Connect with us


‘BOC entering year of consolidation having done its duty towards the nation in 2020’



by Sanath Nanayakkare

The Bank of Ceylon (BOC) successfully weathered the ferocious pandemic year of 2020 while doing its duty towards the nation at an unprecedented time of difficulty, so I don’t see that we should worry about about any greater challenges in the year 2021, but harness that power of resilience and enter into a year of consolidation in 2021, BOC chairman Kanchana Ratwatte said yesterday.

The BOC chair said so in response to a query posed by The Island Financial Review at a media conference held by the Bank to announce the Bank’s performance during the year 2020 amid the COVID 19 crisis and its approach for 2021 and beyond.

Elaborating on the matter Ratwatte said: “The bank entered the year 2020 as the undisputed market leader with great hope and enthusiasm. However with the pandemic that engulfed the entire globe we had to change gear and focus as the unfolding situation compelled us to innovate fresh strategies to face the situation, The experienced human resource in the bank rose to the occasion and faced the situation with vigor and vitality. Bank of Ceylon continued to perform, playing a lead role in keeping the wheels of the economy moving as the crisis continued to the New Year as well.

“Following concessions announced by the government and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka with the advent of COVID-19, the bank strengthened its capabilities to cater to customers in the best possible way, while continuously delivering services with strict adherence to health and safety measures.

“To date, the bank has disbursed more than Rs. 39 billion under the “Saubagya COVID-19 Renaissance Facility” by extending working capital to COVID-19 affected businesses.

“Further the bank disbursed Rs. 128 billion for development and agriculture sector including credit facilities under “BOC DiviUdana” loans scheme. Despite the challenging situation in the country, the bank is moving forward with stable performance and reported a Profit Before Tax (PBT) of Rs. 16.6 billion and Profit After Tax (PAT) of Rs. 11.7 billion, for the nine months ending September 30, 2020.

“The total income of the bank for the period was Rs. 181.8 billion with a marginal increase of 2% YoY. The non-fund-based income for the period amounted to Rs. 12.9 billion showing an increase of Rs.1.7 billion YoY, and an exchange gain of Rs. 3.6 billion, which contributed to this growth.

“Amidst socio-economic challenges that prevailed due to the pandemic situation, the bank’s assets base grew by 17% to Rs. 2.8 trillion, backed by an increase of 25% in the loan book. The bank’s loan book stood at Rs. 1.9 trillion and both government and private sector lending contributed to growth, including lending to major infrastructure development projects initiated by the government, funding requirements for mid-corporates for business expansion, lending to the SME sector, and other priority sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and related industries.

“Term loans, scheme loans, personal loans and overdrafts are the key contributors to loan growth during the period. The term loan portfolio grew by 28% demonstrating the bank’s support in terms of working capital requirements.”


Next Meats, Purveyor of the World’s First Plant-based Yakiniku Meats, Is Now in Singapore



The Tokyo-based startup makes its debut in the alt-protein hotspot of Singapore Next Meats has collaborated with Aburi-EN to deliver two new meal sets Made with soybean proteins, the Kalbi contains no chemical additives or animal ingredients


 Media OutReach – 14 April 2021 – Next Meats, a purveyor of the world’s first plant-based yakiniku meats, is making its debut in the alternative protein hotspot, Singapore! The Japanese alternative meat company has collaborated this time with popular Japanese restaurant Aburi-EN, which will offer two types of set meals using the NEXT Kalbi (boneless short rib) for the very first time. Made largely from soy proteins, the NEXT Kalbi contains double the amount of protein and half the fats than that of regular meat and even more, it does not contain any chemical additives or cholesterol due to its lack of animal ingredients. Now, Singaporeans can enjoy yakiniku without the guilt! 

The two new menus available at Aburi-EN are the Kalbi Don Set (S$13.80) and the Stamina Teishoku (S$15.80) — which are available for a limited time only. Next Meats has specifically chosen to work with Aburi-EN as they are a Japanese grilled-meat specialist. The two menus are the culmination of many months of research and development, and they will also be Aburi-EN’s first-ever plant-based dishes.

For the Kalbi Don Set, Next Meat’s Kalbi is grilled and served atop a bowl of fragrant Japanese steamed rice. Equally indulgent, the Stamina Teishoku features the Kalbi stir-fried with cabbage along with egg imported from Okinawa. The meat is then served with fragrant Japanese steamed rice, salad, pickles and miso soup. For both dishes, the meats are glazed with a special homemade sauce that packs an irresistible umami punch.   

 Both the Kalbi Don Set and Stamina Teishoku will be available at all Aburi-EN stores from April to July 2021.

 An advocate of sustainable food production and better food security

 The NEXT Kalbi is one of Next Meats’ innovative offerings, which includes other plant-based delicacies such as the NEXT burger and NEXT gyudon (beef bowl). The company champions the importance of saving the planet and humanity through reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (which is produced from meat consumption and animal agriculture) and utilizing biotechnology to combat protein deficiency.

 Through extensive research and development, Next Meats has culminated the knowhow on using molecular binding to mould vegetable proteins from powder. Buoyed by state-of-the-art, proprietary technologies, the company has successfully created vegan substitutes that replicate the texture of real meat.



Continue Reading


Lanka Hospitals tops healthcare sector in LMD’s Most Awarded Entities



Lanka hospitals, the internationally accredited multiple award-winning healthcare provider, topped the healthcare sector in the Most Awarded list compiled by LMD magazine for 2019/20.

Designed to rank the most awarded entities in Sri Lanka, LMD conducted the research, the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, involving 204 corporate entities, based on the cumulative tally of awards received from 52 awarding bodies between January 2019 to September 2020.

With a total of five awards, securing the overall rank of 67, Lanka Hospitals came first in the healthcare sector.

Deepthi Lokuarachchi, Group CEO, Lanka Hospitals, said three factors contributed towards Lanka Hospitals’ award winning process; profound commitment to quality, service standard in healthcare and the accreditation of Joint Commission International (JCI).

“Our stringent standards for quality have earned accolades and accreditations from numerous national and international agencies. Lanka Hospitals has been in the forefront of healthcare providers since 2009 and, particularly, between 2019 and 2020, we were able to win seven national and international awards including one for environmental management systems”, he said.

As a result of superior facilities, customer care and quality of service Lanka Hospitals offers, a growth was experienced in terms of medical tourists during the Covid-19 pandemic even though the inbound international population was restricted. JCI, a US-based accreditation agency, rates healthcare services based on several criteria related to medical as well as non medical services”, he noted.

In terms of corporate responsibility, Lanka Hospitals focuses on skills development, medical care and donations. Every year, Lanka Hospitals’ nursing school enrolls batches from outside the Western province and upon the successful completion of the course they are offered employment, he added.



Continue Reading


AkzoNobel harnesses AI technology to introduce Dulux Preview Service



AkzoNobel’s Dulux has harnessed the transformative power of machine learning technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to introduce for the first time in Sri Lanka, a new concept that allows customers to accurately visualise their dream space ahead of their next paint job. A first in the industry, the Dulux Preview Service is accessible from a desktop or mobile platform, and enables clients to experiment with different colours, combinations, and themes on the go; enabling informed decisions about what works best for their interiors, a company news release said.

“Gone are the days of lugging around multiple decks of colour cards in an attempt to envision what a new space will look like, or being disappointed on having discovered a better colour scheme right after the walls were painted. The Dulux Preview Service provides a detailed virtual picture of projected living spaces -allowing users to try out over 2000 Dulux colours and multiple instant colour scheming options-, also equipping customers with the confidence to commit to a colour scheme knowing it will transform their space as they envisioned,” it said.

“In just three steps, the revolutionary new feature reduces turnaround time to under 48 hours on working days; making it a no-fuss, no-frill, seamless and hassle-free platform. First, users upload an image of the room or house they want to recolour. Next, a reference image is uploaded, and a colour shade or theme is chosen. Then Dulux colour experts curate the generated results catering to the specific need, and finally, a preview is received for customers to either store or use as recommendations.”

With just a ‘Snap, Preview, and Paint’, the Dulux Preview Service provides clients with the following:

Real-time visualisation. Customers upload a photo onto the platform, and the feature will digitally project how the space will look with the new colours. This allows customers to plan their paint job while taking into account the other furniture or wall fixtures in the room.

Options for multiple colour combinations. The preview service serves up a variety of colour combinations based on the reference image uploaded. Customers can also select from various Dulux colour themes based on the ambience they are looking for, with recommendations even on what other colours would complement the room or energy they are aspiring for.

Personalized recommendations. The tool also takes into account global trends and advice from colour experts to equip users with the best, personalised design recommendations.

Instant accessibility. As an easy-to-use, online tool, the service completely eliminates wait times for assistance from service agents; getting customers to that recreated space much quicker.

For free and customised designs or colour recommendations on how to transform your walls at the click of a button, visit


Continue Reading