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Marriott International to introduce the Courtyard by Marriott brand to Sri Lanka



Courtyard by Marriott Colombo Sri Lanka is expected to feature 164 rooms and open in late 2021

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, June 8, 2021:

Marriott International, Inc. today signed an agreement with Colombo City Centre (Private) Limited, a member of the Abans International Group, one of Sri Lanka’s largest privately held conglomerates with diversified interests, to debut the Courtyard by Marriott brand in Sri Lanka.

“We are delighted to strengthen our Marriott Bonvoy portfolio of hotels in Sri Lanka with today’s signing,” said Rajeev Menon, President, Asia Pacific (excluding China), Marriott International.

“This signing underscores our long-term commitment to Sri Lanka as a strategically important market, offering the potential to grow our brands and provide customers with more choices”, he said.

Set in the heart of Colombo city adjacent to the Beira Lake, the Courtyard by Marriott Colombo will provide convenient business connectivity and excellent views of the city skyline. Slated to feature 164 modern-styled guest rooms and suites, the hotel will offer an inviting hospitality experience through its intuitive service and uplifting spaces, allowing business and leisure guests to shift gears smoothly from work to relaxation.

Design plans call for thoughtfully designed rooms, featuring a functional work area, smart amenities, and high-speed internet access, empowering guests to stay both connected and productive while on the road, no matter the purpose of their trip.

“We are very pleased to collaborate with Abans Group, who share our vision to offer smart, intuitive service and high-quality accommodation in Sri Lanka,” commented Kiran Andicot, Regional Vice President – Development, South Asia, Marriott International.

The hotel is set to feature two dining venues – including an all-day dining restaurant offering a combination of Western dishes, Asian favourites and a host of local delicacies, as well as an adjoining Lobby Lounge decked with a full-service bar and a quick-bites menu. Additional plans call for a well-equipped 24-hour fitness centre, an outdoor swimming pool and meeting rooms to be fully equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment and wireless internet.

“We are happy to have forged this strategic alliance with Marriott International and we are keen to see our relationship grow from strength to strength. We now eagerly look forward to opening the first Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in Sri Lanka and are excited to have Marriott International with us at Colombo City Centre,” said Mrs. Aban Pestonjee, Chairperson of Abans Group.

Behman Pestonjee, Managing Director of Abans PLC Group, said: “We are delighted to partner with Marriott International – the world’s largest hospitality group. With plans for more similar developments to follow, is a testimony to our confidence in the market and our long-term commitment to contribute to the growth of our beautiful city. We gladly welcome the entry of Marriott into Colombo City Centre and our Group.”

“Abans PLC and Marriott International have jointly recognized the growth potential in our island nation. We are confident that tourism will bounce back to its full glory shortly. Colombo is one of the most sought-after cities in South Asia, as it is highly cosmopolitan and is a melting pot of several cultures. Marriott and ourselves are perfectly poised for long innings together,” affirmed Praveen Methil, CEO of Colombo City Centre.

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BOC launches ‘Export Circle’ to drive SMEs to the level of institutional exporters



BOC Director G. Harsha Wijayawardhana launches the Trade Finance Division of BOC with the aim of facilitating exporters.Pic by Saman Ranaweera

By Sanath Nanayakkare


BOC’s newest initiative’ Export Circle’ is designed to facilitate Sri Lanka’s SME exporters to climb the ladder and become diversified institutional level exporters, without being stuck in a rut forever, D.P.K Gunasekera, General Manager of Bank of Ceylon said yesterday.

“Earning substantial foreign exchange will have a direct influence on our economic development, so one of the most vital inflows we want is more foreign exchange earned from our exports, and we need to boost this income beyond the conventional export basket. In the past it was said that no nation would develop without innovations. But in today’s world the fact of the matter is; if a nation doesn’t innovate and export innovative goods to meet the demands of the consumers, that nation will never develop itself,” he said.

“We once visited a customer of the Bank of Ceylon who imports base oil and processes it into a line-up of lube base oil products for export. He told us that he had been inspired by how lube base oil refinery in South Korea set a milestone in South Korean base oil market. He told us although South Korea entirely depended on imported raw material to make this product range, it has today emerged as a leading supplier of lube base oil, acquiring a 30% of the world’s market share. This shows what is important is not just what kind of natural resources a country has, but how much talent, innovative thinking and commitment a nation has, in order to broad base their export product portfolio. The Bank of Ceylon’s newest initiative will help fill this gap and support entrepreneurs of that ilk,” he said.

BOC General Manager made these remarks at a forum held yesterday in line with the Bank’s 82nd Anniversary celebrations which also saw the ceremonious launch of the BOC “Export Circle”, by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa via virtual screen from Temple Trees.

The move was initiated by the Trade Finance Division of BOC with the aim of accommodating exporters from all-walks-of-life. This fully-fledged one stop export unit located at the Bank’s Head Office ‘Trade Services’ department, is built with a state-of-the-art ambiance to add a relaxed and pleasant customer experience.

Further speaking Gunasekara said,”The programme has the intention of accommodating the financial and non-financial needs of these exporters and their supply chain management. This novel ‘circle’ concept will provide a tailor-made service with a credit package and a new deposit scheme. Among many useful facilities the exporters will experience are the trade information-desk which will provide up to date, end-to-end supply chain information, high standard advisory/consultancy services which is expected to iron out issues that could emerge when carrying out export transactions and assistance of business registration related services from documentation to other procedures which are crucial for the exporter.”

“Launching this programme is not enough. Now we have to go out and facilitate entrepreneurs who possess this kind of talent and facilitate them with financial and non-financial support. We should educate them on how to optimise their export earnings, how their businesses could be financially savvy in the overseas market and even provide them with currency hedging strategies they would need to know as exporters. Especially we are going to assist SMEs with an export potential or already exporting to come up to institutional level. It is the duty of BOC to facilitate exporters to bring in more foreign exchange and contribute to the development of the country,” he said.



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SLT-MOBITEL empowers Katuwana with new 4G tower



SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT, Telecommunications and Mobile Services Provider, commissioned a new 4G tower in Bookendayaya, Katuwana in the Hambantota district on 30th July 2021. The tower comes as part of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka’s (TRCSL) ‘Gamata Sanniwedanaya’ project, aimed at ensuring rural communities are equipped with the necessary connectivity infrastructure.

Inaugurating the new tower were Oshada Senanayake, Director General – TRCSL and Lalith Seneviratne, Group Chief Executive Officer, SLT-MOBITEL along with TRCSL and SLT-MOBITEL officials.

SLT-MOBITEL aims to continue to partner the TRCSL’s vision of achieving 100% coverage for the population by end-2022. Other locations are also expected be commissioned as a part of the ‘Gamata Sanniwedanaya’ programme to expand the coverage in more districts and SLT-MOBITEL will facilitate the necessary infrastructure together with TRCSL.

SLT-MOBITEL’s ultimate objective is to enable a digital future which is accessible to all Sri Lankans. Joining TRCSL in this scheme, SLT-MOBITEL is able to strengthen the nation’s ICT infrastructure, empower citizens and transform society towards prosperity through digital transformation.

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CSE indices rise as turnover hits Rs. 4 billion



By Hiran H.Senewiratne

CSE activities were negative at the beginning of yesterday due to notable profit-taking of several companies but later on it recovered .The stock market reverted to a positive mode as both indices moved upwards, with a healthy turnover being registered.

Fresh buying interest was noted in investor favorite counters yesterday, stock market analysts said. Moreover, hope of positive corporate quarterly earnings heightened during the sessions, brokers said.

Amid those developments both indices moved upwards. The All Share Price Index went up by 27.5 points and S and P SL20 rose by 34 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 4.1 billion with two crossings. Those crossings were reported in TJLanka, which crossed 3.5 million shares to the tune of Rs. 147 million, its shares traded at Rs. 42 and Commercial Bank 520,000 shares crossed for Rs. 44.2 million, its shares trading at Rs. 85.

In the retail market five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Expolanka Rs. 1.35 billion (19.1 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs.455 million (69.3 million shares traded), Royal Ceramic Rs. 303 million (7.6 million shares traded), LOLC Holdings Rs. 221 million (468,000 shares traded) and Lanka Tiles Rs. 173 million (2.9 million shares traded).

Top gainers for the All Share Price Index were Expolanka, which contributed 28.23 points, Browns Investments Rs. 12.9 points and LOLC nine points, while top negative contributors were JKH, which contributed seven negative points, Carsons Cumberbatch four negative points and Sri Lanka Telecom two negative points. During the day 311.2 million share volumes changed hands in 29700 transactions.

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