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Market expansion and European investment drive 99x’s growth in 2021

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Despite challenging market conditions brought on by the prevailing pandemic in 2021, technology company 99x saw organisational growth across the board while maintaining topline performance and recording strong profitability for the financial year ended 31 December 2021.

Some notable achievements for the year were the USD 20 million investment from a Scandinavian private equity company and the acquisition of Norway-based Seeds Consulting AS, to increase its presence in Europe and strategically position 99x to build new offerings to the enterprise market. The company also diversified its customer portfolio by expanding into new markets last year and onboarded new clients, spread across Norway, Sweden, Germany, and Singapore. This growth was supplemented with a notable increase in talent at 99x’s Sri Lankan offices, with over 100 employees recruited virtually in the last year alone.

“2021 was a challenging year. We expected greater mobility across borders, which was finally not the case and not what we hoped for. However, our people continued to deliver through it all while working from home for a second year. We see the trend of digitally onboarding customers and employees in our business, which we believe will be the new normal. Our customer satisfaction scores have in fact increased over the past two years, which is a testament to the dedication and resourcefulness of our teams, and I truly appreciate their commitment – our accomplishments in 2021 would not be possible without them,” observed 99x Founder and CEO Mano Sekaram, when commenting on the company’s performance.

He added that despite the ongoing pandemic, the company hopes to have more people in office this year. “Our work has been cut out for us in 2022, with various macro-economic factors weighing in – being a good employer is no longer enough. However, I’m confident we will continue to find new ways to engage and retain our people.”

99x also strengthened its leadership with the appointment of legal professional Shalini Ratwatte as its Chief Legal and Governance Officer, to play a tactical role in company’s plans for expansion in international markets.

Keeping in line with its people-first approach, the company made it a priority in 2021 to extend the maximum support to employees and families affected by COVID, providing logistical and financial assistance at every stage. “Our HR, facilities and administrative teams rose to the challenge in extending this level of support to our employees in a difficult time,” Sekaram noted.

99x continued to be recognized for its people practices, and business and export excellence. It was listed as a Best Workplace in Asia for a fifth year and Best Workplace in Sri Lanka for a ninth consecutive year by Great Place to Work® Institute.

Uplifting the community continued to be of the highest priority for 99x, and the company focused on aiding hospitals during a time when the healthcare industry has been inundated. This included contributions to the Kalubowila HDU and setting up of a PCR testing facility at the Wathupitiwala Base Hospital.

99x’s university relationships initiative Dotitude continued uninterrupted in 2021, with numerous workshops, trainings, mock interviews and more conducted online for universities and higher education institutes, empowering thousands of undergraduates across the country. This culminated with the launch of ‘Hacktitude’ in December, an inter-university hackathon geared at grooming talented undergraduates to be industry-ready upon graduation.

Understanding that remote working is now here to stay, the company partnered with VMware to implement its Workspace One platform across the organisation, which bolstered the company’s work-from-home strategy and enabled it to deliver seamless, uninterrupted product engineering services to global clients, even during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

99x is a technology company co-creating well-engineered, innovative digital products for the Scandinavian market. ​Its expertise has been proven through a portfolio of over 150 impactful global digital products, developed together with leading Independent Software Vendors (ISVs). 99x employs over 350 technology and product specialists, who are high achievers, creative thinkers and team players. ​The company is one of Asia’s Best Workplaces for 2021 and has been named a Best Workplace in Sri Lanka for nine consecutive years.​



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Cavinkare Lanka unveils Meera Facewash – unique combination of natural actives

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FMCG Major’s latest product for the Sri Lankan market, Meera Facewash was unveiled in an official event at Colombo. Celebrating the young contemporary Sri Lankan woman, Meera facewash will be introduced in three different variants providing functional solutions to everyday skincare problems – Red Sandal (for soft skin), Neem & Tea Tree (for pimple clear skin) and Wild Turmeric (for clear skin).

Meera facewash is a range of formulation that is Soap-free, Sulphate free, Paraben free and is milder on the skin. It has a unique combination of Natural actives mentioned in ancient Ayurvedic textbooks. It includes a very special product which is Salicyclic acid- free acne treatment facewash. It helps to remove 99.9% of acne causing bacteria using prebiotic technology.

Meera facewash is aimed at modern young women of Sri Lanka who hold a strong belief in traditional practices & natural ingredients. Today young women are well read, understand the importance of healthy skin and have a holistic view of how healthy skin is beautiful skin. It comes out from the confidence of understanding scientific literature that supports these natural ingredients rather than following it naively.

Virtually connecting at the event, Arun Chacko, Business Head of Personal care category (Sri Lanka, Bangladesh & Nepal) said, “With the Launch of Meera Face Wash today, we add to the hugely successful Meera portfolio of shampoos. With this, we intend to enhance the Richness of Tradition that Meera as a brand has been offering to the Sri Lankan Populace over the years. We are sure that the variants, would endear to the needs of Sri Lanka. We promise to bring more such exciting products to cater to the consumers.”

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All-time record prices for two estates

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Halpewatte Uva Estate located in Bandarawela, which is renowned for producing high quality, light liquoring bright orthodox teas established an all-time record price of Rs.1,000 per kg on a liquoring BOPSP grade in the Uva Medium Category at the tea auction held on 18th January 2022. This invoice of tea was purchased by Shan Teas (Pvt) Ltd.Halpewatte Uva Estate is managed by Halpewatte Estate (Pvt) Ltd, and the teas were marketed and sold by John Keells PLC.

Venture Estate located in Bogawantalawa which is renowned for producing high quality orthodox teas over the past years, established an all-time record price, of Rs 1,060 per kg on a liquoring FBOPF1 grade in the Western High Grown Category at this week’s tea auction held on 18th January 2022. This line of tea was purchased by Inter Tea (Pvt) Ltd. Venture Estate is managed by Madulsima Plantations PLC and the teas were marketed and sold by John Keells PLC.

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HNB-Indra Traders offer exclusive leasing solutions for unregistered vehicles, freezers and pre-owned vehicles

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Sri Lanka’s leading private sector bank, HNB PLC, partnered with local automotive giant Indra Traders to provide customers with exclusive leasing solutions for unregistered and pre-owned vehicles and freezers.

Customers can make use of exciting benefits and discounts during the promotional period from January to December 2022. HNB Executive Director Chief Operating Officer Dilshan Rodrigo and Indra Traders Managing Director Rushanka Silva participated in the special ceremony to sign the MoU at HNB Towers.

“Given the import restrictions, the market for unregistered and pre-owned vehicles has grown exponentially. Each year we offer our loyal customers the very best deals in the market. As such, we have renewed our partnership with Indra traders, renowned for its incomparable service, to offer those looking for vehicles with access to exceptional after-sales services and great discounts,” HNB Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Dilshan Rodrigo said.

HNB will offer the prevailing interest rate for structured leases and lease facilities with a 25% residual value market value under the partnership. Customers also have access to special discounts on automobile products, servicing, spare parts, tyres, and batteries via the Prestige Prime card, with the annual fee waived off the first year.

“We are delighted to partner with HNB once again to offer our mutual customer base exciting leasing solutions and great benefits. Our continued partnership with the Bank has proven to be very beneficial to our customers, and we hope they will make use of this opportunity once again to invest in their own set of wheels,” Indra Traders Managing Director Rushanka Silva said.

Indra Traders will provide customers looking to purchase unregistered cars, vans and freezers with free insurance from SLIC for the first year. HNB customers are also eligible for discounts of up to 10% for spare parts from Indra Motor Spares and labour charges from Indra Service Park for the first year.

Customers investing in a new or unregistered passenger vehicles are eligible to have their vehicles outfitted with a free entertainment system and reverse camera. Indra Traders will also offer customers a two-year warranty for engines and gearboxes and a three-year warranty for hybrid batteries.

Notably, the company will provide free labour for services up to one year and a maximum of six services for pre-owned vehicles. A six-month warranty will also be offered for the engines and gearboxes of these vehicles.

Established in 1975, Indra Traders has diversified to various business segments in the automobile industry. A supplier of high-quality motor vehicles and related vehicles, Indra Traders today stands as not only a supplier of high-quality vehicles but also a transport solutions provider.

With 254 customer centres across the country, HNB is one of Sri Lanka’s largest, most technologically-innovative banks, having won local and global recognition for its efforts to drive forward a new paradigm in digital banking. HNB has a national rating of AA- (lka) by Fitch Ratings (Lanka) Ltd. The Bank was also ranked among the World Top 1,000 Banks list compiled by the prestigious UK-based Banker Magazine for five consecutive years. HNB was also declared Best Sub-Custodian Bank in Sri Lanka at the Global Finance Awards 2020.

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