HNB recorded a Profit After Tax (PAT) of Rs 4.7 Bn during the first quarter of 2021 while Profit Before income Tax (PBT) amounted to Rs 5.5 Bn. At Group level PBT and PAT were at Rs 5.9 Bn and Rs 4.8 Bn respectively.
The substantial monetary loosening adopted to revive the pandemic hit economy resulted in AWPLR dropping by nearly 400 bps over the past 12 months. This resulted in the interest income decreasing by 13% YoY to Rs 23.7 Bn. Interest expenses too exhibited a decline of 17.2% YoY to Rs 13.1 Bn driven by strong CASA (current accounts and savings accounts) mobilization. The CASA ratio improved from 36.2% in March 2020 to 39.7% by the end of Q1 2021 as the CASA base grew by 30% YoY to Rs 395 Bn. As a result, the Bank’s Net Interest Income (NII) for the first three months 2021 decreased by 7.2% YoY to Rs 10.6 Bn.
Commenting on the Bank’s results Managing Director / CEO of HNB Jonathan Alles stated: “HNB has demonstrated resilience, strength and stability during a year of unprecedented disruption. We are grateful for the complete trust and support of our customers, investors and other stakeholders throughout this time. I also wish to place on record my deepest appreciation for the unwavering dedication of our staff in continuing to serve our clientele through multiple waves of the pandemic, despite the inherent risks involved. Our top priority during this time was to ensure their safety while supporting customers affected by the pandemic.
“We provided moratoria under three phases while granting working capital finance out of CBSL schemes and our own funds. In addition to the financial assistance provided during the last year, we enhanced our digital proposition to ensure that customers could securely and reliably access all of our services while staying safe from the pandemic. This included introducing many new features on SOLO – our digital payment platform, and the launch of our new Digital Banking App and e-commerce capabilities for SME clients among many others. We are currently in the process of further refining these powerful new services, which will undoubtedly provide greater convenience for all HNB customers in the future.”
Net Fee and Commission income for the first quarter grew by 10.2% YoY to Rs 2.3 Bn as business activity rebounded during the period. The Credit Cards business, Trade and Remittances which constitute a major share of fees performed well despite restrictions on imports continuing to be in place. Other fee sources, which also encompass digital business lines rose by 24.4% YoY.
Exchange rate volatility and movements during the period, led to substantial revaluation gains on swaps and forward agreements. Swap costs were also lower relative to the corresponding quarter of 2020 as swap premiums declined in line with Dollar interest rates. Accordingly, the Bank recorded a net exchange gain of Rs 1.9 Bn which was a 53% YoY improvement compared to Q1 2020. The total dividend income from investments for Q1 2021 was Rs 421Mn compared to Rs 13Mn in the corresponding period of 2020, as dividends declared for the financial year 2019 were paid only in Q2 2020 due to the pandemic.
NPA ratio of the Bank improved marginally to 4.28% as at end of Q1 2021 compared to 4.31% as at end December 2020, as majority of customers who were previously under moratorium commenced repayments since October 2020. The impairment charge for the quarter ended 31st March 2021 was Rs 2.7Bn in comparison to Rs 4.7Bn recorded for Q1 2020. The impairment for Q1 2020 included a charge of Rs 708Mn on account of sovereign bonds mainly as a result of the sovereign downgrade that was effected in April 2020.
“More than a year after the pandemic, it is unfortunate that we are now seeing the most severe rise in COVID-19 cases to date. All of the lessons that we have learned over the past year will be put to the test. While progress has been made in terms of vaccinations, the economic impact of this latest wave of COVID-19 infections will hinge on how effectively we as a nation are able to rally together to control the spread of the virus.
In this crucial moment, as a responsible domestic systemically important bank, as always, we will continue to support our valued customers and play a meaningful role as an essential service provider. We have already enabled all our digital channels, and are also fully geared to support business revival and help rebuild our nation. We request the public to remain calm, adhering to all health and safety guidelines provided and to act with responsibility and compassion towards one another. We also urge the authorities to expand the vaccination programme and in particular seek their support to make vaccination a priority for front line and critical staff across the banking industry,” Alles stated.
The zealous focus on cost optimization facilitated a marginal 1% YoY dip in Operating costs to Rs 5.8 Bn. Cost to Income was hence improved by a commendable 170 bps relative to the comparative period in 2020 to 38% for Q1 2021.
CSE Continues Regional Awareness Drive in Negombo
The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) successfully concluded yet another virtual forum organized as part of an awareness drive for island-wide Small and Medium Enterprises (SME). The second event of the series which was held for SMEs in Negombo, drew strong interest among the entrepreneurial community based in the region. The series of virtual forums is hosted by CSE with the objective of promoting the advantages of listing on the Empower Board.
Ms. Hansinee Beddage, Senior Analyst at Acuity Partners (PVT) Limited, Mr. Rohan Senewiratne, Managing Director of Atarah Capital Partners (PVT) Limited, Mr. Suraj Surwaweera, Managing Director of Chrissworld Limited and Mr. Nuwan Chathuranga, Manager of CSE Negombo Branch made a strong case on a number of potential advantages available for SMEs through the Empower Board. The speakers further joined in a Question-and-Answer session which fostered an engaging and open conversation with the participating entrepreneurs.
Ms. Hansinee Beddage, elaborated on the process of listing and the relaxed policies applicable to SMEs through the Empower Board. A comprehensive comparison between the growth of listed companies and companies opting for other sources of capital were discussed.
She further commented on the multitude of benefits of listing, including capital acquisition for growth prospects, elevation of business value and defining the market value of the company, investor attraction, improvement of business recognition, business opportunities and regulation of business processes.
Mr. Suraj Surwaweera, Managing Director of Chrissworld Limited, shared the company’s experience in the listing process. He explained the specific and demanding capital requirements of the warehousing industry and how listing on the Empower Board has benefited them. He further elaborated on the recognition among the business community and the national and international stakeholders they have attracted to the company within a short period since listing.
As the advisors and sponsors to Empower Board’s first listing, Chrissworld Limited, Mr. Rohan Senewiratne, Managing Director of Atarah Capital Partners (PVT) Limited added that the main objective of sponsors is not to list a multitude of companies but to bring suitable companies to the correct standard to list.
He elaborated on the importance to ensure minority shareholder protection, sharing his experience in listing Chrissworld and wished that company a successful journey ahead. Senewiratne explained reaching the required standard to list is not a hard process but an organized restructuring process, in order to bring the business to a better standard so that a company gains the trust of investors.
For more information on the Empower Board and CSE visit www.cse.lk or contact Mr. Purasisi Jinadasa, Head of Origination & Issuer Relations at CSE.
(CSE news release)
LAN and GBAN to promote Sri Lankan startups globally via Entrepreneurship World Cup
Lankan Angel Network (LAN), the country’s largest network of angel investors, has been appointed the Entrepreneurship World Cup’s Official National Organizer for Sri Lanka.
This long-term, strategic initiative follows on from LAN joining the Global Business Angel Network (GBAN) as a committee member. GBAN is affiliated with the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN). LAN and GBAN aim to take local entrepreneurship to a global level with the Entrepreneurship World Cup’s Global Hosts MISK, GEN and TGELF.
The Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) will offer Sri Lanka’s national champion, to be selected in July, the chance to pitch on a global stage for a share of USD 1 million in cash prizes, plus additional investment opportunities, and another USD750,000 in in-kind support. EWC in 2020 featured 175,000 entrants applying from 200 countries.
According to LAN Chairman Mano Sekaram, “Lanka Angel Network is proud to be entrusted with organizing the national finals for the Entrepreneurship World Cup, a testament to our longtime efforts in pioneering and building the local startup ecosystem and promoting local talent worldwide. We are also pleased that the top startups of Sri Lanka are participating in this endeavor, especially considering the challenging business environment experienced by so many both here and abroad.”
With a goal to grow to 250 angel investors by 2025, with 30% of its membership from abroad, LAN’s future is closely linked with the growth of the local startup ecosystem. During these trying times in particular, LAN relies on the deep domain expertise of its unmatched pool of mentors and investors to assist startups in traversing the difficult business environment they are experiencing.
Most importantly, LAN also strives to provide startups with networking, training, and even follow-on funding, an essential part of its efforts to grow its portfolio.
EWC is more than just a global pitch competition with a shot at life-changing prizes. It elevates entrepreneurs from all stages—idea-stage, early-stage, growth-stage or beyond— by providing them with tools and resources to grow their venture. EWC Accelerates is a virtual training and mentorship program that helps entrepreneurs hone their skills and increase their chances of winning their national competitions – as well as those who advance to the Global Finals.
The EWC online platform also offers all contestants who complete an application, access to more than USD 25,000 in perks from partners such as Google Cloud, Hubspot, Stripe and more.
National Finals competitions are held through June and July 2021. In November 2021, 100 startups will be flown to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to participate in the EWC Accelerates program for an intensive startup bootcamp and to compete in the EWC Global Finals.
To learn more, visit the Entrepreneurship World Cup at entrepreneurshipworldcup.com
Amãna Bank’s Dilan Joseph becomes Sri Lanka Toastmaster Champion
Amãna Bank’s Toastmaster (TM) Dilan Joseph was adjudicated as the Sri Lankan Champion of the Toastmasters District 82 International Speech Contest which was recently held on a virtual platform and will now go on to proudly represent Sri Lanka in the Region 13 Quarter Finals.
Having previously won the Club, Area and Division contests with his enthralling speech, TM Dilan Joseph competed amongst the country’s finest orators in the national competition representing 8 Divisions constituting of 179 corporate and community clubs in Sri Lanka. Titled ‘The Gap’, TM Dilan’s heartwarming speech gave one key message, which is applicable to all, that is accept yourself for who you are.
Going forward with his dream of becoming a World Champion, TM Dilan Joseph, representing the entire Sri Lankan Toastmasters fraternity, will compete amongst country winners from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia at the Region 13 Quarter Finals. District 82 of Toastmasters International is known to be a breeding ground for champion public speakers, witnessing 3 World Champions of Public Speaking during the short span of the last 7 years, including producing Sri Lanka’s one and only world champion TM Dananjaya Hettiarachchi.
TM Dilan Joseph, who is attached to Amãna Bank’s Retail Banking Division as the Manager Digital Customer Experience, is the incumbent President of Amãna Bank Toastmasters Club. Prior to this victory, TM Dilan Joseph also won the Division F Humorous Speech Competition in 2018.
Commenting on his success, the Bank’s Head of Human Resources Farhan Refai said “We are very honoured of Dilan’s achievement. I believe it is a great example in showcasing dedication and hard work to achieve one’s dream. Since joining Amãna Bank TMC in 2015, Dilan has been an active member of the club and has come a long way, having won many other speech competitions. On behalf of the Bank, we would like to wish Dilan all the best as he represents the entire country in the forthcoming Quarterfinals, and pray he becomes successful in reaching his ultimate goal of becoming a World Champion.”
Sharing his views, TM Dilan Joseph said “I am truly blessed to have won this competition and would like to congratulate all other participants who gave out their best at the District contest as well all others who contested in the runner up from Club level onwards. I am thankful to the support extended by Amãna Bank and Amãna Bank TMC to me in this journey. Toastmasters is a wonderful program that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. I am humbled to say that I have come a long way and benefitted immensely from the Toastmasters program.
Amãna Bank PLC is a stand-alone institution licensed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange with Jeddah based IsDB Group being the principal shareholder having a 29.97% shareholding of the Bank. The IsDB Group is a ‘AAA’ rated multilateral development financial institution with a membership of 57 countries. The Bank was recently recognized with the Best Employer Brand Award at the Sri Lankan edition of the Best Employer Brand Awards 2020 organized by World HRD Congress. Amãna Bank does not have any subsidiaries, associates or affiliated institutions, other than its flagship CSR initiative ‘OrphanCare’ Trust.
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