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Nestlé Lanka records strong performance in 2022



Jason Avanceña

Continues to contribute positively to Sri Lanka amidst unprecedented challenges

The Board of Directors of Nestlé Lanka, 20 February 2023, approved results for the fourth quarter and full year ended 31 December 2022.

Sharing his thoughts on the results, Jason Avanceña, Managing Director of Nestlé Lanka said “It gives me immense pride to witness the performance of the company during 2022, which was perhaps one of the most challenging years in Nestlé Lanka’s 115-year long journey in Sri Lanka. I am pleased to say that our team, as well as our stakeholders across and beyond the value chain, demonstrated exemplary perseverance and agility in the face of ever-changing challenges, leveraging our deep understanding of Sri Lankan consumers to ensure continued supply of high-quality nutritious products, which are also good for the planet, no matter the circumstances.

‘Reinforcing our commitment and positive contribution to Sri Lanka and its people, we achieved strong broad-based growth across all our business units during the fiscal year ended 31 December 2022. Accordingly, the company reported a growth of 62.3%, which was driven by necessitated pricing to protect profitability amidst unprecedented cost increases. Positive volume growth in H1/Q3 slowed down in Q4 due to lower spending by consumers driven by high inflationary pressures. The company also recorded a 76.8% growth in its export business, contributing much-needed foreign currency to the economy through its exports to over 55 countries across the globe. Net profit increased by 14% as compared to the last fiscal year; however, net profit as a percentage of sales is lower by 3.5%, which was impacted due to exchange losses including unrealised exchange losses on the Intra Group loan obtained to ensure business continuity and increased corporate tax rates for H2, 2022.

‘Overall operation and profitability were challenged by the significant rupee depreciation coupled with currency shortages, inflation, higher commodity and logistics costs, and changes in import regulations. Nevertheless, I am happy to note that these challenges were mitigated by taking measures such as optimization of the value chain and product portfolio through localization and cost efficiencies where possible, driving exports and effective utilisation of forex.

‘This noteworthy performance in 2022 was complemented by our continued, unwavering efforts towards doing good for families, communities, and the planet, irrespective of the challenging socio-economic circumstances that prevailed. I am delighted that we took strides in our commitment of doing good for Sri Lanka, whilst also furthering our investments with the hope of amplifying our contribution towards the country in the years to come.

‘As a company that has stood by its stakeholders through good and trying times for over 115 years, we embarked on a series of projects to give back to communities in this hour of need. These efforts included distributing ‘Nestlé Care Packages’ to over 3,500 staff attached to the company’s value chain partners and over 240 stakeholders in our dairy value chain as well as collaborations with SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka and Sarvodaya Shramadhana Movement to help those in need navigate through volatilities.

‘Further, reaffirming our steadfast commitment towards Sri Lanka, we invested over Rs. 2 billion in our state-of-the-art factory in Kurunegala by building a new Vacuum Band Dryer. Aimed at expanding the capacity of our manufacturing facility for malted food – i.e., Nestlé Nestomalt and Nestlé Milo, this investment further strengthens our efforts of positively impacting Sri Lanka and its people.”

Financial Highlights – Full Year 2022

• Total Sales of Rs. 73,707 million

• Domestic Sales Growth at 59.1%

• Profit from Operations at 16.5%

• Net Profit of Rs. 6,076 million

• Contribution to exchequer of Rs.11,152 million


The Board of Directors have declared an interim dividend of Rs. 55 per share on 20 February 2023 and have also proposed a final dividend of Rs. 75 per share for the year ended 31 December 2022; subject to approval by the shareholders at the upcoming Annual General Meeting. Part of this will be paid out of 2022 profits and the balance through previous years’ retained earnings.


Leading US-based international trade finance services provider to set up in Sri Lanka



Chairman, iBEX Global, Maverick Robinson (R) with MD Jayamal Hewage

By Hiran H.Senewiratne

Leading US-based international trade finance services provider, iBEX Global, will officially set up in Sri Lanka soon.

Chairman and founder of iBEX Global, based in Atlanta, Georgia, Maverick Robinson who is currently in Sri Lanka, at a special event held recently at Galle Face Hotel, said that Sri Lanka is the third country after UAE to launch their operations.

“We have been following developments in Sri Lanka since August 2022 and have appointed Jayamal Hewage as our Managing Director, Robinson said.

Hewage is the Group Managing Director of Jayamal Holdings Group of Companies.

Robinson said that iBEX Global was set up four years ago by him in the US in the thick of the COVID pandemic at a time when companies were shutting down.

Robinson added: “We saw a huge vacuum for logistics and international trade finance services, mainly to import personal protective clothing (PPE), like masks from countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. At that time the supply chains and support services were completely in disarray but we quickly gathered a professional team, created and opened a new supply chain, helping to save and protect the lives of many.

“By doing this we proved that there is opportunity in crises and we see similarities in Sri Lanka and this is why we decided to open here. Our primary focus centers on providing international trade finance services tailored to each customer’s unique needs.

“We see that with better marketing networks, attractive packaging and product financing (of which we are experts) Sri Lanka’s exports could be increased by almost 20% in less than a year.”

Meanwhile, Jayamal Hewage said: “In Sri Lanka we intend to cater to medium, small and macro sized companies and those who come on board with us will be provided technical advice on product development, superior packaging and other technical advice, all free of charge.

“iBEX Global can even offer financing up to USD 10 million for companies to develop their product range.

“They would also be linked with new global markets that were not accessible to them.

“Our services also include Standby Letters of Credit, Bank Guarantees, RWA Documents, Documentary Letters Credit and many other similar services.”

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Sri Lanka slips in Economic Freedom



Sri Lanka ranks 116 out of 165 jurisdictions included in the Economic Freedom of the World: 2023 Annual Report, released by Advocata Institute in conjunction with Canada’s Fraser Institute. The current ranking represents a decline in the economic freedom of the country which ranked 104th during 2020.

The report measures the economic freedom of individuals—their ability to make their own economic decisions—by analyzing the policies and institutions of 165 jurisdictions. The policies examined include regulation, freedom to trade internationally, size of government, legal system and property rights, and sound monetary policy. The 2023 report is based on data from 2021, the last year with available comparable statistics across jurisdictions.

Sri Lanka’s decline in score was driven by 4 out of the 5 sub indicators of economic freedom registering declines in their respective individual scores. These indicators are the size of government, access to sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and the regulation of credit, labour, and business. The only indicators that registered an improvement in its score is the indicator of legal system and property rights.

“The report captured a stark warning: Sri Lanka’s economic freedom declined prior to the economic crisis of 2022, a testament to the vulnerability of nations with limited economic freedom in the face of economic turmoil. If the country is to recover, Sri Lanka must prioritize economic growth within the framework of maximising economic freedom for its citizens to trade, work, and transact freely in a stable monetary and fiscal environment” said Dhananath Fernando, Chief Executive Officer at the Advocata Institute.

The number one spot is now occupied by Singapore, followed by Hong Kong, Switzerland, New Zealand, the United States, Ireland, Denmark, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Other notable countries include Japan (20th), Germany (23th), France (47th) and Russia (104th).

Venezuela once again ranks last. Some countries such as North Korea and Cuba can’t be ranked due to lack of data.

The Fraser Institute produces the annual Economic Freedom of the World report in cooperation with the Economic Freedom Network, a group of independent research and educational institutes in nearly 100 countries and territories. It’s the world’s premier measure of economic freedom.

The report was prepared by Professor James Gwartney of Florida State University and Professors Robert A. Lawson and Ryan Murphy of Southern Methodist University.

According to research in top peer-reviewed academic journals, people living in countries with high levels of economic freedom enjoy greater prosperity, more political and civil liberties, and longer lives.

For example, countries in the top quartile of economic freedom had an average per-capita GDP of US$48,569, compared to US$6,324 for bottom quartile countries. Poverty rates are lower. In the top quartile, less than one per cent of the population experienced extreme poverty (US$1.90 a day) compared to 32 per cent in the lowest quartile. Finally, life expectancy is 81.1 years in the top quartile of countries compared to 65 years in the bottom quartile.

“Where people are free to pursue their own opportunities and make their own choices, they lead more prosperous, happier and healthier lives,” Fred McMahon, Dr. Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom with the Fraser Institute said.

See the full report at

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EFC calls for political will to realise competitive and relevant labour law reforms



The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) was recently invited for a series of meetings with political representatives including the Prime Minister and the Executive Council of the Parties in the Opposition to discuss labour law reforms to be introduced through the proposed Employment Act. The meeting with the Prime Minister, Dinesh Gunawardena, which was held at the Temple Trees was attended by the Commissioner General of Labour, a representative of the Bar Association, officials of state enterprises and trade unions. The meeting with the Executive Council Members of the Opposition Parties was held in the parliamentary complex and was chaired by the Leader of the Opposition, Sajith Premadasa. MPs Lakshman Kiriella, Prof. G. L. Peiris, Eran Wickramaratne, Nalaka Godahewa and Chandima Weerakkody represented the Committee at this meeting.

The EFC led the private sector which was represented by several business chambers at these meetings. On behalf of the private sector, the Director General of the EFC, Vajira Ellepola highlighted the importance of proceeding with labour law reforms which are critical for investment promotion. During the discussions, EFC’s DG reiterated that the private sector had made submissions to successive governments calling for labour law reforms. Despite the fact that such regimes have also declared their intention to reform the existing law, they lacked the political will and conviction to realise those reforms to benefit all stakeholders, he averred.

“Our current labour law is essentially the same as what existed a few decades ago, regardless of substantial socioeconomic changes that have taken place in a highly competitive global environment,” EFC’s DG remarked. He further noted that if Sri Lanka is to remain relevant in a highly competitive global market, labour law reforms are imperative for business growth which in turn will create resilient and sustainable organisations.

The objectives of labour law reforms were broadly summed by the EFC during these discussions to include promotion of investment, creation of new and better job opportunities, strengthening social security and creating an enabling environment for employees and employers to realise the full potential of information and technology driven modern world of work. To achieve these objectives, several key changes were mooted by the EFC. While transforming the labour law to embrace the changes in the modern socio-economic fabric, the EFC also called to recognise the influence of the digital transformation of the world of work, and urged for a dynamic private sector-driven economic growth for the national economy to remain competitive and sustainable. Taking stock of the globalised market economy and flexibility to grow and adjust is also imperative, EFC pointed out.

“In the above backdrop it is important to address labour law reforms on a priority basis to permit greater flexibility of enterprises to attract investment which in turn will generate employment” observed Ellepola who tabled the proposals under three main pillars of laws relating to the termination of employment, conditions of employment and laws relating to industrial/labour relations. He also drove home the message that in the Sri Lankan context if economic reforms are to yield optimum results, they should be complemented by administrative, legal and educational reforms.

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