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Mission focus helps ComBank Group end tough 2021 with solid growth



Commercial Bank’s Chairman Justice K. Sripavan (left) and Managing Director/Group CEO S. Renganathan

The Commercial Bank Group has ended 2021 with gross income of Rs 163.675 billion, an improvement of 7.70%, with interest income accounting for more than 80% of the top line in a year of mixed fortunes.

The Group, comprising the Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC – Sri Lanka’s largest private sector bank – its subsidiaries and the associate, reported interest income of Rs 132.818 billion for the year ended 31st December 2021, reflecting a growth of 7.04%. With interest expenses for the year reducing by 9.31% to Rs 66.402 billion, the Group achieved net interest income of Rs 66.416 billion, an increase of 30.56%.

The final quarter of the year saw interest income growing by 17.84% to Rs 36.592 billion and accounting for more than 83% of the Group’s three-month gross income of Rs 43.625 billion, which was up 13.76% over the fourth quarter of 2020. This was despite interest expenses increasing by 4.30% to Rs 17.709 billion in the final quarter due to an increase in interest rates.

Total operating income for the year under review grew by 21.98% to Rs 93.598 billion, and the Group’s impairment charges and other losses increased by 17.37% to Rs 25.140 billion.

Net operating income for the full year improved by a healthy 23.77% to Rs 68.458 billion, but grew by a comparatively lower rate of 7.89% to Rs 17.504 billion due to the higher impairment charges provided in the fourth quarter, the Bank said. Total operating expenses increased by 12.93% to Rs 29.658 billion consequent to an increase in personnel expenses following the signing of a Collective Agreement effective January 2021, while general cost increases resulted in other operating expenses for the year growing by 18.01% to Rs 9.638 billion.

Operating profit before VAT on Financial Services grew by a noteworthy 33.58% to Rs 38.801 billion and the Group’s VAT on Financial Services for the year increased by 28.99% to Rs 5.845 billion, while profit before income tax for the year improved by 34.41% to Rs 32.957 billion. With income tax charges increasing at a relatively lower rate of 16.60% to Rs 8.667 billion due to the reduction in the income tax rate, the Group posted a profit after tax of Rs 24.290 billion for the year, achieving a growth of 42.16% before providing for the proposed Surcharge Tax, which had not been enacted in Parliament at the time of reporting. It has therefore not been provided for in the year reviewed.

Taken separately, Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC reported a profit before tax of Rs 32.001 billion for the year under review, achieving a robust growth of 36.11% and profit after tax of Rs 23.606 billion, recording an improvement of 44.17%.

Commenting on these results, Commercial Bank Chairman Justice K. Sripavan said: “The performance of the Group can be described as exceptional when the external challenges of the year are factored in. Our focus on the core mission and the needs of the hour resulted in emphasis being placed on enhancing customer experience, and we are proud of the ways in which our teams served with utmost dedication, putting our customers first as they have done for the past 101 years.”

Commercial Bank Managing Director and Group CEO S. Renganathan pointed out that the Bank was able to improve on its key performance ratios in 2021, to become even more financially stable and better-positioned to continue its mission as a systemically important bank. “In the face of uncertainty, we continued to build on our last year’s momentum and relief programs, emerging as the leading lender for COVID-19 relief among private sector banks in Sri Lanka,” he said. “We have continued to demonstrate remarkable operating resiliency throughout the pandemic through customer focus, digital engagement and operational excellence.”

Total assets of the Group grew by Rs 221 billion or 12.54% over the year to reach Rs 1.983 trillion as at 31st December 2021.

Gross loans and advances of the Group increased by Rs 133 billion or 13.83% to Rs 1.095 trillion, recording a monthly average growth of Rs 11 billion over the 12 months.

Total deposits of the Group recorded an improvement of Rs 186 billion or 14.46% in the 12 months reviewed at a monthly average of Rs 15.5 billion to reach Rs 1.473 trillion as at 31st December 2021.

A noteworthy achievement of the year under review was the continuing improvement of the Bank’s CASA ratio, an industry benchmark. For the year ended 31st December 2021, the Bank’s CASA ratio stood at 47.83% improving from 42.72% at the end of 2020.

Elaborating on some of the highlights of the income performance for the year under review, the Bank said that net fee and commission income of the Group improved by a steady 24.64% to Rs 12.242 billion, while net other operating income grew by 28.72% to Rs 10.002 billion, helped by exchange gains of Rs 1.4 billion. The Group posted a net gain of Rs 1.936 billion from trading and a net gain of Rs 3.002 billion from de-recognition of financial assets, the latter figure reflecting a decline due to a reduction in gains from the sale of Treasury Bonds and Sovereign Bonds.

In other key indicators, the Bank’s basic earnings per share improved by 33.49% from Rs 14.81 to Rs 19.77, while its net assets value per share increased to Rs 138.08 from Rs 134.67 as at end 2020.

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Dialog Smart Home Enables Seamless Home Automation via Range of Intuitive Solutions 



Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, introduced a range of convenient and integrated solutions via ‘Dialog Smart Home’ to enable intelligent automation and intuitive control of homes.

The newly introduced range of future-fit smart home solutions by Dialog Smart Home ranges from Home Automation, Home Security & Surveillance and Home Connectivity, and are designed to enable any home to work as one harmonious system where all elements work in tandem together to create a truly intelligent home.

The Home Automation solutions offer homeowners seamless and convenient control of their electronic appliances through their smartphones anytime, anywhere. With the Smart Touch Wall Switches, Smart Power Strips and Smart Fan Controllers, homeowners can take control of existing light bulbs, table fans, rice cookers, chargers, ceiling fans and more appliances. Additionally, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered TeDi Alexa Solution enables users to control connected smart devices including TVs, air conditioners, home security systems and more through voice commands.

Home Security & Surveillance solutions transform basic cameras into high-powered CCTV solutions. Baby and house monitoring smart cameras can be placed inside homes to keep a 360-degree eye on children and pets. The Indoor Security Camera has the ability to sound a siren and notify users if a stranger enters their home. Dialog Smart Home has also partnered with Singer to offer customers world-renowned Dahua CCTV solutions.

The Home Connectivity solutions offers consumers Wi-Fi extenders to facilitate uninterrupted internet connectivity across the house to fit the homeowner’s lifestyle and requirements.

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CBSL implements extraordinary measures to support banking sector



The Central Bank of Sri Lanka, considering the prevailing macroeconomic conditions and its impact on the banking sector, has decided to implement the following regulatory measures to support the banking sector to facilitate effective financial intermediation and the flow of credit to the economy, whilst ensuring the soundness of the banking sector.

• Sri Lankan banking sector maintains a Capital Conservation Buffer (CCB) of 2.5% to ensure that banks have an additional layer of usable capital that can be drawn down during stress times. An industry wide flexibility is granted for banks to drawdown the CCB (up to 2.5%), if needed, subject to restrictions on distribution to shareholders/ repatriation of profits and submission of a capital augmentation plan to rebuild CCB during a period up to three years.

• The current deadline for licensed banks to meet the enhanced minimum capital requirement (31.12.2022) is extended up to 31.12.2023. Licensed banks which are unable to meet the minimum capital requirement by 31.12.2022, need to submit their capital augmentation plan, including plans to consolidate or merge with suitable financial institutions, by 31.12.2022 and these licensed banks too shall refrain from distribution of dividends/ repatriation of profits until the minimum capital requirement is met.

• Licensed banks are encouraged to move to approaches such as The Standardised Approach (TSA) or alternative TSA for computation of risk weighted assets for operational risk for the purposes of computing the Capital Adequacy Ratio, subject to supervisory review.

• Licensed banks are given the flexibility to stagger the unrealised mark to market loss on Government Securities denominated in LKR on account of the recent interest rate hike for Capital Adequacy purposes until Q2 of 2024, subject to conditions.

• Licensed banks are granted flexibility on the treatment for Other Comprehensive Income (OCI) for Capital Adequacy purpose in line with the International Standards.

• The deadline for licensed banks to submit the document on Internal Capital Adequacy Assessment Process (ICAAP) for 2022, to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka is extended by one month, until 30.06.2022.

• As a short-term measure to support licensed banks to adjust their liquidity profiles, licensed banks are provided with the flexibility to operate maintaining the Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) and Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) not lower than 90% up to 30.09.2022. Furthermore, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, on 06 May 2022 decided to restrict certain discretionary payments of licensed banks, such as declaring cash dividends and repatriation of profits, until the financial statements for the year 2022 are audited by its External Auditor, engaging in share buy backs, increasing management allowances and payments to the Board of Directors until 31 December 2022 with a view to strengthening the liquidity and capital positions of licensed banks under these exceptional circumstances.

The above measures were introduced with the aim of providing the licensed banks with more flexibility and opportunities to operate in these challenging conditions and support economic recovery, while taking measures to improve their safety and soundness. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka will periodically review the implementation of these policy measures and expects licensed banks to avail these measures in the best interest of the customers and the economy at large, while supporting the banking sector to remain resilient.

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CEAT official tyre supplier for locally assembled Tata Ace HT 



CEAT Kelani Holdings has been appointed as the official tyre supplier for Tata Ace HT series compact trucks which are assembled in Sri Lanka by DIMO in collaboration with India’s largest automobile manufacturer TATA Motors.

 CEAT RHINO PLUS TL tyres in the size of 155R12 8PR, manufactured at the CEAT Kelani plant in Kelaniya are used for the TATA Ace HT series vehicles, popularly known in Sri Lanka as “DIMO Batta” under this project. The locally manufactured CEAT RHINO PLUS TL tyre features a zig zag pattern on its circumference and ribs with lateral notches that contribute towards uniformity and better wear and tear on local roads.

 Commenting on this latest OEM agreement of the company, CEAT Kelani Holdings Managing Director Mr. Ravi Dadlani said: “As a brand that has been at the forefront of local value addition in Sri Lanka, CEAT is excited to contribute further to the process through its association with this assembly operation. This is particularly relevant in the prevailing situation in the domestic market. We are able to provide high-quality tyres engineered for local conditions at competitive prices and ensure uninterrupted supply, while at the same time helping to conserve foreign exchange.”

In January this year, CEAT was appointed as an OEM for a range of heavy-duty trucks, tippers and light commercial vehicles assembled in Sri Lanka by Lanka Ashok Leyland PLC (LAL), a joint venture company of Ashok Leyland India. In November 2021 the brand was chosen as the OEM for Bolero City Pik-up vehicles assembled in Sri Lanka by Mahindra & Mahindra India in collaboration with Ideal Motors.

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