A. Baur & Co. (Pvt) Ltd, also widely known as Baurs, a name synonymous with bringing about transformational innovation across various industry sectors in the country whilst continuing to instill its Swiss traditions and values, this year marks a significant milestone as it celebrates 125 years of revolutionary growth and progress.
Since its humble beginnings in 1897 as the first fertilizer company, Baurs today is a diversified business group with a distinctive reputation not just in its core agriculture business but also healthcare, consumer, airlines, machinery, and education segments. Its rich history also hints that the company has witnessed and evolved with the agricultural, industrial and now the knowledge era.
Baurs continue to emerge stronger, embracing contemporary challenges that not just maintains its status quo but giving a new face to the organization to proactively stay ahead of times, together with its people-centric culture that embraces diversity and inclusion, and the many socially responsible agendas especially among children. Its track record of being an industry first goes without saying.
From pioneering manures and fertilizers since its inception, building the country’s first ever industrial rail in 1901, deploying the first tractor used in agriculture in 1919, establishing the first fully electrified tea factory in 1936 through to ending the malaria epidemic in Sri Lanka during 1946, bringing Swiss Air to Sri Lanka, producing the nation’s first basmati rice in 1975, registering the first biopesticide in 2020 to eradicate and control fall army worm, and last year launching the first Swiss apprenticeship model in the hospitality sector together with the world’s first and number one hospitality management school, Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne.
Rolf Blaser, CEO of A. Baur & Co. (Pvt) Ltd, commenting on the anniversary, said ‘We pay tribute to each and every individual for making Baurs a success over the past 125 years, especially to our prescient founder Alfred Baur who had a visionary leadership with core beliefs centered around the benefit of this nation and these are deeply rooted in our foundation and values today. We have strengthened our resilience and responsiveness and look forward to taking on the many challenges and possibilities to continuously expand our horizons.’
As a leader, Baurs indulges in various knowledge-sharing and thought-leadership initiatives, through a combination of sound professional and scientific advice. During the latter half of last year, Baurs contracted and engaged two globally renowned research institutions in organic agriculture and brought down key experts to Sri Lanka for a comprehensive study tour with the view on how best to take on the fertilizer challenge. Baurs is now further exploring the preliminary research and findings with experts, including constant dialogue across all key stakeholders and participants, both industry and academia.
The company stands strong in its founding agri business, and undoubtedly possesses one of the most advanced high-tech fertilizer factories probably in the entire South Asia region. Digital transformation efforts are also underway for its Consumer Division with the view of bringing increased efficiency and transparency across its entire supply chain including business partners. The company’s growing relationships and longstanding partners are a testament to the core pillars of Baurs, namely trust, reliability, quality, and innovation.
Its Healthcare Division is exhibiting a significant growth over the years, and today has evolved to be the second largest pharma importer in Sri Lanka representing a majority of the top 10 global leaders in pharmaceutical, surgical & diagnostic, nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals, herbal and ayurvedic. This is a testament to the world-class compliance and performance of Baurs that enabled meet their respective standards and requirements. Baurs is also pleased to highlight that its first ever healthcare supplier is still with the company till date.
Sustainability is a key priority at Baurs, and this is not just in the numerous responsible innovations spurred throughout its journey but also in the principles and values instilled in its people. During the beginning of last year, Baurs committed to the UN Global Compact (UNGC) initiative in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption, in addition to pursuing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Dialog Smart Home Enables Seamless Home Automation via Range of Intuitive Solutions
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.
CBSL implements extraordinary measures to support banking sector
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.
CEAT official tyre supplier for locally assembled Tata Ace HT
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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