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Stocks close sharply lower, most sectors witness declines

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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.



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SLTMobitel-PEOTV and DP Education launch ‘Videsa DP Education’

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SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT, Telecommunications and Mobile Services Provider has teamed up with DP Education, to launch ‘Videsa DP Education’, a dedicated educational channel on CH.215 of SLTMobitel–PEOTV, ensuring school children from Grade Five to Advanced Level have access to a high-quality learning experience with Rewind TV.

The revolutionary services of SLTMobitel-PEOTV includes ‘Videsa’ a series of educational channels hosted on the platform, that comprise of 06 TV channels dedicated to individual grades covering grades 06 to 11, that enhance the knowledge sharing with curriculum-centered lessons from a panel of reputed teachers. DP Education, a unique online learning platform, leverages digital solutions to deliver quality education to empower students. Together, Videsa and DP Education, enrich the educational arena further with the ‘Videsa DP Education’ channel, a dedicated television space for the students at home.

This path-breaking partnership is a commitment by SLTMobitel–PEOTV to support the education of children, whose options are limited due to the challenges convergence posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative will use the home TV screen and mobile devices as a ubiquitous medium to impart knowledge providing access to quality education for students across the country.

Commenting on the initiative, Rohan Fernando, Group Chairman, SLT said, “We understand that parents are now faced with the challenge of keeping their children safe during the pandemic as well as having to deal with the ongoing disturbances to their children’s education. As a solution to ensure that their learning remains uninterrupted, we have already introduced six different channels for Grade 6 to Grade 11 students through our Videsa digital platform. Our latest initiative and partnership with DP Education has now enabled us to launch a dedicated channel with unique learning experiences in key subjects such as Mathematics, Science and English for students from Grade 5 to Advanced Level with the Rewind TV facility. We are appreciative of the exceptional efforts extended by Mr. Dammika Perera and his team at DP Education and are grateful for the opportunity to connect the two learning platforms together in unison to create a revolutionary learning experience for our children”.

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Thornton and Dane’s combined projects portfolio tops Rs 5.9 billion

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Thornton Engineering, the Nextventures owned civil engineering company, has announced the acquisition of a 100% stake in Dane Engineering (Pvt) Ltd. for Rs 350 million, creating a construction business with a combined portfolio of Rs 5.9 billion.

The new entity, Thornton and Dane Engineering, expects to add new construction projects with a cumulative value of Rs 5 billion within the current financial year, nearly doubling its projects portfolio, the Company said in its announcement.

“We are excited at the post-acquisition prospects for the new company, because we strongly believe that it is a good example for the concept of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts,” said Thornton and Dane Director Dinesh Schaffter. “The combined strengths of Thornton and Dane create a formidable as well as extremely flexible engineering company that is capable of executing projects of varying scope and scale.”

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Capacity-building programs for SMEs

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Sri Lanka Chamber of Small and Medium Industries (SLCSMI), the apex body for SMEs in Sri Lanka has been at the forefront in supporting the SMEs during the pandemic. The chamber took several measures since the pandemic first hit the country in the first quarter of 2020. The Webinar series “Way Forward for SMEs” was a grand success among other initiatives, which was conducted with the participation of prominent scholars, leading business personalities as well as top rankers of state and private sector organizations.

The president of SLCSMI, Prof. Rohan De Silva said: “We are always there to represent and support the SMEs in the country and that’s our prime duty. During the first wave, we understood the need to share the knowledge and provide psychological support for the business owners to withstand the difficult times and that’s how the webinar series was born. Our initiative was well received by the businesses and our audience was not limited to Sri Lanka alone, as we witnessed participants from around 12 countries.”

Prof. Rohan further said that the chamber has looked at the possibilities of providing sustainable solutions to the SMEs beyond merely conducting knowledge sharing sessions and the Executive Committee has decided to introduce a range of Capacity Building programs to develop the SMEs. These programs include different solutions to address various gaps among the SMEs and the chamber intends to issue a valuable certificate for the participants of these programs.

The chamber has partnered with the Asia Pacific Institute of Money and Entrepreneurship Development (iMED) to design and deliver the programs and the details of the Programs will be unveiled at the launching event scheduled to be held on the 25th of September.

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