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CBD Business Centre in Fort, hosts official opening; ready for new tenants in 2021



CBD Business Centre, the landmark corporate edifice in Colombo Fort is set to welcome new tenants at the start of the new year following an extensive Rs 609 million renovation by its owner Cargo Boat Development Company PLC (CBD), a company news release said.

“The iconic 38-year-old building, is now ready for occupancy by companies looking for contemporary office spaces centrally located in Colombo’s business district at an affordable rent,” it said.

Long-standing director of the CBD Company Merrill J. Fernando, Founder of Dilmah Tea, declared the building recently. Those present included CDB Chairman Ravi Thambiayah, Deputy Chairman Nirmalie Thambiayah, Managing Director Niruja Thambiayah, Managing Director of International Distillers Lanka Mohan Tissanayagam, Joint Managing Directors of Renuka Hotel and Renuka City Hotel Arnila Thambiayah and Shibani Thambiayah, Maya Jayawardena and Thiyagarajah Dharmarajah.

Dilith Jayaweera, Chairman of George Steuart & Co., and the first tenant of CBD Business Tower, Dharshan Munidasa, Director of Crab Corp (and co-founder of Ministry of Crab alongside Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara). The Consultants from Avant Garde Urban Design Partnership and the Contractor for the Project, Sanken Construction (Pvt) Ltd were also present.

“This building was first built and opened by our chairman Ravi Thambiayah in 1982. It was the first UDA approved project in Fort and one of the first high rise buildings in Fort,” said MD Niruja Thambiayah at the event. “ABN bank was the first tenant to sign a lease in April 1980, one and a half years before the building was even ready. Bankers Trust, Swiss Air, Julius & Creasy, the Central Bank, and other prestigious tenants including the Presidential Secretariat and Ministry of Defence were quick to follow.

“This building was initially constructed in 1982 on the land which housed the offices of CBD’s original parent company – Cargo Boat Despatch Company, a Greek Shipping company (formed in 1866), which was acquired by my grandfather, Alfred Leo Thambiayah in 1939, which he grew into one of the leading shipping companies on the island, responsible for most of the functions of the port of Colombo at the time of nationalization of cargo operations in 1958.” A. L. Thambiayah was also a MP for Kayts from 1947 to 1956.

“We have now re-launched the CBD Business Centre with a contemporary look and an upgraded suite of facilities and services,” she added. “At a time when potential tenants are becoming increasingly discerning about their office spaces, we wanted to ensure that with this refurbishment, we tick all the boxes with respect to design, sustainability, functionality, and convenience.”

Slated to be among Colombo’s best commercial addresses, the newly-renovated CBD Business Centre holds its prime Fort location at 41 Janadhipathi Mawatha, Colombo 01, with building access from both Hospital Street and Janadhipathi Mawatha. Located right opposite the Central Bank and within walking distance of the World Trade Centre and Port City, this flagship development of the CBD company (an associate company of the Renuka Hotels Group) currently houses a total of 54,400 sq. ft. of newly refurbished, modern, rentable office space, spread over 11 floors with panoramic views of Colombo city, Port City, Colombo harbour and ocean.

For companies looking to rent out smaller spaces, every 5,700 sq. ft. office floor can be subdivided into two separate office areas of 2,800 sq. ft. each. The rent is currently being offered at special introductory rates of Rs.195 per sq. ft. (+ taxes) for office floors 1 to 9, and Rs.220 per sq. ft. (+ taxes) for the ground floor.

The CBD Business Centre has already secured its second tenant, Hoist Global SL (Pvt) Ltd., the Sri Lankan arm of Canadian-based IT company Hoist Global Tech Solutions Inc.

In addition to superior new masonry and cutting-edge electrical & plumbing infrastructure outfitted throughout the entire building, the CBD Business Centre also boasts energy efficient central air-conditioning and LED lighting systems, with separate electricity, water, and BTU meters for each office.

With a brand-new entrance lobby with reception, newly-installed passenger and service elevators, upgraded fire detection and protection system, 100% backup generator, new sanitary facilities and pantries, the tower also affords additional services including an on-site building management service, 24-hour security, and CCTV in the common areas and a basement car park.

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HNB partners with Gammadda to develop Yaya 6 village in Anuradhapura



HNB PLC recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Capital Maharaja Group’s initiative Gammadda Sri Lanka, the country’s largest rural development movement to develop infrastructure facilities of the Yaya 6 village Mahawilachchiya, in the Anuradhapura District.

The project is powered by HNB’s exclusive private banking proposition, The Club HNB, with the goal of engaging members and in opportunities for focused, impactful philanthropy.

A special event was hosted at The Club HNB premises on Greenpath which was attended by special guests from Yaya 6, Gammadda News 1st team and exclusive invitees of The Club HNB, during which HNB Managing Director/ CEO Jonathan Alles and Capital Maharaja Group Director Chevaan Daniel inaugurated the partnership with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.

“Rural communities form the backbone of this nation, therefore, HNB is proud to partner with the Capital Maharaja Group to support their ambitious and vital work under the Gammadda initiative. We are also grateful to The Club HNB membership and our branch network for once again stepping forward and contributing generously towards the upliftment of rural communities across Sri Lanka,” Alles said.

Providing access to clean drinking water is the 1st step in the agenda and a RO plant will be installed under the first phase of the development project. This will not only save lives but also prevent Chronic Kidney Disease (CKDu) prevalent in the region.

A new fully furnished library and computer lab will be just two other infrastructural additions to the village school Saliyamala Vidyalaya Pemaduwa, in addition to new washrooms which are to be constructed for the students and staff members. The project also entails renovation and refurbishment of the main road, the village temple, cleaning of the agrarian tank and construction of a new community hall under the initiative.

“It has been amazing working with HNB to achieve our mutual goal of providing Yaya 6 with much-needed infrastructure facilities. This project would not have been possible if not for the HNB customers, who came forward with their generous contributions to help this village in need. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone of you who made this possible,” Capital Maharaja Group Director Chevaan Daniel said.

Notably, acclaimed Sri Lankan pianist and music director Soundarie David’s composition of ‘Stand up and be the change’, that was created to help raise funds and create awareness about the project was performed at the event by Soul Sounds with music provided by Ranga Dasanayake at the event.

Editor-in-chief and founder of ARTRA magazine Azara Jaleel, who was also present at the event, auctioned off a painting from the ARTRA Canvas collection to The Club HNB members in aid of the project.

“I am happy to be here today, where two great institutions have come together for this great cause. We are fortunate as customers to be able to contribute in any way possible, and we hope to join you in visiting Yaya 6 soon,” a valued Club customer,Mrs Niloo Jayatilleke said.

Those who wish to make a contribution to the initiative can make a payment via HNB SOLO, through a direct payment on the payment app or deposit funds to the account titled ‘We are the change’, account number: 005010173025.

With 252 customer centres across the country, HNB is one of Sri Lanka’s largest, most technologically innovative banks, having won local and global recognition for its efforts to drive forward a new paradigm in digital banking. Over the recent past, the bank was ranked among the World Top 1,000 Banks list compiled by the prestigious UK-based Banker Magazine. HNB has a national rating of AA- (lka) by Fitch Ratings (Lanka) Ltd.

HNB was also declared Best Sub-Custodian Bank in Sri Lanka at the Global Finance Awards 2020, in addition to winning the coveted Best Retail Bank in Sri Lanka Award for the 11th time at the Asian Banker Awards 2020, in recognition of its sustainable growth and continuous improvements in processes, products and services amidst a challenging macroeconomic environment.

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The Finance Houses Association announces revision of Self-Regulation Code



The Finance Houses Association of Sri Lanka (FHA) the apex body of all Registered Finance companies has announced the introduction of its revised Self-Regulation Code which has been voluntarily practised by member companies over a long period of time, but has to be adapted to changing times.

The timely revisions to the Code were effected with a view to maintaining the highest standards on strategic and business operations in Sri Lanka’s Non-Banking Financial and Leasing Institutions (NBFI) sector.

The FHA collective of 39 Licensed Finance Companies (LFCs) is the driver of financial inclusion of Sri Lanka’s MSME sector which has a large footprint in the Bottom of the Pyramid segment of the country. The MSME sector is no less than the backbone of Sri Lankan economy involving over 70% of businesses in Sri Lanka, providing employment for 45% of the labor force and generating 52% of GDP.

Titled “Code of Conduct of Licensed Finance Companies Sri Lanka” the updated instrument was handed over to the Governor of Central Bank of Sri Lanka Prof. W. D. Lakshman and Bank’s officials by FHA Council members on March 18 at the Central Bank premises.

Niroshan Udage, chairman of FHA elaborated: “FHA’s time tested gentlemen’s agreement that was codified some time ago needed revisions and updates as per the requirements of today’s changing times. The overall objectives of updating the Code were to comply to all current regulatory and legal requirements while adhering to industry best practices. We take humble pride in the fact that the Code was not imposed on our sector by any authority but was self-introduced by all FHA members on their own will, which demonstrates the members’ strong commitment to sectoral integrity and their social responsibility.”

On March 18 members of FHA also handed over their Sustainability Mandate to the Governor of Central Bank Prof. W. D. Lakshman and top officials of the Bank. “The purpose of the Sustainability Mandate is to serve as the guideline for the LFCs to integrate sustainability principles holistically into their businesses, enabling sustainable value creation through their own financing approaches, in line with defined sustainability guidelines that would ultimately contribute towards national sustainability agenda and UN Sustainable Development Goals” said chairman Niroshan Udage.



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‘CSE to bounce back, provided Corona-19 is held in check’



By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

The CSE was, once again, somewhat sluggish yesterday on account of investor fears over a possible Covid-19 third wave, but the expectation in some sections that May corporate earnings will be exceptionally good had an uplifting impact on the market during the latter part of the day. The CSE could be expected to bounce back, top stock market analysts said.

” CSE will bounce back within the next few weeks if the Covid 19 new wave  does not impact  the global scenario, Head of Sales, Softlogic Stockbrokers (Pvt) Ltd. Eardley Kern  told ‘The Island Financial Review’.

He said that the upcoming quarterly corporate earnings will likely be among the best in recent times and this would enable the market to perform in a positive way.     

Windforce Ltd., the renewable energy firm, began trading above its price of Rs. 16 per share yesterday after raising Rs. 3.2 billion for wind power projects in Sri Lanka and Senegal. It contributed more than 28 percent to market turnover from its IPO, Kern said 

Windforce stocks fetched Rs. 17.90 initially  and rose to as much as Rs. 19.00 in intra-day trading, after being heavily oversubscribed, but settled at Rs. 18, which was an increase of Rs. 2.40 or 15 percent.

Amid those developments, both indices moved downwards. All Share Price Index declined by 105.53 points  and S and P SL20 went down by 47.08 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 2.61 billion with two crossings. Those crossings were reported in Windforce, which crossed 7.2 million shares to the tune of Rs. 131.6 million; its shares traded at Rs. 18.50 and Sampath Bank 400,000 shares crossed for Rs. 20.4 million; its shares fetching Rs. 51.

In the retail market, five main contributors to the turnover were, Windforce Rs. 738 million (40.3 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs. 281.5 million (44.6 million shares traded), Dipped Products Rs. 195 million (3.4 million shares traded), Piramal Glass Rs. 126.4 million (11 million shares traded) and Hayleys Rs. 113 million (1.5 million shares traded). During the day 139.3 million share volumes changed hands in 19927 transactions.  

  “The indices exhibited significant volatility during the early hours of trading and witnessed a continuous downwards movement during the whole session but Windforce gave some notable impetus to the market yesterday, analysts said.

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