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SLIM Brand Excellence Awards 2021 reaches final round

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The 20th edition of SLIM Brand Excellence Awards, the esteemed national-level awards recognising the best brands in Sri Lanka, has reached the final round of the event. Hosted under the theme of “Beyond the Next Frontier”, the year 2021 marked the highest number of entries and brand participation in the history of the awards, with 121 entries from 82 brands.

“I highly consider the number of brands coming on board with Brand Excellence this year rather than the number of total entries. This year, we have received 121 from 82 brands, which is the highest number of brands to take part in the awards’ history. These 82 brands are represented by 61 organisations, which reflects the enthusiasm of the fraternity amidst the pandemic situation. Our theme of Brand Excellence 2021, ‘Beyond the Next Frontier’, articulates that these brands are not only resilient, but also that they have adapted to the new normal. These figures nailed it,” stated SLIM Brand Excellence Awards 2021 Project Chairman Manthika Ranasinghe.

Entries have been selected for the first round from a large pool of applicants, following a meticulous selection process. This has been further trickled down to 75 entries for the final round of presentations. The final round of the awards is scheduled to take place mid-January 2022, with the active input of an eminent Jury Panel.

Brands will be selected under five main categories and eight special categories. The main categories include Product Brand, Service Brand, Global Brand, Local Brand, and Export Brand of the Year. The special categories are Innovative Brand, Turnaround Brand, Best New Entrant, B2B Brand, CSR Brand, Online Brand, SME Local Brand, and SME Export Brand of the Year.

Commenting on the 20th edition of the awards, Head of Jury Imal Fonseka noted: “This year made visible that many businesses were wholly unprepared for new and uncertain circumstances. In order to build and maintain organisational resilience, many revisited their business models, the brand/s’ proposition, and the consumer/customer engagement process whilst adding new capabilities. It was refreshing to observe such brands showing resilience in unprecedented times.

“As businesses and individuals, we have all spent much of this year adjusting and adapting to a new landscape and a new economic context. Long-term brand building efforts are not going to result in instantaneous ROI or a demonstrable spike in sales, but data tells us that it’s vital in maintaining the overall health and fortune of a brand. As we navigate through uncertain times, marketers need to keep a holistic view of which channels can help achieve both their long and short-term goals, providing value, fostering creativity, and sparking genuine connections between the brand and its audience.”



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Business

Seven factors of concern at upcoming Monetary Policy Review

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by Sanath Nanayakkare

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) is scheduled to announce its latest monetary policy review on 20th January 2022, with all eyes on dwindling foreign reserves and foreign currency exchange in the country.

In this context, First Capital Research has named 7 factors of concern that could be taken into account at the upcoming monetary policy review. They are as follows.

* Foreign Reserves USD 3.1 billion – Dec 2021

* Inflation CCPI 12.1% – Dec 2021

* GDP Growth -1.5% – 3Q2021

* Private Credit LKR 60.5 billion – Nov 2021

* 03M T-Bill rate 8.38% as at 12.01.22

Liquidity and CBSL Holdings LKR -364.0 billion and LKR 1.42 trillion

Balance of Trade (BOT) and Balance of Payment (BOP) USD -6.5 billion and USD -3.3 billion for Jan-Oct 21

First Capital Research’s Policy Rate Forecast – Jan 2022-Apr 2022 notes that they believe the CBSL may highly consider tightening the monetary policy rates in this policy review but given the concerns over economic growth, there is a probability of 40% for CBSL to maintain its policy stance at current levels.

“With high frequent indicators improving in line with expectations, we have eliminated any probability of a rate cut. We expect a continued increase in probability for a rate hike in order to prevent overheating of the economy amidst the given fiscal and monetary stimulus,” they said.

As per First Capital’s view, CBSL either can choose to hike policy rates by 50bps or 100bps or hold policy rates steady, while a rate cut is off the table due to the high debt repayment and the high domestic borrowing requirement.

First Capital believes that there is a 60% probability for a rate hike due to the remedial actions required in achieving external stability.

However, there is also a 40% probability to maintain the policy rates at its current level in order to further improve the high frequency indicators.30%, they noted.

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Sri Lanka’s dash brand enters international markets

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Multichemi International Ltd, which manufactures and distributes a wide range of products under dash, one of Sri Lanka’s leading detergent and household care brands, has begun exporting its products to several international markets in Asia and Oceania, with plans also to enter Africa. The dash brand includes a wide range of products in car care, household care, home fragrances and laundry care sectors. Multichemi International Ltd, which has been awarded ISO 9001:2015 certification, is a Sri Lankan pioneer in environment-friendly cleaning products, having launched the country’s first biodegradable, safe cleaning products over 28 years ago.

Amila Wijesinghe, General Manager of the Company said,”Having conquered the domestic market, we are now ready to capture the international market. We are confident that our products which are of high quality will receive a good demand overseas as well. The feedback we have received so far from our overseas customers is extremely encouraging. We are dedicated to taking our products to the international market, to bring in foreign currency to the country and help uplift the economy”,

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Janaka Abeysinghe appointed SLT CEO

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Sri Lanka Telecom PLC has announced the appointment of Janaka Abeysinghe as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with effect from February 1, 2022.

The incumbent CEO Kiththi Perera will be overseas on leave for a period of two years to pursue higher studies, according to a stock market filing by the company.

Abeysinghe joined SLT in 1991. In his present role, he leads the enterprise and wholesale business of SLT that provides integrated voice and data solutions to enterprises, government institutions, domestic telco operators and global wholesale carriers.

In his career at SLT spanning 29 years, he has held a number of senior positions, including general manager Enterprise and International Sales and has extensive experience in the areas of Enterprise Digital Services, Enterprise Communications Solutions, Data Communications, Business Development, Domestic and International Switching Operations and Global Wholesale Voice & Data Business.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Kansas, USA and a BSc degree in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering with a First Class Honours from the University of Moratuwa.

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