Japan’s SBI Group invests USD 2 mn in Watawala Dairy Farm
Watawala Plantations Chief Executive Officer Binesh Pananwala
Sri Lanka’s leading agribusiness company Watawala Plantations PLC (CSE: WATA) announced that SBI Ven Holdings (Pte) Limited, the overseas private equity firm of SBI Holdings Inc., has invested USD 2 million in Watawala Dairy Farm through Watawala Dairy Limited (WDL).
The investment will further propel WATA’s dairy operations in the country and contribute to the economy by committing to the Government’s effort to promote local milk production and towards the goal of achieve self-sufficiency in milk. Furthermore, Watawala Plantations plans to utilise the investment to expand the herd (reach 1000 milking cows), further improve its infrastructure to function at optimal levels and to strengthen the upstream value chain.
The strategic venture offers SBI Ven Holdings an 11% stake in Watawala Dairy Ltd. Watawala Plantations, in the meantime, will invest Rs. 296 million to settle inter-company debt and strengthen the balance sheet of WDL.
The state-of-the-art dairy farm by Watawala Dairy Limited is a Board of Investment (BOI) registered project situated in Watawala, Ginigathhena. The project commenced in March 2016 as a pilot project called ‘Lonach Farm’ with 120 cattle, three cow houses and a milking parlour. Today, the farm manages a herd of 1600 dairy cattle, where 800 are milking cows. Using an ultramodern milking parlour system, the farm currently produces around 18,000 litres of fresh milk per day and 540,000 litres per month. Annually, the farm releases 6.5 million litres of milk to the local market, which is 3.5% of the annual Sri Lankan milk production.
Commenting on their latest association with Japan’s financial giant, Watawala Plantations Chief Executive Officer Binesh Pananwala said, “At a time where the investor confidence and sentiment have been greatly affected, SBI Ven Holdings’s investment on Watawala Dairy Limited brings in vital foreign direct investments (FDI) to Sri Lanka when it is much needed in the market and the economy. Not only this strategic investment paves a path for us to support the Government’s vision to promote local milk production and achieve self-sufficiency in milk by 2025, but it also validates our long term vision and investor-friendly corporate governance framework, helping us to build confidence and attract leading global equity firms like SBI Ven Holdings.”
WDL aims to drive sustainable production of fresh milk in Sri Lanka. The company is conscious that healthy husbandry covering sound animal health and welfare underpins high yields and quality of milk. The farm provides facilities to a healthy herd with feed supplements scientifically formulated by a global expert nutritionist with the construction of its feed mill to process the special cattle feed. Stringent hygiene farm management controls have been implemented within the farm, conforming to international standards, including adequate clean water, slurry, and effluent management systems.
Share investors worried over Wealth and Heritage tax
By Hiran H Senewiratne
CSE trading kicked off on a positive note yesterday but the momentum could not be sustained for long owing to investor worries that the government is planning domestic debt restructuring involving the imposition of a wealth and heritage tax on citizens, market sources said.
Amid those developments both indices moved downwards. The All -Share Price Index went down by 131 points and S and P SL-20 declined by 46.8 points. Turnover stood at Rs 3.4 billion with four crossings. Those crossings were reported in Agalawattte Plantations, which crossed 45.3 million shares to the tune of Rs 1.5 billion, its shares traded at Rs 35, CTC 420,000 shares crossed for Rs 269 million and its shares traded at Rs 640, Cargills 100,000 shares crossed to the tune of Rs 24.5 million; its shares traded at Rs 245 and Hayleys 300,000 shares crossed for Rs 24 million; its shares traded at Rs 80.
In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, SLT Rs 234 million (two million shares traded), Hayleys RS 121 million (1.5 million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 106 million (115,000 shares traded), Softlogic Capital Rs 69 million (5.6 million shares traded), CTC Rs 65.3 million (101,000 shares traded), Sampath Bank RS 54.7 million (one million shares traded) and Commercial Bank RS 52.5 million (801,000 shares traded).During the day 164 million share volumes changed hands in 20000 transactions.
Brandix ‘RightToRead’ initiative gains momentum enriching Sri Lanka students and transforming learning
Inspired by the challenge to provide Sri Lankan children with better access to learning materials and the transformative power to read and comprehend English, Brandix launched the ‘RightToRead’ project in 2018 in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.
Accordingly, Brandix introduced the ‘ReadToMe’ English learning tool, created by English Helper – India, to improve reading and comprehension skills of Sri Lankan students. Last Monday, Julie Chung, the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, visited Susamayawardhana Vidyalaya in Borella, to observe progress of the project and experience how children and educators in Sri Lanka engage with educational technology.
Brandix Lanka Limited, Director, Ajit Johnpillai, said: “Education is the most powerful tool to enrich communities and futures, and Brandix is committed to build a strong foundation for transformational learning for students across Sri Lanka. The progress we have made with RiteToRead over the past two years is promising, and the potential for change in the education sector harnessing such digital technologies is immeasurable. Brandix will continue its commitment to deliver Inspired Solutions for the people of Sri Lanka.”
Dialog TV Boosts Resilience and Capacity with Norsat Satellite Earth Station
Hytera, a leading global provider of professional communications technologies and solutions, is proud to announce the successful deployment of a new backup satellite station for Dialog TV, Sri Lanka’s No.1 satellite Pay TV service provider. The project was fulfilled in 2022 by Hytera and its subsidiary specialized in Satellite Communications (SatCom), Norsat International Inc. The new station enhances the resilience and capacity of Dialog TV’s existing system and ensures continuity of service in the event of damage due to natural disasters.
Dialog TV provides coverage over the entirety of Sri Lanka through the Intelsat 38 Ku-band satellite. As the business expanded, it opted for a backup solution to support its existing satellite station and to strengthen the network’s disaster tolerance.
Hytera and Norsat provided an end-to-end satellite earth station solution that includes the installation, integration, and setup of satellite antennas, a transmission and receiving system, a new network management system (NMS), and a carrier monitoring system (CMS). The NMS makes routine work easier and simpler for on-duty staff, as equipment status, parameter monitoring and configuration, and remote control of the devices can be viewed and accomplished via a single interface. The CMS monitors the carrier spectrum status of satellite signals in real-time and ensures stable signal transmission and receiving.
“We are excited to have been able to work with Dialog TV on this important project,” said Kevin Sun, Sales Director for Hytera South Asia, “Our ability to seamlessly integrate our new equipment and software with Dialog TV’s existing systems has helped to ensure a stable and reliable service for their millions of customers across Sri Lanka.”
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