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Kia wins European Car of the Year, 2 Red Dot Design awards + 8 Travel Safety awards

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New cars are in short supply in Sri Lanka, but owners of Kia automobiles have cause to cheer the popular Korean nameplate which has roared into 2022 winning the coveted European Car of the Year award, two Red Dot Design awards and a remarkable eight Top Safety Pick (TSP) awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Kia’s revolutionary EV6, the brand’s first dedicated battery electric vehicle (BEV), which stands out for its ultra-fast charging, swift acceleration and zero emissions, has been crowned the ‘2022 Car of the Year’ at the prestigious European Car of the Year (COTY) Awards, beating the shortlisted Hyundai IONIQ 5, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Škoda Enyaq iV, Cupra Born, Renault Mégane E-Tech and Peugeot 308. Notably, the EV6 is the first Kia automobile to win an European Car of the Year award.

The EV6 also claimed overall victory at the prestigious 2022 Red Dot Design Awards, one of the largest design competitions in the world, winning the ‘Red Dot: Best of the Best’ accolade for its pioneering and forward-looking design and the Red Dot category award for ‘Innovative Products.’

Meanwhile, the Kia Telluride, Sorento, Seltos and Carnival built after March 2021 (with specific headlights), as well as the Kia Sportage and Soul (with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights) have all received TSP awards, while the Kia K5 and Stinger sedans have qualified as TSP+ winners.

All 2022 TSP winners earned “Good” ratings in six crashworthiness tests – driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, original side, roof strength and head restraint tests – as well as an “Advanced” or “Superior” rating for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention evaluations. In addition, the vehicle must have at least one available headlight system that earns a “Good” or “Acceptable” rating. For a TSP+ designation, the “Good” or “Acceptable” headlight system must be standard equipment.

Kia Motors (Lanka) Managing Director Mr Andrew Perera described the news of these awards as electrifying news for Kia enthusiasts in Sri Lanka who have been unable to experience the latest models due to import restrictions to conserve foreign exchange. “The EV6 in particular is an exciting sign of what’s still to come in our evolving electrified line-up, and we look forward to the time when we can resume the import of new world-class models from Kia, including the award winning EV6 which combines the best of eco-friendly operation with adrenaline-pumping performance,” he said.

The Kia EV6 is positioned as the embodiment of the new Kia. It can accelerate from 0-100 kmph in just 5.2 seconds in the standard version and in an eye-watering 3.5 seconds in the GT version, can reach a top speed of 260 kmph, can cover up to 528 kms on a single charge in the long-range version and achieve 800V high-speed charge from 10 to 80 per cent in just 18 minutes, all with zero emissions.

At the 2022 European Car of the Year awards, the Kia EV6 was voted the overall winner by a 61-strong jury consisting of highly respected motoring journalists from 23 European countries. The SUV was initially listed for consideration for the ‘European Car of the Year’ Award alongside over sixty models that launched in 2021. In November 2021, the COTY jury whittled this longlist down to a seven-strong shortlist, six of which were electric vehicles (EVs), further demonstrating the growing importance of electric vehicles to consumers as society transitions towards a new mobility future.

The EV6 is the first of seven dedicated EV models Kia plans to launch by 2026. The all-electric crossover will play a key role in the company’s plans to become a leading global sustainable mobility solutions provider.

The 2022 European Car of the Year award is the latest in a growing number of top-notch awards bestowed on the Kia EV6 since its introduction last year. Other titles recently won include: 2022 Irish Car of the Year; 2022 What Car? ‘Car of the Year’; ‘Crossover of the Year’ at the TopGear.com 2021 awards; ‘Premium’ winner in the German Car of the Year 2022 awards; and joint winner of the inaugural ‘Best Cars of the Year’ 2021/2022 awards.

Kia Motors (Lanka) has represented the Kia brand in Sri Lanka since 1996 and has been instrumental in making it one of the best-regarded automobile brands in the country. The Company’s Rs 800 million Logistics Centre in Malabe is supported by a sales and service network spearheaded by wholly-owned subsidiaries Carplan and Autopoint (Kurunegala) as 3S dealers. Kia Motors (Lanka) also has showrooms in Kandy and Matara, has appointed Service Dealers in Ampara, Galle and Ratnapura, and franchised spare parts dealers in Colombo, Moratuwa, Gampaha, Kandy, Ratnapura, Anuradhapura, Batticaloa and Matara.



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Seylan Bank records Rs. 1.5 Bn PAT for 1H 2022

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Seylan Bank recorded a Profit after Tax of Rs. 1,504 Mn for the 6 months ended 30th June 2022 against Rs. 2,105 Mn reported in the corresponding period of 2021. This has been seen by financial analysts as commendable given the extremely challenging and adverse conditions the Bank operated in, with Sri Lanka facing its worst economic crisis since Independence, especially in Q2 this year.

Net Interest income increased from Rs. 10,971 Mn to Rs 16,851 Mn, a growth of 53.60% over the previous year for the 6 months ended 30th June 2022. The Bank’s net fee based income increased by 27.36% from Rs. 2,180 Mn to Rs. 2,776 Mn during 1H, mainly due to an increase in debit and credit card related income, commission income on e-banking, service charges on deposits and commission on remittances which were partly offset by decrease in guarantees related income and loans and advances related income. Other income captions comprising net gains from trading activities, net gains from de-recognition of financial assets, net gains on foreign exchange transactions and other operating income increased by 37.20 % a net gain from Rs. 1,526 Mn from the correspondent year to a net gain of Rs. 2,093 Mn during 1H 2022. The net increase is mainly due to increase in mark to market net gain on derivative financial instruments and impact from net revaluation losses on FCY assets and liabilities.

Total expenses recorded an increase of 7.43 % from Rs. 6,750 Mn in the 1H of the previous year to Rs. 7,251 Mn for the 6 months ended 30th June 2022. Personnel expenses increased by Rs. 287 Mn mainly due to an increase in the staff benefits based on the collective agreement. Other operating expenses and depreciation and amortisation expenses too increased by 7.35% due to increase in prices of purchases and services as a result of higher inflation and local currency depreciation. However, the Bank will continue to take relevant measures to curtail costs with various cost initiatives.

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CSE turnover exceeds Rs. 6 billion as bullish trend accelerates

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

CSE activities were extremely bullish yesterday as market turnover exceeded Rs 6 billion after seven months and the All- Share Price Index surpassed 9000 points for the first time since March 31 this year, stock market analysts said.

All blue chip company shares appreciated by more than five per cent, driven mainly by Lanka IOC and Hayleys. The reason for the market being upbeat was the relative political stability which has come into being under President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who spearheads an effort to establish a national government with some other political parties in parliament, together with the gradual movement of the economy despite all odds, stock market analysts opined.

Observers are of the view that Sri Lanka stock market is still one of the most attractive emerging stock markets in the region. It is said that during 2011/12 the stock market was at the 7000 points level and after ten years, i.e. 2022, the stock market is at 9000 points level. Besides, Sri Lanka’s equity market is ranked as one of the top most of such markets.

Amid those developments both indices moved upwards. The All- Share Price Index moved up by 321 points or 3.69 per cent and closed at 9027.48 points and the S and P SL20 rose by 159.5 points. Turnover stood at Rs 6.3 billion with four crossings. Those crossings were reported in Melstacorp, which crossed 5.2 million shares to the tune of Rs 280 million, its shares traded at Rs 54, JKH 500,000 shares crossed to the tune of Rs 64 million, its shares traded at Rs 128, Kahawatte Plantations one million shares crossed to the tune of Rs 27 million and its shares fetched Rs 27 and Hayleys 200,000 shares crossed for Rs 22 million; its share price stood at Rs 110.

In the retail market, top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Lanka IOC Rs 1.4 billion (8.7 million shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 720 million (3.3 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 339 million (41.7 million shares traded), Hayleys Rs 326 million (2.8 million shares traded), JKH Rs 294 million (2.3 million shares traded), Melstacorp Rs 235 million (4.4 million shares traded) and Dipped Products Rs 199 million (4.3 million shares traded). During the day 209 million share volumes changed hands in 47000 share transactions.

Lanka IOC and Hayleys drove the market. Lanka IOC shares moved to Rs 27.75 or rose by 20 per cent. Its share price rose to Rs 172.50 from Rs 144.75 and Hayleys share price gained by 11 per cent or Rs 11.75. Its share price moved to Rs 119.75 from Rs 106.25.Yesterday, the Central Bank announced the US dollar buying rate as Rs 357.24 and the selling rate as Rs 368.56.

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Sampath Bank remains vibrant, backed by strong capital and liquidity positions

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Sampath Bank continued to maintain a solid capital base and stable liquidity profile in the first half of 2022 notwithstanding multiple economic challenges. The Bank remains vigilant in identifying the current economic issues and has continued to implement in a proactive manner the required countermeasures, clearly demonstrating its strength and stability.

In line with that objective and in order to improve the foreign currency liquidity position, the Bank continues to focus and promote inward remittances as well as to encourage the inflow of export proceeds. The Bank further reinforced its commitment to all its stakeholders by continuing to support all affected segments to sustain their respective businesses in order to ride out the current economic crisis.

Despite the prevailing economic turmoil, the Bank posted a commendable PAT of Rs 7.1 Bn and PBT of Rs 9 Bn for the period ended 30th June 2022, reflecting a minor increase of 0.3% and slight decrease of 5.5% respectively compared to the figures declared in 1H 2021. In the meantime, the Group declared a PAT of Rs 7.4 Bn and PBT of Rs 9.6 Bn, denoting a decline of 2% and 5.5% respectively over the first half of 2021.

Key financial highlights declared by Sampath Bank for 1H 2022:

Strong NIM of 4.85% on the back of rising AWPLR.

323% growth in exchange income stemming from the sharp depreciation of LKR against USD by 80% or by Rs 160.25.

Sizable 69.9% increase in net fee and commission income during the period, driven by cards and trade-related operations.

Higher impairment provisions on loans and investments to capture possible economic uncertainties.

A surcharge tax of Rs 2.67 Bn recognized against the opening retained earnings of the Bank.

Fund Based Income

Total interest income increased by 41.1 % year on year to Rs 59.2 Bn in the first half of 2022, compared to Rs 41.9 Bn in the same period of the previous year. This significant increase in interest income is due to the upward trend in interest rates in the first half of 2022. The AWPLR at the end of the reporting period reached 22.62%, which is 1,711 bps higher than the rate reported on 30th June 2021. Furthermore, the current AWPLR surpassed the end 2021 figure by 1,401 bps. At the same time, the interest rate on a one-year treasury bill climbed by 1,861 bps from the treasury bill rate reported at end of 30th June 2021 and stood at 23.84% at the end of 30th June 2022.

Interest expenses increased by 22.6% compared to the corresponding period of last year due to rising interest trend. The Bank’s total interest expense was Rs 27.8 Bn at the end of the current reporting period compared to Rs 22.7 Bn reported in 1H 2021. Prudent asset and liability management however ensured that net interest income grew by 63% in 1H 2022. This trend is reflected in the NIM growth of 124 bps reported for the period.

Non-Fund based income

The Bank recorded a significant increase of 69.9% in its net fee and commission income (NFCI) in 1H 2022 compared to the same period of the previous year. NFCI is made up of income from a variety of sources, including loans and advances, credit cards, trade, and electronic channels. In the period under review, significant growth was noted in card-related business volumes and as well as fee and commission income from trade-related activities.

During the first half of 2022, net other operating income increased to Rs 16 Bn, an unprecedented 378% increase compared to Rs 3.4 Bn recorded in the corresponding period of the previous year. This was mainly due to the 80% depreciation of LKR against US Dollar. Meanwhile, the Bank posted a net trading loss of Rs 2.5 Bn, compared to the gain of Rs 46 Mn reported during the corresponding period of the previous financial year. Total exchange income for the first six months of 2022 was Rs 13 Bn compared Rs 3 Bn registered in 1H 2021.

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