Tokyo Cement Group (Tokyo Cement) reported its results for the second quarter ended 30th September 2021, with a turnover of Rs. 11,885 Mn reflecting a Year-on-Year growth of 4%, compared to Rs. 11,413 Mn during the same period last year.
Overall, Tokyo Cement’s sales volumes have reduced by 3% compared to the second quarter last year, due to the shortages and delays in the supply chain of raw materials.
The Group recorded Rs. 173 Mn profit before tax for the second quarter against Rs. 2,277 Mn for the same period last year, whilst recording a profit after tax of Rs. 132 Mn as against Rs. 2,104 Mn during the same period last year.
This sharp decline in profitability was a result of increasing raw material price, currency depreciation and exploding freight costs that significantly increased the cost of production. In addition, all other overhead costs increased throughout the financial year further impacting the bottom line.
Even though Tokyo Cement was operating at maximum capacity, a shortage in cement supply was experienced in the market during this period. The Maximum Retail Price imposed on cement prevented free market forces from freely adjusting to keep up with the volatility of macro-economic conditions. These matters and other outlining reasons were brought to the attention of the Consumer Affairs Authority.
In order to curb the spread of the pandemic, a countrywide lockdown was declared from 20th August till 1st October, slowing down most local economic activity for forty-two days.
Throughout the quarter as mentioned above, shortages and delays in imported raw materials persisted due to intermittent operational shutdowns of supplier facilities and ports, a scarcity of vessels, and other supply chain challenges arising out of the pandemic. The fuel price increase and unavailability of vessels escalated inbound freight rates by over 300% within a very short period. Further, considerable delays occurred in opening LCs with the banks, wherein a process that typically happened on the same day now takes several weeks.
The cost of clinker continued to increase in line with coal prices, as demand outstripped supply. The value of the Sri Lankan rupee depreciated when compared to the same period last year, compounding upon sharp price hikes of imported raw materials including clinker and paper for bags.
Due to heightened fiscal barriers, cement importers drastically cut down or completely halted importation thus resulting in a market shortage. To compensate the market gap, Tokyo Cement increased efficiencies to maximize the installed local production capacity to fulfill the demand.
Towards the end of the quarter a cement shortage occurred in the market due to multiple reasons beyond the control of the manufacturers. Pandemic related travel restrictions and nonavailability of transportation hindered customers from collecting finished goods from factories and warehouses, further slowing down market movement. Retailers were hesitant to hold stocks for longer periods due to lockdowns, while the overall economic conditions deterred them from blocking their cashflow on cement that had a MRP with very low margins compared to other construction materials.
‘Rekindle Happiness with New Experiences’ this Season with Nations Trust Bank American Express
The season of joy comes early for Nations Trust Bank American Express Cardmembers, with the ‘Rekindle Happiness with New Experiences’ campaign. Cardmembers will receive amazing benefits and savings from over 300 merchants island-wide, across all categories online and offline, all the way to 31st December 2021.
The time spent with loved ones during this season of togetherness and sharing will be a gift in itself. Nations Trust Bank American Express launched the seasonal campaign with the hope of bringing new life to the season of happiness and merriment. With the countless benefits and privileges, the campaign will allow loyal Cardmembers to celebrate this season in style with memories for the ages.
The offers for Cardmembers come from a wide range of categories including but not limited to Clothing, Gifting, Hampers, Dining, Hotel stays, Supermarkets, and Automobiles. Niluka Gunatilake, Head of Cards at Nations Trust Bank stated, “It’s that time of the year when everybody looks forward to the year-end cheer and festivities. Particularly, after coming out of several lockdowns, we are all excited for the upcoming festive season. Nations Trust Bank American Express is delighted to present seasonal benefits and privileges for our Cardmembers to celebrate this season of giving, sharing and joy! They can look forward to a rewarding season with a plethora of offers as we partner with leading retail establishments, dining partners, hotels & resorts. We invite our Cardmembers make use of the benefits and privileges and have a wonderful season to rekindle happiness with new experiences.”
Nations Trust Bank American Express invites cardmembers to enjoy the festivities and find out more about the benefits and privileges offered this season by visiting www.americanexpress.lk. The Bank strongly advises Cardmembers to adhere to all health and safety guidelines issued by the Government whilst they enjoy their seasonal shopping, dining and lodging.
Nations Trust Bank PLC is among the top 15 business establishments in Sri Lanka as ranked by Business Today. Stemming from its vision of “helping people and businesses by providing financial services and information to achieve their goals and aspirations in a sustainable way”, the Bank serves a diverse range of customers across both individual and corporate, with an enviable portfolio of banking and financial products and services. Strongly focused on digital empowerment through cutting-edge digital banking technologies, the Bank is a pioneer in many innovative customer centric banking solutions such as extended banking hours, and FriMi – Sri Lanka’s first digital banking experience. Delivering premium value, service and connecting its Card Members to rewarding experiences and opportunities Nations Trust Bank PLC is an issuer and sole acquirer of American Express Cards in Sri Lanka. The Bank operates 96 branches across the country and has an ATM network covering 127 locations and 48 Cash Deposit & Withdrawal Machines, plus more than 3,700 ATMs on the Lanka Pay Network.
Airtel’s network expansion to amplify island-wide 4G coverage
Airtel Lanka, a subsidiary of international telecom giant Bharti Airtel Limited, recently revealed its plans to strategically expand its new 4G network across the island.
As such, over 400 new 4G sites are being commissioned across the country, which is in addition to the 2,000 plus 4G sites Airtel added during the launch of its 4G.
The new 4G sites are mapped out to ensure enhanced capacity in highly populated areas and coverage penetration into rural regions. Airtel’s 4G network is built on a triple layer network, which gives it a solid combination of coverage and capacity to deliver a superior experience with drastically improved indoor coverage with stronger signal penetration.
Having already completed over a third of the newly planned 4G sites, the finished sites are estimated to cover over an additional one million of the population. A prominent cause for the company to expedite its expansion drive was the two-fold increase in data usage since the pandemic brought along a new normal.
“I am certain that our rapid expansion strategy will directly benefit our consumers across the island, giving them a refreshed and enhanced network experience through our world-class 4G capabilities. Until adequate or even excess coverage is obtained, we will continue our 4G expansion drive, with every location also being 5G-ready to seamlessly accommodate the next generation of network when the time comes,” commented Airtel Lanka CEO/MD Ashish Chandra.
Through this drive, Airtel users will be given the opportunity to enjoy a network experience unlike ever before. As Airtel is also equipped with a refreshed prepaid and postpaid model with the recent launch of ‘Freedom Packs’, the launch of Airtel 4G is the telco’s single largest investment in Sri Lanka since its entry into the island in 2009. The purpose-built 4G network promises users a superior user experience including 99% buffer-free streaming, noticeably quicker loading times and improved indoor coverage with 4G signals that never fail.
From online learning to work-from-home to virtual socialising, every user from children to adults will be able to benefit from not having to face any more call drops, interruptions or coverage issues.
In addition to the company led expansion of amplifying coverage island wide, Airtel’s joint venture with the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka’s (TRCSL) Gamata Sanniwedanaya aims to achieve 100% island wide coverage by 2022 by bridging the digital gap in rural districts with poor network coverage, by providing equal access to mobile connectivity for all Sri Lankans.
HNB hails Sri Lanka Paralympic heroes as an inspiration to new generation of athletes
Sri Lanka’s very first Olympic Gold Medallist together with the Bronze medallist and participant delegation to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, resonated a vibrant and inspirational example to new generation athletes and youth of the country, at a felicitation ceremony organized by the country’s leading private bank, HNB.
Recognising their outstanding performances – which included securing Gold and Bronze medals and establishing a new world record – HNB’s Sustainability Foundation presented plaques and cash rewards to the award winning athletes, coaches and officials who were part of the delegation.
The felicitation ceremony, held at HNB Towers, the Bank’s head office was attended by HNB Managing Director /CEO – Jonathan Alles, Chief Transformation Officer/DGM – L Chiranthi Cooray, Deputy General Manager –Retail & SME Banking – Sanjay Wijemanne and HNB Sports Club President/AGM Hisham Ally, as well as National Paralympic Committee (NPC) of Sri Lanka Honorary President, Lieutenant Colonel Deepal Herath and other officials.
“You have scaled mountains that others only dream of conquering,” HNB Managing Director/CEO, Jonathan Alles said, congratulating the members of the delegation. “We, at HNB draw inspiration from your achievements and hope that the country’s youth and new generation of athletes too will do the same. Sports can help develop qualities which are essential for organizations, particularly teamwork and the country will benefit from youth taking a greater interest in sports activities.”
The highlight of the event was the felicitation of Dinesh Herath – who won Gold in Men’s Javelin Throw F46 – and Samitha Dulan Kodithuwakku – the Bronze medallist in the Men’s Javelin Throw F64. Herath is also the first Sri Lankan to win an Olympic or Paralympic Gold and set a new world record in his event.
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