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ComBank notches 3rd Rs 1 trillion mark in Balance Sheet in dynamic Q2

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Commercial Bank’s Chairman Justice K. Sripavan (left) and Managing Director S. Renganathan 

A strong second quarter, during which its loan book crossed the milestone of Rs 1 trillion, another first by a local private bank, has generated noteworthy growth in key indicators for the Commercial Bank of Ceylon Group for the six months ended 30th June 2021.

Comprising of Sri Lanka’s largest private sector bank, its subsidiaries and an associate, the Group reported gross income of Rs 79.931 billion for the period, reflecting a growth of 6.34% over the corresponding six months of 2020 and an improvement of 11.23% in the second quarter of 2021.

The Group converted the first quarter’s negative growth of 2% in interest income to an improvement of 9% in the second quarter, to end the first half of 2021 with interest income of Rs 63.355 billion, which was an increase of 3.2% over the first half of last year. With interest expenses for the six months down 16.65% to Rs 32.197 billion, the Group posted a net interest income of Rs 31.158 billion for the period under review, achieving a growth of 36.86% and 57.06% respectively for the six months and the second quarter.

“An increase in operating income from the growth in lending, an improvement in net fees & commission income and significant gains in some of the components of other income was partly offset by a substantial growth in impairment charges in the six months reviewed, but we are pleased with the overall results because we have built on the momentum of the first quarter and improved many of the core ratios and key performance indicators,” Commercial Bank Chairman Justice K. Sripavan commented.

Commercial Bank Managing Director Mr S. Renganathan elaborated that the Bank’s CASA ratio had improved to 45.37% from 42.72% at the end of 2020 and 40.79% at end June 2020. “We have also sustained steady improvements in capital adequacy ratios, non-performing loan ratios, provision cover and interest margins while grappling with the challenges posed by the global pandemic. We extended our fullest support for the implementation of Government initiatives to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and the community and to stabilise the economy. This included providing relief to borrowers and participating in the ‘Saubhagya’ loan scheme in addition to implementing the Bank’s own concessionary lending schemes,” he said. “We believe we now have a blueprint for achieving well-balanced growth in adverse conditions that will be of value in the years ahead.”

“We are particularly encouraged to see our loan book surpass Rs 1 trillion, making Commercial Bank the first private sector bank in Sri Lanka to have three key balance sheet indicators that exceed Rs 1 trillion. Our assets crossed this threshold in 2016 while deposits achieved it in 2019,” Mr Renganathan added.

Total operating income of the Group for the six months grew by 30.78% to Rs 46.344 billion, while impairment charges and provisions for other losses rose by 47.44% to Rs 13.654 billion consequent to a management decision to make provisions on a prudent basis, for exposures to identified risk-elevated industries.

As a result, net operating income grew by 24.88% to Rs 32.690 billion, but with operating expenses being restricted to Rs 14.079 billion, an increase of 8.42%, the Group posted an operating profit of Rs 18.611 billion before VAT on financial services for the six months, reflecting robust growth of 41.09% over the corresponding six months of the previous year. VAT on financial services increased by 37.82% to Rs 2.857 billion resulting in the Group achieving profit before income tax of Rs 15.754 billion for the first half of 2021, an improvement of 41.71% over the corresponding six months of 2020.

Income tax for the period under review amounted to Rs 3.400 billion, down 7.33% as a result of a reversal of excess in provisions for income tax made in 2020. This was due to the Bank’s provisions for income tax being computed at 28% on the basis that the 24% rate proposed in the last government budget to be effective from 1st January 2020, had not been enacted. The excess provision was reversed during the first quarter of 2021 as advised by the CA Sri Lanka.

Consequently, the Commercial Bank Group posted profit after tax of Rs 12.354 billion for the six months recording a growth of 65.87%, with growth in the second quarter alone amounting to 52.93%. Taken separately, Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC reported profit before tax of Rs 15.420 billion for the period, a growth of 47.61% and profit after tax of Rs 12.134 billion, an improvement of 74.31%.

Total assets of the Group grew by Rs 172 billion or 9.77% over the six months to Rs 1.935 trillion as at 30th June 2021. Asset growth over the preceding 12 months was Rs 368 billion or 23.49% YoY.



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SLT-MOBITEL donates fourth PCR machine to Matara District Hospital

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Group Chairman of SLT-MOBITEL Rohan Fernando handing over the donation to Deputy Director of Matara District Hospital Upali Ratnayake accompanied by Dr.Thushara Vidanapathirana, Dr.Deepika Priyanthi and Group CEO of SLT-MOBITEL Lalith Seneviratne.

Recognising the importance to enhance Sri Lanka’s PCR testing capacity to curtail the spread of COVID-19 and to protect citizens, SLT-MOBITEL continues its support by donating yet another vital PCR machine to the District General Hospital in Matara recently.

The donation of the PCR machine valued at over Rs. 5.7 million is part of SLT-MOBITEL’s ‘Sabandiyawe Sathakaraya’ CSR initiative in further strengthening the nation’s healthcare systems and assisting communities in need.

The equipment was handed over to the Deputy Director of the Matara Hospital Doctor Upali Rathnayaka in the presence of Rohan Fernando, Group Chairman, SLT-MOBITEL; Lalith Seneviratne, Group Chief Executive Officer, SLT-MOBITEL; Kiththi Perera, CEO, SLT; Shashika Senarath, CMO, Mobitel along with Regional GM, SLT; Regional Head – Mobitel and Hospital Staff.

Previously, PCR machines were donated to the Base Hospital, Karawanella, District General Hospital, Matale and the University Hospital of the Kotelawala Defense University. SLT-MOBITEL appreciates the support received from all Sri Lankans towards ‘Daana Paaramitha’ which was conceptualized as a platform to further increase community involvement in carrying out relief efforts to support families affected by the pandemic.

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Extension of lockdown negatively impacts CSE

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By Hiran H. Senewiratne

CSE trading activities commenced yesterday in a lacklustre manner with little share-buying interest and later on became negative following the government’s announcement on the lockdown extension until October 1, stock market analysts said.

The Colombo International Financial Centre (CIFC) at the Port City was set to commence this month and has been delayed until December owing to the current Covid 19 situation. This also affected CSE trading activities yesterday, analysts said.

Consequently, the stock market lost steam yesterday, closing on a negative note as investor sentiment remained erratic due to internal and external environmental factors. Both indices moved downwards or to negative territory despite healthy turnover in the market. The All Share Price Index went down by 46.09 points and S and P SL20 declined by 17.93 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 3.8 billion with two crossings. Those crossings were reported in Expolanka, where 600,000 shares crossed for Rs. 101.1 million, its shares trading at Rs. 158.50 and Sampath Bank one million shares crossed for Rs. 49.5 million, its shares traded at Rs. 49.50.

In the retail market, some companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; Expolanka Holdings Rs. 1.2 billion (7.4 million shares traded), JKH Rs. 604 million (4.6 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs. 540 million (58.3 million shares traded) and Hayleys Rs. 204 million (2 million shares traded).

It is said that following two sessions of gains, the indices closed in the red due to price declines in large-cap stocks as investors opted to book modest returns after the recent sharp rally. Stocks such as Expo, LOLC, and JKH, which saw sharp gains in the past two sessions witnessed profit-taking at higher levels and weighed on the momentum throughout the session.

Further, high net worth and institutional investor participation was noted in Sampath Bank. Mixed interest was observed in Expolanka Holdings, Tokyo Cement Company and LOLC Holdings, while retail interest was noted in Browns Investments, Lanka Orix Finance and Industrial Asphalts. During the day 153 million share volumes changed hands in 24000 transactions.

As of yesterday, the current exchange rate of 1 US dollar was equal to 199.607 Sri Lankan rupees. This is an increase of 7.856656 percent (or +14.5401 LKR) compared with the same time last year (17 September 2020), when 1 US dollar equaled 185.067 Sri Lankan rupees.

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Lockdown takes toll on Sri Lanka’s manufacturing sector activities

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The resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic in August 2021 has slowed down the manufacturing activities in the country. Accordingly, the manufacturing PMI recorded an index value of 45.1 in August 2021 with a fall of 12.7 index points from the previous month, mainly driven by the decrease in New Orders, Production, Employment, and Stock of Purchases sub-indices. The decline in New Orders and Production, especially in the manufacture of food & beverages, furniture, and textiles & wearing apparel sectors, have mainly contributed to the overall decrease of the manufacturing PMI. Many respondents in those sectors highlighted that their local orders and distribution channels were affected due to the lockdown imposed as a measure of containing the pandemic. Further, many of them also emphasised that factory operations were disrupted due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus among employees. Employment sub-index also declined in line with these developments.

The decrease of Stock of Purchases was in line with the decline in New Orders and Production. Further, the difficulties encountered in placing purchase orders and in settling foreign payments also adversely affected the supply chain of raw materials and production schedules. Many respondents stressed that the continuous increase in the cost of imported raw materials adversely affected their profit margins. Meanwhile, Suppliers’ Delivery Time lengthened at a slower rate in August 2021. The manufacturers cautioned that the uncertainty over the COVID-19 pandemic would continuously hinder the prospects of the manufacturing sector, yet, overall expectations for manufacturing activities for the next three months remained above the neutral threshold.

Services PMI dropped to an index value of 46.2 in August 2021 with the restrictions imposed to contain the further spread of the COVID-19. New Businesses, Business Activity, Employment and Expectations for Activity sub-indices recorded declines. New Businesses decreased in August compared to the previous month mainly with the declines observed in wholesale and retail trade, insurance, real estate, and education sub-sectors. Business Activities across most of the sub-sectors such as, wholesale and retail trade, real estate, insurance and other personal activities reported considerable declines indicating the adverse effects of travel restrictions on their business operations. Nevertheless, transportation sub-sector recorded some improvements solely due to the growth in freight volumes. Moreover, financial services sub-sector also indicated improvements despite the disturbances from travel restrictions. Employment continued to fall at a higher pace as retirements and voluntary resignations exceeded the number of recruitments carried out during the month. Backlogs of Work increased at a higher pace in August along with the reduction in staff availability amid travel restrictions and growing COVID-19 infections of staff. (CBSL)

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