The performance of the Bank over the year was characterized by strength and resilience. Despite the heightened uncertainty due to the impact of Covid-19 which has triggered a wide range of shocks on the Bank, employees, customers and economy, our continued focus on financial resilience enabled us to remain strong and achieve a solid performance,an NSB press release says.
The release adds – ‘As one of the biggest lenders in the housing market in Sri Lanka, the Bank facilitates the growth in national home ownership, opening a pathway towards economic security and mobility for hundreds of thousands of customers. Beyond contributing to the General Treasury by way of taxes, levies, fees and dividends, and being the second largest holder of government securities, the bank is one of the biggest lenders to the government and is an enthusiastic partner in the government’s long-term infrastructure and socioeconomic development projects.
‘Commenting on the performance, NSB chairperson, Keasila Jayawardena stated “While the figures demonstrate the solid performance of the Bank, a deeper dive into the numbers must consider the context of the year. During the first wave of COVID-19 infection in late March 2020, the banking service was declared an essential service during the Covid-19 and the ensuing lock-downs, all the Bank’s branches across the country were kept open to offer an uninterrupted service to our customers. The Bank also allocated 3 mobile units to provide its customers with service at their doorstep. The government have responded with necessary measures to curb the spread of Covid-19. The Bank also took part in implementing government-led relief measures by providing the Debt moratorium scheme aimed at supporting Covid-19 affected businesses and individuals. Accordingly, the moratorium has been given to 90% of the retail loan portfolio at the concessionary rate of 7.0% and the payments were deferred until the end of the loan period.
‘NSB General Manager / CEO, Ajith Peiris said, “Total asset base of the bank grew by 17.8% to Rs. 1.4 Tn. as at 31 December 2020 from Rs. 1.2 Tn. as at 31 December 2019. The bank recorded its highest ever Profit Before Tax and Profit After Tax in 2020, both of which were aided by the government’s stimulus initiatives introduced in late 2019. Against the backdrop of Covid-19 impact on the economic activities, the bank’s Profit Before Tax was Rs. 15.6 Bn., a 49.5% increase from Rs. 10.5 Bn. in 2019 and the Bank’s Profit After Tax of Rs. 10.1 Bn. recorded a 58.4% increase from Rs. 6.4 Bn. in 2019. A dividend of Rs. 1.0 Bn. was paid for the financial year under review.
‘The bank reported a Gross Income of Rs. 127.5 Bn. for 2020, achieving a growth of 4.6% mainly driven by the 3.2% rise in Interest Income, the largest component, to Rs. 122.5 Bn. as well as Fee and Commission Income which has increased by 114.9% to Rs. 2.7 Bn. compared to last year. The increase in interest income along with decrease in interest expenses resulted in 21.0% surge in Net Interest Income, rising to Rs. 34.9 Bn. in 2020 over 2019. Consequently, Net Interest Margin improved to 2.77% during the year from 2.63% reported a year ago.
‘The bank’s profitability was further enhanced by removal of the Nation Building Tax (NBT) and Debt Repayment Levy (DRL) on financial services and favourable changes to the deposit mix with the savings deposits to total deposits ratio increasing to 22.6% in 2020 from 21.5% in 2019, providing the bank with a source of low-cost funding. The bank successfully improved its cost to income ratio (without taxes) to 39.1% in 2020 from the year 2019 through various cost savings strategies and initiatives. Nevertheless, the highest-ever profit was achieved after making an impairment provision of Rs. 4.9 Bn., a 761.8% increase over 2019 reflected the elevated risk in the loan and advances portfolio and tenuous state of asset quality in the banking sector.’ (NSB)
Aitken Spence invests in yet another renewable energy project in hydropower
Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake – Deputy Chairman and Managing Director Aitken Spence PLC accepting the share transfer form from Harsha Abeywickrama – chairman Sunshine Energy Ltd; in the presence of Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena – Executive Director Aitken Spence PLC, Dr. Rohan Fernando – Executive Director Aitken Spence PLC, Ms. Nilanthi Sivapragasam – Chief Financial Officer Aitken Spence PLC and Leel Wickremarachchi – Managing Director of the power segment from Aitken Spence PLC. Shyam Sathasivam – Managing Director, Sunshine Energy Ltd. and Harin Udeshi – Director, Waltrim Energy Ltd.
Aitken Spence PLC recently acquired Waltrim Energy Limited, a subsidiary of Sunshine Holdings PLC for Rs. 900 million. The company contributes 6.6MW to the national grid via three mini hydropower plants located in the Nuwara Eliya district, namely of Waltrim Hydropower (Private) Limited, Upper Waltrim Hydropower (Private) Limited and Elgin Hydropower (Private) Limited. Waltrim hydropower draws energy from Kothmala Oya, Upper Waltrim hydropower and Elgin hydropower from Dambagasthwala Oya.
Aitken Spence expands its portfolio in hydropower in the pursuit of meeting rising energy demands, sustainable development, access to clean energy and lowering our national carbon footprint. This is the second hydropower plant which is owned and operated by Aitken Spence. Branford Hydropower (Pvt) Ltd. is the other hydropower plant with a 2.5MW capacity located in Matale. The company also owns and operates a wind power plant with 3MW capacity located in Ambewela.
“This is yet another investment made by Aitken Spence that shows our commitment to expand the power generation portfolio with renewable energy projects. Hydro power plays a key role in renewable energy segment in Sri Lanka and this initiative strengthens the country’s efforts to move towards cleaner energy sources and effective and efficient management of sustainable and affordable generation of energy supplied to the national grid,” commented Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC.
“Aitken Spence maintains highest environmental, safety and quality standards in the management of our power plants. These stringent management frameworks will be extended to the newly acquired power plants to meet compliance requirements as well as global benchmarks for cleaner production of energy,” added Leel Wickremarachchi, Managing Director of the power segment of Aitken Spence.
The Power segment of Aitken Spence is a leading player in the sector with a reputation for investing in pioneering technologies and has diversified into renewable energy by establishing hydro power and wind power plants to support Sri Lanka’s demand for energy. With their commitment to increase the country’s energy consumption from renewable energy sources, the company recently introduced Sri Lanka’s first waste to energy power plant that was officially launched in February 2021. Moreover, these initiatives are in line with the collective efforts of government and the private sector to produce clean energy sustainably.
Best Woman Entrepreneur at Entrepreneur Awards 2020
Christell Skin Clinic proved their mettle as industry leaders yet again, by clinching the three topmost awards at the recently held Western Province Entrepreneurship Awards Ceremony 2020. The highly-anticipated annual event -jointly organised by the National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA) and the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka- took place this year at the BMICH.
The event brought together industry leaders and newcomers with the aim to recognise and honour micro, small, medium and large sector entrepreneurs that have contributed significantly to Sri Lanka’s service sector over the past year.
The country’s leading aesthetics and wellness centre took home The Best Enterprise service sector trophy, as well as the Best Entrepreneur of the Year award – the most sought-after prize of the night. More notably however, the Best Woman Entrepreneur title was awarded to the director of the Christell Skin Clinic, Dr. Shanika Arsecularatne, in recognition of her inspirational journey to becoming one of the most successful businesswomen in the country, and also of her outstanding contribution to the field of cosmetology and wellness in Sri Lanka.
“I’m truly honoured to receive this recognition, especially because I believe that no one receives an award like this out of sheer luck, but rather in acknowledgement and appreciation of the hard work, sleepless nights and sacrifices we have all made, to be where we are today,” said Dr. Arsecularatne on accepting her award.
Plastic Modified Asphalt Concrete car park in Sri Lanka
The car park of the Walgama Food City with its new “Paving with Plastic”
As a socially responsible corporate citizen, Cargills holds a strong commitment to serving the nation and preserving the planet for future generations. By partnering with AGC Innovate Pvt Ltd – one of the country’s leading innovative solutions providers – Cargills initiated the launch of “Paving with Plastic” as a means to address Sri Lanka’s plastic waste menace in an ecofriendly and pragmatic approach.
The benefits of plastic are irrefutable – this versatile material is ubiquitous in our everyday lives, due to it being cheap and convenient to produce as well as being highly durable and user friendly. However, once used and disposed, plastic lingers in the environment for too long and does not decompose.
As a result, the inherent problem of plastic pollution is a global crisis, with Sri Lanka generating approximately 7000 metric tons of mismanaged solid waste daily, with 6% accounting for plastic and polythene waste. Therefore, in the absence of a proper waste management system, non-recyclable plastic is dumped in large landfill sites. These sites are now exceeding their maximum capacity, and has led to pressing environmental and social concerns in the country.
As a first step to tackling this waste plastic problem, Cargills made a landmark decision to pave the Cargills Food City Carparks using Plastic Modified Asphalt Concrete, partnering with AGC Innovate.
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