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Japan’s SBI Group invests USD 2 mn in Watawala Dairy Farm

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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.



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U.S. confident SL would ensure required facilitation for U.S. investors

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Sri Lankan government has pledged to address the pending policy issues and I am confident that once the pandemic subsides, concrete efforts will begin to improve ease of doing business and ensure the required facilitation for US investors, Martin Kelly, Charge d’ Affairs of the Embassy of the United States of America in Sri Lanka said recently speaking at the Sri Lanka Invest Forum 2021 held virtually through June 7-9, 2021

“Sri Lanka was among the first countries in the region to open its economy and offers the highest standards of living among other advanced indicators in South Asia. Over the last seventeen years, the country continued to transition from an agriculture commodity based economy to become world leader in textile and apparel, a major exporter of IT and communication related services and of course a world class destination for international tourists,” he said.

“Promoting trade and investment opportunities is one of the embassy’s top priorities, and a vital component of our efforts to encourage private sector led development and toward stronger ties between the two countries,” he said.

Kelly said that the government of Sri Lanka has promoted pro-business policies including tax benefits, to attract the U.S. and other foreign direct investments.

 

 

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ComBank donates ICU beds to Kegalle Teaching Hospital

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Commercial Bank Chairman Justice K. Sripavan and Managing Director S. Renganathan with representatives of the Bank and the Kegalle Hospital

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has donated three Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds to the Teaching Hospital Kegalle, which receives over 80,000 admissions and 350,000 clinic visits, annually. The donation was made following a request from the hospital and will help it to provide seamless healthcare services to prevent non-pandemic related morbidities and mortalities while also treating patients who are COVID-19 positive.

The CSR Trust of the Bank has already gifted medical equipment and gear including Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits, face masks, surgical masks, hand sanitisers, Slit lamps, pulse oximeters, multipara monitors and oxygen concentrators to over 16 government hospitals. Commercial Bank also made a monetary donation to the National COVID-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund set up by the government last year.

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Trading activity gets slower among retail investors

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Lankem Ceylon Rights Issue undersubscribed.

By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

Stock trading at the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) was marginally positive yesterday and the number of retail investor participation was lower compared to previous trading days. Index heavy LOLC group which accounted for more than 30 percent of the turnover, contributed 20 points to the All Share Price Index, stock market analysts said.

Both indices moved upwards. All Share Price Index was up by 35.75 points and S&P SL20 up by 2.01 points. Turnover stood at Rs 1.74 billion sans a single crossing. In the retail market top six companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were LOLC Rs 510 million (1.28 million shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 197 million (4.1 million shares traded), Melstacorp Rs 137 million (2.6 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 71.5 million (11.3 million shares traded), Windforce Rs 68.2 million (3.5 million shares traded) and Hayleys Holdings Rs 54.8 million (730,000 shares traded).

Index heavy LOLC, which contributed 20 points to the All Share Price Index, appreciated its share price by Rs 18.75 or 4.85 percent. Its share price started trading at Rs 386.25 and at the end of the day it moved up to Rs 405.

A pioneer in renewable energy, Vidullanka PLC has successfully completed raising additional capital of Rs. 253 million to fuel its expansion drive in the solar power sphere.

Lankem Ceylon Plc, Rs. 677 million worth Rights Issue has been undersubscribed. When the issue closed the Company managed to draw only subscriptions for 17.6 million shares worth Rs. 352.3 million. The original plan was to issue 33.85 million shares at Rs. 20 each aiming at raising Rs. 677 million. The basis was one new ordinary share for every one share held. Funds were to be raised to augment working capital requirements.

During the day 67.9 million share volumes changed hands in 17564 share transactions.

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