By Hiran H.Senewiratne
In line with Hemas’ portfolio strategy of focusing on its core sectors – consumer, healthcare and mobility – Hemas Holdings PLC (HHL) divested itself of its shareholding in Serendib Hotel PLC to Eden Hotel Lanka PLC, a subsidiary of LOLC Holdings PLC, for a total consideration of Rs. 791.7 million, CSE sources said.
Serendib Hotels PLC is the majority shareholder of Dolphin Hotels, Hotel Sigiriya, Serendib Leisure Management Ltd, Frontier Capital Lanka (Pvt) Ltd and Sanctuary Resorts Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. HHL will continue to hold a few leisure sector assets, which includes its investment in Anantara Peacehaven Tangalle Resort.
According to stock market analysts, Hemas sold 42.8 million shares at Rs. 14.20 each, which was 25 percent lower than the previous day’s price per share. Its shares started trading at Rs. 18.90 per share, however, this transaction occurred when its share price was at Rs. 14.20. Further, the company also sold 19.3 million non voting shares at the share price of Rs. 9.60, market analysts said.
Amid those developments shares ended higher for a 15th straight session, buoyed by gains in consumer staples and healthcare stocks. However, due to slight profit taking the market dropped yesterday. All Share Price Index went down by 24.74 points and S and P SL20 rose by 26.12 points. The turnover stood at Rs. 2.53 billion with a single crossing. The crossing was reported in Dipped Products, which crossed 100,000 shares to the tune of Rs. 32 million, its shares traded at Rs. 320.
In the retail market top five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Serendib Hotel Rs. 618 million (43.3 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs. 261 million (70.5 million shares traded), Serendib Hotel (Non Voting) Rs. 191 million (19.8 million shares traded), Hemas Hotels Rs. 102.7 million (1.1 million shares traded) and Melstacorp Rs. 87 million (1.8 million shares traded). During the day 221 million share volumes changed hands in 19197 transactions.
The CSE recorded foreign investments, on a net basis, while foreign loans to the government increased in October 2020. When considering both the primary market and the secondary market, the CSE recorded a net inflow of $ 21 million in October 2020. This inflow was a result of a large inflow of $ 50 million to the primary market while the secondary market recorded a net outflow of $ 29 million during the month. The Sri Lankan rupee recorded a marginal appreciation of 0.7% during October 2020, despite some volatility demonstrated in the middle of the month. Overall, the rupee has recorded a depreciation of 2.4% against the US dollar so far during the year up to December 14.
Sampath Bank continues to partner Central Bank on promoting QR payments
Sampath Bank PLC joined hands with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) yet again to raise 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 LANKAQR for their day to day transactions, Sampath Bank held a 2-day promotional drive at one of Colombo’s latest outdoor dining destinations, Dining Capsule at Baladaksha Mawatha, near Galle Face Green on the 23rd and 24th of January.
Dharmasri Kumaratunga, Director – Payments and Settlements, Central Bank of Sri Lanka; Nanda Fernando, Managing Director, Sampath Bank PLC; and Tharaka Ranwala, Head of Operations and Group Chief Marketing Officer, Sampath Bank PLC, took part in the ceremonial launch of this initiative together with other senior representatives.
The Bank offered 25% cash back on payments made with the LANKAQR-enabled Sampath WePay digital payments mobile application at Dunhinda Colombo, Roots, Grand Monarch, Street Wok, Lavinia, Spice Junction, Giovanni’s Pizza al Taglio and BoxBar outlets at the Dining Capsule during this period.
“Offering greater convenience and security, technology continues to transform the way we conduct our day to day transactions. This is becoming increasingly true in Sri Lanka too, where consumers and businesses are actively adopting digital payments,” said Nanda Fernando, Managing Director, Sampath Bank PLC. “At Sampath Bank we have always focused on leveraging emerging technologies and delivering market relevant solutions that add value to our customers around the island. In line with this, we are delighted to partner with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka on driving the acceptance and usage of LANKAQR.”
“Across Sri Lanka, a growing number of merchants and consumers are getting on board the LANKAQR ecosystem and beginning to appreciate the value offered by QR based payments. We are witnessing this phenomenon with Sampath WePay, the secure, one stop digital wallet from Sampath Bank that allows users to store all types of financial instruments from any bank and carry out a wide range of real-time online transactions.
Taking cashless transactions across the country
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka in coordination with leading financial institutions and telcos in the country set in motion the ‘Rata Purama LANKAQR’ promotional campaign with a monumental event on January, 23. The ‘Rata Purama LANKAQR’ initiative represents the second phase of an island-wide campaign commenced late last year to introduce LANKAQR as the standard for mobile phone and digital payments countrywide, in moving towards a cashless and digitally-savvy society plus greater financial inclusion across Sri Lanka.
Held at Diyatha Uyana, Battaramulla, the event was graced by the Chief Guest, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, State Minister of Money & Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms, Ms. Yvette Fernando, Deputy Governor CBSL and the chairperson of the National Payments Council, D. Kumaratunge, Director Payments and Settlements – CBSL, and Thilak Piyadigama, chairman – CBSL appointed LANKAQR Committee/CEO SDB bank, among other distinguished guests.
The Colombo-leg of the LANKAQR national campaign, drawing on the participation of numerous high-profile guests plus the island’s top banks and financial institutions, aimed to advance the program’s overall vision of promoting digital transactions as the new norm and included city-wide promotions, covering major commercial locations in and around the city.
Developed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, LANKAQR is a common Quick Response (QR) code standard, and its adoption by most major financial institutions in Sri Lanka is a progressive step on the path to Sri Lankans fully embracing a future that is inevitably digital, gradually leading to an entirely cashless mode of transaction.
The LANKAQR system will allow banks, financial institutions and telcos, through their digital payment apps and platforms, to facilitate fast, secure and low cost digital payments to any merchant or service provider. LANKAQR provides customers with a mechanism for payment for all their needs ranging from groceries, healthcare to utilities, and even the purchase of goods from street-side vendors, directly from their bank account through the use of any LANKAQR-compliant mobile payment app.
SLT-MOBITEL gives ‘Power to Your Dreams’ with special connectivity offers
SLT-MOBITEL is all set to launch the ‘Power to Your Dreams – සිහිනයට සවියක්’ campaign to provide the latest connectivity solutions to microbusinesses on the of January, 25 the company announced recently. This program will provide ICT solutions packages encompassing products and services essential for microbusinesses, at maximum affordability.
Understanding the connectivity needs of the microbusiness segment, the promotion provides them solutions that fulfil their requirements. Accordingly, communication, business networking, cloud technology, entertainment & IoT, communications devices and business infrastructure services for various market segments within the microbusiness ecosystem is provided utilising SLT-MOBITEL products and services such as voice & mobile telephony, 4G LTE, SLT Broadband, SLT Fibre and Peo TV services.
Speaking on the planned promotion, Sanjeewa Jayamaha, General Manager – SME Business Development, Sri Lanka Telecom stated, “Microbusinesses are the bedrock of Sri Lanka’s economic activity, supporting day to day transactions for millions of people. It is vitally important that they receive the full benefit of the connectivity solutions offered by the national ICT solutions provider, Sri Lankan Telecom. The brand unification of SLT-MOBITEL means now we can offer a full bouquet of products and services to our clients. This promotion will ensure that microbusinesses from various segments can now access the connectivity solutions most important for their businesses to thrive.”
Microbusinesses operating in entertainment and leisure, fashion and beauty, daily essentials, medical and health care, education, special occasion services, financial services, e-commerce and software development, professional services, construction support and transportation and delivery services will be able to benefit from bespoke packages crafted by SLT-MOBITEL with their specific industry needs taken into consideration.
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