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Global business developments dampen local bourse

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

CSE trading activities witnessed some dull and negative moments due to the global business scenario yesterday. The main reason being that the Chinese real estate giant Evergrande is facing a financial crisis triggered by the current Covid-19 situation. The company is now facing a major crisis with regard to settling their debt, which factor has negatively impacted major stock markets in the world, market analysts said.

Evergrande expanded aggressively to become one of China’s biggest companies by borrowing more than $300bn (£217bn).Last year, Beijing brought in new rules to control the amount owed by big real estate developers, sources said.

The new measures led Evergrande to offer its properties at major discounts to ensure money was coming in to keep the business afloat. Now, it is struggling to meet the interest payments on its debts. This uncertainty has seen Evergrande’s share price tumble by around 85 per cent this year. Its bonds have also been downgraded by global credit rating agencies.

Due to these developments it is believed that investor confidence in the CSE is also affected. However, Sri Lanka and seven other countries have been taken off the ‘Red List’ of the United Kingdom’s travel advisory, boosting the country’s prospects for tourism. Therefore, the local hotel sector witnessed fresh buying interest, market sources said.

The pandemic restrictions on travelling into England and Scotland were to be eased, officials were cited as saying on Friday, replacing a complicated ‘traffic light’ watch list with a simpler regime for fully vaccinated arrivals. Amid those developments both CSE indices witnessed a downward trend. All Share Price Index went down by 34.08 points and the S and P SL20 declined by 23.32 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 1.7 billion with one crossing. The crossing took place in Sampath Bank, which crossed three million shares to the tune of Rs. 149.1 million, its shares traded at Rs. 149.70.

In the retail market top five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; Expolanka Rs. 295 million (1.8 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs. 287 million (31.7 million shares traded), Hayleys Rs. 83.9 million (856,000 shares traded), Citrus Leisure Rs. 72.4 million (8.1 million shares traded) and Keells Hotel Rs. 70.76 million (4.8 million shares traded). During the day 106.6 million share volumes changed hands in 19000 transactions.

The Commercial Bank’s latest listed debenture issue had drawn 120 applications with a demand for Rs. 8.6 billion. The bank issued 50 million Basel III compliant Tier 2, listed, rated, unsecured, subordinated, redeemable debentures with a non-viability conversion feature at Rs. 100 each with an option to offer a further 50 million debentures in the event of an oversubscription. The debentures were of two types – Type A, a five-year instrument with a fixed coupon rate of 9 percent per annum (Annual Effective Rate of 9.2 percent) payable semi-annually; and Type B, a six-year instrument with fixed coupon rate of 9.50 percent per annum (AER of 9.73%) payable semi-annually.

Meanwhile, the US dollar is now selling at Sri Lanka Rs. 199.405, Central Bank sources revealed.



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Integrated solid waste management initiative coupled with tree plantation launched at Hambantota Port

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The ceremony to mark the programme was held at the port premises under strict health and safety protocols, with a limited number of staff attending.

 Hambantota International Port launched its first integrated solid waste management initiative on Monday 11th on the Company Day of China Merchants Group (CMG), the parent company of CM Port. The initiative is a strategic approach to sustainably manage biodegradable solid waste. The process covers the source, generation, segregation, transfer, sorting, treatment, recovery and disposal of waste in an integrated manner.

 “The idea is to collect all biodegradable material including garbage from vessels calling at the port that can be converted into compost, and process it.  The processed product will be used as manure for trees that will be planted within the Port and Industrial zone,” says Jeevan M. Premasara, Senior General Manager HR & Admin at HIP.

Members of staff at Hambantota Port planting trees.

The launch of the sustainability drive under the theme ‘Healing the Environment’ coinciding with CMG’s company day, was done under the leadership of CEO Johnson Liu. The program also includes the planting of 500 trees of different varieties, recommended by the Hambantota dry zone Botanical gardens. Twenty-five trees were planted as part of phase 1 of the project, and the port plans to grow and nurture endemic trees that will enrich the biodiversity of the industrial zone and port premises.

“As we launch the first phase of this tree planting and waste management/recycling projects, we will take into consideration planting different types of endemic plants that will thrive in the sandy soil of the Hambantota area in the next phases of the project.  Apart from that, we understand the importance of proper waste management systems and hope to partner with the district’s main waste recycling projects in the future.  As we expand into various industries in the zone, we hope to make our surroundings greener and environmentally friendly, bringing us closer to our goal of becoming an entirely green port,” added the Senior General Manager HR & Admin.

 HIP’s global partner CMPort’s parent company, CMG’s company day commemorated 149 years of sustainable operations this year.  CMG, which is involved in numerous projects to protect and sustain the environment, spreads its sustainability mission across all its members, partners and associate organisations. The ‘Healing the Environment’ project undertaken by HIP is an extension of their international partner’s sustainability drive.

 The ceremony to mark the programme was held at the port premises under strict health and safety protocols, with a limited number of staff attending.

Members of staff at Hambantota Port planting trees.

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Douglas & Sons Great Place to Work® Certified

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Douglas & Sons (Pvt) Ltd (DSL) announced that it is certified as a Great Place to Work® by the independent analysts at Great Place to Work® in Sri Lanka. DSL earned this distinction based on extensive ratings received by its employees in an anonymous survey that was conducted by Great Place to Work®.

Commenting on the certification Saroj Perera, Chairman/Managing Director of Douglas & Sons (Pvt) Ltd said, “We are extremely proud to receive this certification, as it comes amidst a challenging time for businesses in general, when there is a considerable amount of pressure put on both employees and employers to perform at very high levels. We believe that our employees are our strongest asset, and this certification further reconfirms that we are certainly an employer of choice, enabling our employees to reach their full potential, whilst contribution to the growth of the company.”

“We applaud DSL for seeking employees’ feedback and the opportunity to certify itself,” said Kshanika Ratnayake, CEO of Great Place to Work® in Sri Lanka. “These ratings measure its capacity to earn its own employees’ trust and create a great workplace – critical metrics that anyone considering working for or doing business with DSL should take into account as an indicator of high performance.”

“According to the Great Place to Work® study, 92% percent of (total number of employees 372) employees say we are a great workplace,” said, Rohan Ariyawansa, Senior General Manager – Human Resources. “345 of our employees completed surveys, resulting in a 95 percent confidence level and a margin of error of ± 5.”

Douglas & Sons (Pvt) Ltd was established in 1986 with a vision to deliver excellence across the board and has today grown into a strong, diversified conglomerate with a passion for innovation that cares for the environment in the markets in which it operates. Its diversity and close ties with stakeholders in all key aspects of the economy forms the bedrock of its success in the country. Its access to key global players enables it to display and market Internationally reputed auto parts, tires, batteries and agricultural implements funnelled through its island-wide network of dealers.

Great Place to Work® is the global authority on high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures. Through proprietary assessment tools, advisory services, and certification programs, including Best Workplaces lists and workplace reviews, Great Place to Work® provides the benchmarks, framework, and expertise needed to create, sustain, and recognize outstanding workplace cultures.

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“DFCC Bank’s new ‘Auto Loan’ scheme provides affordable avenues for purchasing your dream vehicle”

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In its latest step to drive economic and social value creation, DFCC Bank, the pioneer in commercial banking, announced the launch of the ‘DFCC Auto Loan’ facility, an innovative vehicle loan scheme that enables greater affordability for consumers interested in purchasing automobiles.

The new DFCC Auto loan initiative introduces loan facilities of up to LKR 10 Mn, with an extended payment period. The facility provides the borrower with leverage to afford a vehicle of their choice, through a structured repayment plan, inclusive of a residual value. It also includes an embedded rollover option that enables the client to continue the loan for an extra few years without settling the residual at the end of the loan period subject to a maximum overall tenure of 8 years. The borrower thereby receives the option of settling the residual by disposing the current vehicle and obtaining a fresh loan for a new vehicle, instead. The prime goal of the loan scheme is to enable customers to buy their dream vehicle, through an affordable monthly instalment plan with reduced risk and an increased loan period.

The loan facility will be applicable only for all cars, vans, SUVs and double cabs that customers choose to purchase.

DFCC Bank firmly believes that it is of paramount importance to enhance the affordability of vehicles as a path towards uplifting the standard of living, while securing economic growth and the financial stability of its customers. The lack of access to affordable customer-centric loan facilities, and severely restricted cash flows due to stagnant economic conditions in light of the pandemic, have proved to be a significant hurdle in the path of economic development. Having noted the existing economic issues faced by customers, DFCC Bank’s ‘Auto Loan’ scheme, which extends to a significant portion of society, stands to have notable positive outcomes for all stakeholders involved.

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