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Bourse indices decline in the wake of policy uncertainties

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

The CSE yesterday evinced some negative sentiments despite the CSE withdrawing  a ‘contentious’ circular issued in January 2021. This was followed by a clarification in early February that market regulators should report investors’ credit position, market analysts said.

The withdrawal came into effect as a result of stockbroker firms making representations with regard to system limitations and practical constraints regarding the submission of certain information required by circulars bearing number 06-1-2021 dated January 29, 2021 and 01-02-2021 dated February 1, 2021, issued by the CSE. 

The market was bullish last morning and touched 7467 or 170 points and later the market witnessed profit taking but it began to decline. The previous  day market sentiment was positive because of the Chinese loan facility reported  in a Chinese government bank twitter. But yesterday’s market decline began because of news that the Chinese loan is still in its discussion stages. Moreover,  the government’s inconsistent policies also added insult to injury, market analysts said.

Amid those developments both indices moved downwards. All Share Price Index went down by 21.55 points and S and P SL20 declined by 3.91 points. The turnover stood at Rs. 2.8 billion without a crossing.

In the retail market, top five contributors to the turnover were, Dipped Products Rs. 435.6 million (8.3 million shares traded), Expolanka Rs. 337.3 million (seven million shares traded), LOLC Rs. 283.5 million (845,000 shares traded), Vallibel One Rs. 214.3 million (3.9 million shares traded), Browns Investment Rs. 214.3 million (3.9 million shares traded). During the day, 143.9 million share volumes changed hands in 25949 transactions.

Seylan Bank PLC  had decided to go ahead with the previously announced listed BASEL III compliant debenture issue though with few changes. Originally, Seylan in July last year announced a listed debenture worth Rs. 10 billion, upon over subscription of Rs. 5 billion initially, Rs. 3 billion thereafter and Rs. 2 billion finally. It was to be via senior unsecured listed rated redeemable debentures and BASEL III compliant, Tier II, listed, rated, unsecured, subordinated redeemable debentures with a Non-Viability Conversion (to be issued as subordinated debt of the Bank). Having obtained shareholder approval, the bank in November announced to defer the move considering the prevailing market conditions subject to review in the first quarter of 2021. The Seylan Board last week passed a resolution to proceed with the issue subject to certain changes to the type and quantum of debentures.

Sri Lanka’s rupee quoted steady at 197.00/197.50 levels to the US dollar in the one-week forwards market on Tuesday, while bond yields remained unchanged, dealers said. The rupee last closed in the one- week forward market at 197.50/198.00 to the dollar on Monday.

In the secondary market bond yields were unchanged while the overall market witnessed dull activity, dealers said.



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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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