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March 2020 quarter earnings decline by 52.0% YoY for 266 companies: First Capital

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The quarter ended in March 2020 reported a decline in earnings by 52.0% year -on-year for 266 companies, according to a report released by First Capital Research.

“March quarter earnings dipped by 51.9%YoY to LKR 33.6Bn primarily owing to sluggish performance in Diversified Financials (-87%YoY), Capital Goods (63%YoY), Food, Beverage & Tobacco (-72%YoY), Telecommunication (-52%YoY) and Consumer Services (-101%YoY)”, it said.

The report further said: “Upbeat quarterly performance was only witnessed in the following sectors; Banks (+32%YoY) followed by Food, Staples, and Retailing (+96%YoY) and Materials (+8%YoY)”.

“Lackluster performance in Diversified Financials, Capital Goods and Food, Beverage and Tobacco sectors was mainly owing to subdued economic growth which was heightened by the Covid-19 pandemic striking the island. PLC profit dipped by -90%YoY due to high impairments because of the slowdown in the economy caused a reduction in disposable income of customers and business volumes”.

“Consequently, there was a rise in non-performing loans in the sector which was the main factor for the decline in earnings of Commercial Credit and Finance Plc – (-56%YoY), LOLC Finance Plc (-29%YoY), LB Finance Plc (-19%YoY) as well. Therefore, primarily led by the above-mentioned counters, the Diversified Financial sector recorded a decline of 87%YoY”.

“Plunge in earnings by 63%YoY in Capital Goods was chiefly driven by SHL earnings reporting a loss of LKR 3.3Bn (-11033%YoY) followed by the decline in earnings in BRWN (-53%YoY) and SPEN (-45%YoY)”.

“Notably, JKH recorded a growth of 18%YoY primarily due to the growth in profits in Consumer Foods, Retail and Property segments, overall, the Capital Goods sector recorded a decline in earnings”.

|Banking sector witnessed a profit growth of 32%YoY to record LKR 14.6Bn primarily driven by COMB (+20%YoY), HNB (+57%YoY) and SAMP (+27%YoY). COMB, HNB and SAMP profits were boosted due to financial investment gains (forex and mark to market gains) coupled with the removal of NBT and Debt Repayment Levy which improved the bottom line”.

“Cargills Ceylon Plc recorded an impressive growth of 134%YoY driven by the growth in FMCG and retail space, benefiting the Food, Staples and Retailing sector to record a growth of 96%YoY”, First Capital report said.

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INSEE Cement continues investment in mason development across Sri Lanka

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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.

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European ride-hail Bolt enters Sri Lanka

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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.

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Mobisec marks 6th anniversary as its future outlook remains strong

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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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