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Efforts underway to promote investment from Austria to Sri Lanka

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The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Vienna in collaboration with the Vienna Chamber of Commerce (WKO) organized a hybrid webinar to promote investment from Austria to Sri Lanka.

The hybrid webinar was attended by Regional Manager for Asia & Pacific Region Johannes Brunner, Commercial Attaché of the Austrian Embassy in India Bernd Andersson together with Austrian companies while Chairman of the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation of Sri Lanka Prasanna Gunasena,  Executive Director of Investment Promotion Prasanjith Wijayatilake, Director of Investment Promotion Nilupul de Silva, Head of Ecosystem of the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka Darshan Maralanda, Deputy Director of Export Development Board of Sri Lanka Udeni Wijekoon,  and officials from the Foreign Ministry took part in the event virtually.

Austrian companies representing health, renewable energy, environmental technology and vocational training sectors who are keen to invest in the region, particularly in Sri Lanka were selected by the Vienna Chamber of Commerce. The said companies were namely Odelga Med Engineering GmbH, AME International GmbH, Med-El Elektromedizinische Geräte GmbH, VAMED Engineering GmbH. VACE Systemtechnik GmbH, M-U-T Maschinen-Umwelttechnik-Transportanlagen GmbH and Global Hydro Energy GmbH.

The Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to Austria Majintha Jayesinghe welcomed the participants by stating that Sri Lanka has set an ambitious plan to facilitate investments that can have a transformative impact on the economy. The Government is doing its utmost to create an enabling environment to attract more investments. The Ambassador emphasized that special relations between Sri Lanka and Austria have grown exponentially covering a multitude of areas with mutual benefits and called on everyone to join this transformative journey by investing in Sri Lanka.

Regional Manager for Asia & Pacific Region from the Vienna Chamber of Commerce Johannes Brunner highlighted the importance of the webinar to further expand the cooperation between the two countries. It was also pointed out that potential investments from Austria are focused in the fields of renewable energy, pharmaceutical industry and vocational training. It was further highlighted that Sri Lanka needs to develop projects that could attract these investments especially during the Covid pandemic. The participants also expressed their willingness to facilitate the request to procure high quality medicines from Austria to Sri Lanka.

Prasanjith Wijayatilake provided a detailed brief on emerging investment opportunities. Sri Lanka is a vibrant destination with over 1,200 foreign companies engaged in various economic sectors including IT services, tourism, food processing, logistics, education and large-scale infrastructure. It was further stated that Sri Lanka is on the right track to achieve a 5-7% GDP growth rate in the next decade based on a knowledge-driven economy. The Executive Director explained the conducive investment climate with new policies and tax incentives. The briefing also focused on five priority sectors to drive FDIs, namely manufacturing, ICT, hospitality and tourism, agriculture and food processing, construction and infrastructure. The BOI Executive Director also elaborated on the newly created specialized economic zones for pharmaceutical and textile items in Hambantota and Batticaloa.



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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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