On 5th October 2022, the Korean Embassy led by Korean Ambassador, Santhush Woonjin Jeong hosted the National Foundation Day Celebrations of the Republic of Korea, at the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo. It is a monumental year to commemorate the 4354th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean nation, against the backdrop of the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Sri Lanka celebrated this year, The National Foundation Day reception was celebrated with the participation of many Korean nationals, Sri Lankans and friends of Korea.
Among the dignitaries, the gracious presence of the Chief Guest, the Minister of Education, Dr. Susil Premajantha, Speaker of the Parliament, Cabinet Ministers, State Ministers, Members of Parliament, Chief of Defence Staff, Attorney General, IGP, Governors, Secretaries, Ambassadors and diplomats further contributed to strengthening the bilateral cooperation of Korea and Sri Lanka. Members of the business community with ties to Korea, Sports and cultural dignitaries, Korean ODA directors and media organizations were also present at the event to felicitate this occasion. Korean residents including Um Kyung-Ho PUAC President also took part in the celebrations.
The Korean National Foundation day ‘Gaecheonjeol,’ marks the origin of the first Korean Nation by the legendary founding father Dangun in 2333 BCE on October 3rd of every year. It is a special occasion for Korean nationals living worldwide. Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the National Foundation Day Reception was not held in the last two years. The grand celebration held this year on the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations has served as an opportunity for the two Asian friends to develop the bilateral cooperation to new heights.
The official ceremony started with the National Anthems of both Sri Lanka and Korea performed by the Sri Lankan Navy Band.
Delivering the opening remarks, Ambassador Santhush Woonjin Jeong stated that, “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all Korean nationals, Sri Lankans and friends of Korea in Sri Lanka for attending today’s event. It is my great honour to host this wonderful occasion after a hiatus of two years. The Republic of Korea was once known as an aid-recipient nation in the past. We started from nothing, from ruins, devastated by the Korean War. Today, Korea has risen to the 10th largest economy and the 7th biggest exporter in the world. This year we celebrate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties between our two countries. At this juncture, I remind you that the relations between our two countries have continued to evolve and develop in a whole spectrum of fields of mutual interest. Now is the time to realize the potential of this beautiful country and achieve our common goals together. It is an opportune moment for Korea and Sri Lanka to deepen and widen exchanges, learn from each other’s experiences and intensify mutually beneficial cooperation.”
Hon. Dr. Susil Premajantha Minister of Education congratulated H.E. Santhush Woonjin JEONG for the National Foundation Day of Korea. He stated, “Korea has emerged as a peaceful country with a vibrant democracy and a rich cultural heritage. We are proud as an Asian country to say that Korea has progressed in her journey as a developing country to a developed nation through the economic miracle, popularly known as ‘Miracle of Han River.’ Sri Lanka too wishes to draw from be guided and to emulate the economic miracle of the Republic of Korea, towards achieving our goal of socio-economic development. Korea has remained consistently as an invaluable development partner of Sri Lanka contributing to the development priorities of the Sri Lankan government especially in the fields of education, transportation, water management and rural development.” Hon. Minister further highlighted the Sri Lankan government’s initiative to adopt Korean language for advanced level classes and introduction of the Korean language for the university entrance examination from 2023. The Minister commended the paper donations by the Korean community in Sri Lanka to the Department of Examinations during the difficult times. Furthermore, the Minister expressed the deep appreciation to the government of Korea for providing much needed employment opportunities to Sri Lanka and looking after their welfare.
‘JAT posts stellar Q2 – doubles PBT and commences manufacturing in Bangladesh’
JAT Holdings PLC has posted exceptional financial performance for Q2 of FY 2022/23. During the Quarter, the Group also achieved a major milestone, delivering on its key IPO promise, by inaugurating its own end-to-end state-of-the art manufacturing facility in Bangladesh. Simultaneously, JAT Holdings PLC also recorded its highest-ever revenue for Q2 in history, doubling its profit before tax, compared with the corresponding period in the year prior.
Accordingly, JAT Holdings PLC noted a YTD revenue growth of 40% during the period, concurrently managing to increase gross profit margins amidst the most challenging economic environment in its history, clearly demonstrating the Group’s strategic and fiscal prowess.
Gross Profit margins grew during the period under review amidst a deepening economic crisis, material scarcity in global markets and foreign exchange outflow restrictions. The Group’s strategy of purchasing raw materials in bulk and maintaining adequate stocks for at least 6 months at all times, allowed the enterprise to benefit from economies of scale, while JAT Holdings’ prudent and effective waste management efforts helped to improve productivity and efficiency. As a result, operating profit also recorded a healthy growth of 111% during the period under review, supported by cost management efforts, which helped manage input cost inflation and foreign exchange volatility. Profit Before Tax (PBT) and Profit After Tax (PAT) also sustained their recovery momentum, while showing sharp rises in the quarter under review, contrasted with the corresponding period in the previous year.
Commenting on the business momentum, CEO Nishal Ferdinando said, “Supported by our new manufacturing facility in Bangladesh and expert manoeuvring in the Sri Lankan market amidst the toughest business environment we have endured to date, we are pleased to present rock solid financial performance to our investors, and exceptional value to all other stakeholders. Leveraging our excellent relationships with suppliers, we have secured raw materials and shored up our stocks to be able to meet upcoming seasonal demand. The capital raised at the IPO has enabled us to keep borrowing costs to a minimum amidst a tighter monetary environment, which has delivered a positive boost to our bottom line. We intend to move forward with the present momentum and continue to deliver exceptional performance during the remainder of FY 2022/23.”
The Group’s WHITE by JAT range of brilliant white paints grew rapidly, driven by a unique hybrid marketing strategy. Commencement of manufacturing in Bangladesh, coupled with the opening of JAT Holdings PLC’s R&D Centre, another fulfilment of an IPO pledge, helped to drive business momentum during the quarter
Discussing the Group’s strategy and future plans, Founder and Managing Director Aelian Gunawardene added, “Just over a year on from our IPO, I’m pleased to communicate to investors that we have fulfilled the pledges made in our prospectus. We have completed and commissioned our ultramodern end-to-end manufacturing and warehousing facility in Bangladesh, located strategically in close proximity to seaports and our key markets in that country, Dhaka and Chittagong. Our Research and Development Centre is now operational, staffed by teams of experts who will help us to engineer better, cleaner and more efficient products in the future. I am also very pleased to state that the Group as a whole has come together to look after our people amidst the present crises, providing relief allowances and other benefits to help cushion the blow. We are excited about the future and look forward to growing and defending our position as Sri Lanka’s market leader for wood coatings and an emerging giant in the region.”
Since its founding in 1993, JAT Holdings has established itself as a market leader in Sri Lanka for wood coatings and as one of the country’s most promising conglomerates. This is further attested to by accolades such as being ranked amongst Sri Lanka’s ‘Top 100 Most Respected Companies’ by LMD for four years consecutively and also ranking among the ‘Top 20 Conglomerate Brands’ by Brand Finance.
Bourse driven along positive trajectory by Expolanka and Lanka IOC
By Hiran H.Senewiratne
CSE trading activities were positive yesterday at the beginning and mid- day shares edged up driven by Expolanka and Lanka IOC, market analysts said.
After margin calls selling pressure reduced in the market and the neutralization of macro- economic conditions created positive sentiment for the stock market, analysts said.
Analysts said that the market was driven by Expolanka and Lanka IOC on positive sentiment. Last Friday, Expolanka pushed -up the market following the announcement of its expansion plans. The market generated a turnover of Rs 1.1 billion in its first hour of trade, compared to a daily average of Rs 1.2 billion. The Expolanka share price appreciated by Rs 19 or 12 per cent. Its share price shot up to Rs 182.25 from Rs 163.25 at the end of trading.
Amid these developments both indices moved upwards. The All- Share Price Index (ASPI) gained by 161 points, while Sri Lanka’s most liquid index grew by 101 points. Turnover stood at Rs 2.45 billion with two crossings. Those crossings were reported in Lankem Development, which crossed 1.4 million shares to the tune of Rs 41 million, its shares traded at Rs 29.30 and Lanka IOC 120,000 shares crossed for Rs 22.2 million and its shares traded at Rs 185.
In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were Expolanka Holdings Rs 1.12 billion (6.3 million shares traded), Lanka-IOC Rs 336 million (1.7 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 193 million (33 million shares traded), ACL Cables Rs 86.2 million (1.1 million shares traded), First Capital Holdings Rs 67.5 million (3.4 million shares traded), LOLC Holdings Rs 61.1 million (168,000 shares traded) and Lankem Development Rs 32 million (1.1 million shares traded). During the day 77.1 million share volumes changed hands in 20000 transactions.
The country’s manufacturing and services sectors contracted in October as per the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) compiled by the Central Bank.
The Manufacturing PMI saw a decline of 4.2 index points in comparison to September driven by decreases recorded in all the sub-indices. The Services PMI gained by 3.3 index points due to the declines observed in new businesses, employment and backlog of work.
Nevertheless, business activities and expectations for activity continued their increasing momentum during the month.
Yesterday the Central Bank- announced US dollar buying rate was Rs 360.29 and the selling rate Rs 371.29.
Hapag Lloyd Lanka and Aitken Spence Travels boost tourism through luxury cruise ‘Mein Schiff 5’
Boosting the revival of the tourism industry in Sri Lanka, Hapag Lloyd Lanka ushers in super luxury cruise ‘Mein Schiff 5’ on the 29th of November at the Port of Colombo and the cruise will be calling the Port of Hambantota on the 30th of November 2022. More than 2,000 passengers (mostly European) and 900 crew members are onboard of this cruise. Hapag Lloyd Lanka a subsidiary of the Aitken Spence Group are the agents for TUI cruises. Mein Schiff 5 is owned by the German operator TUI cruises.
As this is the maiden call of Mein Schiff 5 to Port of Colombo & Hambanthota, there will be a ceremonious event to exchange the plaques between the Captain with crew and the port officials and the same to follow at the Port of Hambantota.
Aitken Spence Travels is the shore excursion partner for Mein Schiff 5 in Sri Lanka. They will offer excursions for majority of the passengers covering locations and tours such as Colombo City tours, walking tours, panoramic Colombo tours, tuk-tuk tours, Muthurajawela boat safari tours, temple tours to Kelaniya, agro village, tea plantations, Sigiriya by air taxi, Galle day tours, beach breaks, Madu ganga river safaris and cultural shows. The excursions are designed to create memories in Sri Lanka through experiences with culture, cuisine, architecture, heritage and way of life.
It is encouraging to see efforts materialise with the active involvement of the Aitken Spence Group in the maritime sector and tourism sector to offer comprehensive synergised services whilst bringing the much-needed foreign exchange into the country.
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