While group profits have grown, a loss posted at company level
LOLC Holdings PLC, the highly diversified conglomerate quoted on the Colombo Stock Exchange, has in its just published annual report told its shareholders that the publication of its results for 2019/20 was, in the words of its Deputy Chairman Ishara Nanayakkara, “an apt occasion to announce the good news……that LOLC has achieved the distinction of being the most profitable listed entity in Sri Lanka for two years in a row.”
While an after tax profit of Rs. 19.79 billion, up slightly from the previous year’s Rs. 19.64 billion, has been posted by the group, at company level there was a loss of 9.09 billion, up from a loss of Rs. 3.2 billion a year earlier. LOLC last paid a dividend of 50 cents a share in 2013 but its share closed the year at Rs. 88.90 and was trading at over Rs. 120 last week.
Nanayakkara said that LOLC had total assets of USD 7.083 billion “and a considerable footprint overseas.”
“Reflecting this strength, the audited financial statements I place before you for the year under review mirror the resilience of the group, which was able to record a marginal increase in profit after tax….notwithstanding the dismal economic and political climate that prevailed during the period,” he said.
He attributed his optimism to the fact that 80% of their profit before tax is derived from overseas. This will assure their partners and shareholders that their diversified business interests will always enable the group to achieve growth regardless of challenges in their Sri Lanka operations.
The LOLC group is into financial services, construction, agriculture and plantation, manufacturing and trading, leisure and renewable energy and is expanding overseas. It also has some other strategic investments in its portfolio.
The report said that the group had rapidly evolved into being the biggest non-banking financial institution in the country and one of its biggest and most diversified conglomerates.
“Our footprint in Sri Lanka spans every district, from the rural hinterland to major cities and we have enduring business partnerships with a host of financial and developmental organizations across the world,” the report said.
“We have significantly successful financial services investments in Cambodia,, Myanmar, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Nigeria and Zambia; business operations in Maldives and Sierra Leone as well as corporate offices in Singapore, UAE and Mauritius and we continue to expand our international presence by actively seeking new opportunities in the region.”
Discussing the financial services sector, Nanayakkara said they had performed to the best of their ability against the backdrop of multiple shocks including the Easter bomb, the presidential election and the Covid pandemic “which fortunately did not impact the year under review in any significant manner although it will cast a shadow on how the local and global economy will recover in the next financial year.”
The 2018 debt waiver by the then government had caused irrevocable damage to the country’s microfinance sector. The concession was granted only to arrears clients discouraging regular clients, adversely affecting the healthy recovery ratio of over 90% maintained up to that point.
INSEE Cement continues investment in mason development across Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s leading cement manufacturer INSEE Cement is driving transformation across the local construction industry with significant investments in empowering one of the sector’s key stakeholder groups; the mason.
‘INSEE Sathkara’, a multifaceted initiative to develop local masons powered by INSEE Cement is shaping the mason of the future – a professionally, socially and financially empowered individual contributing significantly to the advancement of both the local construction industry and Sri Lanka’s economy.
“The INSEE Sathkara initiative facilitates empowerment and development through up-skilling, social recognition and financial stability, an all-round approach that has successfully nurtured a new generation of masons that are fast adaptable to industry demands through newly developed skillsets, knowledge and capacities,” says Jan Kunigk, Executive Vice President, INSEE Cement.
INSEE Cement’s approach is to build a certified and skilled workforce with recognized credentials to bridge a gaping skill gap in the construction industry. The program ensures sustainable capacity development for masons backed by National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) in collaboration with the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA) of Sri Lanka.
INSEE Cement also launched a Mason Apprenticeship Program to provide 120-day training opportunities for masons to learn on the job, preparing them to enter the workforce with specialized skillsets.
For Ajith Kumara Dissanayaka from Ambathenna, a mason for nearly 16 years, receiving all-round advancement through INSEE Sathkara has been truly life changing. “Five years ago, I was able to complete a course conducted by INSEE Cement and NAITA and received a Level 3 NVQ certification – my first professional credentials as a mason. This training gave me knowledge and insight that I had not received in over a decade of working as a mason, and it made me look at my profession differently. I improved my tile work skills, which also increased my income,” Dissanayaka stated.
This professional up-skilling has enabled INSEE Cement to create much needed social recognition and acceptance for Masons across Sri Lanka as a crucial link in the construction industry value chain. Mason Chats, Mason Meets and exclusive membership to the INSEE Concrete Society (ICS) has provided local masons industry inclusivity as well as recognition and rewards to encourage new avenues of income and entrepreneurship. Long-established ICS-member masons are also rewarded for their contribution to the local construction industry through ‘INSEE Garu Sara’.
To secure a stronger financial future for masons, INSEE Cement has introduced a comprehensive life insurance policy with disability, medical and accidental cover. This comes in addition to the pension scheme introduced to masons in partnership with the Employee Trust Fund Board (ETFB) of Sri Lanka.
“I joined the INSEE programme five years ago, and have benefited in ways I never imagined. The knowledge I gained about the industry, Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLS) standards and safety requirements have made me a better professional, and my clients respect me more because of it,” stated Ratna Ravindara, a mason based in Kandy with over two decades of industry experience.
European ride-hail Bolt enters Sri Lanka
Bolt, the leading European transportation platform committed to making urban travel easier, quicker and more reliable; announced its entry to the Sri Lankan market, with a pilot launch of its service in Colombo, on November 25, 2020 with over 2000 drivers ready to start accepting rides. Bolt pilots its services in South Asia for the first time with the launch of operations in Sri Lanka.
Committed to affordable trips and happy drivers, the company has announced that it will be charging drivers no commission for using the platform and offer fares 20% lower than other competitors, for a minimum of six months. It builds on being smart about how to grow the company, and focusing operations on efficiency, allowing Bolt to pass the savings on to customers, passengers and drivers.
Bolt has chosen to enter Sri Lanka during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis with the firm belief that people still need to move around in the city and doing its best to fulfil the mission to help them do so. Currently available only within Colombo, Bolt services can be accessed by passengers by downloading the secure and free Bolt app from Apple App Store or Google Play Store and setting up a user profile. Any person with their own Car who wishes to join Bolt as a driver, can easily register with the company through https://partners.bolt.eu/driver-signup by completing the relevant formalities or through the Bolt Driver App available on Apple App store or Google Play Store.
Mobisec marks 6th anniversary as its future outlook remains strong
International footprint with branch office in Melbourne
Mobisec (Pvt) Ltd, an innovator in the mobile application sector in Sri Lanka is celebrating its 6thanniversary since its inception in November 2014.
Over the years it has served hundreds of thousands of customers across Sri Lanka through its telco and mobile applications. Starting with humble beginnings as a start-up, Ashen Gomez, Founder & Managing Director of Mobisec has worked diligently over the years alongside his wife Sumudu, the Co-founder of Mobisec to build the company and expand its services in different verticals.
The company marked its first international expansion in the beginning of this year by establishing a new branch office in Melbourne, Australia. Today, the company is home to a dynamic team of over 30 software development experts.
Founder & Managing Director of Mobisec Ashen Gomez said; “since inception, we have continued to create applications that revolutionize the way people connect with the technology. Our prime focus is to provide smart and reliable solutions for modern problems our customers are facing and help them improve the quality of their lifestyle.”
Company’s product portfolio expanded further during this year along with the three brand new products that were launched into the Market. “Baby’s Diary” is one of the Android Apps that was added to Mobisec’s product portfolio in the mid of this year and currently the App has crossed over 10,000 downloads. It’s an all-in-one parenting solution, which contains a variety of options to keep track on the baby’s activities while shopping for all the baby essentials. Since its launch, the App has gained widespread attention and it’s shaping to be a game changer for all new parents in Sri Lanka.
“We are pleased to say that the Baby’s Diary App is the first and only Parenting App developed in Sri Lanka exclusively for parents of new-borns.The challenges and struggles for a new parent have never been addressed through out the past and that’s where we strongly believed that the concept of Smart Parenting needs be introduced to the Sri Lankan market”, said PrasannaDahanayake, Product Manager/ Business Analyst of Mobisec.
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