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Regulators watching LOLC Development Finance PLC’s meteoric rise to fame in no time



By Hiran H. Senewiratne and Sanath Nanayakkare

The small-scale LOLC Development Finance PLC (NIFL) gaining a rapid and phenomenal increase in its share-price within just under a month is reverberating in Sri Lanka’s capital market sector today.

This is more so as there has been no price-sensitive information disclosed to the CSE by NIFL.

Shares of LOLC Development Finance closed at 618.75 rupees a share on June 29, i.e. 123.75 rupees or 25.00 percent up from the previous day.

In comparison to its end-May price of Rs. 73, closing at 618.75 rupees a share on Tuesday June 29 reflected a dramatic and controversial total gain of 747% in a little under a month.

On June 28, LOLC Development Finance shares rose to 495 rupees, up 23 percent, valuing the small finance company at 117 billion rupees making it the fourth-largest company by market capitalization.

It now has a market cap bigger than Commercial Bank, the country’s largest private commercial bank.

It is also valued more than Sampath Bank and Hatton National Bank.

NIFL is now only behind parent company LOLC, JKH and CTC.

When The Island contacted Ajith Nivard Cabraal, the State Minister of Finance, Capital Markets and State Enterprise Reforms about this development, he asked The Island to enquire it from the SEC.

In response, Tushara Jayaratne, Director SEC- External Relations and Capital Market Education said the SEC has also observed this undue pattern of the share price movement in question and has called for information from CSE. |

“The SEC too is evaluating the manner in which the transactions have taken place and we are analysing the pattern and behaviour of the investors. If we find any malpractices, we will take stern action against those whore involved in it,” Jayaratne said.

CSE Chairman Dumith Fernando said that CSE has closely monitored the situation and would take all appropriate action within the current regulatory framework.

Pressed for more information, the CSE chairman said,”As a practice, we do not comment on ongoing market surveillance related matters, but all appropriate action would be taken,”

Former Minister Eran Wickramaratne said that their should be some rationale for investors to buy shares in a small company like that.

He said that if such a thing is happening it should be investigated by the relevant authorities. Maybe outside investors are getting inside information about the parent company and are buying shares of NIFL. There must be some reason for investors at the stock market to purchase shares in this manner,” he said.

Head of Sales in Softlogic stockbrokers Eardly Kern said that NIFL’s basic earnings for the share year ended 31 March 2021 reflected 65 percent, which was also a very big amount in the stock market and its net assets value per share is Rs. 11.83. The company’s free float witnessed above shares of top 20 companies, he said.

The company has only 34,100 shares in public which is 0.01 percent out of the total issued shares and the balance 99.89 percent are with the owners and due to this inequality in the distribution of its shares, it maybe trading at an extraordinary price, Kern said.

Meanwhile Chairman of Sri Lanka Insurance Chairman Jagath Wellawatta said

Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) bought 2.5 million LOLC shares (LOLC parent company) for Rs. 1 billion on Tuesday.

“It was a business decision taken by our investment committee which reviews and makes such decisions on a periodical basis. When we see the opportunity, we will sell them at a higher price and make a profit in the interest of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation,” he said.


EU funded SEDR Project launches Policy Brief to strengthen alternative dispute resolution in Sri Lanka



Jacques Carstens (SEDR Team Leader), Beatrice Bussi (Interim) Head of Development Cooperation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms, Krishanthi Meegahapola (Addl Secretary, Ministry of Justice) and Priyanath Perera (Secretary – Mediation Boards Commission)

The Supporting Effective Dispute Resolution (SEDR) project, funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council in partnership with The Asia Foundation, launched a Policy Brief titled ‘Strengthening A Just Alternative’ to strengthen community-based alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms in the country.

The launch event, held at the British Council Library in Colombo, was attended by several distinguished dignitaries, including Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, Minister of Justice, Ms. Beatrice Bussi, (Interim) Head of Development Cooperation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Priyanath Perera, Secretary of the Mediation Boards Commission, Hon. Justice Yapa, Chairperson of the Mediation Boards Commission, and Commissioners of the Mediation Boards Commission.

Speaking at the event, Ms. Beatrice Bussi stated that “The importance of mediation in Sri Lanka is twofold, as it ensure an easy and economic access to justice to citizens, while it provides the opportunity to reduce the burden on the Sri Lankan court system. I want to praise the model of Sri Lankan community mediation boards, for its effectiveness and for the value it delivers to communities in addressing local disputes preventing their escalation”.

Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe stated ” One of the main tasks of the Ministry is to ensure the necessary legal, policy, and institutional framework is set up for efficient resolution of disputes. Alternative dispute resolution, including mediation, play a major role in this regard.  There are different opinions regarding the effectiveness of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, especially mediation among the community and stakeholders. In the meantime, the Ministry has initiated a number of reforms to improve dispute resolution processes in Sri Lanka. Accordingly, the Ministry highlights the importance of surveys of this nature to facilitate evidence-based decision-making regarding alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. As such the Ministry would like to congratulate the SEDR project on this successful initiative.”

The Policy Brief is based on the findings of a Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices (KAP) survey commissioned by SEDR and conducted by the Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA) in 2022. The survey aimed to assess knowledge, attitudes and practices of various community-based alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, including mediation boards. The survey covered six districts in the country, targeting 1,712 households of all three main ethnic groups.

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COYLE urges government to engage business leaders in policy-making process for fair, sustainable, and economically sound decisions



The Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE) held its 24th Anniversary Celebrations on 10th March 2023, at Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo. The event was attended by the chief guest, Prime Minister, Dinesh Gunawardena; the guest of honour, U. S. Ambassador, Julie Chung; former President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena; Chief of the Defense Staff, General Shavendra Silva; cabinet and state ministers; parliamentarians; commanders of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces; government officials, and business leaders.

The Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE) comprises more than 116 prominent individuals who serve as Chairmen and Controlling Shareholders of some of the most influential companies in Sri Lanka.

It has over 500 member organizations and is affiliated with nearly 50 business chambers in the country. The organization is managed and controlled by young entrepreneurs but also boasts a number of senior and respected business leaders who joined the organization during its formative years to help shape COYLE into what it is today.

The Chamber actively promotes entrepreneurship, the development of rural communities, and thought leadership. In adherence to the organization’s strongly held principles and as a mandatory service to the community, COYLE engages in countless CSR initiatives through its member companies around the country. The Chamber provides leadership, learning, and development for its members and stakeholders, and over the years, it has grown into a vehicle for business growth in Sri Lanka via its many local and global networks.

The past year was an exceptionally challenging one for all parties in the Sri Lankan economy. Remarking on this, the Outgoing Chairman of COYLE, Mr. Dimuth Chankama Silva, stated during his address, “This year was the greatest test of our mettle. Even diamonds are born out of pressure. This year gave us the opportunity to shine through pressures from all directions. I believe we shone. We are here alive and kicking, our businesses are growing, we are conquering international markets and territories, and COYLE has grown in leaps and bounds.”

A notable emphasis was given to the introduction of the COYLE theme for the year 2023/24, EVOLUTION: #Resilience, #Agility, and #Transformation. The incoming Chairman, Mr. Rasith Wickramasingha, stated, “Evolution is to upscale capability, enhance skills and increase creativity, innovate at a time of chaos, and re-imagine a new business environment. Evolution requires change: change in mindset, attitude, self-awareness, and acumen of the surrounding environment as well as culture.”

He went on to note that in today’s environment, every five years constitutes a generational gap and emphasized the need for COYLE to evolve as a chamber in order to be relevant and sustainable for the future. He further mentioned that decades of ill-conceived, politically driven policies based on the advocacy of a few, rather than consultative decision-making with recognized business chambers, have led to the current crisis. Elaborating on this point, Mr. Rasith Wickramasingha said, “Policy formulation should be done based on sound economic principles and business acumen. Businesses rely on stable policies so that they may plan ahead. Ad hoc policies which bring no economic benefit have led to losses in the private sector and leakage of foreign exchange from the country.”

He emphasized that it is heartbreaking to see that the individuals who strive continuously for the betterment of the country and persistently do the right thing get penalized while those engaging in unethical practices to avoid taxation are rarely held accountable. COYLE hopes for more genuine dialogue from policymakers regarding these issues and affirms that the organization’s globally exposed and experienced members could be a great value addition to any actions taken to revive the economy. What sets COYLE apart from the rest is that its members are made up of business owners and decision-makers who are passionate about doing something good for the country, who are genuinely aligned with this cause, and willing to embrace the future without diluting our national and cultural heritage.

The 24th Anniversary Celebration of COYLE closely reflected in its overarching tone the state of the country following the Easter Bombings, the pandemic, and the economic and political crisis. The event also honored and recognized the Chamber’s numerous members who weathered the storm by building resilience, being agile, and transforming their businesses. It also highlighted the many CSR initiatives undertaken by COYLE member organizations, many of which were carried out quietly, purely as a service to the country.

These initiatives focus on communities most affected by the calamities of the past years and were chosen regardless of race, religion, or creed. With a host of esteemed and influential guests attending the celebrations, COYLE made this event a platform to convey a strong message calling for sociopolitical change in the country. COYLE believes that the hardline decisions taken by President Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe, were tough but necessary considering the state of affairs. The Chamber also notes that as a result of these decisions, gradual change for the better is apparent in the economy. Considering the massive pool of collective experience, expertise, and connections held by COYLE, it is capable of providing significant value and insight for economic reform. Hence, COYLE urges the government to actively engage and work together with the Chamber to expedite economic revival.

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Once again, AIA Ran for their Lives – proud sponsor for the 3rd consecutive year



AIA Insurance was humbled to be a part of Run For Their Lives 2023, in raising funds for the Apeksha Cancer Hospital. The charity run aligns with AIA’s brand purpose of helping people live healthier, longer, better lives with focus on the prevention and management of Non-Communicable Diseases in Sri Lanka. The company will continue its commitment to fight NCDs and actively engage in creating awareness on leading NCDs in the country.

With AIA’s goal of making a positive impact on one billion lives by 2030, participants at RFTL were encouraged to make a pledge for a healthy habit that could help prevent illness and remain healthy in the long run. The participants also took part in a real-time survey that measured their unhealthy habits and recommended healthy lifestyle habits. Participants were also instantly rewarded for taking part in the wellness games and the free BMI sessions organised by one of AIA’s wellness partner Vida Medical Clinic.

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