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Technology Transfer Mission at Mahindra Ideal Lanka Pvt Limited, Welipenna



SL technicians set to roll over all stages of car assembly at the plant

An Indian Automobile Engineer, who was a plant head Mahindra Ideal Lanka Pvt Ltd. (MILPL), car assembly plant in Wellipenna of is due to leave the island after successfully completing this training mission. Post his movement, MILPL plant will be run by 100% Sri Lankan technical workforce.

Engineer Sadhasivam Durairaj told the media recently that he would be completing his two-year technology transfer mission and Plant Head role on January 31, 2021 and he had utmost confidence that Sri Lankan technicians have gained the knowledge and competency to create a product according to the specifications of Mahindra & Mahindra, India.

“In fact, I can assure that Sri Lankan car assembly technicians at MILPL can perform the duties and responsibilities such as diagnostic tests on the assembled product to ensure efficiency and conduct adjustments as needed on par with global standards,” he said.

“Assembly technicians must be knowledgeable about the technology and mechanical industry as well as have the ability to analyse designs as a guide for creating high-quality products. Sri Lankan technicians have now absorbed all these skills to perform the assembly operations with no supervision”.

“I trained around 50 technicians and found that working at an assembly plant producing a quality product had come naturally to them. That made my job easier and more enjoyable. In fact, when I first interviewed them, I had planned to ask them only the basic questions, but I was surprised that they were even able to answer questions on more complex things such as functions of car parts, Importance of automotive systems, root causes etc. That made me confident of producing global standard quality cars in Sri Lanka from day one. I saw that training was mainly required in areas such as standardization, plant safety, shop floor disciplines etc. Over the period, they learned quickly and they adhered to standards and specifications. I’d simply say that they were good learners and followers”.

Referring to personal attributes of his Sri Lankan technical staff, Sadhasivam said,” they showed a great deal of self-discipline, attention to detail, good problem-solving skills, passion for technology and focus on the end-user of the product; all of which led to functional excellence at the assembly line”.

“The global automotive industry supply chain adopts lean manufacturing concepts, our Mahindra Ideal Lanka plant is a venue for Lean Production. We procure around 30% parts locally – seat, exhaust, battery and tyre, the local value-added parts are ordered based on the monthly requirements and procured on Just-In-Time (JIT) basis. similarly, other consumables and Imported parts are procured based on our stock holding policy – this depends on the lead time which includes packaging, shipment and customs clearance”, he said.

“Mahindra vehicles are a strong line-up of great reliability. In India, we call it Scorpio company or Bolero company because it is well- known for its sturdy products. And Ideal Motors Sri Lanka is a well established network with its service centers, showrooms, logistics and customer care centres. That synergy will ensure customer delight like no other combination,” he said.

When asked about the assembly plant’s production capacity, Sadhasivam said,” the annual capacity is 5,000 units, now we produce 100+ cars per month and we will ramp up daily production as market demand increases. Presently we have assembled KUV100 Manual Petrol variants, and we have planned to add KUV100 AMT Diesel variants in the time to come”.

“Our technicians at MILPL plant are committed to ‘Zero Defect Manufacturing and doing it right the first time. The past two years of my life as Head of Vehicle Production Plant of Mahindra Ideal Lanka have been full of amazing experiences and a lot of professional satisfaction. I came across some of the most talented, experienced and friendly coworkers in Sri Lanka, I would miss being part of this great workplace and would say that anyone who gets the opportunity to work here will find it an energy-filled workplace”.

Sadhasivam is moving on to a new ‘challenging’ position in another automotive company in India next month.

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Healthcare, Consumer and Agri propel Sunshine Holdings’ strong FY23 performance



Amal Cabraal, Chairman

Diversified Sri Lankan conglomerate Sunshine Holdings (CSE: SUN) recorded resilient revenue growth in a challenging macroeconomic environment, reporting notable top-line growth during the year ended 31 March 2023. Group’s Healthcare and Consumer sectors led growth while healthcare segment remained the major contributor to total Group revenue in FY23.

Sunshine recorded a consolidated Group revenue of Rs.51.9 billion for the year ended 31 March 2023, an increase of 61.3% over last year. Profit after tax (PAT) for the period in review was contracted by 28.0% to Rs. 3.6 billion. The gross profit improved by Rs.3.3 billion, up 31.9% YoY, compared to the previous year, driven by revenue growth. Gross profit margin for the period stood at 26.0%, a contraction of 580 basis points against the corresponding period last year.

The Group’s Healthcare business emerged as the largest contributor to Sunshine’s revenue, accounting for 46.1% of the total, while Consumer Goods and Agri Business sectors of the group contributed 36.6% and 16.9% respectively of the total Group revenue. The Group EBIT closed at Rs. 7 billion, an increase of 23.0% YoY.

Commenting on the results, Amal Cabraal, Chairman of Sunshine Holdings said, “The Group had to face and overcome tough economic factors and adverse market conditions which persisted throughout the year. These headwinds impacted some of the core sectors, and are expected to continue to do so in the short to medium term.”

However, Cabraal highlighted the Group’s commendable response to these challenges, adding, “Through robust cost management initiatives and process reengineering efforts, supported by the integration of digital technologies, Sunshine has delivered a strong performance in FY23. Despite the difficulties, the Group has displayed resilience, and takes an optimistic outlook on fortifying operations to further strengthen overall performance.”

Cabraal further emphasized that “Every possible measure has been taken to ensure business sustainability and continuity in the upcoming months.”

Healthcare sector recorded a revenue of Rs. 23.9 billion during FY23, a significant increase of 36.7% YoY backed by the improved performance in Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices and Manufacturing segments. EBIT for the sector was Rs. 3.0 billion with PAT of the sector increased by 13% YoY. Lina Manufacturing, the pharma manufacturing business, commenced commercial operations in the Metered Dose Inhalers (MDI) plant in July 2022, which was a significant milestone for the business.

Consumer Goods sector reported a 135.6% YoY increase in revenue to close at Rs. 19 billion in FY23. The revenue increase was predominantly driven by the addition of export business. The consumer brands Zesta, Watawala, Ran Kahata and Daintee continued to grow market shares, despite challenging consumer sentiment.

Agribusiness sector revenue increased by 35.4% YoY during FY21/22 to Rs. 8.8 billion, driven by the increase in palm oil NSA. PAT of the Agri sector closed at Rs. 2.3 billion for FY21/22, down by 33.6%.

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ADB budget support loan doesn’t elicit positive response from bourse



By Hiran H.Senewiratne

The CSE did not react positively yesterday to the Asian Development Bank’s approval of a US$ 350 million loan as budget support, as part of Sri Lanka’s economic stabilization program, together with the rupee’s appreciation against the dollar, market analysts said.

“The ABD is supporting a series of policy reforms which are required to stabilize the economy and to spur growth. Budget support loans ease cash flows of the government and do not involve imports of goods. This has created some limbo for investors, market analysts said.

Consequently, shares edged- down in mid- day trade and ended on a negative note. The main All- Share Price Index was down by 118.97 points, while the most liquid index S&P SL20 was also down by 41.3 points.

Turnover stood at Rs 516 million without any crossings. In the retail market, top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Dialog Axiata Rs 73.7 million (7.2 million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 54.42 million (426,000 shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 51.7 million (382,000 shares traded), Prime Lands Residencies Rs 25.1 million (3.11 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 21.3 million (4.3 million shares traded), Hemas Holdings Rs 18.8 million (298,000 shares traded) and Elpitiya Plantations Rs 16.2 million (164,000 shares traded). During the day 38.3 million share volumes changed hands in 11000 transactions.

The rupee opened at Rs 296.50 /297.50 against the US dollar in the spot market yesterday, while bond yields were up, dealers said. The rupee closed at Rs 296.00 /297.50 to the US dollar on Friday after opening at around Rs 302.80/303.10.

Sri Lanka’s rupee is appreciating amid negative private credit which has reduced outflows after the central bank hiked rates and stopped printing money.

In the first year of an IMF program, a pegged central bank usually collects reserves and mops up liquidity generated from the purchases or there is a balance of payments surplus.

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HNB reopens Student Savings Unit at St. Joseph’s College



HNB MD /CEO Jonathan Alles (centre) and HNB Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Dilshan Rodrigo (right) presenting the first HNB TEEN+ card to a savings account holder

Reaffirming its commitment to fostering financial literacy among students, Sri Lanka’s leading private sector bank HNB PLC, announced the reopening of its Student Savings unit at St. Joseph’s College, Colombo.

The reopening comes as part of the bank’s continued efforts to instil the habit of saving among young minds. The event was graced by the esteemed presence of St. Joseph’s College Rector, Rev. Fr. Ranjith Andradi, and the Managing Director/CEO of HNB, Jonathan Alles, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Dilshan Rodrigo who are distinguished past pupils of the College, along with Deputy General Manager- Retail and SME Banking Sanjay Wijemanne, Assistant General Manager, Network Management and Business Development Supun Dias and Head Office Branch Chief Manager, Dilanka De Silva.

During the ceremony HNB Managing Director/CEO, Jonathan Alles expressed his delight, stating, “We are extremely pleased to be a part of this momentous occasion, celebrating the reopening of the Student Savings Unit at St. Joseph’s College. Through this Unit, we aim to empower students with a deeper understanding of saving and the value of living within their means. By developing this essential life skill, students will be well prepared to fund their higher education and make other important investments in the future.”

The Unit will mainly offer student access to the wide range of savings products and investment plans available for minors. Moreover, the bank aims to create a digital payment ecosystem for the school also offering members of the staff and the Old Boys Association with exceptional services and benefits.

St. Joseph’s College Rector Rev. Fr. Ranjith Andradi, expressing his pride in the partnership, stated: “We are proud to be associated with HNB in reopening the Student Savings Unit. This initiative not only imparts valuable lessons in investing and saving but also instils a strong sense of financial management in our students. We believe this partnership will contribute to their progress and success.”

The Student Savings Unit, introduced by HNB in 1994, has played a pivotal role in promoting financial literacy among students. With 162 units established across Sri Lanka, HNB actively engages students in managing mini-banks within their schools, fostering leadership and financial responsibility. Each year, HNB provides comprehensive training to over 1,000 students, empowering them to become financially savvy individuals.

HNB is rated A (lka) by Fitch Ratings and was awarded the esteemed title of ‘Sri Lanka’s Best Corporate Citizen’ for 2022 by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. Other major accolades include being ranked among the Top 1,000 Banks in the World for six consecutive years by the acclaimed UK based “The Banker Magazine”, being adjudged the ‘Best Retail Bank in Sri Lanka’ for the 13th occasion by the Asian Banker, as well as securing a Top 5 position on Business Today’s Top 40 rankings for 2022.

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