Further extending its dominant position in the financial industry, leading integrated financial services institution HNB FINANCE PLC entered into a contractual agreement with Prime Lands and Prime Finance yesterday, acquiring a controlling stake of 87.27% from Prime Lands (Pvt) Ltd, a pioneering force in Sri Lanka’s real estate landscape. This marks a first under CBSL’s recent consolidation plan for the sector, where two key players in the country’s financial industry partner to give rise to a powerful synergy providing impetus to a diverse product and service offering.
“This merger brings together an exciting combination that will create value for our stakeholders, our employees, our customers and communities. This partnership will strengthen HNB FINANCE’s relationship with Prime Group and expedite its foray into real estate financing. We are enthused by the prospects for synergies not only in terms of product and reach but also the opportunity to bring a talented and dynamic team into our fold which will no doubt accelerate our plans for national expansion” commented HNB FINANCE PLC Chairman Dilshan Rodrigo.
HNB FINANCE’s existing and future customers can expect to benefit from an enhanced portfolio, efficient and easily accessible services through a combined branch network, a strengthened balance sheet and better distribution of risk with the addition of Prime Finance’s 93% asset-backed loan portfolio.
“We are pleased to invite the experienced and passionate Prime Finance team into our midst and are excited by the enhanced potential to create value for customers in new ways, by leveraging the synergy arising from this union. Building on our significant market share, momentum, and the business strength of our powerful parent company HNB PLC, this new found partnership with Prime Finance reinforces our position as an industry leader and creates a robust foundation for efficiency, growth and improved financial performance.
Prime Finance’s expertise and indelible reputation within the sector combined with our strengths, positions us well to further our vision of adding value to the lives of all Sri Lankans,” HNB FINANCE PLC Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Chaminda Prabhath said.
Seven factors of concern at upcoming Monetary Policy Review
by Sanath Nanayakkare
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) is scheduled to announce its latest monetary policy review on 20th January 2022, with all eyes on dwindling foreign reserves and foreign currency exchange in the country.
In this context, First Capital Research has named 7 factors of concern that could be taken into account at the upcoming monetary policy review. They are as follows.
* Foreign Reserves USD 3.1 billion – Dec 2021
* Inflation CCPI 12.1% – Dec 2021
* GDP Growth -1.5% – 3Q2021
* Private Credit LKR 60.5 billion – Nov 2021
* 03M T-Bill rate 8.38% as at 12.01.22
Liquidity and CBSL Holdings LKR -364.0 billion and LKR 1.42 trillion
Balance of Trade (BOT) and Balance of Payment (BOP) USD -6.5 billion and USD -3.3 billion for Jan-Oct 21
First Capital Research’s Policy Rate Forecast – Jan 2022-Apr 2022 notes that they believe the CBSL may highly consider tightening the monetary policy rates in this policy review but given the concerns over economic growth, there is a probability of 40% for CBSL to maintain its policy stance at current levels.
“With high frequent indicators improving in line with expectations, we have eliminated any probability of a rate cut. We expect a continued increase in probability for a rate hike in order to prevent overheating of the economy amidst the given fiscal and monetary stimulus,” they said.
As per First Capital’s view, CBSL either can choose to hike policy rates by 50bps or 100bps or hold policy rates steady, while a rate cut is off the table due to the high debt repayment and the high domestic borrowing requirement.
First Capital believes that there is a 60% probability for a rate hike due to the remedial actions required in achieving external stability.
However, there is also a 40% probability to maintain the policy rates at its current level in order to further improve the high frequency indicators.30%, they noted.
Sri Lanka’s dash brand enters international markets
Multichemi International Ltd, which manufactures and distributes a wide range of products under dash, one of Sri Lanka’s leading detergent and household care brands, has begun exporting its products to several international markets in Asia and Oceania, with plans also to enter Africa. The dash brand includes a wide range of products in car care, household care, home fragrances and laundry care sectors. Multichemi International Ltd, which has been awarded ISO 9001:2015 certification, is a Sri Lankan pioneer in environment-friendly cleaning products, having launched the country’s first biodegradable, safe cleaning products over 28 years ago.
Amila Wijesinghe, General Manager of the Company said,”Having conquered the domestic market, we are now ready to capture the international market. We are confident that our products which are of high quality will receive a good demand overseas as well. The feedback we have received so far from our overseas customers is extremely encouraging. We are dedicated to taking our products to the international market, to bring in foreign currency to the country and help uplift the economy”,
Janaka Abeysinghe appointed SLT CEO
Sri Lanka Telecom PLC has announced the appointment of Janaka Abeysinghe as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with effect from February 1, 2022.
The incumbent CEO Kiththi Perera will be overseas on leave for a period of two years to pursue higher studies, according to a stock market filing by the company.
Abeysinghe joined SLT in 1991. In his present role, he leads the enterprise and wholesale business of SLT that provides integrated voice and data solutions to enterprises, government institutions, domestic telco operators and global wholesale carriers.
In his career at SLT spanning 29 years, he has held a number of senior positions, including general manager Enterprise and International Sales and has extensive experience in the areas of Enterprise Digital Services, Enterprise Communications Solutions, Data Communications, Business Development, Domestic and International Switching Operations and Global Wholesale Voice & Data Business.
He holds a Master’s Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Kansas, USA and a BSc degree in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering with a First Class Honours from the University of Moratuwa.
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