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Ideal First Choice to introduce internationally recognized Gulf Oil lubricants to Sri Lanka

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Present at the launch of Gulf Lubricants in Sri Lanka, (from L:R) Sanjeewa Kasthuriratne, Head of Business, Ideal First Choice, Danushka Walpola, Deputy General Manager, Ideal First Choice, Nalin Welgama, Founder and chairman, Ideal group, Chaminda Wanigaratne, Director, Ideal Motors, Ideal First Choice, Gagan Mathur, Head - Business Development-Cluster Markets, Gulf Lubricants India and Vipin Ohri, Deputy General Manager, Lanka Ashok Leyland

Ideal First Choice (Pvt) Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of the Ideal Group, one of country’s leading business conglomerates, continues to set the pace by introducing Gulf Oil lubricants to the Sri Lankan market.

Ideal First Choice is recognized as a pioneer in luxury motor vehicles and the after-sales service industry in Sri Lanka. With its state-of-the-art facilities across the country, Ideal First Choice has partnered with world renowned brands such as Bosch diesel and non-diesel spare parts and launching a diesel service center, Akzonobel for distributorship of automotive paints and also as the distributor for multi-branded two-wheeler and three-wheeler spare parts available through the company’s island wide network.  The strategic partnership with the Gulf Oil Lubricants India is the latest addition to Ideal First Choice’s expansion of its global brand offerings and thereby, continue to provide a world-class service experience.

Gulf Oil is a well – established player in the global lubricant industry with a strong presence in over 100 countries. Gulf Oil has appointed Ideal First Choice (Pvt) Ltd as its national distributor for its products and to launch the brand in the Sri Lankan market. A celebratory event marking this momentous milestone was held at the JAIC Hilton, Colombo recently.

 Gulf Oil is a part of the Hinduja Group, one of the largest diversified groups in the world spanning across continents. Gulf Oil enjoys a respectable market share in Asian countries given its strong distribution network across the SAARC region including Bangladesh and Nepal.

Gulf Oil has formed strategic partnerships with sport to promote the values of the game, today. They are associated with iconic names like, Manchester United and McLaren Racing. In India, Gulf Oil has been associated with the cricketing legend, Mahindra Singh Dhoni, as it is Brand Ambassador for over a decade and has been one of the oldest sponsors of the leading Indian Premier League team the Chennai Super Kings.

Chaminda Wanigaratne, Director Ideal First Choice and Ideal Motors, commenting on the partnership,  “We are pleased to announce the appointment of Ideal First Choice as Sri Lanka’s national distributor for Gulf Oil. As a part of our association with Gulf Oil, we look forward to provide high-quality products and a unique lubricant brand to all of our clients.”

He noted, “In 2008, the government in order to introduce lubricants to the local market, liberalized the market place giving opportunities to the private sector to introduce various lubricant brands to Sri Lanka. Subsequently in 2010, the automotive industry was reenergized and the availability of hybrid vehicles in the market also attracted a large number of customers. Due to this over the years, the demand for lubricants increased and accordingly we have introduced Gulf Oil which can provide high quality performance to customers at an affordable price.”

“We have also begun the process of appointing local dealers for Gulf lubricants covering all districts across the country. Through our island wide dealers we aim to distribute the brand for all vehicles including motorcycles, three-wheelers and vans, in addition to industrial requirements. Moreover, arrangements have been made to provide technical knowledge and awareness about the brand and its products to all our dealers and sales teams. This initiative ensures that we are able to provide customers the highest quality product at an affordable price,” Wanigaratne added.

Ravi Chawla, President – APAC, Gulf Oil and MD & CEO, Gulf Oil Lubricants India Ltd said, “We are delighted to have partnered with Ideal First Choice as the national distributer in Sri Lanka. The country consumes about 64,000 kilo liters of lubricants annually. 68% of this is used for automobiles and the remainder for industrial lubricants and greases. We aim to provide consumers with high quality lubricants for the automotive and industrial sectors. I am sure this partnership will grow to benefit the industry.”

Gagan Mathur, Head – Business Development-Cluster Markets, Gulf Oil Lubricants India Ltd, commented on the new collaboration, “The Company is extremely glad that we are able to introduce Gulf Oil Lubricants to the Sri Lankan market by partnering with Ideal Group. We are certain that the Gulf Oil brand will achieve new heights under the expert guidance and leadership of Nalin Welgama, one of Sri Lanka’s leading entrepreneur. With the support of Ideal Group we will provide a bona fide choice that will allow consumers to edge ahead with high performance oriented products. We are confident that our combined commitment will uplift our brand to greater heights. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our partners.”



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Conclusion of phase 1 of private placement of Ordinary Shares of JKH to ADB

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Krishan Balendra Chairman JKH

Following is the text of a letter addressed by JKH Deputy Chairman/Group Finance Director Gihan Cooray to the CSE’s Chief Regulatory Officer Renuke Wijayawardhana.

Further to the announcements to the Colombo Stock Exchange on 22 November 2021 and 22 December 2021 regarding the Private Placement of up to a maximum cumulative amount of the Sri Lankan Rupee (“LKR”) equivalent of USD 80 million to Asian Development Bank (“ADB”), through the issuance of up to a maximum of 122,500,000 new ordinary shares of the Company in two phases (Phase 1 & Phase 2), we wish to inform that Phase 1 of the Private Placement of ordinary shares of the Company to ADB was concluded on 19 January 2022.

Accordingly, 65,042,006 ordinary shares (“Initial Placement Shares”) of the Company were allotted to ADB at a price of LKR 154.50 per share on 19 January 2022 for a consideration of the LKR equivalent of USD 50 million. The Initial Placement Shares results in a post-issue dilution of 4.70 per cent in Phase 1 of the transaction.

Additionally, in terms of Phase 2, the Company has issued 39,025,204 non-tradable/non-transferable options (“Options”), which will entitle ADB to subscribe for additional new ordinary shares of the Company (“Option Shares”), for an investment amount of up to a maximum of the LKR equivalent of USD 30 million.

Therefore, the maximum number of ordinary shares that would potentially be issued under the entire transaction, assuming all Option Shares are subscribed for, will be 104,067,210, thereby capping the post-issue dilution on the conclusion of both phases to a maximum of 7.31 per cent.

The salient details of the Options are as morefully detailed in the Shareholder Circular dated 29 November 2021. Based on the subscription date of the Initial Placement Shares, the Option Exercise Period will be from 19 October 2022 to 18 January 2023.

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Bangladesh – Sri Lanka Preferential Trade Agreement: Gains and policy challenges

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By Asanka Wijesinghe and Chathurrdhika Yogarajah

0espite enhanced trade partnerships in South Asia, intra-regional trade is far from reaching its theoretical potential. Similar production patterns and competitive sectors can be the causes. However, bilateral discussions to further lower trade costs continue. The ongoing Bangladesh-Sri Lanka discussions on a preferential trade agreement (PTA) will benefit from knowing the potential gains from reducing bilateral trade costs. In addition, knowledge of products with higher potential for export gains will help optimise the economic benefits from a trade deal.

Bangladesh – Sri Lanka Trade:
The Current Status

In 2018, when discussions on a PTA began to firm up, Sri Lanka’s exports to Bangladesh were USD 133 million, while imports from Bangladesh were USD 37 million. Despite the low trade volume, Sri Lanka’s exports to Bangladesh have grown (Figure 1). In addition, Sri Lanka records a bilateral trade surplus with Bangladesh, which is encouraging given the country’s trade deficit concerns. However, weak growth of exports from Bangladesh to Sri Lanka can be seen from 2001 to 2016 (Figure 1).

The current trade deals between the two countries are still partially restrictive. Both countries keep a sensitive list of products that are not eligible for tariff cuts. Sri Lanka maintains a list of 925 products sanctioned by SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Area) while Bangladesh keeps 993 products. Sri Lanka’s sensitive list covers USD 6.2 million or 23.8% of imports from Bangladesh. The sensitive list of Bangladesh covers USD 77.6 million or 62% of imports from Sri Lanka. Thus, the elimination of sensitive lists may benefit Sri Lanka more.

Figure 1: Trade Intensity between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka

Source: Authors’ Illustration using Trademap Data.

Theoretically, bilateral alliances deepen trade by removing weaknesses in existing multilateral trade arrangements. A trade deal between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka can simplify trade regulations further. In addition, Bangladesh needs alternative preferential access as graduation from Least Developed Country (LDC) status will take away preferential access to its key markets. For Sri Lanka, increasing bilateral participation in production value chains, especially in the textiles sector, might be an economic motivation. Financial support extended by Bangladesh to manage Sri Lanka’s foreign currency pressures might be a political motivation for a trade deal.

Eliminating sensitive lists can lead to trade creation, although it may not happen due to political and economic reasons. When it comes to tariff cuts, both countries will act defensively as certain products in the sensitive lists are vital for employment and revenue generation. Thus, the success of a trade deal depends on how many products with high export potential are under its purview. In this direction, a group of products with specific characteristics can be identified as an offensive list. For example, Sri Lanka’s offensive list includes products that Bangladesh imports from anywhere in the world, produced by Sri Lanka with a capacity for expansion. Sri Lanka has a comparative advantage in exporting that good, and Bangladesh already has a tariff on the product.

Export Gains from Tariff Elimination

If tariffs on the sensitive lists are eliminated, there will be modest export gains for Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in absolute terms. Sri Lanka will gain USD 24.7 to 49.7 million of exports to Bangladesh, while Bangladesh will gain USD 2.1 to 4.5 million of exports to Sri Lanka. Potential export gains are given in a range due to assumptions on elasticity values used in the partial equilibrium model. Elimination of sensitive lists will generate a higher tariff revenue loss to Bangladesh, ranging between USD 13.5 million to USD 19.1 million. By contrast, Sri Lanka’s revenue loss will be slight at USD 1.4 million to USD 1.9 million.

Whatever the arrangement, it is crucial to include the products with high export potential in the offensive lists (See Table 1 for the major products). Out of 39 products in Bangladesh’s offensive list, 21 are intermediate goods, while 18 are consumption goods. Similarly, 75 out of 115 products in Sri Lanka’s offensive list are intermediate goods. Tariff cuts on intermediate products may induce fragmented production between two countries, which would harness country-specific comparative advantages. Major intermediate goods in the offensive lists are dyed cotton fabrics, cartons, boxes, and cases, plain woven fabrics of cotton, denim, natural rubber, and smoked sheets of natural rubber (Table 1).

The ex-ante estimates predict modest gains for Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in absolute terms, even after completely removing the sensitive list. But complete removal is politically challenging for both countries. Moreover, Bangladesh as an LDC may expect special and differential (S&D) treatment. Thus, the outcome can be a limited PTA in line with weaknesses in existing trade agreements governing South Asian trade. The impact on trade of regional trade agreements in force is negative primarily due to stringent general regulatory measures, including rules of origin (ROO), sensitive lists, and prolonged phasing-in. Given that the estimated modest economic gains of a Bangladesh-Sri Lanka PTA do not justify a trade deal that requires substantial resources for negotiations,the PTA should have fewer regulatory measures and tariff concessions for the products on the offensive lists to maximise the economic benefits of a PTA between the two countries.

Link to the full Talking Economics blog: https://www.ips.lk/talkingeconomics/2022/01/20/bangladesh-sri-lanka-preferential-trade-agreement-gains-and-policy-challenges/

Asanka Wijesinghe is a Research Economist at IPS with research interests in macroeconomic policy, international trade, labour and health economics. He holds a BSc in Agricultural Technology and Management from the University of Peradeniya, an MS in Agribusiness and Applied Economics from North Dakota State University, and an MS and PhD in Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics from The Ohio State University. (Talk with Asanka – asanka@ips.lk)

Chathurrdhika Yogarajah is a Research Assistant at IPS with research interests in macroeconomics and trade policy. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Agricultural Technology and Management, specialised in Applied Economics and Business Management from the University of Peradeniya with First Class Honours. She is currently reading for her Master’s in Agricultural Economics at the Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, Peradeniya. (Talk with Chathurrdhika: chathurrdhika@ips.lk)

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Expolanka boosts bourse by adding 21.7 points to ASPI

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

CSE trading started in negative territory yesterday due to heavy profit- takings but after 1 pm the market began to recover, triggered by index heavy counter Expolanka, which gained by adding 21.7 points to the All-Share Price Index. The stock market yesterday produced a creditable recovery to finish on a positive note after early losses amid a relatively low but healthy turnover level. The Expolanka share price appreciated by 2.5 per cent or Rs 9.50. Its shares started trading at Rs 386 and at the end of the day they shot up by Rs 9.50.

Amid those developments both indices moved upwards. The All -Share Price Index went up by 42.8 points and S and P SL20 rose by 7 points. Turnover stood at Rs 4.9 billion with a single crossing. The crossing was reported in Expolanka, which crossed 100,000 shares to the tune of Rs 39.5 million and its shares traded at Rs 395.

In the retail market, top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Expolanka Rs 715 million (1.8 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 336 million (19.9 million shares traded), ACL Cables Rs 261 million (2.1 million shares traded), LOLC Finance Rs 231 million (8.1 million shares traded), JKH Rs 193 million (1.2 million shares traded), Expack Corrugated Cartons Rs 162 million (seven million shares traded) and  Softlogic Capital Rs 161 million (11.3 million shares traded). During the day 154 million share volumes changed hands in 37000 transactions.

Yesterday, the US dollar was quoted at Rs 202.91, which was the controlled price of the Central Bank. The actual price would be more than Rs 250, market sources said.

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