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Ideal Motors donates Mahindra Ambulance to fight against Covid-19



As part of its wide-ranging, empathetic response to the Covid-19 crisis, Ideal Motors (Pvt) Ltd has donated a Mahindra Ambulance valued at approximately Rs. Ten million to the Madura Vithana Foundation on 5th September 2021.

The fully-equipped ambulance was handed over by Nalin Welgama, the Founder and Chairman of the Ideal Group to Member of Parliament, Madura Vithana, Founder of the Foundation. The vehicle was donated primarily to enable the Foundation to support the vaccination of persons over 60 years of age and the disabled in the Colombo District.

The donation also coincided with the company’s Founders’ Day, the birthday of Nalin Welgama, the Founder and Chairman of the Ideal Group which was commemorated on 5th September. This ambulance will also support the country’s efforts in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and provide health services to affected citizens expeditiously.

As a company deeply committed and recognized for its series of corporate social welfare initiatives, Ideal Motors (Pvt) Ltd has relentlessly provided assistance during these unprecedented times, supporting vulnerable segments of the population and donating vital equipment.

Ideal Motors (Pvt) Ltd’s relief programme for Covid-19 included donating washing machines and waste bins to the Base Hospital Mulleriyawa which was an urgent requirement, presenting six laptops to the Cardiology Unit of the Colombo National Hospital which were crucial for recording patients’ data, and also providing the Ministry of Health a stock of personal protective clothing and accessories required for health service frontline staff which was handed over by Nalin Welgama to Ministry officials at the Gangarama Temple in Colombo.

In addition, among the social welfare programmes implemented by Ideal Motors are a drinking water project for 1500 severely affected families in the Namalpura area located in the Anuradhapura District, providing drinking water facilities to the school the Thalgaswewa Vidyaravinda Vidyalaya, Nonchchiyagama, in addition to presenting the students with school stationary such as books, bags, shoes and other necessities, constructing the courtyard for the Bo Tree of the Diyapattugama Temple in Kevitiyagala, and offering a Buddha statue while also donating necessary computers to the Diyapaththugama S.A. Welgama Junior School. Furthermore, Mahindra Electric three-wheelers were presented to the Kataragama Temple and the Atamasthanadhipati Thero of the Anuradhapura Temple. To-date, Ideal Motors has spent over Rs 30 million towards their social welfare projects in supporting communities across the island.

Commenting on the company’s social welfare programmes, Nalin Welgama, said, “Founders Day is a special event in the calendar of our company as September 5th marks the inauguration of our business. Over the years the company has engaged in countless social service programmes, however, we have not sought any publicity for our work.”

He added, “The pandemic has affected not only our country but has caused catastrophic results for the whole world. I believe, business leaders need to come forward and support the nation during these challenging times. I request all corporates and their leaders to come together and instead of blaming the government look inwards to see what we can do for our nation. This is our motherland and it is our duty to support the country, especially at this time. We are aware there are several companies that have made vast profits in the last two to three quarters this year due to coronavirus. My humble request is to come forward and dutifully work towards the development of the country.”

Commenting on receiving the ambulance for the Foundation, MP Madura Vithanage said, “We are extremely thankful to Ideal Motors and Nalin Welgama, in providing an ambulance to the Vithana Foundation. Our country is facing a severe shortage of ambulances due to the current corona epidemic. This noble deed will help transport all Public Health Inspection Officers in the Colombo District. We aim to coordinate with the police and the local authorities and ensure that those over 60 years and unable to go to vaccination centers can be visited at home and vaccinated.”

He also stated, “With the corona pandemic, dengue has also raised its ugly head and in coordination with the Public Health Officers, this ambulance will also be used for dengue patients, in addition to carry out Rapid antigen testing and PCR testing. The first phase of using the ambulance has already been planned and activities are being coordinated by the Chief Medical Officer of the Kotte Municipal Council. We are indebted to Nalin Welgama and Ideal Motors, for their exemplary actions in not seeking profits but genuinely coming forward and serving the country through social welfare projects especially in the fight against Covid-19.”

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Healthcare, Consumer and Agri propel Sunshine Holdings’ strong FY23 performance



Amal Cabraal, Chairman

Diversified Sri Lankan conglomerate Sunshine Holdings (CSE: SUN) recorded resilient revenue growth in a challenging macroeconomic environment, reporting notable top-line growth during the year ended 31 March 2023. Group’s Healthcare and Consumer sectors led growth while healthcare segment remained the major contributor to total Group revenue in FY23.

Sunshine recorded a consolidated Group revenue of Rs.51.9 billion for the year ended 31 March 2023, an increase of 61.3% over last year. Profit after tax (PAT) for the period in review was contracted by 28.0% to Rs. 3.6 billion. The gross profit improved by Rs.3.3 billion, up 31.9% YoY, compared to the previous year, driven by revenue growth. Gross profit margin for the period stood at 26.0%, a contraction of 580 basis points against the corresponding period last year.

The Group’s Healthcare business emerged as the largest contributor to Sunshine’s revenue, accounting for 46.1% of the total, while Consumer Goods and Agri Business sectors of the group contributed 36.6% and 16.9% respectively of the total Group revenue. The Group EBIT closed at Rs. 7 billion, an increase of 23.0% YoY.

Commenting on the results, Amal Cabraal, Chairman of Sunshine Holdings said, “The Group had to face and overcome tough economic factors and adverse market conditions which persisted throughout the year. These headwinds impacted some of the core sectors, and are expected to continue to do so in the short to medium term.”

However, Cabraal highlighted the Group’s commendable response to these challenges, adding, “Through robust cost management initiatives and process reengineering efforts, supported by the integration of digital technologies, Sunshine has delivered a strong performance in FY23. Despite the difficulties, the Group has displayed resilience, and takes an optimistic outlook on fortifying operations to further strengthen overall performance.”

Cabraal further emphasized that “Every possible measure has been taken to ensure business sustainability and continuity in the upcoming months.”

Healthcare sector recorded a revenue of Rs. 23.9 billion during FY23, a significant increase of 36.7% YoY backed by the improved performance in Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices and Manufacturing segments. EBIT for the sector was Rs. 3.0 billion with PAT of the sector increased by 13% YoY. Lina Manufacturing, the pharma manufacturing business, commenced commercial operations in the Metered Dose Inhalers (MDI) plant in July 2022, which was a significant milestone for the business.

Consumer Goods sector reported a 135.6% YoY increase in revenue to close at Rs. 19 billion in FY23. The revenue increase was predominantly driven by the addition of export business. The consumer brands Zesta, Watawala, Ran Kahata and Daintee continued to grow market shares, despite challenging consumer sentiment.

Agribusiness sector revenue increased by 35.4% YoY during FY21/22 to Rs. 8.8 billion, driven by the increase in palm oil NSA. PAT of the Agri sector closed at Rs. 2.3 billion for FY21/22, down by 33.6%.

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ADB budget support loan doesn’t elicit positive response from bourse



By Hiran H.Senewiratne

The CSE did not react positively yesterday to the Asian Development Bank’s approval of a US$ 350 million loan as budget support, as part of Sri Lanka’s economic stabilization program, together with the rupee’s appreciation against the dollar, market analysts said.

“The ABD is supporting a series of policy reforms which are required to stabilize the economy and to spur growth. Budget support loans ease cash flows of the government and do not involve imports of goods. This has created some limbo for investors, market analysts said.

Consequently, shares edged- down in mid- day trade and ended on a negative note. The main All- Share Price Index was down by 118.97 points, while the most liquid index S&P SL20 was also down by 41.3 points.

Turnover stood at Rs 516 million without any crossings. In the retail market, top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Dialog Axiata Rs 73.7 million (7.2 million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 54.42 million (426,000 shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 51.7 million (382,000 shares traded), Prime Lands Residencies Rs 25.1 million (3.11 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 21.3 million (4.3 million shares traded), Hemas Holdings Rs 18.8 million (298,000 shares traded) and Elpitiya Plantations Rs 16.2 million (164,000 shares traded). During the day 38.3 million share volumes changed hands in 11000 transactions.

The rupee opened at Rs 296.50 /297.50 against the US dollar in the spot market yesterday, while bond yields were up, dealers said. The rupee closed at Rs 296.00 /297.50 to the US dollar on Friday after opening at around Rs 302.80/303.10.

Sri Lanka’s rupee is appreciating amid negative private credit which has reduced outflows after the central bank hiked rates and stopped printing money.

In the first year of an IMF program, a pegged central bank usually collects reserves and mops up liquidity generated from the purchases or there is a balance of payments surplus.

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HNB reopens Student Savings Unit at St. Joseph’s College



HNB MD /CEO Jonathan Alles (centre) and HNB Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Dilshan Rodrigo (right) presenting the first HNB TEEN+ card to a savings account holder

Reaffirming its commitment to fostering financial literacy among students, Sri Lanka’s leading private sector bank HNB PLC, announced the reopening of its Student Savings unit at St. Joseph’s College, Colombo.

The reopening comes as part of the bank’s continued efforts to instil the habit of saving among young minds. The event was graced by the esteemed presence of St. Joseph’s College Rector, Rev. Fr. Ranjith Andradi, and the Managing Director/CEO of HNB, Jonathan Alles, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Dilshan Rodrigo who are distinguished past pupils of the College, along with Deputy General Manager- Retail and SME Banking Sanjay Wijemanne, Assistant General Manager, Network Management and Business Development Supun Dias and Head Office Branch Chief Manager, Dilanka De Silva.

During the ceremony HNB Managing Director/CEO, Jonathan Alles expressed his delight, stating, “We are extremely pleased to be a part of this momentous occasion, celebrating the reopening of the Student Savings Unit at St. Joseph’s College. Through this Unit, we aim to empower students with a deeper understanding of saving and the value of living within their means. By developing this essential life skill, students will be well prepared to fund their higher education and make other important investments in the future.”

The Unit will mainly offer student access to the wide range of savings products and investment plans available for minors. Moreover, the bank aims to create a digital payment ecosystem for the school also offering members of the staff and the Old Boys Association with exceptional services and benefits.

St. Joseph’s College Rector Rev. Fr. Ranjith Andradi, expressing his pride in the partnership, stated: “We are proud to be associated with HNB in reopening the Student Savings Unit. This initiative not only imparts valuable lessons in investing and saving but also instils a strong sense of financial management in our students. We believe this partnership will contribute to their progress and success.”

The Student Savings Unit, introduced by HNB in 1994, has played a pivotal role in promoting financial literacy among students. With 162 units established across Sri Lanka, HNB actively engages students in managing mini-banks within their schools, fostering leadership and financial responsibility. Each year, HNB provides comprehensive training to over 1,000 students, empowering them to become financially savvy individuals.

HNB is rated A (lka) by Fitch Ratings and was awarded the esteemed title of ‘Sri Lanka’s Best Corporate Citizen’ for 2022 by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. Other major accolades include being ranked among the Top 1,000 Banks in the World for six consecutive years by the acclaimed UK based “The Banker Magazine”, being adjudged the ‘Best Retail Bank in Sri Lanka’ for the 13th occasion by the Asian Banker, as well as securing a Top 5 position on Business Today’s Top 40 rankings for 2022.

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