enough storage and memory to make sure that you’ll enjoy your entertainment without the frustrations of an underperforming smartphone,” said Bob Li, CEO, XINDA Lanka (OPPO Sri Lanka).

The Rear Cameras itself feature a 13MP Main Camera, 2MP Macro Camera for close range shots, and 2MP Bokehfor brilliant bokeh shots that blur the background and highlight the subject of the photo. A54 enhances shots in all environments with Dazzle Color, balancing the saturation and brightness. A54 also supports filming videos including SLO-MO at 720P at 90FPS with the rear camera, and up to 10 video Filters including Original, Gentle, Noon, Subtle and more.

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Pan Asia Bank records best-ever Q1 results in challenging times – Profit After Tax soars by 81% to post Rs. 750 mn.

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Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC reported the best-ever first quarter financial results during the quarter ended 31st March 2021 to report a Pre-Tax Profit of Rs. 986 Mn and a Post-Tax Profit of Rs. 750 Mn after recording impressive growth rates of 51% and 81% respectively, demonstrating the resilience amidst challenging macro economic conditions. The Bank’s performance was characterised by strength and resilience, despite the heightened uncertainty due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 impact on the Sri Lankan economy, the Bank’s Operating Profits before VAT on Financial Services reached Rs. 1,197 Mn with an increase of 47%, reflecting excellence in core banking performance and the success of cost containment measures evidenced by improvement in all key matrices which now rank among the industry bests. This feat was achieved even after setting aside provisions for probable loan losses amounting to Rs. 638 Mn. The Bank increased the provision buffers for probable deterioration in credit quality through management overlays, experience adjustments and adjustments for the exposures in the elevated risk industries during the quarter. As a result, total impairment charges for the quarter increased by 21% on YoY basis.

The Bank’s Net Interest Income for the period witnessed an increase of 17% due to significant reduction in financial cost of funds at a rate faster than the drop in interest yields of interest bearing assets. Consequently, the Bank’s Net Interest Margin for the quarter improved to 5.07% from 4.41% reported three months ago. In the meantime, the Bank’s Net Fee and Commission Income recorded a growth of 28% with the rebound in demand for credit due to revival of economic activity amidst the low interest rate regime. The volatility in foreign exchange rates enabled the Bank to increase its Foreign Exchange Income substantially as reflected in Other Operating Income.

The Bank is committed to revenue maximisation and cost management despite sector vulnerabilities that prevailed since last year. The Bank’s Cost-to-Income Ratio improved from 45.66% to 38.08% within a three months period owing to the excellence in core banking performance which is reflected in the noteworthy overall growth in key revenue lines and various strategies and measures taken to contain overhead costs. In fact, the Bank managed to bring down its Other Operating Expenses by 9% in 2021 Q1 compared to 2020 Q1. Meanwhile, increased allocations for performance bonuses, development of human capital and staff welfare led to an increase in personnel costs during the reporting period compared to 2020 Q1.

The Bank’s Post-Tax Profits for the reporting quarter also gained to an extent due to application of lower corporate income tax rate of 24% for tax provisioning in accordance with the guideline issued by CA Sri Lanka on 23rd April 2021.

The Bank continues to report solid Key Profitability Indicators which rank among the highest in the industry. The Bank’s Pre-Tax Return on Assets also improved to 2.24% from 1.70%. Further, the Bank reported a stunning Return on Equity (ROE) of 19.27% during the quarter under review which stands among the industry best. The ROE is the most important performance indicator to gauge the attractiveness of the Banking sector and Pan Asia Bank during its last few years has consistently remained an outlier in the industry.

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SLIIT nurtures school children at ‘Soft Skills + 2021’

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The SLIIT Business School (SBS) organised ‘Soft Skills+ 2021’ concluded on an extremely successful note recently helping students engage, cooperate and thrive in building their talents towards personal development and career progression.

SLIIT Soft Skills+ event is an annual flagship CSR Project of the SLIIT Business School organized with the primary objective of developing secondary school students’ soft skills in positive thinking, creativity, analytical thinking, leadership skills, problem-solving skills, communication skills, and teamwork.

Over the years, the programme has garnered much popularity among schools and participants. Due to its tremendous success achieved in previous programmes, Soft Skills+ 2021 followed an upgraded structure. For the first time in the Soft Skills+ programme history, the event was held via online platforms, including a Soft Skills-based online quiz and an online workshop for students and teachers.

During the Grand Finale, Prof. Samantha Thelijjagoda, Dean of SLIIT Business School welcomed the participants and distinguished guests. Prof. Lalith Gamage, Vice Chancellor, SLIIT also addressed the gathering.

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