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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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New look Chagall opens at Park Street



Chagall opened its doors at Parkland on Park Street Colombo 2 , with Gerald Solomons, personally welcoming all his clients and the media to the brand new Chagall. 

Gerald who established Chagall as Sri Lanka’s most elite and fashionable salon, despite the prevailing situation with the pandemic and the existing restrictions, displayed his usual flair and panache, greeting everyone with the socially correct ‘ayubowan’ and ensuring that each and everyone present was made to feel special and welcome.Continuing the bold colour scheme of red, black and white, Gerald like his muse Marc Chagall, has a wide range of styles that can cater to an eclectic clientele.

The artist Chagall saw his work as “not the dream of one people but of all humanity”; similarly Gerald through his salon Chagall would like to transform each and every person who walks in through his door, so that they leave transformed, with a new confidence in themselves and their appearance.

Mrs World Caroline Jurie, clients and well wishers, keeping in mind health guidelines made their way to Chagall at Parkland on October 20 where Gerald and his team reaffirmed their commitment to their clients and the beauty industry, to continue upholding the highest standards and maintain all safety measures and health protocols.

Having established himself and Chagall as the hairdresser / stylist and salon of the elite, Gerald’s doors are open to anyone who wants to look good and different to those around them. ” Our doors are open to everyone who wants to look good, who wants to make a statement and who dares to bedifferent” said Gerald .Manicures, pedicures, long and short hair cuts and styles, make up, facials,bridal dressing, sari drapes and the whole gamut of services will beavailable, all in brand new surroundings.All staff have undergone intensive refresher courses with Gerald beinginvolved in their training himself. 

Known for his cool demeanor and eclectic style, Gerald started hairdressing at the age of 15 having left school, determined to make an impression in the world of hair, beauty and style! He joined  Moira Muthukrishna where hiscareer in hair dressing began and today he is a living legend. Chagall was set up in New Zealand where Gerald lived for over 20 years and then moved back to Sydney where Chagall continued. Gerald has also worked in Hawaii, Australia and London.Chagall.



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CSE indices pick up as trading yields Rs. 1.09 billion



By Hiran H.Senewiratne

The  stock market on Monday suffered a near 2 percent  decline as investors reacted negatively to the sharp spike in COVID-19 cases in the second wave. Moreover, current investor favourite counters,  Tokyo Cement and Expolanka shares, also slightly declined in trading due to the current situation, market analysts said Amid those developments, both indices moved upwards yesterday. The the All Share Price Index rose by  15.74 points  and the S&P SL 20 Index was up by 8.73 points. The market managed to post Rs. 1.09 billion, safeguarding its track record of over a billion plus turnover for more than a month. But no crossings were reported during the day. 

In the retail market, top five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were: Tokyo Cement (Non Voting) Rs. 160 million (3.2 million shares traded), Expolanka Rs. 187.6 million (7.8 million shares traded), HNB Rs. 99.8 million (881,000 shares traded), Tokyo (Voting) Rs. 86.7 million (1.47 million shares traded) and Dialog Rs. 69.5 million (6.34 million shares traded). During the day  55.3 million share volumes changed hands in 12620 transactions yesterday.

The market also lost Rs. 44 billion in value with blue chips JKH, Carsons, Ceylon Tobacco, Bukit and Distilleries as major contributors to the ASPI’s dip on the previous day.  Some analysts linked the lacklustre trading and sentiment to the quarantine curfew imposed in Fort and Pettah which caused a shutdown of offices and businesses in the area. 



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Initiative to support startups in Sri Lanka



Microsoft for Startups recently launched the Highway to a 100 Unicorns initiative in Asia Pacific to strengthen the region’s startup ecosystem. This follows the initiative’s success in India, where only 56 startups were selected to the Emerge X program from six states, which have over 15000+ startups. The Emerge X winners have greatly benefited with global market access support, a 3-day founder bootcamp with world class mentors, access to funding, ongoing mentorship, and guidance on Azure, artificial intelligence, machine learning and more.

Innovation is critical to unlocking inclusive economic growth in Asia Pacific; high income economies in the region invest three times more in research and development as compared to their peers. To spur innovative entrepreneurship, Microsoft will work closely with governments and industry partners to discover and nurture technology startups with a high potential to become truly global enterprises in the future.

“At Microsoft, we are working to build up a more supportive ecosystem for startups in Sri Lanka,” said Hasitha Abeywardena, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka and Maldives. “Startups play a vital role in our economy as innovators, disruptors and first-movers. Sri Lanka needs more entrepreneurial development to fuel economic growth. Through Highway to a 100 Unicorns, we will enable startups in Sri Lanka to drive digital innovation in the region. We look forward to walking with founders along their growth journey and supporting them to scale and achieve more.”

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