The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has once again been confirmed the highest-ranked bank in the latest edition of the ‘LMD 100’ and is the only bank among the Top 10 companies on this prestigious list widely considered Sri Lanka’s version of the Fortune 500.The Bank has steadfastly remained among the Top 10 corporate giants every year since the inception of this ranking 29 years ago and has been affirmed the bank with the highest revenue and profit for 2021-22.
The LMD 100 positions Sri Lanka’s largest private sector bank 7th overall in terms of revenue and 6thoverall in terms of profit among the largest business groups in the country, proving the Bank’s mettle in what the magazine describes as a “watershed year” for Sri Lanka’s listed entities.
The LMD’s primary ranking is based on turnover, but the magazine also ranks companies by sector as well as by total assets, profit after tax, shareholders’ funds, market capitalisation and other performance indicators.
Commenting on the Bank’s consistent ranking among the top tier of the LMD 100, Commercial Bank Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Sanath Manatunge said: “Customers and investors alike look for unshakeable strength and stability in a bank, especially in times of adversity and change. Commercial Bank’s record in this respect has been exemplary, holding its own among the largest diversified conglomerates in the country for nearly three decades, and leading the Banking sector on the LMD 100 since the inception of the ranking.”
Tea industry targets USD 1.2 bn export turnover in 2023
Sri Lanka will earn around USD 1.2 billion from tea exports for 2023 exporting around 260 million Kg, said Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, (SLTB) Niraj de Mel, last week.
SLTB is forecasting a modest growth for 2023 in comparison to the current year estimating an increased production of 290 million Kgs with export revenues expected to increase to USD 1.4 billion. Due to the depreciation of the rupee against the dollar, during the first half of the year and a shortage of tea, sales caught up and auction prices increased sharply from March 2022. Despite fuel shortages and logistic issues, the Regional Plantation Companies and smallholders have been able to continue the harvesting of green leaf throughout the year. When compared to 2020 and 2021 volumes, the Green Leaf price to smallholders has increased exponentially from July 2022 onwards.
“The tea smallholder who used to get around Rs. 90 per kg three years ago is now getting around Rs. 250 per kg and some estates have paid nearly Rs. 1,000 per kg. He said that though the glyphosate fertiliser ban is lifted planters should not use it heavily as a ‘global ban of glyphosate’ is imminent for the tea industry. Some countries like Taiwan already reject tea grown with the use of glyphosate.” He recalled that tea production reached an all time high with a record of 340 million Kgs in 2013. “After short increases during the period 2017 to 2019, tea production recorded a decrease in 2020, mainly due to the fallout from the pandemic and now we are taking several steps to increase production.”
The Tea board is offering a host of financial grants and loans to the tea growers, factories as well as for exporters. “These include subsidies for replanting, fertiliser for growers, special grants and loans for factories to upgrade their machinery and soft loans for exporters for packaging. These facilities exceed Rs. 4 billion per year.”
Tea Commissioner E. Edirisinghe said that they would also provide Rs. I million for tea factory expansion which comes as a grant. “In addition, we pay 3% of the capital when factories install solar,” he said.
Harin urges for ‘breathing space’ to revive tourism
Minister of Tourism and Lands Harin Fernando said on Saturday that persistent political agitations make his job of promoting Sri Lanka as a safe and convenient tourist destination extremely difficult.
“Now the country has restarted to function although not at a comfortable level to everyone. People undergo many economic difficulties due to high cost of living. These issues need to be addressed and resolved one by one. Creating troubles constantly in a highly political way won’t help the country to come out of the crisis. It will only prolong the crisis.
As Minister of Tourism, I have a hard time promoting tourism in Sri Lanka because it is no easy task to convince potential overseas visitors that the situation is back to normal. So, I appeal to these parties to allow at least six months for the country resuscitate whose breathing had stopped for some time,” he said.
UTECH Technologies recognised at Sahasak Nimavum Innovation Awards
UTECH Technologies (Pvt) Limited, Sri Lanka’s leading Industry 4.0 transformation solutions provider won the most prestigious innovation award, the DASIS award at the Sahasak Nimavum National Innovation Awards held recently. The DASIS Award is judged across all competing categories and only awarded to the innovation that shows novelty in technology and has been commercialized successfully. This award is judged by a learned panel of national and international judges including academia and industry experts. UTECH also won overall gold for best commercialized ICT innovation. UTECH has won many national and international awards, including the overall gold for “IoT technology of the year” at the Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) in 2021.
UTECH’s Managing Director, Riyad Ismail said, “Having many Sri Lankan industrial conglomerates as our clients, we have started exporting our hardware and software solutions to world markets.”
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