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ComBank makes strong start to 2021 with robust growth in fund-based operations

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The Commercial Bank Group led by Sri Lanka’s benchmark private sector bank has generated strong growth in fund-based operations in the first quarter of 2021, with the continuing trend of interest expenses reducing at a significantly higher rate than interest income combined with judicious management of core banking operations.

Comprising of Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC, its subsidiaries and the associate, the Group reported a Gross income of Rs 40.905 billion for the three months ended 31st March 2021, with net interest income growing by a substantial 21.08% to Rs 15.477 billion consequent to interest expenses reducing by 17.14% to Rs 16.218 billion in contrast to a marginal decline of 2.04% in interest income to Rs 31.695 billion due to the reduction in interest rates.

Notably, the growth in net interest income was achieved despite a substantial increase in deposits and excess liquidity being invested in low-yielding treasury assets in view of the conditions that prevailed in the market during the three months reviewed, the Bank said.

The bank further improved its CASA ratio to 45.26% — possibly the best in the industry — from 42.72% at end 2020, contributing to a supplementary reduction in interest expenses. CASA deposits grew by 36.04% YoY, accounting for over 70% of the YoY growth in total deposits, and timely re-pricing of liabilities further reduced the cost of funds.

Among other components of gross income, other income (comprising of net gains/losses from trading, net gains/losses from de-recognition of financial assets and net other operating income) grew by 22.58% to Rs 5.661 billion while net fees and commission income improved by 23.55% to Rs 3.023 billion, the Bank said in a filing with the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE). Interest income continued to be the dominant source of income, accounting for 77.48% of gross income, while net interest income accounted for 64.06% of total operating income.

 

Commercial Bank



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CDS signs up with Lanka IOC to act as Registrar

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The Central Depository Systems (CDS), a fully owned subsidiary of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), recently signed a service agreement with Lanka IOC PLC as the registrar for Lanka IOC PLC, with effect from 01st of January 2023. Lanka IOC PLC, with a corporate history spanning 20 years, is the only private sector auto fuel retailer in Sri Lanka. Over the years, the company has made a significant impact on the socio-economic landscape by enabling mobility, economic activity, and development. With an island-wide footprint of 213 retail outlets, the company services 12% of the country’s retail fuel demand.

Reasoning on appointing CDS, as the Registrar for Lanka IOC PLC, its’ Managing Director, Manoj Gupta, said, “we engaged CDS to conduct our virtual annual general meetings during the period of COVID 19 pandemic where all listed companies were not in a position to convene any physical meeting as it was most essential to maintain social distance. We found the services rendered to us by CDS were highly satisfactory. Thus, we are happy to appoint CDS as the Registrars of the company.” “CDS has provided the service of handling the dividend payments to shareholders consecutively for the last
three years and carried out the functions in a very good manner, coordinating well with the bankers and shareholders,” added the Company Secretary of Lanka IOC PLC, Ms. Amali Liyanapatabendi

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SLT-MOBITEL honoured at Asian Technology Excellence Awards 2022

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Reiterating its leadership in innovative broadband deployment solutions, SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT Solutions Provider was honoured with the prestigious ‘Technology Excellence Award for Network and Broadband – Telecommunications’ at The Asian Technology Excellence Awards 2022. The recognition is in appreciation of SLTMOBITEL’s innovative use of LTE 850MHz broadband solution which provides extensive coverage to rural areas of the country.

Understanding the need to provide superior rural connectivity to support the nation’s ongoing digital transformation and bridgingn the digital divide, SLT-MOBITEL’s innovative LTE 850MHz network strategically combined the underutilized spectrum from obsolete CDMA fixed line operations and forfeited its resources to obtain a new noninterfered 5MHz band for 4G LTE deployment from The
Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL). This enabled, SLT-MOBITEL to significantly enhance rural connectivity across Sri Lanka, empowering every Sri Lankan to avail the benefit of SLT-MOBITEL’s Sub1GHz 850MHz LTE network especially during Covid-19 travel restrictions where broadband had become a necessity for everyone. In addition, SLTMOBITEL’s LTE 850MHz solution recovered valuable national spectrum resources which was interfered and exhausted earlier. With the coverage enhancement the mobile arm was able to connect an additional 700,000 subscribers who did not have access to broadband services earlier. With the LTE 850MHz deployment, SLT-MOBITEL was able to further bolster its support during COVID-19, providing rural communities especially the school children, people who worked from home and national authorities to immediately respond to Covid-19 emergency situations, thereby narrowing Sri Lanka’s digital divide

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Lingering debt-restructuring worries trigger share market volatility

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

CSE trading was characterized by a marked degree of volatility yesterday. The CSE started trading on a positive note but by mid-day the market had turned negative, only to register some recovery during the latter part of the day. But the recovery could not be fully sustained, market analysts said. Market volatility could be traced to the worry among traders that the Chinese government is yet to respond
positively to the Sri Lankan government’s debt restructuring plan, although the Chinese Exim Bank responded positively to the IMF bailout proposition, analysts said. Stock market mid- day shares fell on
profit- taking after the market had continuously been on green after debt restructuring assurances by major creditors, an analyst said. “However, the anticipated rate cut wasn’t met and the
market over- reacted and moved to red, the analyst added.

Amid those developments both indices indicated a downward trend.The All- Share Price Index went down by 11.5 points and S and P SL20 declined by 2.78 points. Turnover stood at Rs 1.2 billion with two crossings. Those crossings were reported in Melstacorp, where 594,000 shares crossed to the tune of Rs 29.7 million, its shares traded at Rs 50 and Horana Plantations 300,000 shares crossed for Rs 21 million, and its shares traded at Rs 70. In the retail market, top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Lanka IOC Rs 269 million (1.3 million shares traded),Softlogic Life Insurance Rs 147 million (1.3 million shares traded), Softlogic Capital Rs 122 million (eight million shares traded), LOLC Holdings Rs 71.9 million (158,000 shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 54.4 million (289,000 shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 41.9 million (six million shares traded) and JKH Rs 41 million (298,000 shares traded). It is said that high net worth and institutional
investor participation was noted in Agstar, Melstacorp and JKH. Mixed interest was observed in Lanka IOC, Expolanka Holdings and LOLC Holdings, while retail interest was noted in LOLC Finance, Browns Investments and Softlogic Capital.

The Materials sector was the top contributor to the market turnover (due to Agstar), while the sector index gained 0.18 per cent. The share price of Agstar increased by 50 cents (3.23 per cent) to
close at Rs.16. The Diversified Financials sector was the second highest contributor to the market turnover (due to LOLC Holdings), while the sector index increased by 2.16 per cent. The share price of LOLC Holdings appreciated by Rs. 21.75 (5.11 per cent) to close at Rs. 447.25. During the day 41 million share volumes changed hands in 14000 transactions.

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