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HNB posts Rs 5.5 bn 1H Group PAT

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Bank PAT of Rs 4.5 bn

Total Deposits grow by Rs 55 bn

Supports over 80,000 COVID affected customers as a responsible   SIB

Maintains stability with CAR at 19% and LAR at 34%

HNB posted resilient financial results during the 1H 2020 amid the unprecedented disruptions of COVID-19 pandemic with Group PAT for 1H increasing by 6.8 % YoY to Rs 5.5 Bn while Bank level PAT declined by 7% YoY to Rs 4.5 Bn.

“Sri Lanka’s performance in managing the transmission of COVID-19 has been outstanding. The health impact has been largely contained and the economic impact of the pandemic will remain a challenge in the near term, given the depressed global conditions it has spawned. To address these economic challenges, the Government has taken bold steps to support the affected by relaxing Monetary Policy in an effective way to revive economic activity, and extending debt moratoriums to those affected – measures that may need further support from the Government given that the recovery will most likely be a protracted one across most sectors, both locally and globally. Consequently, the medium term economic recovery will be closely correlated with the pace at which the COVID 19 pandemic is managed globally.” HNB Chairman, Dinesh Weerakkody said.

As a consequence of the low interest rate regime, the prime lending rate (AWPLR) reduced by 130 bps from December 2019, compounded by low demand for credit. This in turn impacted 1H interest income which declined 8.8% YoY to Rs 53.8 Bn. Interest expenses also declined by 5.2% YoY to Rs 31.4 Bn leading to a drop in Net Interest Income (NII) by 13.3% YoY to Rs 22.4 Bn.

The restrictions on non-essential imports, overall decline in exports and marked drop in Card spends due to lifestyle changes resulting from the pandemic, drove Net Fee Income down by 22.2% YoY to Rs 3.5 Bn. However, a strong surge in demand for digital banking services enabled an increase in fees from digital channels.

Meanwhile, exchange rate movements during the year in tandem with a decline in swap volumes and premiums facilitated an exchange gain of Rs 1.5 Bn as opposed to a loss of Rs 577.2 Mn recorded during 1H 2019.

“With the outbreak of COVID-19, we had to move rapidly to reassess our priorities and restructure operations in alignment with the ‘new normal’. Accordingly, our key focus has been to support customers in need, while ensuring maximum health and safety measures for our Staff and Customers, as well as maintaining stability of the Bank and intensifying our pursuit of digital and technological transformation. As a responsible domestic systemically important bank (D-SIB) we have supported over 80,000 customers who were affected economically during the pandemic by way of moratoriums on loan repayments during the past few months. The Bank has also provided working capital financing under the CBSL relief schemes as well as through the Rs. 5Bn fund set up by HNB to assist affected SMEs.

During the lock-down period, we supported both customers as well as merchants to carry out transactions through our digital payment channels including SOLO, MoMo and IPG. We moved a further step forward by launching AppiGo in May 2020 to support businesses to rapidly set up their own e-commerce presence. Our breakthrough Payments App, HNB SOLO was enhanced with added features and this continues to be an ongoing process. In August, we also upgraded our core- banking system to the latest version of Finacle, enabling us to provide a far superior experience to our customers,” HNB MD/CEO Jonathan Alles said.

 

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‘A supermarket in your pocket’

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For large corporates, understanding the pulse of one’s stakeholders assures longevity and relevance. From serving a few to serving many, Cargills has undergone numerous changes as a corporate entity throughout its rich history of over 175 years. Reflecting on its journey thus far, Cargills transformed from a primarily wholesale and retail business to a pivotal player across multiple sectors within the food and beverage industry in Sri Lanka.

From introducing the first bona fide supermarket, Cargills Food City which revolutionised modern retailing in the country, to acquiring long-standing food brands and elevating them to new heights, Cargills has never shied away from diving into new ventures.

At its core is a deep intrinsic understanding of its stakeholders, from farmers to customers across all 25 districts. While the looming pandemic in March 2020 sought to disrupt the normal, this same understanding, a pulse if you will, directed a new norm.

Like many other businesses, Cargills was compelled to adapt. While it has a wide network of supermarkets across the island which were in fact operational during this time, there were no customers to be served due to the imposed lockdown. Almost overnight, the Cargills Rewards website was transformed to a new system for customers to order their groceries. It was a simple solution, that leveraged its supply chain to help facilitate hyperlocal delivery for customer’s within a 5km radius of its outlets.

Furthermore, container trucks carrying well displayed groceries were dispatched to neighborhoods, pioneering Asia’s first mobile supermarket, ‘Cargills 2 Home’. This ingenuity was driven by the top brass, who too feel the pulse of their stakeholders and so brought the supermarket experience to the customer’s home.

(Cargills)

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Raddella Holdings launches first biotech insulin manufacturing plant in Sri Lanka

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Raddella Holdings introduce yet another revolutionary first with the launch of Sri Lanka’s first and only biotech insulin manufacturing plant. The recently concluded groundbreaking ceremony was held on September18, at the Koggala Export Processing Zone. The landmark event was attended by a host of dignitaries and guests including the State Minister of Pharmaceutical Production, Supply, and Regulation – (Prof.) Channa Jayasumana, Minister of Tourism – Prasanna Ranatunga, Minister of Plantation – (Dr.) Ramesh Pathirana, State Minister of Rural and School Sports Infrastructure Development – Thenuka Vidanagamage and many more.

The operation of the new plant will involve a joint venture between the Premium International Injectable Company (Pvt) Ltd, a subsidiary of Raddella Holdings and the State Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC). All new products manufactured as a result of this venture will be done under the SPMC brand name, with full government supervision.

The biotechnology manufacturing plant is a Rs. 3.5 billion, 100% local investment, which will employ over 200 specialized and highly trained professionals. All technology used in manufacturing will be state-of-the-art and conform to the highest tier of European standardization. This new plant has the capacity to meet 100% of projected local demand for next 15 years. The surplus produced thereafter will be exported and provide a valuable source of foreign revenue.

The new plant will utilize world famous SCADA systems to monitor and control the plant, all equipment, and the entire manufacturing process. This will guarantee the highest level of quality control, where all records of manufacture are completely automated and thus tamper-proof. Other quality control methods include adhering to the European Union Goods Manufacturing Practice (EUGMP), Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), while also complying with the strict standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The extensive planning for the plant happened over the last two years, in this time all designs, technology transfers, and specialist training have been completed, with all approvals and certification having been obtained. With construction completed soon, the plant will commence operations shortly.

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AIA Insurance Platinum Sponsor of Sri Lanka’s Most Admired Companies

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AIA Sri Lanka is proud to partner as Platinum Sponsor, The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and the International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka (ICCSL) in presenting ‘Sri Lanka’s Most Admired Companies Awards 2020’.

This is the third year of the prestigious Awards ceremony for which AIA has been the Platinum Sponsor. The awards are intended at recognizing companies that are a cut above the rest in terms of not just their financial performance but also on the value they create in a sustainable and ethical way for their employees, customers, investors and the general community.

Companies that have been in business for over 5 years as at June 30 2020 and are 30% or more of Sri Lankan ownership are eligible to enter this Awards competition which is open to both listed and unlisted companies in Sri Lanka. (AIA)

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