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Positive outlook on post COVID-19 economic recovery

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Top economists and business leaders discussed the outlook for the global and local economy during the first session of the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2020 organised by The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC). Eric Robertsen – Global Head, Research and Chief Strategist, Standard Chartered Bank and Deshamanya Prof W D Lakshman – Governor, Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) were the two speakers at the session while Deshamanya Mahesh Amalean – chairman, MAS Holdings and Krishan Balendra – chairman, John Keells Holdings PLC joined the panel discussion moderated by Shiran Fernando – Chief Economist, CCC.

Despite the impact of the pandemic, Eric highlighted in his speech several positive global developments to take note of. He stated that export levels of emerging markets in Asia had rebounded to pre COVID levels. The recovery in global trade was recorded in two quarters compared to 6-7 quarters in the period post the global financial crisis. Further, he highlighted that a combination of monetary policy support, low level of interest rates and inflation would create a platform for a better economic narrative in 2021.The continuation of a weaker dollar would also be favourable for emerging market assets. Eric stated that according to their research they believe that the recovery of 2021 will look almost like the post war economic recovery with similar economic destruction as a result of the health crisis due to COVID-19.

Central Bank Governor Prof W D Lakshman highlighted that with National Budget 2021 and the policy measures put in place by CBSL and the government, Sri Lanka possesses the potential to emerge as a stronger and more resilient economy in 2021. The focus was in developing the real sector in reviving industries and expanding business opportunities through encouraging home-grown industries, large as well as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Addressing the fiscal and debt concerns the Governor highlighted that high levels of debt could be sustainable when domestic debt was the predominant component in the debt portfolio. He went on to state that the ratio of government’s foreign non-concessional debt to GDP was around 23 per cent, and the remainder was either domestic debt that can be rolled over or long-term concessional financing. The annual foreign debt service payments as a percentage of export earnings and remittances stood around 12 per cent in ‘business-as-usual’ years such as 2018. The Governor highlight that public debt will be managed in such a way the domestic to foreign component of the debt will adjust from 55:45 in 2020 to 60:40 in 2021. This and the stated policy of not pursuing foreign debt-creating public investments will make government debt more manageable.

In the panel discussion, Mahesh highlighted that exports should be the key element in the roadmap for economic recovery of Sri Lanka. In terms of the apparel sector, he highlighted two trends which Sri Lankan businesses must focus on which were that customers were increasingly looking vertically in their sourcing and the rapid growth of digitalisation in the value chain. Krishan highlighted the setback due to COVID-19 for the domestic economy but was optimistic in a rebound during 2021. Citing one example in tourism, he highlighted that their resorts in Maldives has seen higher forward bookings for March-April 2021 compared to previous year’s.

Responding to questions by the participants on the potential for low global interest rates driving capital inflow into markets like Sri Lanka, Eric noted that initially investments would flow to the largest and most liquid markets but could later expand to other diversified investment portfolios with higher risks and returns. In closing Mahesh highlighted three areas for businesses to focus on: operate close to the customer and understand the expectations, understand the capabilities required by companies to operate in this challenging environment and strive for operational excellence in terms of manufacturing competitively and agile. (CCC)



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Galadari Colombo awarded ‘SLIM People’s Hotel Brand of the Year 2021’

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The Galadari Colombo was given a thumbs up from the people as the People’s Hotel Brand of the Year for the second time running at the recently concluded SLIM (Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing) People’s Awards 2021.

The uniqueness of the SLIM People’s Awards is the fact that it is awarded by the public which shows the popular choice of the Sri Lankan people.

This is the 15th successful running of the much-anticipated event conducted by SLIM in association with Nielsen which is globally renowned for its measurement and consumer insights.

Having stood the test time of time in the hospitality industry for more than 3 decades the Galadari Colombo is hopeful to remain in the hearts of its people as a brand that is trustworthy and dedicated to service.

 

 

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Expatriates’ organization painting competition for Sri Lankan children from care homes highlights close India-Sri Lanka ties

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Celebrating 75 years of India’s independence in Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan children from care homes converged in Colombo from all across Sri Lanka over 10-11 April 2021 for the final round of the nationwide painting competition organized by Colombo Expatriates Cultural Association (CECA) – a voluntary organization of expatriates consisting of mainly Indians – with support of the High Commission of India, Ministry of Education of government of Sri Lanka and several other partners.

Prof. G.L Peiris, Minister of Education was the Chief Guest and Gopal Baglay, High Commissioner of India was the Guest of Honour at the final round. Several other dignitaries including State Minister Piyal Nishantha were also present. The dignitaries lauded the effort as a shining example of strong people-to-people ties between India and Sri Lanka and stressed the enormous significance of the enriching experience for the children.

The competition was held in three categories – Sub Junior, Junior and Senior. The first round of the competition had seen enthusiastic participation of 4,375 students from child care homes across Sri Lanka. Contestants from all provinces who had produced sixty best paintings were invited along with one care-giver for the final round held in Colombo on April 10 at Hotel Taj Samudra. While top three winners in all the three categories were awarded SLR 100,000, SLR 75,000 and SLR 50,000 respectively in addition to various other gifts, certificates and medals, all the 60 finalists received cash awards, desktop computers, and other gifts contributed by various sponsors.

The event also formed part of ‘India @ 75’ celebrations in Sri Lanka which comprise events and activities in the run up to completion of 75 years of India’s Independence in August 2022. Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi had launched these celebrations in India on March 12 2021, 75 weeks before the 75th Anniversary of Independence. In Sri Lanka, formal launch of these celebrations had taken place on April 9 2021 with the inauguration of ‘India Corner’ at the Nagananda Institute for Buddhist Studies.

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Chrissworld to raise Rs. 56.25 million through IPO

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

Chrissworld Ltd. (CWL), an SME company  engaged in the provision of third-party logistics (3PL) services, is gearing to raise up to Rs. 56.25 million via an initial public offering (IPO) on the Colombo Stock Exchange, sources said.

The company plans to offer 7,500,000 Ordinary Voting Shares for subscription at Rs. 7.50 per share. The subscription will open on April 27, with Atara Capital Partners representing the company as managers to the issue.

Meanwhile, the CSE noted in a statement that it has approved an application submitted by Chrissworld Ltd. for the listing of its Ordinary Voting Shares by way of an offer for subscription on the Empower Board of the CSE.

The company,  starting off with Rs. 6 million capital in 2019, expanded its capital to Rs. 22.5 million and projects to obtain Rs. 79 million after the IPO.

Chrissworld will be earmarking milestones with the IPO as the first to be listed on the Empower Board, CSE’s newest listing platform, dedicated to SMEs. Further, Central Depository Systems (Pvt.) Ltd., a subsidiary company of CSE, will step in for the first time as the registrar to the issue.

Amid those developments the CSE  started  on a bullish note yesterday and during the latter part of the day with heavy retail investor participation the CSE witnessed a bullish trend. It is said that manufacturing sector counters became the most popular stocks during the day. Notable price appreciation was reported in Hayleys Group, Royal Ceramic Group and  Distilleries.    

Both indices moved upwards. The All Share Price Index went up by 100.10 points and S and P SL20 rose by 49.18 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 3.51 billion with a crossing. The crossing was reported in JKH, which crossed 1.32 million shares to the tune of Rs. 199.3 million and its share price was Rs. 151.

In the retail market, companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; Royal Ceramic Rs. 511.2 million (1.46 million shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs. 359.9 million (4.5 million shares traded),  Hayleys Group Rs. 359.9 million (4.5 million shares traded), Dipped Products Rs. 321 million (5.5 million shares traded), JKH Rs. 290 million (1.9 million shares traded), and Haycarb Rs. 177 million (1.5 million shares traded). During the day 87.8 million share volumes changed hands in 23900 transactions.

Hayleys shares appreciated by Rs. 6 or eight percent. Its shares started trading at Rs. 75.90 and at the end of the day they moved to Rs. 82. Royal Ceramic shares appreciated by Rs. 13.5 or nine percent. Its shares started trading at Rs. 328.25 and at the end of the day they moved to Rs. 358.75. Expolanka shares appreciated by Rs. 2.70 or five percent. Its shares  started trading at Rs. 49.70 and at the end of the day they shot up to Rs. 52.40 and Distilleries shares appreciated by 70 cent or 3 percent from Rs. 20.20 to Rs. 20.90  

Sri Lanka’s rupee quoted steady at 202.00/203 to the one month US dollar Monday, while gilt yields remained unchanged, dealers said.

The rupee last closed in the one-week forward market at 202/203 to the US dollar on Friday. Sri Lanka markets were dull as seasonal bliss kicks in.

 

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