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JB Vantage Money Market Fund affirmed A+ by ICRA



JB Financial (Pvt) Ltd, a specialist asset manager, investing in a range of investment grade debt instruments, equity and gilt-edged securities received a credit risk rating of [SL]A+mfs (pronounced as Sri Lanka A plus m f s) for its JB Vantage Money Market Fund (JBMMF) recently from ICRA Lanka Limited.

The fund is the second largest Money Market Fund in terms of assets under management (AUM) in Sri Lanka with Rs.18.82 billion as at December 2020. The fund was initiated on August 4, 2011 and has been in existence for nearly a decade consistently outperforming the benchmark (NDBIB CRISIL 91-day T-bill Index).

Deutsche Bank AG acts as the trustee of the JBMMF, and ensures that the fund manager operates according to the investment mandate to achieve the goals and objectives while safeguarding investors’ interests. The fund is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission on a regular basis to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. The JBMMF has been a consistent winner at the CFA Capital Market Awards for best unit trust, winning the Gold award in 2016 and 2017 and the Bronze in 2018 and 2019.

Speaking on the rating Christine Dias Bandaranaike (CFA), CEO of JB Financial (Pvt) Ltd and Fund Manager of the JBMMF said, “The rating reflects our solid position as a leading specialist investment manager. We have over the past few years grown the Fund’s AUM while maintaining a robust risk management framework and sound financial metrics in line with the investment mandate. The rating further signifies the relative prudence of the fund which only invests in companies which are willing to subject themselves to an external rating and are therefore transparent with their financials. As part of our investment mandate, we only invest in companies that are considered Investment Grade, that is rated BBB- and higher by an external rating agency. Investments in the BBB rated category is further restricted up to an average of 30%, while the remaining is invested in A rated and above companies in order to manage and mitigate credit risk more prudentially.”

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JKH records EBITDA growth of  9% to Rs.10.41 billion in Q3



Summarised below are the key operational and financial highlights of our performance during the quarter under review:

Group EBITDA recorded an improvement to Rs.10.41 billion during the quarter under review, which is an increase of 9 per cent against the comparative period of last year [2021/22 Q3: Rs.9.53 billion]. Excluding the impact of a one-off deferred tax charge at South Asia Gateway Terminals on account of the significant change in income tax rates, Group EBITDA increased by 17 per cent to Rs.11.17 billion in the third quarter of the financial year 2022/23.

Apart from the Consumer Foods and Property industry groups, the Group’s businesses recorded growth in EBITDA compared to the third quarter of the previous year.

The Transportation industry group recorded an increase in profitability due to its USD denominated revenue streams and resultant translation gains due to the depreciation of the Rupee as compared against the previous year.

Krishan Balendra Chairperson JKH

The groundwork on the West Container Terminal (WCT-1) at the Port of Colombo is progressing well with the dredging works being rapidly completed. The contract for the quay wall construction, a significant component of the overall construction works, was awarded in October 2022. Overall timelines for the project remain as originally envisaged.

The Leisure industry group recorded a strong performance driven by the Maldivian Resorts and Colombo Hotels segments.

The Supermarket business recorded an EBITDA growth of 26 per cent to Rs.1.99 billion due to an increase in same store sales driven by a combination of higher customer footfall and basket values due to high inflation. The overall profitability in the Retail industry group was impacted by a substantial decline in the EBITDA of the Office Automation business compared to the third quarter of the previous year.

Profitability in the Consumer Foods businesses were impacted by volume declines reflective of dampened consumer sentiments, and lower margins, although margin pressure is expected to ease off from the fourth quarter of 2022/23 onwards.

The Property industry group recorded a decline in profitability as the third quarter of the previous year included revenue and profit recognition from the handover of the residential apartments and commercial office floors at ‘Cinnamon Life’. The recognition of revenue of all units sold at ‘Cinnamon Life’ up to 31 March 2022 was recorded across 2021/22.

The Insurance business recorded a growth in the life insurance surplus and gross written premiums whilst Nations Trust Bank recorded an increase in net interest margins and a reduction in costs.

The Group’s carbon footprint per million rupees of revenue decreased by 25 per cent to 0.38 MT while the water withdrawal per million rupees of revenue decreased by 17 per cent to 7.56 cubic meters.

Initiatives under ‘ONE JKH’, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) brand of the John Keells Group, included a perception survey to better understand employee awareness and sentiment towards increasing career opportunities for persons with disabilities.

Cognizant of the multiple economic hardships faced by the people of the country, and in recognition of the Group’s role as a leading responsible corporate citizen, the Group continued its multipronged crisis response programme with a particular focus in the areas of food security, education and nutrition among vulnerable segments such as school children.

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CSE positively impacted by US ambassador’s comments on bail-out



By Hiran H. Senewiratne

CSE share trading kicked off on a positive note yesterday following US ambassador Julie Chung’s positive comments on the IMF bailout to foreign media and the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland arriving in Sri Lanka last morning, stock market analysts said.

The market gained in mid-day trade yesterday, mainly pushed up by banking and financial sectors, brokers said. As a result, both indices moved upwards. The All- Share Price Index went up by 84.96 points and S and P SL20 rose by 45.29 points.

Turnover amounted to Rs 1.5 billion without any crossings. The reason for investor sentiment to move up was because it was clear that the US seems to be pushing creditors to go for debt restructuring to obtain the IMF bailout for Sri Lanka, analysts said.

In the retail market seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; JKH Rs 239 million (1.7 million shares traded), Softlogic Life Insurance Rs 175 million (1.4 million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 164 million (805,000 shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 154 million (806,000 shares traded), Softlogic Capital Rs 125 million (7.8 million shares traded), Tokyo Cement (Non -Voting) Rs 46.5 million (1.5 million shares traded) and Lanka Tiles Rs 46.4 million (one million shares traded).

It said high net worth and institutional investor participation was noted in John Keells Holdings, Lanka IOC and Lanka Wall Tiles. Mixed interest was observed in Softlogic Life Insurance, Expolanka Holdings and Chevron Lubricants, while retail interest was noted in LOLC Finance, Softlogic Capital and Browns Investments.

The Capital Goods sector was the top contributor to the market turnover (due to JKH), while the sector index lost 1.06 per cent. The share price of JKH recorded a loss of 50 cents to settle at Rs. 139.50.

The Insurance sector was the second highest contributor to the market turnover (due to Softlogic Life Insurance) while the sector index increased by 1.31%. The share price of Softlogic Life Insurance increased by Rs. 2 to close at Rs. 120.50.

Lanka IOC, Softlogic Capital and LOLC Finance were also included among the top turnover contributors. The share price of Lanka IOC lost Rs. 2 to close at Rs. 206.25. The share price of Softlogic Capital moved up by 20 cents to close at Rs. 15.90. The share price of LOLC Finance closed flat at Rs. 6.90.

“We are seeing a lot of activity today, mostly retail interest led by the life insurance companies like Softlogic life and Softlogic Capital, a market analyst said. “Foreign buying was there in the last few days as well”. During the day 60.2 million share volumes changed hands in 14000 transactions.

It is said that Colombo City Hotel subdivided its shares by one share into 20 ordinary shares for its shareholders.

The stock market ended the first month of the New Year with a gain of over 4 per cent, largely influenced by strong momentum earlier on as investor sentiment of late has been bearish.

January saw the benchmark ASPI gain by 4.4 per cent and the active S&P SL20 Index by 5 per cent. Daily turnover averaged Rs. 1.86 billion, according sources said.

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St. Anthony’s Hardware celebrates the children at Lama Sewana Detention Home



St. Anthony’s Hardware recently held a fun day for the children at Lama Sewana Detention Home, Baddegama, which included games, activities and food. St. Anthony’s Hardware aims to maintain a long-term relationship with the home by renovating and providing industry training and career guidance for the children at Lama Sewana Detention Home.

St Anthony’s Hardware will be renovating the buildings and roof of the detention home, creating a safe and secure environment for the children. Apart from the renovation, the team will be working with the children to provide career guidance workshops and seminars to ensure that the children have some employability skills when they become adults. The children were given sporting equipment to improve their sports facilities.

The Lama Sewana Detention Home, Baddegama is a government-run facility that currently houses over 50 young residents between the age of 04 to 17 years old. The children at the home come from financially disadvantaged backgrounds, or their parents have been incarcerated.

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