The Nation Sunday Print Edition - page 19

gain Sunday, October 20, 2013 Page 3
The 20th Annual General Meeting of the
Sri Lanka-Benelux Business Council was
held on September 27, 2013 at The Ceylon
Chamber of Commerce. The Council, which
focuses on the objectives of ‘promoting in-
vestment, trade and joint venture between
Sri Lanka and Benelux’, is one of the twenty-
one bilateral business councils that functions
under the aegis of the Ceylon Chamber of
Managing Director, Mahaweli Reach Ho-
tels PLC Jayantha Panabokke was elected
as the President of the Council for the year
2013-2014. He stated that the incoming
committee would encourage joint ventures
between Sri Lanka and Benelux, exchange
information on trade and investment, con-
duct joint meetings with Benelux business
organizations in Sri Lanka and will serve as
a recognized representative of the business
sector interests in Sri Lanka.
Trade Representative P.M Abeysekera,
Limako Suiker Bv and Mercantile Produce
Brokers (Private) Limited Deepal Jaya-
manna were appointed as Vice Presidents
respectively. The Executive Committee
elected comprised Nigel Austin of Nisol
Diamonds (Pvt) Ltd, Sega Nagendra of
Travelserve Limited, Mahen Kariyawasan of
Andrew The Travel Company (Private) Lim-
ited, Ms. Ranee Ratnayake of AAnd A Inter-
national (Opticians), E M B Daniel of Promis-
ing Products Company, Sajith Wijenayake of
Aitken Spence Travels (Pvt) Ltd and Derrik
Williams of Walkers Tours Ltd (John Keells
Chinese language
teaching institute soon
During the recent visit by the 12 member delegation
of the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and
Disarmament (CPAPD), on the invitation extended
by the Pathfinder Foundation, the two organiza-
tions have agreed to establish a Chinese language
institute. The main objective of the proposed Insti-
tute is to provide spoken Chinese language train-
ing for professionals and skilled personnel in the
travel industry, construction, port operations and
other areas where there will be increasing interac-
tion with Chinese people.
The novelty of this Institute will be the partner-
ship with a professional organization in China
already in the business of teaching Chinese lan-
guage. The PF will also explore the possibility
of utilizing the services of Chinese volunteers in
popularizing the learning of the Chinese language
among Sri Lankans.
Mme. Yan Junqi, who is a senior state leader
from China, has just concluded a productive visit to
Sri Lanka with her delegation. Mme. Yan called on
President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday. Minis-
ter for External Affairs Prof. G L Peiris and Secre-
tary to the President Lalith Weeratunga were also
present at the meeting. The cordial exchanges at
their meeting reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s elevation to
Strategic Cooperation Partner status, announced
during the President’s recent state visit.
China’s generous support for Sri Lanka’s in-
frastructure development program will now be
supported by concerted efforts to expand trade
and investment. A bilateral FTA is expected to be
signed shortly opening up new export opportuni-
ties. Sri Lanka’s key products, apparels and tea,
are among the many items expected to benefit.
Chinese companies, which are being encouraged
to ‘go out’ by their authorities are also looking at
Sri Lanka as a favorable investment destination.
The Harbor City Development Project, which is
expected to be announced shortly, will be China’s
largest single investment in the region.
Mme. Yan, who was in Sri Lanka on the invita-
tion of Milinda Moragoda and the Pathfinder Foun-
dation (PF), held extensive discussions with him
on ways and means of buttressing the excellent
bilateral political relations, wide-ranging economic
cooperation and expanding trade and investment
with greater people-to-people exchanges in the
social, cultural and educational spheres.
In this connection, Mme. Yan was also able to
interact with a number of local Friendship Associa-
tions and think-tanks. In response to a question
raised regarding human right issues Mme. Yan
categorically stated that China’s bilateral relations
are based on the principles of non-interference
in internal affairs of other countries and living in
peaceful co-existence.
National Association for Out-
sourcing (NOA) has shortlisted
Sri Lanka for its Offshoring Des-
tination of the Year Award. This
award is to be delivered during its
prestigious award ceremony – The
National Outsourcing Association
Awards (NOAAs) 2013. The NOAAs
is the only award ceremony dedi-
cated to the UK outsourcing sec-
tor and takes place on Thursday,
October 24, a2013 at the Park Plaza
Riverbank in London.
Commenting on the NOAAs 2013,
National Outsourcing Association
Director, Kerry Hallard said: “2013
is a monumental year for the NO-
AAs, as it’s our 10th Anniversary,
and yet again we have seen a grow-
ing number of submissions – all of
outstanding quality. The shortlist
truly represents the best of the
best in outsourcing, and I am ex-
tremely proud to see that so many
organizations clearly value the
positive association of participa-
Expressing his views on Sri
Lanka’s shortlisting for this year’s
NOAAs in the Offshoring Destina-
tion of the Year Category, SLASS-
COM Chairman Madu Ratnayake
stated, “Sri Lanka offers a unique
advantage for UK and EU compa-
nies, especially for software prod-
uct engineering and accounting
outsourcing. Early movers have
been able to generate significant
competitive advantage for their
business in Sri Lanka. We now
see many UK and UK companies
are setting up their operations in
Sri Lanka to take advantage of
the synergies. The NOA shorting
of Sri Lanka among the top three
counties is a great testament to the
value Sri Lanka offers for UK/EU
companies and we look forward to
the growth of the thriving UK/Sri
Lanka partnership”.
Ranked among the Top 25 Global
Outsourcing destinations by AT
Kearney and among the Top 20
Emerging Cities by Global Servic-
es Magazine, the Sri Lankan envi-
ronment is highly conducive for al-
lowing global enterprises to enjoy
premium access to a high quality
talent pool for small to medium
scale engagements whilst estab-
lishing high-in-demand niche com-
petency centers. Sri Lanka acts as
an off-shore development center
and joint venture development
center to several Fortune 500 com-
panies and industry leaders from
the North American continent,
Great Britain, Australia, Sweden,
Norway, and Japan.
Foreign entities that have invest-
ed in Sri Lanka have already be-
gun to tap the local talent; HSBC,
Industrial and Financial Systems
(IFS), Amba Research, RR Donnel-
ley, WNS, Virtusa, Pearson, Valis-
ta, Millennium Information Tech-
nology (owned by London Stock
Exchange), and Innodata Isogen
are overseas investors that have
become firm believers. However,
there are also over 300 other local
IT companies such as Informatics,
hSenid, John Keells, DMS that also
operate within a fiercely competi-
tive environment. Among globally
recognized customers of Sri Lank-
an ICT products and services are
names such as JP Morgan, Google,
Microsoft, Qatar Airways and
International Finance Corporation
(IFC), a member of the World Bank Group,
has invested $136 million in Sri Lanka in fis-
cal year 2013 to promote inclusive growth
and job creation. With these investments,
IFC’s committed portfolio in Sri Lanka is
now $280 million; more than double what it
was two years ago, a statement by the finan-
cial institution said last week.
It noted that IFC’s investments and advi-
sory projects will help over 120,000 micro,
small, and medium enterprises through eas-
ier access to finance and improved business
skills. These projects will create over 500,000
jobs by 2019.
“IFC’s combined investment and advisory
approach provides effective solutions for our
clients to boost economic growth and help
small businesses,” said IFC Country Man-
ager, Sri Lanka and Maldives Adam Sack.
“IFC continues to scale up its program in
Sri Lanka to reach more people and help im-
prove lives.”
IFCmade its largest investment in Sri Lan-
ka’s financial markets in 2013 with a $75 mil-
lion 10-year subordinated loan to Commer-
cial Bank of Ceylon through a fundmanaged
by its Asset Management Company. This will
increase access to finance for around 16,000
small businesses and generate 170,000 direct
and indirect jobs by 2017.
IFC also provided a 10-year, $24 million
loan to National Development Bank PLC to
help it extend financing options across all
business segments.
Another IFC investment, with Cargills
Bank, will make it easier for small business
owners and farmers to access finance and
will create over 90,000 direct and indirect
jobs by 2019.
IFC’s investment of $25 million in Soft-
logic Holdings PLC in 2013 will boost the
company’s tourismand retail operations and
create jobs.
IFC’s advisory services helps micro and
small businesses access loans and financ-
ing and access new markets. An IFC proj-
ect, with Sri Lanka’s Credit Information
Bureau, makes it easier for around 37,000
micro and small businesses to access loans
and other forms of financing with movable
assets as collateral. IFC also assists Nations
Trust Bank help around 25,000 small busi-
ness customers become more competitive
with the SME Toolkit, IFC’s online training
IFC’s total investments in South Asia have
reached$2.46billionacross 73projectsduring
2013, up 55 percent from the previous year. In
Sri Lanka, IFCwill continue to focus primar-
ily on access to finance, infrastructure, tour-
ism, agribusiness, and clean energy.
Bank of Ceylon (BOC), the largest
bank in Sri Lanka, announced that the
subscription list of its debenture issue
2013 will be opened on October 21,
2013. The unsecured, subordinated,
redeemable debentures have maturity
periods in the range of 5 to 10 years.
Debentures have been rated at AA (Lka)
by Fitch Ratings (Lanka) Ltd evidencing
the BOC’s strong capacity to meet its
commitments in time and the long-term
stability. This issue is an opportunity for
the public to invest their hard earned
money at minimum risk in the volatile
market at present. The Rs.4 billion issue
with an option to increase the size up to
Rs.8 billion in the event of over subscrip-
tion, consists of nine debenture types of
different fixed and floating coupon rates
with tenors between 5 to 10 years.
BOC endeavored for such a struc-
ture to make its contribution towards the
growth of Sri Lankan corporate debt mar-
ket, increase the depth of the market and
strengthen the longer term yield curve.
BOC stresses the need of an active debt
market for sustainable growth of the Sri
Lankan economy. Listings of debentures
on the main board of the Colombo Stock
Exchange will provide an exit and entry
route for the investors while increasing
the liquidity of the issue. Sri Lankans and
foreign individuals over 18 years of age,
corporate bodies and registered pension
funds etc are eligible to apply for the de-
The long-term funds raised will be uti-
lized for the long-term financial needs of
the priority sector of the economy includ-
ing infrastructure development projects.
The BOC’s customer base ranging from
retail consumers to large private and pub-
lic companies/corporations together with
its large branch net work will provide a
solid platform to utilize the funds profitably
and efficiently.
The bank has a customer base ex-
ceeding 10 million, domestic net work
of 616 branches, 515 ATMs, overseas
branches in Chennai, Male and a fully-
owned subsidiary in London, own repre-
sentatives in 25 countries, correspondent
relationship with 886 banks worldwide.
BOC, rated at AA+(Lka) stable outlook
by Fitch Ratings (Lanka) Ltd, claims a
total asset base exceeding Rs.1.0 tril-
lion, 22% of total assets held by all com-
mercial banks in Sri Lanka, 38% of all
inward remittances and 50% of treasury
operations of the country.
BOC has many landmark achieve-
ments in the fund raising arena, public
and private, in domestic and foreign
markets including US$ one billion raised
abroad through issue of International
Bonds at very attractive rates in 2012/13.
The strength of well experienced profes-
sional staff knowledgeable of all aspects
of banking, use of latest technological
applications and the corporate image of
the bank form the foundation of its suc-
BOC, as the premier financial services
organization in the country, offers a broad
range of services consisting of retail
and wholesale banking, trade finance,
development finance, mortgage and
lease finance, pawning, treasury and
foreign currency operations, credit cards,
off-shore banking, micro banking, Islamic
banking, investment banking and other
financial services.
Aitken Spence public-private part-
nership with the Fiji Ports Corporation
to oversee the operation of Suva and
Lautoka ports, the largest in Fiji has re-
corded an increase in its efficiencies by
35 percent within a short span of two
months. Marking the first-ever public-
private partnership overseas by a Sri
Lankan company recorded to-date;
diversified blue-chip Aitken Spence
bought a 51 percent stake in state-
owned Fiji Ports Terminal Ltd, taking
control of businesses of the two ports
for a period of 15 years.
A function commemorating the Public
Private Partnership between Fiji Ports
Corporation and Aitken Spence PLC
was held recently at the Holiday Inn
Suva in Fiji, where Chairman of Aitken
Spence Maritime and Director of Aitken
Spence PLC Dr. Parakrama Dissanay-
ake revealed the increased efficiencies
in the Ports.
“Achieving substantial gains in ef-
ficiencies within two months is major
milestone, especially in the absence
of the shore cranes which are vital to
enhance productivity and efficiency of
the ports. Fiji Ports Corporation has as-
sured us that it will be delivered by the
end of this month,” he noted.
Dr. Dissanayake further stressed
what was encouraging was that ship-
ping lines had written to them com-
mending on the progress made so far.
“This is a process where we have to
continuously enhance the service de-
livery to sustain the level of efficiency
to make sure we have a world-class
port,” he added while encouraging all
stakeholders to join hands to deliver the
service standards that they were
At the function, Attorney-General and
Minister for Public Enterprises in Fiji, Ai-
yaz Sayed-Khaiyum said that the Fijian
Government looks forward to Aitken
Spence’s internationally-exposed skill
sets to help incorporating efficient man-
agement systems and style to the Fijian
people and to its broader operations.
“We look forward to you bringing your
skill set and your expertise that not only
exists in Sri Lanka but various parts of
the world,” he said addressing the rep-
resentatives from Aitken Spence.
Adding to his address, Sayed-Khai-
yum stated that there are abundant
prospects by Aitken Spence which the
Fijian Government believes can be
explored in numerous other areas. He
indicated plans are currently underway
on an agreement with Aitken Spence,
with regards to further areas of engage-
Aitken Spence PLC is among Sri
Lanka’s leading and most respected
corporate entities with operations in
South Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
CA National Confab
next week
An impressive line-up of prominent business lead-
ers and foreign experts will steer the technical ses-
sions of the 34th National Conference of Chartered
Accountants organized by the Institute of Chartered
Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) which will
be held on October 25 and 26, 2013 at the Water’s
This year’s conference, which will revolve around
the theme ‘Innovate to Grow’ will comprise of six
technical sessions over a period of two days.
The inaugural session on October 25 will be on ‘In-
novation in Action’, which will focus on the evolution
of the manufacturing sector, stemming from innova-
tion and how innovation could help Sri Lanka take
itself to the next level in terms of manufacturing.
The session will be presented by Executive Chair-
man of Lanka Harness Co (Pvt) Ltd. Rohan Palle-
watte, while the panelists for the inaugural session
would be Chairman of CIC Holdings B R L Fernando
and Project Director of the Coordinating Secretariat
for Science Technology and Innovation (COSTI) Sri
Lanka Prof. Ajith De Alwis.
IFC invests US$136m in 2013
Expects to create 500,000 jobs in Sri Lanka by 2019
EFC joins brain
gain initiative
With a view to encourage Sri Lanka to be a destina-
tion of choice for business, the Employers’ Federation
of Ceylon (EFC) last week announced it partnered with
WorkInSriLanka to improve Sri Lanka’s knowledge and
human capital pool.
“Sri Lanka needs knowledgable workers. It is time
that we move out from marketing ‘cheap labor’ and
penetrate into the knowledge economy aggressively”,
EFC Director General Ravi Peiris said as he prepared
to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with
SL2College Chairman Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarna who is
a key member of the WorkInSriLanka team.
SL2College is a voluntary non-profit organization
that aims to improve Sri Lanka’s knowledge and hu-
man capital pool by developing and retaining highly
educated individuals. As part of this objective, SL2Col-
lege has launched, “WorkInSriLanka”, a “brain gain”
initiative designed to showcase Sri Lanka as an attrac-
tive destination for professionals and businesses.
WorkInSriLanka’s Program Director Ms. Sharon
Amerasinghe explained that one of the key objectives
of the brain gain initiative was to provide informa-
tion through their web portal ( to Sri
Lankans living abroad and looking to relocate back to
the country. The initiative will also provide a network
and links to key industry bodies that are attempting to
source high caliber talent. Through such partnerships,
WorkInSriLanka looks to become a key advocacy orga-
nization working with the government and other bodies
to improve the attractiveness of Sri Lanka as a reloca-
tion destination. The WorkInSriLanka web portal which
was launched in May this year showcases Sri Lanka as
a preferred investment destination for high value indus-
tries looking to harness economic resources elsewhere
in the world.
Commenting on the initiative, Director General Ravi
Peiris said, “We need talent. We need people with
the right skills and attitudes. Therefore, we need to
encourage every Sri Lankan who has the necessary
knowledge, skills and attitude to join the Sri Lankan
BOC Chairman Razik Zarook addresses a press conference held at the
Galadari Hotel last week while BOC Senior Deputy General Manager
P.A. Lionel looks on (
Pic by Ravindra Dharmathilaka)
BOC Rs.8bn debenture issue
opens subscription tomorrow
Mme.Yan, Mme.Yan Junqi, who is a senior
state leader fromChinawithMilinda
Spence raises Fiji Port efficiencies by 35%
From left: Attorney-General and Minister
for Public Enterprises Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum,
Ports Terminal Limited Chief Operating
Officer Hasthika Dela, Deputy Chairman
and Managing Director of Aitken Spence
PLC J M S Brito and Chairman of Aitken
Spence Maritime and Director of Aitken
Spence PLC Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake
Seated from left: Deepal Jayamanna, Mercantile Produce Brokers (Private)
Limited, (Vice President SLBB), Nigel Austin, Nisol Diamonds (Pvt) Ltd,
Jayantha Panabokke, Mahaweli Reach Hotels PLC (President SLBBC), P.M
Abeysekera, Limako Suiker Bv, (Vice President SLBBC), Sega Nagendra,
Travelserve Limited, Ranee Ratnayake, A And A International (Opticians).
Standing from left: Nethmi Wickramasinghe, The Ceylon Chamber of
Commerce, E M B Daniel, Promising Products Company, Sajith Wijenayake,
Aitken Spence Travels (Pvt), Dominique Tanghe (Consulate of Belgium),
Anisha Dias, Manager, The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce
SL-Benelux Business Council hold AGM
SL amongst top offshoring destinations
“Ours is a nation blessed with many natural resources.
Our geographic location is unique; to the east of our nation
are large tea producing nations. To the north and to the
west are also large tea producing nations. From the south-
ern tip of our country it is only a few miles to the world’s
busiest sea routes carrying cargo from east to west and
west to east. With such natural strengths bestowed upon
our country we should think seriously of how to make the
best of these resources,” Fernando had mentioned in his
speech made at the AGM.
He had pointed out that as the government’s vision in
developing the southern port and the airport will before long
create economic activity towards a bustling new business
center, exporters, especially the ones in the tea industry,
stand so much to gain from these developments.
Tea accounts for 15% of the island’s total export earn-
ings in the country and netted in US$ 1.4 billion as revenue
in 2012 of which US $500 million came through value ad-
dition. The industry also contributes approximately 2% of
Sri Lanka’s GDP, generating 65% of agricultural export
revenue per year.
TEA to moot...
As means of countering the rising power generation
costs, the government has approved the construction
and operation of two coal-fired power stations with a
capacity of 1400MW and the first phase of the Noro-
chcholai plant was commissioned in 2011, accordingly.
Although an additional power plant of which the capacity
is 600MW is under consideration, obtaining permission
for the construction is expected to be difficult due to in-
creasing public resistance brought about by concerns of
environmental impacts, the report noted.
Energy demand...
“A Crown integrated resort would help redefine luxury
tourism in Sri Lanka and play a significant role in helping
to drive increased international in-bound tourism, espe-
cially from India and China,” Packer said.
“It is expected that the resort would employ around
2,500 Sri Lankans.”
In June one of Crown’s partners of the project, Sri
Lanka’s Ranking Holdings, was reported by a local busi-
ness publication to have said that it would take 45 per-
cent of the joint venture, with Crown taking 45 percent
and other financial partners to take the balance.
If the project proceeds, it would add to a line-up of
Crown casinos in key Australian cities and London, as
well as in Macau through a joint venture with casino
mogul Lawrence Ho. Crown earlier this year won the
backing of New South Wales for a resort and casino in
Sydney that would compete with The Star, the city’s sole
casino owned by rival Echo Entertainment.
(Courtesy: The Australian)
Crown details Colombo...
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