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First Capital books billion rupee profit after tax in record breaking year



Results, helped by monetary policy easing, achieved against negative headwinds

First Capital Holdings PLC (FCH), a Janashakthi company, reported its best ever performance in the year ended Mar. 31, 2020 with its profit after tax topping the billion rupee mark, up from Rs. 8 million the previous year.

The company’s chairman, Mr. Nishan Fernando, said in a statement in the company’s recently published annual report that the record breaking performance was without doubt the best year to date, with the group’s impressive performance achieved against some obviously negative headwinds that saw the country posting what he called “sub-par economic growth” for the third consecutive year.

“Our ability to deliver consistent results even in tough times, is a testament to the group’s robust operating model,” Fernando said. “I am also convinced that the ongoing emphasis placed on strengthening each of our core businesses and firming up their positions within their immediate operating domain, has been a critical success factor for the group.

FCH is a full service investment bank providing a diverse range of advisory services and financial products. Its specialties include Capital Market Advisory, Wealth Management, Fixed Income and Equities serving an array of companies, institutions, government agencies, high net worth individuals and retail clients.

The superior performance enabled the company to pay its shareholders a total dividend of nine rupees per share for the year under review comprising a first interim of four rupees per share in Aug. 1919 and a second interim of five rupees per share in in June 2020 with a total dividend payout of Rs. 911.2 million.

Fernando said the outstanding performance was supported by a demonstrable improvement across all key metrics with revenue up to Rs. 5.22 billion from Rs. 4.17 billion a year earlier.

Operational highlights included channeling Rs. 336 billion worth of government securities to the public; assets under management reaching Rs. 26.4 billion; Rs. 42 billion raised through corporate debt structuring and placement; and Rs. 7.2 billion raised for listed debt IPOs.

He said he was particularly pleased with the performance of their primary dealer operation – First Capital Treasuries PLC, as a result of the Central Bank’s monetary policy easing in the latter part of 2019.

Focusing mainly on the unlisted debt market, their Corporate Advisory Unit leveraged on the opportunity to re-enter the listed debenture space after three years raising approx Rs. 7.25 billion by way of listed debentures.

Their wealth management unit had also made remarkable progress to deliver the best financial results to date. The wealth management clientele had shown a degree of maturity during the year for which he credited their efforts to raise market awareness.

He expected the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to dictate the country’s medium term economic outlook. Based on the assumption that at the very least, the existing monetary policy easing measures will remain in effect, he expected their group “to benefit from a highly conducive environment.”

The company’s Director/CEO Dilshan Fernando said that a continuation of the current monetary policy slant at least for the forthcoming financial year will benefit their group with the low interest rates offering strong growth potential. He also saw the opportunity to expand their corporate advisory services as businesses restructure in the post-Covid era.

“Also, as the equity market bottoms out, there is likely to be renewed interest in investing, especially from foreign investors over the coming months,” he said. “This will no doubt boost the prospects of our stock broking arm.”

The Janashakthi Groups owns over 75% of First Captal.

The company’s directors are Messrs. Nishan Fernando (Chairman – Independent non-executive) Dinesh Schaffter (MD) Dilshan Wirasekera (Director/CEO) Prakash Schaffter and Ramesh Schaffter (Non-independent, non-executive), Eardley Perera, Minette Perera, Chandana de Silva and Nishan de Mel (Independent non-executive directors).

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LOLC Al-Falaah unveils pioneering Wadi’ah Gold-Storage Facility with multiple customer benefits



Sri Lanka’s most awarded and trusted Alternate Financial services brand, LOLC Al-Falaah recently unveiled their ground-breaking new product – the Wadi’ah Gold Loan Facility. This is the 1st time a Finance company in Sri Lanka is offering this facility. Al-Falaah Wadi’ah is a unique gold storage option offered to Al-Falaah’s valued customer base. All gold articles are tested for quality and authenticity using state-of-the art equipment by the company’s experienced staff without causing any damage to the jewellery. A unique ‘Gold Storage Certificate’ with the description of articles, including weight, quality and quantity along with the market value will be issued to the customer when obtaining this facility.

Speaking about the new product, Mr. Shiraz Refai, Deputy General Manager of LOLC Al-Falaah said, “Gold is a favourite investment option at all levels within the concentrated community. The metal is usually pawned, sold or exchanged when in need of cash. As the conventional Pawning options and Gold Loan offering has limitations to cater to the specific needs, as well as contradict with certain beliefs of the community, a concept acceptable and practiced in the industry is introduced by LOLC’s Alternate Financial Services Unit to its valued customer segment”.

Accordingly, a unique feature has been introduced to the Al-Falaah Wadi’ah Gold Storage facility offering the Customer the benefit of obtaining an interest-free maximum Cash-Advance in the industry at zero mark-up against the gold storage certificate value for any emergencies. In addition, for the convenience of the customers, the Gold storage facility period is extended from 3, 6 and 12 months without any requirement for a deposit and the custodial fees are comparatively competitive. The stored gold articles will also be offered a free Takaful cover with a reassurance of highest safety and security.

The Al-Falaah Wadi’ah gold storage facility will be initially available at selected branches including Wellawatta, Akkaraipattu, Kalmunai, Pottuvil, Grandpass, Maradana, Mawanella, Matara, Nawalapitiya and Negombo. Al-Falaah aims to make the facility available across all LOLC Finance branches and dedicated Al-Falaah centers island-wide by the end of the 1st quarter of 2021.

Commenting on the new Al-Falaah Wadi’ah Gold loan facility, Nishantha Jayasekera, Chief Manager, SME Unit & Head of Gold Loan Business of LOLC Finance said, “The main aim of this facility is to give financial-access to the grass-root level clients who do not have direct access to banking & finance, but require small cash advances to develop daily businesses and self-employment. Through this product and its value added features, we hope to cover all segments of the population”.

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LANKATILES donates high-end ventilator to Colombo North Teaching Hospital



A Rs. 4.3 million ventilator has been donated to the Coronary Care Unit of the Colombo North Teaching Hospital, Ragama, by LANKATILES, the country’s leading tile manufacturer.

The machine was described as a high-end, world-class piece of equipment suitable for all patient groups.

Present at the official hand-over were Mr Mahendra Jayasekera, Managing Director of Lanka Walltiles PLC and Lanka Tiles PLC, Dr. S. P. A. Liyanage Ranaweera, Director of Colombo North Teaching Hospital, and Dr. Sanjeewa Rajapakse, Consultant Cardiologist of the hospital.

At a time when state-of-the-art equipment is urgently needed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, LANKATILES reaffirmed its commitment to help frontline hospital staff in their efforts at reducing the spread of the virus and easing patient numbers.

The company said this was a commitment it is ready to stand by at all times in the interests of the country.



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Sampath Bank hosts Central Bank’s ‘MatarataQR’ event to promote QR code use



Matara, April 3rd, 2021: Sampath Bank PLC recently hosted the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s (CBSL) MatarataQR event, in a bid to drive awareness and increase acceptance and usage of LANKAQR, the common Quick Response (QR) code standard for the country that was introduced in 2020.

Encouraging consumers to adopt the use of QR codes in their day-to-day transactions, the event was held at the Sanath Jayasuriya Grounds in Matara under the patronage of the Chief Guest, Dullas Alahapperuma, Minister of Power and Guest of Honour, D. Kumaratunga, Director – Payments and Settlements, Central Bank of Sri Lanka; along with senior officials from the CBSL, other commercial banks and financial institutions. Sampath Bank was represented by Nanda Fernando – Managing Director; Tharaka Ranwala – Senior DGM – Operations / Group Chief Marketing Officer and Ajith Salgado – Group Chief Information Officer.

At the event, the Bank actively promoted its ‘WePay’ mobile wallet which helped attract more customers while also onboarding new merchants. A 25% cash back was on offer for payments at over 200 merchants in Matara on the day, made via the LANKAQR enabled WePay digital mobile payment app.

“We are very proud to partner with the Central Bank to host this event that will highlight the safety, convenience and speed of getting onboard the LANKAQR payment standard to the people of Matara. These benefits, coupled with the advanced digital banking solutions offered by Sampath Bank, make it a simple choice to migrate to digital payment technology and we warmly invite the merchants in Matara to come experience the benefits of adopting this new method of payments,” said Nanda Fernando, Managing Director, Sampath Bank PLC.

Sampath Bank is a 100% local bank that has deeply rooted itself in the lives of the people of Sri Lanka. Established in 1987, the bank has become a state-of-the-art financial institution that continues to be a market leader today thanks to its constant innovation and customer focused approach to business. It has introduced many firsts to the Sri Lankan banking sector including introducing ATMs to Sri Lanka, extended banking hours and slip-less banking to name a few. The Bank is steadily transforming itself into a ‘tech company engaged in banking,’ from the traditional approach of a bank engaged in technology.

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