By Hiran H. Senewiratne
Investor sentiment at the CSE remained mixed with the two price indices moving in opposite directions, though turnover was on a healthy trajectory. But the stock market was driven by Commercial Leasing and Finance PLC (CLC), which contributed 171 points to the All-Share Price Index. Further, CLC became the company with the biggest market capitalization in the CSE beating Expolanka Holdings yesterday, stock market analysts said.
CLC’s market capitalization swells to Rs 452 billion, which is 9.7 percent of the total market capitalization in the CSE. But Expolanka Holdings’ total market capitalization was around Rs 397 billion as of yesterday, stock market analysts said.
But on the previous day, CLC overtook parent and one- time high flyer LOLC Holdings PLC to become the second most valuable entity in the CSE. Its share price appreciated by 20 percent or Rs 12. Yesterday its shares started trading at Rs 59 and at the end of the day they shot up to Rs 71. Despite the bullish sentiment on the stock, CLC saw a relatively low volume with 7.2 million shares changing hands via 4,575 trades for Rs. 396.7 million.
Another LOLC subsidiary LOLC Finance’s share price also appreciated by 5 percent or 50 cents. Its shares began trading at Rs 9.80 and at the end of the day they shot up to Rs 10.30.
Amid those developments both indices showed mixed reactions. All Share Price Index went up by 140.31 points and S and P SL20 came down by 8.44 points. Turnover stood at Rs 6.1 billion with three crossings. Those crossings were reported in Access Engineering, which crossed 16.2 million shares to the tune of Rs 405 million and its shares traded at Rs 25, JKH 250,000 shares crossed for Rs 37.8 million, its shares traded at Rs 151 and Colombo Fort Lands two million shares crossed for Rs 31 million, its shares traded at Rs 15.50.
In the retail market top five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were Expolanka Holdings Rs 1.03 billion (five million shares traded), Agalawatte Plantations Rs 786 million (25 million shares traded), Commercial Leasing and Finance Rs 754 million (10.9 million shares traded), LOLC Finance Rs 331 million (31.8 million shares traded) and Browns Investments Rs 308 million (29 million shares traded). During the day 188 million share volumes changed hands in 42000 transactions.
Ex-Pack Corrugated Cartons Limited’s Rs 700 million IPO, witnessed 6,000+ applicants seeking to subscribe, resulting in 11 plus oversubscriptions. This is the highest rate of oversubscription witnessed by any recent IPO, making it the highest subscribed IPO for 2021. The IPO, which opened on the 22nd of October 2021, was oversubscribed in a matter of minutes and, thus, closed at 4.30pm the same day. Yesterday the US dollar was quoted at Rs 202.55 as per the Central Bank controlled price.
ComBank partners with PayHere to offer Q+ users a unique eCommerce experience
The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has partnered with PayHere, Sri Lanka’s largest Aggregated Internet Payment Gateway Service, to offer users of its Q+ Payment App a unique, user-friendly and secure eCommerce experience.
Commercial Bank customers can now conveniently pay for their purchases via the Q+ app to over 3300 registered PayHere Online Payment Service enabled merchants. The Bank’s Credit, Debit and Prepaid Card holders who pay through Q+, the fastest-growing QR app in the country, will not be required to tap in their card details as this information is already stored on the app, the Bank said.
Payments to PayHere merchants via the Q+ Online Pay facility will enhance customer convenience as the transaction will only require the entering of users’ mobile numbers registered with the app. Disbursements via Q+ require authentication using a static PIN which ensures the safety and security of transactions, making the Q+ App more secure than a normal card as the customers’ sensitive data is not transmitted to merchant websites.
TAMAP drives Stakeholder Forum for Good Agriculture Practice
The inaugural meeting of the GAP Stakeholder Forum was held with the support of the Technical Assistance to the Modernisation of Agriculture Programme (TAMAP) at the Department of Agriculture in Peradeniya on 17 November 2021. Prof. Udith K Jayasinghe, Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest.
The Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) programme, introduced by the Department of Agriculture in 2016, was a promising step taken to minimise adverse impacts of agriculture on the ecosystem and human health while meeting steadily rising demand for food. Although the programme had an encouraging start, the overall conversion of farmers to implementing GAP remained low. Over the past six years, 1500 farmers registered as GAP producers out of the 1.8 million farmers in Sri Lanka. To align with the current policy of the Sri Lankan Government to improve ecological friendliness of farming, it is important to transform all production units towards GAP farms.
Studies showed that to achieve this goal, the GAP implementation strategies needed to be updated and infused into the mainstream agriculture, facilitating a quick transformation of the current approach towards a macro-level system. Therefore, the requirement for a rapid strategizing of such an approach followed by periodic review of GAP performance arose. This initiated the need for a stakeholder forum.
The key purpose of the forum is to provide a common platform for key stakeholders to meet in formulating a strategy to mainstream SL GAP, propose a way forward for implementation such recommendations, and to regularly review program performance and adopt remedial action to achieve GAP objectives.
Prof. Udith K Jayasinghe, Secretary Ministry of Agriculture who chaired the Forum in his opening statement commented, “GAP programme has emerged a solution to challenges faced by Sri Lankan agriculture today to improve safety of users and ensuring good environmental performance. Reinforced by facilitating legislation and approved national standards, GAP programme provides a strong foundation towards addressing above concerns.”.
Over forty participants were present at the forum, representing the various stakeholder groups comprising producers, distributers, SL GAP team, academics, and market players. Ms D. S. Ratnasinghe, Addl. Director (Agribusiness) and Dr W. M. W. Weerakoon, National Coordinator outlined the status of the GAP programme and the challenges faced.
The deliberations during the forum were broken down into five main areas: Technical, financial, institutional, and social problems faced by GAP stakeholders on maintaining production, supply, product quality, and consumer trust. Gaps in technology transfer and adoption, marketing and quality control measures and means for increased rate of adoption and GAP farm certification; Gaps in current GAP process and procedures, user friendliness and applicability; Future technological needs towards increasing production, productivity, product quality and ecosystem sustainability; and Policy needs for increased adoption of GAP to mainstream GAP into national agriculture agenda.
Prof. G. Pushpakumara, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya and Ms Jayantha Ilankoon, ADG (Dev) moderated the forum through group activity, outcome presentations and strategic discussions on the way forward.
Concluding the forum, Dr Nihal Atapattu, stated, “TAMAP, along with the European Union that provided the funding support is very pleased to have assisted to launch several interventions that would promote recognition of GAP as a premier means of strengthening Sri Lankan agriculture in sustainably meet requirements of the domestic and export markets. TAMAP expects that the Stakeholder Forum launched today will be a milestone event in advancing GAP to achieve its potential in Sri Lanka”.
HNB’s commitment to expand e-commerce and digital payments wins Daraz award
HNB has been recognized by Daraz for exceptional contribution to its growth, in an independent endorsement of Sri Lanka’s leading private bank’s commitment to expand e-commerce and digital payments throughout the country.
The award, for the ‘Card Base with Highest Overall Growth’, was presented to HNB at the ‘Daraz Payment Partner Performance Awards 2021’. HNB, which ranks among Daraz’s best banking partners, recorded the highest growth on total payment volume, buyer engagement and total transactions month-on-month, for both credit and debit cards for the year 2020-2021.
“This award is an important validation how the local economy – both businesses and consumers – are benefiting from HNB’s cohesive programme to drive greater adoption of e-commerce and digital payments,” HNB Head of Cards, Gauthami Niranjan said. “These efforts are particularly significant at present, given how digital and contactless payments can assist in reducing the spread of the pandemic and support the Bank’s and the country’s vision to transform Sri Lanka to a cashless economy.”
Currently, HNB Cardholders enjoy multiple offers on Daraz, Sri Lanka’s leading online marketplace, a wholly-owned subsidiary of global e-commerce giant, the Alibaba Group. These include zero-interest instalment plans up to 48 months with attractive discounts for HNB Credit and Debit Cards and 10% off site-wide on Daraz for all HNB Credit Cards on purchases made during Saturdays. In addition, HNB tied up with Daraz for its 11:11 and Black Friday sales, which provided HNB Cardholders access to a range of offers and massive discounts.
HNB has been a pioneer in Sri Lanka’s banking industry in the digital banking and digital payments space. These include the launch of digital wallet and payment app, HNB SOLO and introducing Asia’s first-ever fitness-linked savings product in the form of the HNB FIT Savings Account.
With 254 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. HNB has a national rating of AA- (lka) by Fitch Ratings (Lanka) Ltd. The bank was also ranked among the World Top 1,000 Banks list compiled by the prestigious UK-based Banker Magazine for five consecutive years. HNB was also declared Best Sub-Custodian Bank in Sri Lanka at the Global Finance Awards 2020.
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