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Hemas’ focus on core Ssectors continues to deliver sustained growth



Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson_Group CEO Hemas Holdings PLC

Hemas Holdings PLC delivered a commendable performance in the first nine months of the financial year 2023. Notwithstanding the volatile economic conditions, the Group posted a cumulative revenue of Rs. 81.7 billion, a 41.6 per cent growth over last year. Despite the 51.5 per cent growth in Group operating profits, reported earnings for the period remained flat at Rs. 3.2 billion amidst the escalating interest rates.

Sri Lanka struggled to maintain economic stability amidst lingering concerns regarding soaring inflation, delays in entering into a comprehensive IMF programme and limited foreign exchange reserves. Inflation as per the National Consumer Price Index (NCPI) hit a record high in September 2022, which subsequently decreased to 59.2 per cent in December. The domino effect of multiple tax reforms is to be realised in the months to come. Even though challenges surrounding the disruptions to power supply, and lack of essentials were present, the operating conditions saw relative improvements in comparison to the preceding quarter.

While the prolonged effects of the economic crisis continued to impact the operating dynamics and the consumption habits, the Group posted a revenue of Rs. 29.8 billion for the quarter, a growth of 38.2 per cent over same period last year. Increased resilience in the backdrop of successive crises coupled with future focused business strategies on optimising working capital, internationalisation and customer centricity resulted in a stronger recovery in business activities. The positive momentum of declining global commodity prices and improved exchange availability was not reflected in the earnings due to inflationary pressure and elevated borrowing costs.

Consumer Brands

Consumers remained cautious on their purchase decisions on the back of multiple tax reforms and inflationary pressure leading to volume contractions across the industry. With the reduction in key global commodity prices, the domestic market witnessed a decline in prices for multiple personal care products. Increased availability of fuel resulted in distribution efficiencies and significant improvement in footfall to the stores.

Stationery market witnessed increased competition with almost all market participants being active under improved operating conditions. Value for money products gained traction under increasing pressure on disposable income with non-essential items recording higher volume reductions. Towards the latter part of the quarter, multiple donor-led support programmes were introduced to the system by various parties including corporates, non-profit organisations and individuals as an effort to ease the burden to the customers.

Bangladesh economy was adversely impacted by the soaring inflation, depreciating currency, energy shortage, slowdown of the recovery from the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and poor economic conditions in key export markets. However, the country is expected to benefit from the IMF programme which was signed in January 2023 with a view of preserving macroeconomic stability.

Consumer Sector reported a 44.3 per cent growth in cumulative revenue to reach Rs. 32.5 billion for the first nine months of the year. Increased focus on the International and exports segments, notably on personal care and learning verticals positively contributed to the revenue growth. Despite the growth in operating profit, the dual impact of increase in interest rates and the widened working capital base restricted the earnings to Rs 1.9 billion as against Rs. 1.6 billion reported last year.

The Sector reported a revenue of Rs. 13.6 billion for the quarter, supported by the improved performance of both the Home and Personal Care and Learning Segments. Prudent efforts to identify challenges and implement appropriate pricing and cost management strategies along with dynamic supply chain solutions allowed the Sector to achieve an operating profit of Rs 1.8 billion during the quarter.

Home and Personal Care

Volume contraction witnessed in the preceding periods continued to the quarter under discussion with key categories experiencing challenges amidst the deteriorating purchasing power. Considering the rising inflationary pressure on consumers, the business took a decision to pass down the benefit of declining global commodity prices in the form of price reductions and discounts. Moreover, value for money pipeline was further strengthened with additions to the ‘Velvet cutie’ and ‘Baby Cheramy’ value packs. Our efforts in tackling period poverty were further supported by the Government’s decision to remove taxes on feminine hygiene products resulting in a growth in volumes for the sub sector. The quarter witnessed an 8.6 per cent contribution to revenue from new product launches supported by the increased traction for key brands including ‘Baby Cheramy’, ‘Diva’, ‘Fems’ and ‘Vivya’.

With an aim of uplifting safety standards and innovating best quality baby care products, ‘Baby Cheramy Safety Institute’, the first of its kind development facility in Sri Lanka was launched during the quarter. In line with the strategic drive to explore adjacent spaces, Hemas ventured into the food industry with the recent launch of ‘Tasty Country Flakers’, a wholesome cereal made with natural ingredients. The product was successfully introduced to the market via multiple trading platforms as a healthier alternative to breakfast cereals.


Reinforcing its strength and stability, the Learning arm of the business continued to maintain its market leading position with improvements to market share in all key categories. Building up to the back-to-school season that is expected in the fourth quarter, increased demand was witnessed for stationery products in the month of December. ‘Atlas Learn’ platform which was launched in the previous quarter as an enabler for curriculum development and lesson planning has gained traction with increased active user engagement.

In recognition of our commitment to purpose and innovation, Atlas was honoured with the Local Brand of the Year (Gold) and the CSR Brand of the Year (Bronze) accolades at the SLIM Brand Excellence Awards.

Consumer Brands International

During the quarter, revenue from new launches resulted in a 24.0 per cent contribution to the total Home and Personal Care International revenue against the 16.9 per cent recorded for the same period last year. In response to the economic pressure, ‘Actisef’ launched the mini variant at an affordable price point to provide the customers with much needed choice amidst reducing disposable income levels.

Aligning to our long-term commitment to drive internationalisation and export footprint, the Consumer Brands International Segment witnessed a double-digit growth in cumulative revenue due to increased focus on personal care and stationery products in regional markets, mainly in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Maldives.

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Oil prices rise as Saudi Arabia pledges output cuts – Opec+




(picture BBC)

Oil-producing countries have agreed to continued cuts in production in a bid to shore up flagging prices.

Saudi Arabia said it would make cuts of a million barrels per day (bpd) in July and Opec+ said targets would drop by a further 1.4 million bpd from 2024.

Opec+ accounts for around 40% of the world’s crude oil and its decisions can have a major impact on oil prices.

In Asia trade on Monday, Brent crude oil rose by as much as 2.4% before settling at around $77 a barrel.

The seven hour-long meeting on Sunday of the oil-rich nations, led by Russia, came against a backdrop of falling energy prices.

Total production cuts, which Opec+ has undertaken since October 2022, reached 3.66 million bpd, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.

Opec+, a formulation which refers to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, had already agreed to cut production by two million bpd, about 2% of global demand.


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Manpower services agency wins accolades for its contribution to foreign employment sector



Siraj Cafoor, Managing Director of Siraj Manpower Services receives the award

Its MD says. ‘go abroad only if you can work hard’

Siraj Manpower Services, one of Sri Lanka’s leading foreign employment agencies, was honoured with the Three-Star Award at the ‘Golden Awards’ 2023, organised by the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE). This award ceremony was organised to honour foreign employment agencies that have made a significant contribution to the development of the foreign employment sector, which is a major source of foreign exchange for Sri Lanka. Siraj Cafoor, Managing Director of Siraj Manpower Services, was presented with the award at the award ceremony which was held at the BMICH in Colombo under the patronage of Minister of Foreign Employment and Labour Manusha Nanayakkara.

Having been established in 2002, Siraj Manpower Services ( has earned a reputation in the field of foreign employment by winning the trust of customers for more than 20 years. It has been offering job opportunities in the Middle East countries such as Kuwait, Qatar, Dubai and Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia as housekeepers, drivers, sanitation workers, labourers and also jobs related to the apparel industry. All these workers are entitled to approved salary scales certified by the SLBFE.

“We always stand for the safety of workers who go abroad through our organisation. We work to solve the problems that arise in relation to the contracts that the workers have entered into. I must mention something special to those who go abroad for employment. That is, you should keep in mind that you go abroad only to work. Go abroad only if you can work hard. You have to remember that you are going abroad to earn some more money and achieve the advancement of your family.” said Siraj Cafoor.

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Direct flights between Istanbul and Katunayake to commence from August



A special discussion between Turkish Ambassador – Demet Sekercioglu and Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation – Nimal Siripala de Silva took place last week at the ministry office. The aim of the discussion was to seek authorization to commence direct flights from the Turkish Capital Istanbul to Katunayake, Sri Lanka. The Chief of Turkish Airlines’ South Asia Office Fathi Bozkurt was also present during the discussion.

Currently, Turkish Airlines connects with Sri Lanka through a route that includes a stopover in the Maldives, resulting in an additional travel time of one and a half hours. The delay caused by this routing is not favored by travelers, as emphasized by the Ambassador.

The Chief of Turkish Airlines requested for time and space to be allocated in order to initiate direct flights between Istanbul and Katunaike, thus providing convenience for Turkish tourists and travelers who prefer visit Sri Lanka.

The Minister announced that the request would be forwarded to the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka and the Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Private) Limited. The aim is to establish direct flights between Istanbul and Katunayake starting from August this year.

Turkish Airlines, a renowned airline with a fleet of over 100 aircraft, offers flights connecting Europe’s Vancouver and New York. The Chief of Turkish Airlines said that the new service would not only benefit European travelers but also encourage them to travel to Sri Lanka.

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