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SEC introduces framework for Real Estate Investment Trusts

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From left to right Rajeeva Bandaranaike CEO CSE, Dr. Harshana Suriyapperuma, Director Corporate Affairs SEC, Chinthaka Mendis DG SEC, Viraj Dayaratne chairman SEC, Dumith Fernando, chairman CSE and Ms. Ayanthi Abeywickrema, Director-Legal and Enforcement SEC

 

In Sri Lanka, owing to spiraling property prices it is a challenge for average citizens to finance real estate investments. Therefore, a significant proportion of the population of Sri Lanka is unable to benefit from the value appreciation of property and infrastructure development.

The issue can be resolved by introducing a mechanism where capital is pooled by people who are willing to invest in prime commercial and residential property and they will benefit from property related income and value appreciation in the long term. Such pooled funds could be used to acquire prime residential and commercial property and income and wealth derived from such property is then shared with the unit holders of the fund.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) have been available for some time and are developing rapidly in Asia and are popular particularly in Thailand, Malaysia and India. The Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) along with the other stakeholders have been contemplating the introduction of REITs framework in Sri Lanka for quite some time although no finality had been reached. The SEC has now facilitated the introduction of a REIT framework and the proposed initiative provides real estate developers and owners to convert fully completed properties into a REIT which will provide an avenue for the general public of Sri Lanka to make an investment and thereby benefit from any property value increases. Corporate Bonds were introduced to the capital market in Sri Lanka in 1997 and it is approximately, after 23 years that a new product by way of REITs is being introduced.

The Sri Lankan REITs structure has considered the local environment in which it is expected to operate and the SEC has brought in a regulatory framework that is best suited to our market. The rules that have been introduced by the SEC will be an extension of the current Unit Trust Code and the new rules, which came into effect from July 31 is in the form of a Gazette Notification published by the SEC. These rules which are comprehensive, will govern the setting up of and the conduct of a Sri Lankan REIT. Specific provisions have been included for the verification of title and valuation of property that will form part of the assets of the REIT.

Among the requirements is the mandatory distribution of approximately 90% of income to the unit holders, which is currently not a requirement for any of the listed entities. Further, due to the availability of the tax pass through mechanism to Unit Trusts, REITs also could benefit to be a viable business concept to Sri Lanka that will open new horizons for entrepreneurs to take the real estate industry to greater heights.

This property backed alternative platform offers unique benefits to the investing public and to the nation as a whole.

Benefits to investors include:

* High dividend – since requirement to pay at least 90% of their income as a dividend

*Relatively stable income stream due to long leases

* Investor protection ensured since regulated by SEC

* Swift entry and exit opportunities

* Opportunity for portfolio diversification

* Professional investment management at a relatively low transaction and management cost

* An effective hedge against inflation due to real estate asset backing

Benefits to the country include:

* Optimize land usage due to vertical high-rise building complexes and mixed developments

* A catalyst for foreign investment

* liquidity added to market through listing

* Improved investor confidence through increased transparency created through the disclosure requirements

* Increased tax revenue

*Facilitation of planned urbanization with controlled congestion

* Environmental benefits

* Employment creation

* Contribution to the country’s capital formation

* GDP growth

* Optimize capital allocation

Many real estate owners/developers can immediately benefit from the Unit Trust based REITs framework, which is now enabled under the capital market framework of the SEC. In order to promote transparency and to distribute ownership among people of Sri Lanka, REITs are only allowed as listed REITs on the Colombo Stock Exchange. (SEC)

 



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Next Meats, Purveyor of the World’s First Plant-based Yakiniku Meats, Is Now in Singapore

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The Tokyo-based startup makes its debut in the alt-protein hotspot of Singapore Next Meats has collaborated with Aburi-EN to deliver two new meal sets Made with soybean proteins, the Kalbi contains no chemical additives or animal ingredients

SINGAPORE –

 Media OutReach – 14 April 2021 – Next Meats, a purveyor of the world’s first plant-based yakiniku meats, is making its debut in the alternative protein hotspot, Singapore! The Japanese alternative meat company has collaborated this time with popular Japanese restaurant Aburi-EN, which will offer two types of set meals using the NEXT Kalbi (boneless short rib) for the very first time. Made largely from soy proteins, the NEXT Kalbi contains double the amount of protein and half the fats than that of regular meat and even more, it does not contain any chemical additives or cholesterol due to its lack of animal ingredients. Now, Singaporeans can enjoy yakiniku without the guilt! 

The two new menus available at Aburi-EN are the Kalbi Don Set (S$13.80) and the Stamina Teishoku (S$15.80) — which are available for a limited time only. Next Meats has specifically chosen to work with Aburi-EN as they are a Japanese grilled-meat specialist. The two menus are the culmination of many months of research and development, and they will also be Aburi-EN’s first-ever plant-based dishes.

For the Kalbi Don Set, Next Meat’s Kalbi is grilled and served atop a bowl of fragrant Japanese steamed rice. Equally indulgent, the Stamina Teishoku features the Kalbi stir-fried with cabbage along with egg imported from Okinawa. The meat is then served with fragrant Japanese steamed rice, salad, pickles and miso soup. For both dishes, the meats are glazed with a special homemade sauce that packs an irresistible umami punch.   

 Both the Kalbi Don Set and Stamina Teishoku will be available at all Aburi-EN stores from April to July 2021.

 An advocate of sustainable food production and better food security

 The NEXT Kalbi is one of Next Meats’ innovative offerings, which includes other plant-based delicacies such as the NEXT burger and NEXT gyudon (beef bowl). The company champions the importance of saving the planet and humanity through reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (which is produced from meat consumption and animal agriculture) and utilizing biotechnology to combat protein deficiency.

 Through extensive research and development, Next Meats has culminated the knowhow on using molecular binding to mould vegetable proteins from powder. Buoyed by state-of-the-art, proprietary technologies, the company has successfully created vegan substitutes that replicate the texture of real meat.

 

 

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Lanka Hospitals tops healthcare sector in LMD’s Most Awarded Entities

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Lanka hospitals, the internationally accredited multiple award-winning healthcare provider, topped the healthcare sector in the Most Awarded list compiled by LMD magazine for 2019/20.

Designed to rank the most awarded entities in Sri Lanka, LMD conducted the research, the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, involving 204 corporate entities, based on the cumulative tally of awards received from 52 awarding bodies between January 2019 to September 2020.

With a total of five awards, securing the overall rank of 67, Lanka Hospitals came first in the healthcare sector.

Deepthi Lokuarachchi, Group CEO, Lanka Hospitals, said three factors contributed towards Lanka Hospitals’ award winning process; profound commitment to quality, service standard in healthcare and the accreditation of Joint Commission International (JCI).

“Our stringent standards for quality have earned accolades and accreditations from numerous national and international agencies. Lanka Hospitals has been in the forefront of healthcare providers since 2009 and, particularly, between 2019 and 2020, we were able to win seven national and international awards including one for environmental management systems”, he said.

As a result of superior facilities, customer care and quality of service Lanka Hospitals offers, a growth was experienced in terms of medical tourists during the Covid-19 pandemic even though the inbound international population was restricted. JCI, a US-based accreditation agency, rates healthcare services based on several criteria related to medical as well as non medical services”, he noted.

In terms of corporate responsibility, Lanka Hospitals focuses on skills development, medical care and donations. Every year, Lanka Hospitals’ nursing school enrolls batches from outside the Western province and upon the successful completion of the course they are offered employment, he added.

 

 

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Sino Lanka Power Gen to install 2MW solar power at Taprobane Seafood Dankotuwa plant

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Sino Lanka Power Gen announced its partnership with Taprobane Seafood to supply and install a one-megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) system at their plant in Dankotuwa. This is the first of a two-phased project with the second megawatt to be installed in two years. The collaboration will result in a 19,000 tonne reduction in Taprobane’s carbon footprint over 20 years, a company news release said.

“Combating climate change has become critical and we are delighted to team up with Taprobane Seafood to be a part of their solar expansion strategy,” said Dhiren Kundanmal, Director of Sino Lanka Power Gen. “We are honoured that Taprobane Seafood, being a conscientious brand aiming to reduce its carbon footprint, is looking towards us as a working partner in this area. Our approach is fivefold i.e., improve yields and plant performance, reduce downtime, holistic monitoring, skill transfer, and finally minimising their liability and risk.”

Commenting on the partnership, Taprobane’s Managing Director Timothy O’Reilly said Taprobane Seafood has always been at the forefront of ethical labour practices, sustainable development, and earth friendly practices. “Shifting to solar energy is an important step in our sustainability journey and we believe Sino Lanka is the right partner for us given their expertise in the renewable energy industry,” he said.

Established in 2010, the Taprobane Seafood Group is Sri Lanka’s leading seafood company with over 1,500 direct employees in 11 processing facilities throughout the north-western and northern province. With high quality standards, social responsibility, and sustainability values, Taprobane’s vision is to be the global leader in sustainable and socially responsible seafood.

Sino Lanka Power Gen provides state-of-the-art equipment, capable of withstanding harsh tropical environments, utilising the latest technology from Canadian Solar and SunPower, alongside Tier 1 purpose-built inverters. The company adopts the latest industry trends -namely IoT, big data, and AI- to ensure their systems perform optimally for well over 20 years.

Sino Lanka Power Gen’s vision is to support the government’s initiatives on the “Soorya Bala Sangramaya” policy statement that sets a target of meeting 70% of the country’s total electricity demand from renewable energy sources by 2030.

Sino Lanka Power Gen is a joint venture between the Sino Lanka Group – an Asian enterprise with investments in real estate, hospitality, chemicals, healthcare, financial services, and rooftop solar, among others-, and the Atman Group, an investment holding company with investments in renewable energy, hospitality, real estate, and agriculture.

Sino Lanka Power Gen provides reliable and modern renewable and sustainable sources of energy for businesses, with a dedicated engineering and operations team that counts over 25 years of collective experience in implementing rooftop solar projects across Sri Lanka.

 

 

 

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