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Ideal Finance targets more than doubling branch network

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Ideal Finance Limited (IFL) has opened its 13th branch in Welimada, as part of the company’s massive expansion drive to more than double its branch network, by adding 15 new locations within the current financial year (FY 2021/22).

The new branch, which provides a range of services such as leasing, loans (including gold loans) and deposits, was opened by IFL at Welimada, given the area’s importance as a production hub for up-country vegetables and as the location of the Keppetipola Economic Centre, a key trading centre for many types of produce.

The Welimada branch opening will be followed by the opening of new branches at several key locations in September, as Ideal Finance ramps up its branch network on the back of several key recent developments. These include attracting new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from India’s Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Limited (MMFSL), an upgrading of IFL’s rating by Fitch and the company recording its best-ever financial performance in the last financial year (FY 2020/21).

With the latest investment, MMFSL is now Ideal Finance’s largest shareholder with a 58.2% stake, making Ideal Finance its second foreign subsidiary. MMFSL’s total investment in IFL amounts to LKR 2 billion. Earlier, in 2020, MMFSL secured a 38.2% stake in Ideal Finance, providing the latter the backing of a massive financial giant with over USD 11 billion assets under management, which far exceeds that of Sri Lanka’s entire banking industry.

Fitch Ratings also recently upgraded Ideal Finance’s rating to ‘AA-(lka)’ from ‘BB-(lka)’ and assigned a ‘stable outlook’, providing a further vote of confidence on the company’s stability and prospects.

Adding further positive momentum to these developments, Ideal Finance recorded its best-ever annual financial performance in the financial year ended 31st March 2021, emphatically overcoming a host of issues stemming from COVID-19. In this same period, the country’s Non-Bank Financial Institution (NBFI) sector recorded a notable decline, reporting a drop in profitability and a surge in Non-Performing Loans (NPLs).

However, going against the industry trend, Ideal Finance achieved a simultaneous increase in profitability and a reduction of its NPL ratio. Profit Before Tax (PBT) increased by 76% to LKR 288.4 million in the financial year ended 31st March 2021, on a year-on-year (YoY) basis. Profit After Tax (PAT) grew by 74% to LKR 183.8 million YoY. Gross NPL ratio improved to 3.3% for the financial year, from 5.2% in the previous year.

“Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services demonstrating its confidence in Ideal Finance and in Sri Lanka with this investment is a timely vote of confidence on both the country’s economic prospects and in Ideal Finance’s stability and growth trajectory,” Nalin Welgama, Chairman, Ideal Group, said. “The company’s stellar performance in the midst of numerous challenges, in out-performing the industry in all key indicators, demonstrates that confidence in Ideal Finance was well-placed.”

“Prudent strategic changes delivered dividends, as evidenced by this performance,” Ideal Finance CEO, Duminda Weerasekare said. “However, it is perhaps even more commendable that in addition to short-term improvements, developments undertaken during this challenging period has laid the foundation for a high long-term growth trajectory – particularly with the launch of our new digitization strategy.”

“The expansion of our branch network will further strengthen Ideal Finance’s presence in key areas outside of the Western Province,” Ideal Finance Regional Manager, Nilanga Jayalath said. “This positions Ideal Finance well to support and benefit from the growth of sectors such as agriculture, as the country focuses on boosting domestic production.”

Ideal Finance Ltd. (IFL), a NBFI registered with Central Bank of Sri Lanka, commenced operations in March 2012 with a clear focus on the rural and semi-urban sectors. Its lending portfolio consists of gold loans, SME loans, personal loans, motor cars, three wheelers and commercial vehicles. IFL has developed a quality lending portfolio, while recording sustainable annual growth in profitability.



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Pacific Textiles chairman Masaru Okutomi appointed Director of Teejay Lanka

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Teejay Lanka PLC has announced the appointment of Masaru Okutomi, the Chairman and CEO of Pacific Textile Holdings Limited of Hong Kong, as a non-executive Director of the Company with immediate effect.

Okutomi replaces Wan Wai Loi on the Board of Teejay Lanka PLC, consequent to a change in the latter’s role on the Board of Pacific Textiles, which has a 28 per cent stake in Teejay Lanka, the Company said.

Okutomi has a Bachelor’s degree in Law from Hitotsubashi University, one of Japan’s top universities, and held senior management positions including Managing Director of Toray Industries (South China) Co. Ltd. and of Toray Industries (Hong Kong) Ltd., Deputy Managing Director of Toray Industries (China) Co. Ltd. in the past.

He was re-designated from Vice-Chairman to Chairman and CEO of Pacific Textiles, a leading manufacturer of customised knitted fabric with an annual production capacity of approximately 87 million kg, on 1st October 2021, and leads the Group’s management team, overseeing overall production and operations, providing corporate direction and formulating business strategy.

Welcoming Okutomi to the Board of the Company, Teejay Lanka Chairman Bill Lam said his extensive experience in the management of a globally-significant textiles business would be an asset to Teejay’s own growth and expansion aspirations as it progresses towards its target of becoming a US$ 300 million business. “We also thank Wan Wai Loi, for his exemplary service as a Board member of Teejay Lanka PLC,” Lam said. “He has done yeoman service shaping the journey of Teejay Lanka for the past 11 years and his guidance and wealth of knowledge was greatly appreciated by all his peers on the Board.”

Sri Lanka’s largest textile manufacturer and the first textile manufacturer in the country to receive membership of the US Cotton Trust Protocol, Teejay Lanka PLC is a public quoted company with 39 per cent public ownership. The company is backed by Sri Lanka’s largest apparel exporter Brandix Lanka which has a 33 per cent stake. Pacific Textiles of Hong Kong whose key shareholder is the Tokyo Stock Exchange listed Toray Industries Inc., owns 28 per cent of Teejay Lanka.

The Company has been adjudged the Best Textile Exporter in Sri Lanka at the Presidential Export Awards presented by the Export Development Board (EDB) and has been named among the 100 Most Respected Companies in Sri Lanka by LMD.

An ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015 and OHSAS 18001:2007 compliant company and the first in the industry to develop green fabric, Teejay has been listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) since 2011 and was included in the S&P Top 20 Index in Sri Lanka. The Company has also been named among the Forbes ‘200 Best under a Billion in Asia’ and been recognised as the ‘International Textile Firm of the Year’ and the ‘International Dyer and Finisher’ by World Textile Institute, London.

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Sri Lanka ranks 2nd at Allianz World Run, contributing towards countries in need

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Allianz Lanka once again partnered with other Allianz offices from around the world to raise much needed funds to mitigate critical issues facing countries ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, via the Allianz World Run, an initiative that seeks to inspire Allianz team members as well as their friends and family to undertake recreational physical activity that ultimately helps tackle pressing global issues.

The Allianz World Run, this time in its 6th edition, took place throughout both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, thus motivating participants to give of their best, embracing the true Olympic spirit. Held over 90 days, the program saw a total of 12,418 participants from 69 teams contribute 2,531,091 KMs, at an average of 203 KMs per participant, being active for a total of 55,080,546 minutes. Sri Lanka contributed with 975 participants running 201,423 KMs, an average distance of 207 KMs per participant for a total of 118,509 minutes, a feat that placed the island nation 2nd in terms of participants and 3rd in terms of contribution of KMs

Speaking at the conclusion of the event, Gany Subramaniam, Chief Executive Officer, Allianz Insurance Lanka Limited said, “We are very proud to maintain our standing at the Allianz World Run this year, which is testament to the resilience and spirit of our Sri Lankan people to never back down and to keep fighting for the sake of our fellow man. Even as we grapple with our own issues and uncertainties caused by the global pandemic, I am truly amazed at the outpouring of support for this initiative and can only say thank you to everyone who participated. I humbly hope this serves as an inspiration to everyone, across the globe, that with courage and determination there is no obstacle humanity cannot defeat.”

In keeping with the Olympic & Paralympic Games and bearing in mind the deadly pandemic facing the world, this year the Allianz World Run introduced a Digital Workout Challenge to ensure participant safety, whereby all runners joined the Allianz World Run community and all their active minutes contributed to Allianz World Run Charity Milestones. Participants could join any activity they chose, so long as it was tracked in the ‘Well Together’ app.

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Tile sector counters in positive performance

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By Hiran H. Senewiratne

CSE trading witnessed some volatility because the market noted profit -taking on the previous day. But tile sector counters performed positively yesterday, stock market analysts said. Further, with the month end being reached, the profit takings were noted during the day.

The stock market remained buoyant with high turnover. Royal Ceramic share price appreciated by five percent or Rs.2.70. Its share price started at Rs 54.10 and at the end of the day it shot up to Rs 56.80.

The indices continued their record-breaking streak on the back of stronger-than-expected financial results reported by a string of companies in the ongoing earnings season.

“As successive record highs were recorded, the ASPI breached the 10,100 level for the first time and ended in green for the seventh consecutive session while the S&P SL20 index also closed higher to surpass its previous peak recorded on Monday, stock analysts said.

Amid those developments both indices moved upwards. All Share Price Index went up by 17.16 points and S and P SL20 rose by 36 points. Turnover stood at Rs five billion with a single crossing. The crossing was reported in Distilleries, which crossed 10 million shares to the tune of Rs 176 million and its shares traded at Rs 17.50.

In the retail market top five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; Expolanka Holdings Rs 1.1 billion (4.9 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 752 million (6.6 million shares traded), Royal Ceramic Rs 315 million (5.6 million shares traded), ACL Cables Rs 275 million (four million shares traded) and HNB Rs 184 million (1.1 million shares traded). During the day 194 million share volumes changed hands in 36000 shares.

Sarvodaya Development Finance (SDF) recently announced its Initial Public Offering (IPO) proposition and will be allowing potential investors the ability to submit applications for the IPO, which will open on November 23, 2021.

SDF is a dynamic financial services provider that aims to uplift and empower rural masses across the nation by facilitating development opportunities with the prime goal of securing equitable economic growth and driving national development.

Investors stand to gain a range of benefits related to the forecasted highly positive company performance levels in the near future, offering investors the chance to invest into empowering Sri Lanka’s village entrepreneurs, while securing consistent returns, observers said.

Managed by NDB Investment Bank, Sarvodaya Development Finance will offer up to 45,454,546 ordinary voting shares at a price of Rs 22.00 per share through its IPO, resulting in a projected market capitalization of Rs 3.29 billion assuming full subscription at the Issue Price. This translates into an estimated forward PER of 16.17 for FY22 and implied TTM PER (as at August 31, 2021) of 11.02x.

Yesterday the US dollar was quoted at Rs 202.20, which was the controlled price of the Central Bank to prevent price escalations in essential food items in the country.

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