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Sri Lanka Equity Forum » Stock Market & Forum Help » Stock Market News » Sri Lanka Newspapers Saturday 12/05/2012

Sri Lanka Newspapers Saturday 12/05/2012

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Director - Equity Analytics
Director - Equity Analytics
May 11, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s loss making Galadari Hotels (Lanka) PLC is calling for an extraordinary meeting of shareholders (EGM) this month to discuss dwindling capital as losses mount.

"The company’s unaudited financial statements for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 discloses that it’s currently facing position of serious loss of capital," the Colombo-based hotel said.
The EGM is scheduled for May 29.

One of the capital’s long-standing five-star properties, the hotel was founded by the Dubai-based Galadari group and it has foreign exchange loans.

In the December 2011 quarter the firm lost 199.6 million rupees, worsened by a 191 million rupee exchange loss as the rupee fell by around 3 percent in November.

The hotel had planned a debt equity swap to strengthen its balance sheet.

Galadari Hotel had 8.3 billion rupees in gross assets, 9.1 billion rupees in accumulated losses and 6.8 billion rupees in loans.

But with an 8.5 billion rupee revaluation reserve it still had 1.3 billion rupees of net assets by end December 2012, down from 1.5 billion a year earlier.

In the March quarter however the rupee fell further to around 130 rupees to the US dollar as the island's Central Bank tried to control both the exchange rate and interest rate by printing money.

The March quarter accounts have not yet been released to the market. There has also been no profit warning.

Among key shareholders is the Employees' Provident Fund, a retirement fund of private citizens managed by the Central Bank, which owns 13 percent of the hotel. The stock purchase is among the most controversial made by the fund.


Director - Equity Analytics
Director - Equity Analytics
May 11, 2012 (LBO) – Expolanka Holdings PLC said Friday it had paid 915,000 dollars to secure management control in Mumbai-based Akquasun Group’s Sri Lankan joint venture, Akquasun Holidays India Private Limited.

Akquasun Holidays India focuses on business-to-business regional destination management service.

In 2011, Expolanka formed the joint venture with the Akquasun Group, to develop inbound markets of India, Russia and China where they own and operate their own offices.

Expolanka’s Group Chief Executive Hanif Yusoof said the new chapter comes at a vital time when Sri Lanka is attracting foreign visitors from these three “new vibrant markets”.

“This is seamlessly facilitated by Akquasan’s wide global network of its own offices in the Maldives, Mauritius, Hong Kong, China, Dubai, Tanzania, South Africa, UK, Russia and the USA,” he said.

Sri Lanka has set it's sights on attracting 2.5 million tourists by 2016, after experiencing a boom following the end of the near four decades-long ethnic conflict in May 2009.

Tourist arrivals hit a record 855,975 in 2011 and continue to grow after the government scrapped the visa-on-arrival system in January.

From January to March 2012, tourist arrivals have climbed 21.1 percent to 260,525 over the same period a year earlier, according to Sri Lanka Tourism figures

Expolanka Holdings’ investment portfolio includes transport, manufacturing, international trade and strategic investments.

3Sri Lanka Newspapers Saturday 12/05/2012 Empty Misleading Dilmah statement irks Tea Board on Fri May 11, 2012 9:37 pm


Director - Equity Analytics
Director - Equity Analytics
Written by Azhar Razak
The Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB), Janaki Kuruppu says the recent statement issued by leading tea exporting firm, MJF Group, implying that the ‘tea hub’ concept mooted by the Tea Exporters Association (TEA) has been rejected by the government was misleading and that a decision on the matter has not yet been taken.

“We are still evaluating the pros and cons of the proposals given by the TEA and a neutral committee has been appointed to study this. We will soon give our recommendations to President Rajapaksa and other authorities who will then take a decision on the matter,” the Tea Board Chairman said asserting that whatever decision is taken, the government will definitely protect ‘Pure Ceylon Tea’.

The MJF Group, marketers of the popular ‘Dilmah’ brand headed by Merril J Fernando has in the recent past vehemently opposed the idea of a tea hub which allows importation of tea from other tea producing countries, blend pack and re-export from Sri Lanka . They warn that the priceless image of ‘Pure Ceylon Tea’, built up over more than a century, will be irreparably damaged if the free importation of foreign black teas is allowed as mooted by the Association.

Meanwhile, supporting Dilmah’s viewpoint, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Planning Dr. P.B. Jayasundera last week refuted the arguments made by the TEA, saying that “ Sri Lanka should not permit our product to be used in that manner.” Speaking to over 200 foreign delegates at the biennial Dilmah Tea global distributor conference held in Colombo , Dr. Jayasundera explained the government’s position, noting that: “one product we should uncompromisingly preserve and protect is Sri Lankan tea. Dilmah has shown that all facets can be developed locally. We believe Sri Lanka has a tremendous comparative advantage in tea and can make it a three billion dollar industry in the next 10 years.”
“The T.E.A., which is behind the effort to import cheap low-quality teas for blending and re-exporting from Sri Lanka, is comprised entirely tea exporters and does not represent the hundreds of thousands of growers and workers who help sustain one of the country’s most important industries. For the past few years, the T.E.A. has attempted to argue that the relatively high cost of Ceylon tea prevents local players from competing with international brands.

4Sri Lanka Newspapers Saturday 12/05/2012 Empty Sri Lanka Newspapers Saturday 12/05/2012 on Sat May 12, 2012 12:16 am


Global Moderator
Bourse declines for ninth day running
*NSB – The Finance issue still hanging fire

The Colombo bourse yesterday closed the week on a losing mode with the market declining for the ninth day running with no resolution of the NSB-The Finance issue – at least on the market.

"Some kind of settlement was much anticipated but nothing happened – in the market anyway," a broker said. "There was speculation that the transaction would be privately reversed."

Trades in JKH, Aitken Spence Hotels and Dialog dominated with a turnover of Rs.346.4 million, down from the previous day’s Rs.493.1 million with both indices down – the All Share by 40.71 points (0.79%) and the Milanka by 27.04 points (0.58%) with 60 gainers strongly outpaced by 143 losers.

There was one crossing of 350,000 Aitken Spence Hotels at a price of Rs.70 with a further 0.23 million shares done on the floor also at Rs.70.

JKH was the day’s biggest business generator with over 0.2 million shares done between Rs.196 and Rs.198 closing 90 cents down at Rs.197 contributing Rs.24.1 million turnover.

DFCC Bank, down Rs.1.80 to close at Rs.118 on 88,702 shares, Ceylon Theatres closing flat at Rs.150 on 63,000 shares, Swarnamahal up 30 cents to close at Rs.8.30 on over 1.1 million shares and PMB up 20 cents to close at Rs.13 on nearly 0.7 million shares were among the business generators.

Haycarb announced a first and final dividend of Rs.5.50 per share following shareholder approval at a June 27 AGM. The share will trade XD from June 28 and payment on July 6.

This counter closed flat yesterday at Rs.160 while The Finance saw 5,519 shares done between Rs.24.50 and Rs.25.90 closing 20 cents up at Rs.25.40.


Global Moderator
Sri Lanka’s plastic industry will get a new boost when the Industry Ministry and UNIDO will soon launch a national initiative to upgrade it. "As our per capita plastic consumption is set to increase from current 6 Kg to 8 Kg and plastic has become an indispensable item in our lives and manufacturing, I believe this is the right time to strengthen this sector and we are launching a new national initiative with UNIDO which aims to increase production and income volumes by almost 40%," said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on 10 May in Colombo.

Bathiudeen announced this in the aftermath of an in-depth discussion and presentation to the Minister by the visiting International Centre for Advancement of Manufacturing Technology (ICAMT) delegation on 10 May at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. The ICAMT is the ISO 9001:2008 certified International Technology Centre operated by UNIDO and located in Bangalore, India. The ICAMT delegation was meeting Minister Bathiudeen as part of Colombo UNIDO’s initiative to upgrade and modernise Sri Lanka’s plastic industry technology.

"The initial project value is $ 1.75 Mn and we want to go into a detailed assessment of our plastic sector before commencing the modernisation assistance" revealed Nawaz Rajabdeen, UNIDO National Director for Sri Lanka who is facilitating the new initiative.

According to UNIDO, annual plastics consumption in Sri Lanka is close to 140,000 metric tonnes, with an estimated growth rate of 10-12%. More than 900 businesses in Sri Lanka are engaged in plastics processing for both domestic & international market, the bulk of them being in SME scale. 440 companies are engaged in direct plastic exports in 2009 with 88% of them being finished products exporters and rest 12% are raw materials and waste exporters. Among the finished products exports, 60% were packaging materials / packaging goods of plastics. Cellulose and its Chemical derivatives constitute the highest export value among the primary forms of plastic exports taking 6% of the total plastic exports in 2009. USA is the dominant buyer of plastic exports over the last number of years taking 40% of the total exports.

Revealing more details of the initiative, Bathiudeen said: "Plastic industry holds high potential for Sri Lanka’s rural sector. This initiative will address modernisation, employment, productivity, production quality as well as export growth. Therefore it has a wider reach. It will also help us to reach the producers, most of whom are SMEs deserving support. I thank UNIDO for this timely intervention."

6Sri Lanka Newspapers Saturday 12/05/2012 Empty Cinnamon Lakeside tops Brand Finance List on Sat May 12, 2012 12:19 am


Global Moderator
In its latest publication of Sri Lanka’s Leading Brands, Brands Finance lists Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo as the Highest Valued Hospitality Brand in Sri Lanka. The annual review has been published for eight consecutive years by Brand Finance, a leading independent consultancy founded in the UK. The review assesses the health of leading brands in Sri Lanka as using available published data supplemented by independent market research to analyse performance.

Having considered several factors that determine brand performance, such as financial and market performance measures, an assessment of the stewardship of the brand, approach to sustainability and consumer equity, the Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo brand was valued at Rs. 559 Million with a brand rating of AA. Brand Ratings are based on strength, risk and future potential of a brand in relation to its competitors.

Operating in the increasingly competitive hospitality sector, Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo’s performance may be attributed to several initiatives which have lead to its recognition as an industry leader.

Developments to the property include a Rs. 350 Million renovation as recently as October 2011 which followed a Rs. 464 Million renovation project in September 2009. Currently ranked the Best Five Star City Hotel by Sri Lanka Tourism, the hotel continues to impress with innovative ventures.

Inspired by the John Keells vision for its Leisure Sector, ‘to always be the hospitality trendsetter’ Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo launched ‘8 degrees on the lake’, Colombo’s first purpose built floating venue, an additional revenue stream for the company. The stunning floating restaurant accommodates private events as well as diners aboard its popular Sunday Bubbly Brunch. It serves as a natural extension to the relaxing lakeside ambience and remains the most unique banquet venue in the country.

In addition Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo is the first large scale hotel on South East Asia to conduct trolley-less cleaning in all its rooms, setting a new trend in the hospitality industry.

Corporate Social Responsibility has played a fundamental role in building the Cinnamon brand. Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo embarked on a number of projects to maintain the John Keells Leisure Sector pledge "I will care". The hotel launched a series of cultural restoration projects beginning with the historical Abhayagiriya temple last year, followed by the St. Anne’s Church Paradise in Kuruwita. The series will continue with projects involving a mosque as well as a Hindu temple this year.


Global Moderator
The Government yesterday rejected a private member’s motion, moved by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake in Parliament, to publicise the names of those who had borrowed over Rs100 million from State banks and defaulted payment.

Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem said that the confidentiality rules governing banks does not allow such information to be made public.

MP Karunanayaka, who moved the motion, said if such names are made public, there would be a better chance to recover the loans.

He also disclosed that the People’s Bank alone had written off Rs 788 million in 2011 and another Rs 316 million in 2012 as bad debts while the Bank of Ceylon had written off Rs 11,400 million and Rs 12,600 million in 2011 and 2010 respectively as non-performing loans.

"The government is leaving out fraudulent billionaires but going after sprats. The Finance Ministry and the law of this country are both under the President and when you talk about loopholes in these areas you are branded as a betrayer," he added. (SI)


The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) yesterday issued a reply to comments made by former HNB Chairman Rienzie T. Wijetilleke in an article published in the Daily FT titled ‘Wijetilleke backs calls for tough action on NSB-TFC deal’. The full statement is given below:

This statement is made by the CSE in response to the captioned article published in the Daily FT on Friday, 11 May 2012, which contains the views expressed by former HNB Chairman Rienzie T. Wijetilleke regarding the purchase of The Finance PLC (TFC) shares by National Savings Bank (NSB). The CSE regrets the manner in which the said article seeks to misrepresent the functions and duties of the CSE, to the public.

Share transactions are carried out by licensed stock broker firms based on the determinations of buyers and sellers. In this regard, the role of the CSE is to ensure that these transactions are executed on the Automated Trading System (ATS) of the CSE in conformity with the applicable rules.

The ‘order matching’ takes place in a completely automated environment and hence, the CSE cannot intervene in the execution of a particular transaction. In the circumstances, the CSE could not have “suspended the transaction” in question, as claimed by Rienzie Wijetilleke.

Further, the CSE does not “approve” transactions carried out on the ATS of the CSE, as erroneously stated by Rienzie Wijetilleke.

Furthermore, Central Depository Systems (Pvt.) Ltd. (CDS), a fully-owned subsidiary of the CSE, has suspended NSB from carrying out any CDS functions as a CDS participant with effect from 8 May 2012.

Whilst denying all allegations made against the CSE in the captioned article, the CSE assures the public that, in the event of any violation of the CSE/CDS rules, necessary action has been and will continue to be taken by the CSE, as deemed appropriate.

9Sri Lanka Newspapers Saturday 12/05/2012 Empty CB banks on policy changes on Sat May 12, 2012 1:46 am


Global Moderator
The Central Bank expects a deceleration in both monetary aggregates and imports during the course of this year, but insisted that policy measures implemented thus far are sufficient to moderate the expansion of both credit and the trade deficit resulting in rates remaining unchanged, the monetary policy review said.

With respect to monetary developments, market interest rates have moved up gradually, reflecting the tightening of monetary conditions. Benchmark Treasury bill yield rates have increased and in turn, deposit and lending rates of commercial banks as well as other financial institutions have shown an increasing trend, the statement added.

Accordingly, the Central Bank’s repurchase rate will remain at 7.75 per cent while the Reverse Repurchase rate will remain at 9.75 per cent. Meanwhile, banks have been directed to take measures to reduce the growth of loans and advances to a range of 18-23 per cent. Hence, although broad money (M2b) growth was 22.8 per cent, year-on-year, by March 2012, monetary aggregates are expected to decelerate significantly over the balance part of the year, it said.

“On the external front, international oil prices have recently declined and the Brent crude oil price was US$ 112.41 a barrel on 10 May 2012 compared to US$ 120 a barrel, on average, in March 2012. If this dampening of international commodity prices led by the decline in oil prices persists into the forthcoming period, pressure on the domestic foreign exchange market is likely to lessen markedly.”

The expected deceleration in the volumes of imports during the course of the year 2012 following the measures taken by the Government and the Central Bank earlier this year will also significantly reduce pressure on the domestic foreign exchange market, the Central Bank predicted.

The bank was positive about inflation effects and insists that domestic prices will be lower.
“In April 2012, year-on-year inflation as measured by the CCPI (base=2006/2007) was 6.1 per cent while annual average inflation was 5.7 per cent. While inflation continues to remain at single-digit levels, the outlook for domestic food supplies remains favourable, which augurs well for domestic prices in the period ahead. The improvement in the supply of domestic agricultural produce over the last few years has continued to help stabilise domestic consumer prices.”

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