By Hiran H.Senewiratne
Melstacorp PLC, a highly diversified tenth largest CSE listed conglomerate that is headed by Sri Lankan business magnate Harry Jayawardena has announced to reduce its state capital from Rs. 89.1 billion to Rs. 70 billion. The reduced Rs. 19.1 billion will be transferred to the capital reserve of the company, which will act as a buffer to face market volatility, stock market analysts said.
The company being a holding company with listed subsidiaries and other companies will not have any liquidity issue at any cost for the payment of dividend for shareholders. Further, this will be held as a buffer for solvency calculations and hence that fund will not be used for any other distribution, stock market analysts said.
Melstacorp PLC is engaged in managing a portfolio of holdings consisting of a range of business operations and provides function-based services to its subsidiaries and associates. The subsidiaries are involved in a wide range of industries, such as liquor manufacture and distribution, leasing, insurance, logistics, ICT, telecommunications, energy, tea and rubber plantations, hospitality, property development, brand management, and advertising. The company was founded in 1996 and is based in Colombo.
Meanwhile, the activities at the CSE were positive and both indices moved upwards. All Share Price Index went up by 47.07 points and S and P SL20 rose by 24.92. Turnover stood at Rs 2.49 billion with three crossings. Those crossings were reported in Printcare where 4.15 million shares crossed for Rs. 137 million, its shares traded at Rs. 33, Asiri Hospital Holdings 1.47 million shares crossed for Rs. 41.1 million, its shares traded at Rs. 28 and Asia Siyake Commodities 9.5 million shares crossed for Rs. 32.3 million, its shares fetching Rs. 340.
In the retail market, five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Expolanka Rs. 294.5 million (4.41 million shares traded), Ambeon Holdings Rs. 115.4 million (3.9 million shares traded), Dialog Rs. 112.9 million (1.27 million traded), Bogala Graphite Rs. 105.7 million (1.27 million shares traded) and LOLC Rs. 94.2 million (201,000 shares traded).
One finds that due to Melstacorp state capital reduction, share prices in three major groups of companies moved up. Melstacorp shares moved up by Rs. 3.50 or four percent. Its shares moved up to Rs. 52.80 from Rs. 51. Distilleries shares appreciated by three percent of 80 cents. Its share price moved up to Rs. 19.80 from Rs. 19.20. Aitken Spence shares also appreciated. Its shares moved up by Rs. 5 or 8 percent, which appreciated to Rs. 69.80 from Rs. 64.80. During the day 142.3 million share volumes changed hands in 27153 transactions.
‘Dollar reserves in SL plummet drastically, putting the economy in jeopardy‘
By Steve A. Morrell
Sri Lanka’s dollar reserves have declined from $ 7.15 billion in 2019 to $ 2.8 billion currently. The President conceded economic failures although reasons for such failure were not explained, chairman, National Chamber of Industries (CNCI) Canisius Fernando said.
Fernando added recently at a forum: “Forex reserves are insufficient to expedite payment of import bills. More so that cost incurred on container traffic for imports and or exports was on a rising spiral. In comparison to cost of container shipping recorded at $ 2,800 earlier, it is now $ 12,000, indicating a rise in multiples of 250.
“Additionally, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP +) affecting our trade with EU countries, placed Sri Lanka’s reputation at a risk, meaning that countries could veer away from Sri Lanka prompted by a possible inability to honor our trade commitments. The clear example being trade with the US. Rather than await goods and services transactions with Sri Lanka, that could invariably take three months, US economists and their trade sector opted to transact trade with countries in close proximity to US shores.
“Dearth of container traffic and rising cost for on- loading and off- loading of cargo seriously affect trade imbalances. Consequently, the credit worthiness of the Sri Lankan economy is affected, which in turn seriously affects the GDP.
“Worker wages which were static because of trade shut- downs caused demands for increased wages. Wage demands of Rs 1,500 from employees became a major phenomenon in most sectors. The question at issue was the hypothetical position of business establishments of about 4000 employees demanding increased wages. This would cause closure of those companies resulting in unemployment.
“The proverbial domino effect of such repercussions would cause further chaos in the economy.
“There was no proper policy in most sectors. Suspension of the import of fertilizer and consequent confusion would, in the short run, result in famine and food shortages. Already this was evident in the public panic caused by having to stand in line to purchase essentials. That the crisis is upon us and the question of a quick solution is not feasible in the current context of the economy.
“Foreign investors are lured by the possibility of cheap labour in Sri Lanka to establish their businesses here, but in this instance too, this is only a hypothetical situation but not the reality.”
Supuni Products gives back by way of welfare initiative, helps to uplift the needy patients with chronic illnesses
Supuni Products first started in 2016 when the business proprietor, Supuni Lakmalie along with her husband only had Rs. 150 as investment. With that small amount, they purchased kollu (lentils) and kurakkan and ground them using a grindstone. This was the beginning for them and today, Supuni Products is a booming enterprise that specializes in ground spices and cereal, operating from the town of Nildandahinna, Walapane. Their products are of very high quality and 100% natural and consists of 15 different spice and cereal products including chilli, coriander, turmeric, pepper, curry powder, kurakkan, lentil (kollu) etc.
In 2018, Supuni Products received the opportunity to supply kurakkan flour and cereal to be included into the Poshana Malla, which is a nutrition package prepared for pregnant women, instigated by the government. The success of their business was such that they were able to gain an equity of over Rs. Four million during the past three years.
As part of a welfare initiative, they have also pledged to allocate one rupee for every kilogram of product sold, towards supporting patients with financial difficulties and require emergency surgery and for those with chronic diseases. While having had to run a business in the confines of their own home, the grant offering they received from the enterprise project allowed them to complete construction work of their new factory. She now hopes to expand the business, improve their supply chain, and create new employment opportunities.
Dialog Enterprise offers Dell Technologies Cloud IaaS in Sri Lanka
Dialog Enterprise, the corporate solutions arm of Dialog Axiata PLC, is working with Dell Technologies Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) in Sri Lanka to offer Dell Technologies Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solutions to customers to innovate and scale rapidly, reduce costs and increase performance of business-critical infrastructure.
“Together, with our combined forces, we bring the only hybrid multi-cloud partnership in the country, giving access to private clouds as well as to our existing public cloud, and for on-premises infrastructure, robustly powered by Dell Technologies and VMWare. Envisioning a one-stop multiservice solution for all enterprise requirements, we strive continuously to keep to the changing landscape strengthening the cloud play in the arena,” said Navin Pieris, the Vice President – Enterprise Business and Large Enterprise Sales, Dialog Axiata PLC.
Rather than making capital investments in hardware, storage and servers to maintain them, enterprises can harness and scale IaaS resources when needed, paying only for infrastructure services they consume. Mitigating and allowing for any threat of data loss, the cloud partnership also offers cyber recovery as a service with a guaranteed uptime of 99.95%, end-to-end management of data centers and 24×7 support with zero operational burden on the customer. Ensuring the same standardization, self-service, automation and analytics capabilities that exist in the public cloud, the partnership facilitates secure private clouds for customers along with servers, storage and customized enterprise, private and/or public cloud solutions as required by enterprises.
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