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Stocks close sharply lower, most sectors witness declines



by Hiran H.Senewiratne 

Trading activities at the CSE was bearish yesterday as most of the investors had pursued profit taking from all time high share prices during the recent trading days.

“As US dollar rate moved up to Rs. 220 to 230 level, most of the export oriented companies’ share price appreciated considerably within those days. However, the Central Bank’s unofficial peg on the rupee rate to the dollar at a fixed rate of Rs 203 for commercial banks triggered concerns among investors”, stock market analysts said.

Local banks quoted rates of Rs197/203 to the US dollar on Tuesday, stronger from around 226/233 to the US dollar a day earlier, following an official request, financial sources said.

Sri Lanka has no interbank spot market to establish a rupee/dollar price and foreign exchange is matched within banks and in an over-the-counter market.

The rupee had fallen to around 238 to the US dollar Monday, in the OTC market, financial sources said despite attempts by a group of banks to stabilize it at around 230 to the US dollar.

Due to that, share prices especially in  export related companies witnessed a slight negative impact on those stock markets, analysts said.

Despite intermittent recovery the stock market closed sharply lower due to profit taking as well as concerns over currency instability amidst high turnover.

All Share Price Index was down by 263 points and S and P SL20 down by 79.4 points. Turnover stood at Rs 10.4 billion with a single crossing. The crossing was reported in HNB (Non Voting), which crossed 4.5 million shares to the tune of Rs 590 and its share price traded at Rs 130.

In the retail market top five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were Expolanka Holdings Rs 3.67 billion (21.1 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 2.1 billion (227 million shares traded), LOLC Holdings Rs 619 million (1.1 million shares traded), Hayleys Rs 508 million (4.8 million shares traded) and Dipped Products Rs 339 million (5.7 million shares traded). During the day 489 million share volume changed hands in 61,510 transactions.

In the meantime, Acme Printing and Packaging Holdings’s second largest shareholder Richardson Holdings Limited sold their entire stake to E.B Creasy and company for a Rs 86 million consideration. Richardson Holdings held  19.4 percent stakes which sold eight million shares at a share price of Rs 12 to E.B Creasy company.  It is said that high net worth and institutional investor participation was noted in HNB nonvoting, ACME Printing and Packaging and Vallibel Power Erathna.

Mixed interest was observed in Expolanka Holdings, LOLC Holdings and Royal Ceramics, whilst retail interest was noted in Browns Investments, SMB Leasing – voting and nonvoting.


HNB renews partnership with Prime Group for exclusive home loans



HNB Assistant General Manager - PFS, Kanchana Karunagama (fourth from left) and Prime Group Director – Corporate Affairs, Nalinda Heenatigala (fifth from left) exchanging the MoU in the presence of other officials

Paving the path for aspiring homeowners, Sri Lanka’s leading private sector bank, HNB PLC, renewed its long-standing partnership with local real estate giant Prime Group to offer investors exclusive deals and benefits.

The partnership will offer customers a range of benefits, including special interest rates during the September and October promotional period. The exclusive offer extends to all properties across Prime Group’s extensive portfolio, including highly anticipated Prime Residencies projects, such as The Grand Ward Place, The Beachfront Uswetakeiyawa II and 43 by the Sea on Marine Drive, Dehiwala.

“Building your own home in Sri Lanka can be quite a challenge. The escalating costs of construction, driven by rising inflation, have added to the struggle. We at HNB remain steadfast in our commitment to empower every Sri Lankan to own a home of their own. As such, we are delighted to partner with Prime Group again to offer our customers affordable financing options and exceptional services,” HNB Assistant General Manager – Personal Financial Services (PFS), Kanchana Karunagama, said.

Delivering the best value to its customers, HNB will offer special interest rates during the promotional period. Prospective homeowners can make use of convenient and flexible repayment options tailor-made to their budgets, together with doorstep mortgage advisory services provided by the Bank’s dedicated agents, who will assist with the legal documentation needed for the facility.

“As Prime Group, our mission is to empower Sri Lankans with the chance to achieve homeownership, allowing them to find stability and make the most of these challenging times. Therefore, it is a pleasure for us to partner with HNB in serving our customers,” Prime Group Director – Corporate Affairs Nalinda Heenatigala said.

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SLT-MOBITEL empowers Apple iPhone users across Sri Lanka to embrace 5G revolution



SLT-MOBITEL is providing a groundbreaking opportunity, enabling customers with latest Apple iPhone devices to experience the best of 5G technology through its state-of-the-art 5G trial network. Apple users who have 5G compatible iPhone devices and with the latest iOS 17 update can now experience 5G when they are in a SLT-MOBITEL 5G trial zone.

Recognising 5G as a game-changer, SLT-MOBITEL was the first to trial 5G technology in South Asia in 2018 and has been at the forefront of the 5G revolution in Sri Lanka ever since. Recently, SLT-MOBITEL expanded its 5G pre-commercial trial network across main cities including Colombo, Kandy, Anuradhapura, Galle, and Jaffna, setting pathways for customers to seamlessly explore the possibilities of 5G technology.

Celebrating the new offering, SLT-MOBITEL is providing its customers with an amazing 10GB of free trial data on the lightning-fast 5G network. The trial data allows users to explore the capabilities of 5G without an initial cost and harness the full power of 5G technology, unlocking a world of new possibilities.SLT-MOBITEL extends a special invitation to customers who own 5G enabled iPhone 12 devices and beyond, to seize this exciting opportunity and become part of the 5G revolution by updating their eligible iOS device.

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SLPA poised as an exemplary model for SOEs, says its chairman



A group photograph taken at the Annual Performance Review Meeting (APRM) of SLPA

Keith D. Bernard – the Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), welcoming the attendees as chair, made this comments at the Annual Performance Review Meeting (APRM) of SLPA for the year 2022. The meeting was held on September 14, 2023, at its headquarters in Colombo.Entities incorporated under any statute other than the Companies Act must have an APRM every year where the annual report is presented. The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) was established under Act No. 51 of 1970.

In terms of the Guidelines for Corporate Governance of PED Circular No. 1/2021 dated November 16, 2021, it is important that the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) maintain continuous communication with their stakeholders at all times through mandatory requirements such as the Annual Report. Such disclosure of information ensures transparency and accountability without compromising any statutory or operational requirements of the entity.

Speaking at the event, the Chairman of SLPA expressed his perspective on the organisation’s future direction. He acknowledged SLPA’s recent achievements and progress in completing the East Container Terminal (ECT) and stressed the need for strategic planning with government support for the future.

“At present, SLPA serves as the regulator, operator, and landlord of our ports. In our capacity as the landlord, we possess assets throughout the country, and all commercial ports fall under the purview of SLPA. Additionally, we compete directly with private operators as operators ourselves. Therefore, we must carefully consider whether our role as operators should remain independent or involve collaboration with other operators. It’s crucial that we approach this strategically and define our precise role in this sector for the future,” he said.

Bernard also highlighted the significance of conducting a self-assessment in the pursuit of good governance within the organisation.

“We have commendable ministerial support and boast a talented team of dedicated professionals who tirelessly work towards the success of our port. While we have encountered challenges in the past, we are confident that, leveraging our strengths, we can overcome any hurdles. SLPA has the potential to serve as an exemplary model for the private sector, leading the way and becoming a guiding beacon for all institutions in Sri Lanka,” he said.

The Additional Director General of the Department of Public Enterprises – B.A.T. Rodrigo, commenting at the event, mentioned that in comparison to the other state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in Sri Lanka, SLPA is the leading SOE amongst them and has been a role model to other SOEs. He wished SLPA would continue doing so in the future. He also thanked the Chairman, the Board of Directors, and the Management of SLPA for arranging the APRM adhering to the good governance guidelines.

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