The broadband revenue of the Group surged significantly over the same period last year underpinned by the increase of FTTH (Fiber-to-the-Home) footprints across the country by the ongoing accelerated Fiber Expansion Program by SLT and the increase of mobile broadband services by Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd. PEOTV revenues too soared during the period under review. However, the Group experienced a de-growth in Voice revenues in both SLT and Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd.
The Group’s stringent cost management measures maintained the Group’s Operating Costs before Depreciation and Amortization at the same level compared to last year, pushing the EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization) margin up to 39.3% from 34.9%. The EBITDA increased to Rs. 26.4 Bn, up by 18.4% YoY. The Depreciation and Amortization of the Group increased by 9.8% YoY to Rs. 16.7 Bn. The Group recorded an impressive growth in Operating Profits of 37.0% YoY to Rs. 9.7 Bn mainly due to the elevated EBITDA of the period.
The Interest Expenses and Finance Costs rose to Rs. 2.1 Bn from Rs. 1.4 Bn YoY as a result of increased borrowings to finance the growing capital expenditure in order to align with the global technological trends and fulfilling the changing customer demands. FOREX losses of the Group mounted to Rs. 0.8 Bn from Rs. 58 Mn in the same period last year stemming from the depreciation of the Sri Lankan Rupee against USD, mainly due to the adverse impacts during the early stages of Covid-19 pandemic.
Group Profit Before Tax (PBT) recorded at Rs. 8.3 Bn, a 18.9% growth compared to the year before, while Profit After Tax (PAT) posted at Rs. 6.7 Bn, demonstrating a YoY increase of 35.4%. The PAT margin went up to 10.0% from 7.8% for the same period the year earlier.
During the first nine months of 2020, SLT Group paid out a total of Rs. 11.8 Bn as Direct and Indirect Taxes and Levies to the Government of Sri Lanka.
Rohan Fernando, the Group Chairman, commented, “Our performance in the first nine months is strong evidence of SLT Group’s ability to navigate during uncertain times. This performance is a testament to the vital role that our products play in our customers’ lives. Our goal is to make the SLT Group the number one in the telecommunication and digital market. In order to realize that goal we explore new local and international markets, join hands with new funding partners and utilize/ monetize the underutilized assets within the Group. We need to build and improve positive attitudes in the mindsets of our customers, employees and all other stakeholders to accomplish better than yesterday. The progress we have achieved in the first nine months will help us to gradually reduce the accumulated borrowing incurred on developing the National Fiberization program. This initiative which began in 2017 has placed the company on a strong platform to move further in the Digital world”.
Lalith Seneviratne, the Group Chief Executive Officer, remarked, “As a Group with widespread operations across the country in both fixed and mobile operating services, resourced with expertized human capital and physical capital, we strive to leverage the synergies within the Group and thereby to improve efficiency and lower the operational expenses. We have already made several initiatives on the same and we will continue to reap the benefits of Group collaborations over the years to come”.
Mr. Kiththi Perera, Chief Executive Officer of SLT stated, “SLT proudly launched ‘SLTGO’ the community WiFi network recently, in partnership with FON Wireless Limited, the world’s largest community WiFi network operator. This solution provides an opportunity to SLT customers to access internet anywhere from SLTGO WiFi hotspots in Sri Lanka and from 23 million WiFi hotspots all over the world. In addition, as a responsible corporate citizen, SLT is involved in many CSR activities including the ‘e-waste’ collection week in partnership with the Central Environmental Authority and the Department of Posts, and joined hands with Mobitel to transform discarded buses into libraries. We always believe delivering value to our customers, communities and all other stakeholders is the most promising way to build long term value”.
Mr. Priyantha Fernandez, Chief Operating Officer of SLT added, “We have successfully commenced the Phase 3 of accelerated Fiber Expansion Program to provide FTTH (Fiber-to-the-Home) connections across the country to provide an ultra-speed experience to our valued customers. We extended PEO TV GO services to our 4G LTE customers too to enjoy their favourite TV programs. I’m pleased to announce that our cloud based ‘SLT Storage’ facility reached one million files recently. Further, as the digital lifestyle partner of the country SLT entered into the mobile gaming arena with ‘SLT Kimaki’ in partnership with Arimac Lanka (Pvt) Ltd”.
Sampath Bank continues to partner Central Bank on promoting QR payments
Sampath Bank PLC joined hands with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) yet again to raise awareness and increase acceptance and usage of LANKAQR, the common Quick Response (QR) code standard for the country that was introduced in 2020.
Encouraging consumers to adopt LANKAQR for their day to day transactions, Sampath Bank held a 2-day promotional drive at one of Colombo’s latest outdoor dining destinations, Dining Capsule at Baladaksha Mawatha, near Galle Face Green on the 23rd and 24th of January.
Dharmasri Kumaratunga, Director – Payments and Settlements, Central Bank of Sri Lanka; Nanda Fernando, Managing Director, Sampath Bank PLC; and Tharaka Ranwala, Head of Operations and Group Chief Marketing Officer, Sampath Bank PLC, took part in the ceremonial launch of this initiative together with other senior representatives.
The Bank offered 25% cash back on payments made with the LANKAQR-enabled Sampath WePay digital payments mobile application at Dunhinda Colombo, Roots, Grand Monarch, Street Wok, Lavinia, Spice Junction, Giovanni’s Pizza al Taglio and BoxBar outlets at the Dining Capsule during this period.
“Offering greater convenience and security, technology continues to transform the way we conduct our day to day transactions. This is becoming increasingly true in Sri Lanka too, where consumers and businesses are actively adopting digital payments,” said Nanda Fernando, Managing Director, Sampath Bank PLC. “At Sampath Bank we have always focused on leveraging emerging technologies and delivering market relevant solutions that add value to our customers around the island. In line with this, we are delighted to partner with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka on driving the acceptance and usage of LANKAQR.”
“Across Sri Lanka, a growing number of merchants and consumers are getting on board the LANKAQR ecosystem and beginning to appreciate the value offered by QR based payments. We are witnessing this phenomenon with Sampath WePay, the secure, one stop digital wallet from Sampath Bank that allows users to store all types of financial instruments from any bank and carry out a wide range of real-time online transactions.
Taking cashless transactions across the country
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka in coordination with leading financial institutions and telcos in the country set in motion the ‘Rata Purama LANKAQR’ promotional campaign with a monumental event on January, 23. The ‘Rata Purama LANKAQR’ initiative represents the second phase of an island-wide campaign commenced late last year to introduce LANKAQR as the standard for mobile phone and digital payments countrywide, in moving towards a cashless and digitally-savvy society plus greater financial inclusion across Sri Lanka.
Held at Diyatha Uyana, Battaramulla, the event was graced by the Chief Guest, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, State Minister of Money & Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms, Ms. Yvette Fernando, Deputy Governor CBSL and the chairperson of the National Payments Council, D. Kumaratunge, Director Payments and Settlements – CBSL, and Thilak Piyadigama, chairman – CBSL appointed LANKAQR Committee/CEO SDB bank, among other distinguished guests.
The Colombo-leg of the LANKAQR national campaign, drawing on the participation of numerous high-profile guests plus the island’s top banks and financial institutions, aimed to advance the program’s overall vision of promoting digital transactions as the new norm and included city-wide promotions, covering major commercial locations in and around the city.
Developed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, LANKAQR is a common Quick Response (QR) code standard, and its adoption by most major financial institutions in Sri Lanka is a progressive step on the path to Sri Lankans fully embracing a future that is inevitably digital, gradually leading to an entirely cashless mode of transaction.
The LANKAQR system will allow banks, financial institutions and telcos, through their digital payment apps and platforms, to facilitate fast, secure and low cost digital payments to any merchant or service provider. LANKAQR provides customers with a mechanism for payment for all their needs ranging from groceries, healthcare to utilities, and even the purchase of goods from street-side vendors, directly from their bank account through the use of any LANKAQR-compliant mobile payment app.
SLT-MOBITEL gives ‘Power to Your Dreams’ with special connectivity offers
SLT-MOBITEL is all set to launch the ‘Power to Your Dreams – සිහිනයට සවියක්’ campaign to provide the latest connectivity solutions to microbusinesses on the of January, 25 the company announced recently. This program will provide ICT solutions packages encompassing products and services essential for microbusinesses, at maximum affordability.
Understanding the connectivity needs of the microbusiness segment, the promotion provides them solutions that fulfil their requirements. Accordingly, communication, business networking, cloud technology, entertainment & IoT, communications devices and business infrastructure services for various market segments within the microbusiness ecosystem is provided utilising SLT-MOBITEL products and services such as voice & mobile telephony, 4G LTE, SLT Broadband, SLT Fibre and Peo TV services.
Speaking on the planned promotion, Sanjeewa Jayamaha, General Manager – SME Business Development, Sri Lanka Telecom stated, “Microbusinesses are the bedrock of Sri Lanka’s economic activity, supporting day to day transactions for millions of people. It is vitally important that they receive the full benefit of the connectivity solutions offered by the national ICT solutions provider, Sri Lankan Telecom. The brand unification of SLT-MOBITEL means now we can offer a full bouquet of products and services to our clients. This promotion will ensure that microbusinesses from various segments can now access the connectivity solutions most important for their businesses to thrive.”
Microbusinesses operating in entertainment and leisure, fashion and beauty, daily essentials, medical and health care, education, special occasion services, financial services, e-commerce and software development, professional services, construction support and transportation and delivery services will be able to benefit from bespoke packages crafted by SLT-MOBITEL with their specific industry needs taken into consideration.
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