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Hambantota International Port Group signs MOU with Chinese automotive giant

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The Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Xiamen King Long United Automotive Industry Co., Ltd (King Long) in Fujian China, last week.

This is a direct result of the investment promotion in Fujian, led by the Sri Lankan Ambassador in China Dr. Palitha Kohona and HIPG’s investment promotion team headed by Justin Zhang, General Manager, Port Investment Services.

Established in 1988, Xiamen King Long United Automotive Industry Co., Ltd., manufactures large and medium sized buses, coaches and vans.  With three large manufacturing bases, King Long’s products have been exported to over 140 countries and regions worldwide and is ranked among the top 10 automobile brands in China.

Vice President of King Long Motor Group, Zhang Bin said, “we can fully take this good opportunity to further discuss the possibility regarding local assembly factory in HIPG industrial park.  With the Hambantota Port being so strategically located, we would be able to reach newer markets in South East Asia .”

Johnson Liu, Chief Representative of China Merchants Group in Sri Lanka and CEO of HIPG said the collaboration with the Sri Lankan Embassy in China and the efforts by Ambassador Kohona is an important link in bringing investment to Sri Lanka.

“We are exploring many other avenues in promoting investment and our investment promotion team is working very well with the Sri Lankan Embassy in China.  We believe there is great synergy to be achieved between China and Sri Lanka trade.  The Hambantota Industrial Park is being promoted globally and it is our goal to have a vibrant international investor community operating within the zone.”

The signing of the MoU took place at the King Long offices in Xiamen city, with the HIPG team and the Sri Lankan Ambassador attending.  Speaking at the ceremony the Ambassador said that Sri Lanka and China have maintained stable economic relations with each other and the world.

Enterprises investing in Sri Lanka will be able to enjoy multiple tax incentives, and the benefits arising from Sri Lanka’s free trade agreements, and preferential treatment such as, GSP plus.

“Sri Lanka welcomes Chinese high end manufacturing facilities setting up in Sri Lanka and commend King Long for choosing the Hambantota International Port Group’s Industrial Park to expand its regional footprint.  No doubt this strategic partnership will be of great benefit to King Long, HIPG and the Sri Lankan economy.”



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Business

Global CEO Forum fetes one of most influential SL entrepreneurs

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In tribute to the late Merril J. Fernando, the esteemed Founder of Dilmah Tea, the Global Brand Creator 2023 Award was bestowed at the Global CEO Forum held recently in Sri Lanka. This prestigious accolade was presented to Kirmali Fernando (the daughter-in-law of late Merril J. Fernando) by the Governor of the Central Bank Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe, Kataro Katsuki, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka, Janaka Abeysinghe, CEO -SLT MOBITEL, Dr. DMA Kulasuriya, Director General-NIBM, Ahamed Ikram, Director-Emerald International , Dilanga Karunaratna- Director Otto Bathware and Anura Siriwardena, Chairman-Global CEO Forum.

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Coca-Cola Sri Lanka extends its ‘Adopt A Beach’ program for a third year

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The volunteers from Coca-Cola's ‘Say We Care’ team, Clean Ocean Force, the media, and the Chief Guest.

Coca-Cola Sri Lanka Ltd. proudly continues its mission to safeguard Sri Lanka’s shorelines by extending the ‘Adopt A Beach’ initiative for a triumphant third year. This exciting announcement aligns with the celebration of International Coastal Cleanup Day on September 16, 2023, emphasizing the paramount significance of coastal preservation.

Commemorating the partnership with an exclusive beach cleanup and an enlightening session at Crow Island Beach, the day’s proceedings were honored by the presence of the Governor of the Western Province and Marshal of the Sri Lanka Air Force, Roshan Goonetileke and key government stakeholders representing the Ministry of Local Government, Colombo Municipal Council, Environmental Police Division, Coastal Conservation Department, Waste Management Authority and the Crow Island Beach Management Society.

Additionally, underlining the vital role that the youth of our nation play in forging cleaner and safer coastal regions, particularly through the realms of media and volunteerism, the occasion also brought together young talents from the media sector and a dedicated team of volunteers from the Clean Ocean Force, Clean Ocean Force Youth Club of the Ocean’s University, Clean Ocean Force Youth Club in Negombo, Rotaract Club Colombo Regent, Shri Vimukthi Youth Association, youth from International Schools and Adfactors Public Relations Lanka.

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PLC’s profits surge 80.9% in Q1, amidst challenging environment

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People’s Leasing & Finance PLC (PLC), a pillar of strength and stability in Sri Lanka’s financial sector, successfully concluded the 1st Quarter of the fiscal year 2023/24 with a year-on-year increase in Profit of 80.9% in the midst of a challenging economic landscape.

PLC’s top line interest income recorded an impressive 10.2%, reaching Rs. 7,465 million owing to the increased investment income during the quarter. However, the company’s net interest income showed a modest fall when compared to the first quarter of 2022/23. This was mostly the result of higher interest expenses brought on by the repricing of deposits to higher rates in line with higher policy rates. Despite the stated decrease in net interest income, PLC was able to end the first quarter with a profit after tax (PAT) of Rs. 331 million as opposed to Rs. 183 million recorded in Q1 2022/23 thanks to the significant year-on-year reduction in Impairment Charges as well as reduction in operating expenses, demonstrative of an intensified commitment to internal sustainability.

Similarly, PLC Group also recorded a PAT of Rs. 552 million during Q1 2023/24, reflecting a year-on-year increase of 21.5% mainly driven by the significant reduction in the Group’s impairment charges and other losses for loans and receivables.

Even in the face of a highly inflationary environment, PLC successfully reduced total operating expenses by 3.5% compared to the corresponding quarter in the year prior due to a determined effort to increase efficiency through digital initiatives, right-sizing of branches, and improvements in internal processes. PLC recognized the significance of recalibrating its balance sheet in a setting not favourable to business expansion and took strategic measures to ensure the right sizing of its balance sheet resulting a total asset base of Rs. 155,380 million as of 30 June 2023. Backed by these strategic moves, total asset base of the PLC Group also remained resilient at Rs. 179,948 million as of 30 June 2023.

In an extremely volatile and complex business setting PLC adopted a highly disciplined liquidity management approach to ensure financial stability whilst maintaining capital adequacy ratios well ahead of the statutory minimums at the end of Q1. The majority of PLC’s funding needs were met through improved collections enabling PLC to remain watchful in growing its deposit base in a high-interest environment. Despite these measures, the deposit base of PLC remained robust at Rs. 93,228 million as of 30 June 2023, showcasing strong customer confidence. The Group deposit base also remained strong at Rs. 100,439 million, as at 30 June 2023.

Meanwhile, PLC retained its No.1 position as Sri Lanka’s Most-Loved Brand in Leasing and Finance category, as ranked by Brand Finance in LMD Brands Annual. The company’s steadfast dedication to excellence was also evident in its ascent from 51 to 36 in the esteemed “Most Respected Entities” ranking by LMD within just one year, further cementing its position as one of Sri Lanka’s most respected and trusted financial services providers.

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