30 March 2010

Sri Lankan Economy Grows Fastest in last Five Quarters. 6.2pct in Last Quarter

30th March 2010, www.bloomberg.com, By Anusha Ondaatjie

Sri Lanka’s economy expanded at the fastest pace in five quarters as the government stepped up spending on new roads and ports after the end of a quarter- century of civil war in the country.

Gross domestic product rose 6.2 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31 from a year earlier after gaining 4.2 percent in the previous quarter, the statistics department said in a statement in Colombo today.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was reelected for a six- year term in January after defeating the Tamil Tiger rebels in May, has pledged to spend $1 billion on ports, roads and power plants in 2010. Reconstruction in the $41 billion South Asian economy is boosting profit in companies including Tokyo Cement Co. Lanka Plc and Central Industries Plc.

“The infrastructure investments will have a spillover effect in the economy,” Saminda Weerasinghe, research manager at Acuity Stockbrokers Pvt. in Colombo, said before the report. “It will help even faster growth in the second half of 2010.”

Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Nivard Cabraal on March 18 maintained benchmark interest rates at a five-year low to boost consumer demand and drive growth to as much as 7 percent in 2010. Sri Lanka’s reverse repurchase rate is 9.75 percent and the repurchase rate is 7.5 percent.

Low Inflation

Cabraal can afford to keep borrowing costs low because of tame inflation in the country. Consumer prices in the capital, Colombo, rose 6.9 percent in February from a year earlier, almost half the average inflation rate between 2004 and 2009.

Commercial bank loans rose to 1.196 trillion rupees ($10.5 billion) in January from 1.195 trillion in December, the fourth gain in five months, according to the central bank, an indicator of growing consumer spending.

Low interest rates are also critical to support domestic demand as Sri Lanka’s exports may slow in the coming months after the European Union on Feb. 15 said it will suspend preferential trade benefits to the island nation because of human rights “shortcomings” during the war.

Sri Lankan exports rose 6.4 percent in December to $723.4 million after a yearlong decline.

Peace has prompted foreign companies, including HSBC Holdings Plc and Emirates Telecommunications Corp., to start operations in the island’s northern and eastern areas that were earlier under the control of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

HSBC Holdings, Europe’s biggest bank, in February opened the first branch by any foreign bank in Sri Lanka’s northern Jaffna peninsula.

Start Operations

Etisalat, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest phone company, started services in Jaffna on Feb. 26 after acquiring Tigo Pvt., the Sri Lankan unit of Millicom International Cellular SA, for $155 million in October.

Demand for building roads and ports after the end of the war helped lift sales at Tokyo Cement by 79 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31.

Sri Lanka plans to invite overseas and local companies this month to set up business in a new $550 million tax-free port zone in the island’s south. The country is also seeking foreign investments to help build a new terminal in Colombo port, Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Priyath Wickrarma said March 5.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anusha Ondaatjie in Colombo at anushao@bloomberg.net

Sri Lanka Distilleries Invests in 4MW Hydro Power Plant

30th March 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka's Distilleries Company, said it was spending 750 million rupees to by into a 4 MegaWatt hydro power plant in a tea plantation which is an associate firm in its group. Bogo Power Pvt Ltd, will be built on Kirkoswals estate in the Bogowantalawa area in Sri Lanka's central hill region.

Distilleries said the firm had already signed a standardized power purchase agreement with state-run Ceylon Electricity Board to sell its output.

Distilleries is part of the Stassen's group controlled by businessmen Harry Jayewardene.

Rubber Prices Reach an All Time High at the Auction

30th March 2010, www.dailynews.lk

A kilogram of rubber fetched Rs 363.25 at the auction. Sri Lanka is the main exporter of rubber to many countries including China and India. They are the biggest manufacturers of tyres in the region.

There has been less rubber production as many of the countries faced a dry weather.

Even the largest rubber producer in the region, Thailand is also affected due to the prevailing dry weather, Colombo Rubber Traders Association Chairman M.S. Rahim said.

'Due to the dry weather, production dropped drastically.

There will be a drop in demand in the future if this weather continues. Most of the rubber manufacturing countries have faced the same situation, Rahim said.

He said last year out of the total rubber production in the country, over 60 percent was used for the local industry. The industry expands to a land extent of 122,000 hectares in the country.

The total exports of natural rubber in the country amounted to 55,990 metric tons last year.

Sri Lanka exports only white crepe rubber which has a good demand in the world market.

3 Star City Hotel in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. Hotel Nallur, a 400mn Investment by MBSL

30th March 2010, www.dailynews.lk

The Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka PLC (MBSL) has decided to invest in the leisure sector in Jaffna, with the tourism boom there. MBSL is a premier investor in Sri Lanka. They have decided to improve infrastructure facilities in Jaffna with an investment of Rs 400 million on Hotel Nallur in Jaffna.

The venture into the hotel sector by MBSL will set standards in the tourism industry and provide adequate facilities, MBSL Chairman Janaka Ratnayaka told Daily News Business.

The hotel will be constructed on a considerable plot of land expected to be completed as early as possible to address the needs of influx of tourists to the Jaffna peninsula. “The intended investors on tourism infrastructure will take sometime to establish on their investments.

MBSL expects to finish the construction of Hotel Nallur by February 2011,” Ratnayake said.

The Hotel Nallur will be a BOI approved three star city hotel with 80 luxury, deluxe rooms and suites.

It is expected to go for an Initial Public Offering in the near future. The intention of the IPO will be to invite public for the investment that MBSL has made. Hotel Nallur will create 150 job opportunities from the construction till the completion and it will be equipped with a swimming pool and vegetarian and non-vegetarian restaurants.

Sri Lanka's Mattala International Airport to be Ready in 2012. Hambantota Airport will be an Alternative to BIA, Colombo

30th March 2010, www.news.lk

Authorities expect the first aircraft to land in the Mattala international airport in the year 2012, Ranjith de Silva, Secretary to the Ministry of Ports and Civil Aviation told www.news.lk today.

According to the Ministry of Ports and Civil Aviation, 8,000 acres have been set apart for the country's second international airport and preliminary work on the 3.5 kilometre runway is already underway.

He said plans are afoot to launch training programmes for youth who will be the potential employees of the airport. Once completed, this project will create 2,000 direct and 5,000 indirect employment opportunities.

The new airport will be a boon to the local aviation industry while being a catalyst for the economic development of the southern province through the enabling of international trade, tourism, vocational training and employment.

The new airport will be geared to support both international and domestic travel, air-sea cargo transshipment in conjunction with the Hambanthota sea port and will be the alternative to BIA. It will be ready for operations in 2012.

The project will be carried out under two stages of development.

'Stage I - Initial Development' will include Basic Aerodrome Facilities, Runway, Apron, Taxi way, Passenger and Cargo Terminals.

It will also have Access roads, accommodation for officials, fuel farm, sewerage treatment plant, water supply facilities, meteorological building, fire building, catering facility and car park.

'Stage II - Second Stage Development' will include a full length parallel Taxi way, a flying school, an airport hotel and recreational facilities.

Hambantota Magampura Port (Harbour) on Google Maps

29 March 2010

Sri Lanka’s Tourism Industry to Invest over Rs 10bn as 2.5mn Visitors are Expected by 2016 Up from 447,890 in 2009

28th March 2010, www.nation.lk, By Santhush Fernando

Sri Lanka’s bullish tourism industry players are to invest over Rs. 10 bn. within the next three years into the industry which is earmarked as the most buoyant thrust industry the country is to see during the next few years.

One of the country’s largest travel and leisure sector players- Aitken Spence will invest Rs. 2.5 bn while the next two biggest hotel chains- John Keells Holdings (JKH) and Jetwings Group are planning to invest nearly Rs. 3.6 bn each.

Managing Director of Aitken Spence Hotels, Malin Hapugoda, told The Nation Economist that Aitken Spence Hotels Holdings PLC declared a rights issue to raise nearly Rs. 2,500 mn to finance new projects/investments to maintain the Company’s position as a leader in the hotel industry. “We will heavily invest in tourism as our hotels would contribute more than what they contributed in the past. We are looking at strategic ventures at strategic locations. Out of Rs. 2.5 bn raised, Rs. 625 will be set apart for hotel development in the North and East under which 108 acres in Nilaveli has been set apart for mixed development project complete with luxury chalets and apartments,” he said.

“We are also looking at converting the 64-roomed Neptune Hotel, Beruwala, into a specialised Ayurveda and Wellness Resort and to brand it as ‘Heritance Mahagedera’ at a cost of Rs. 375mn. Furthermore, a Rs. 625mn joint venture with the international resort chain - Sixth Senses, to construct a boutique resort in the south west coast is also on the cards,” he added.

“The remaining Rs. 625mn is set apart for investments in India, one of which is the Heritance Cochin project, which with its 57 luxury floating villas will commence operations by November 2011 in the backwaters of Kerala,” Hapugoda said.
“Although Aitken Spence owns and manages nearly 2,300 rooms, only 864 are in Sri Lanka, another 375 are in India, 440 in Oman and another 600 in Maldives, in a bid to reduce the risk that had been posed to the country during the three decade old war. After the end of the war, its focal destination would now be Sri Lanka,” he added.

Speaking to The Nation Economist, head of Cinnamon Hotels and Business Development of the John Keells Holdings (JKH) Roshan Gurusinghe said that the Group was looking at extensive expansion in the hotel industry. “There is a lot in the pipeline. The South Wing of the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, comprising of 254 rooms, will be re-furbished during the next few months at a cost of Rs. 400mn,” Gurusinghe said.
In view of the substantial plans for expansion, John Keells Hotels (KHL) announced a rights issue to raise roughly Rs. 3.64 bn. The proceeds of the Rights Issue will be utilised to fund the refurbishment of hotels in Sri Lanka as well as for new hotel projects and for the acquisition of land for new resorts.

The current portfolio of KHL PLC, consists of seven resorts in Sri Lanka (772 rooms), four resorts in Maldives (440 rooms) and four prime properties in Sri Lanka, in which KHL plans to build 410 more rooms along the South and East coast within the next two years, with the proceeds of the rights issue. Refurbishing of 133 roomed Bentota Beach Resort and re-branding as “Cinnamon Beach Bentota” and renovating and re-branding of 115-roomed Coral Gardens, Hikkaduwa, will cost Rs. 800mn each. Constructing of 100-roomed new resort in Ahungalla is to cost Rs. 1.6bn, while another would be spent on building a 190-roomed resort in Beruwala. Re-branding of Club Oceanic in Trincomalee as 56-roomed Chaaya Blue at a consideration of Rs. 400mn and adding of a new 120-roomed hotel in East coast would cost Rs. 1.3bn respectively.

The Country’s third largest resort chain- Jetwings is also anticipating to aggressively expand but when compared with its rivals is unlikely to go for cash calls. “There are many other ways of raising the necessary funds than going for Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) or rights issues. We too have plans of expanding,” Managing Director of Jetwing Hotels Hiran Cooray said.

“The renovating of Jetwings Blue Oceanic and renaming it as Jetwings Blue will cost us nearly Rs. 800 mn while upgrading of Seashells also in Negombo into Jetwing Sea will cost Rs. 400mn. We are hoping to build two resorts in Trincomalee in Kuchchuveli and Uppuveli, respectively, for which we will spend close to Rs. 800 each,” he added.

“We will also rebuild Yala Safari Game Lodge, which was destroyed by the 2004 Tsunami, bearing a cost of Rs. 400mn, once we get the required land from the government. Finally, we will spend another Rs. 500 to 600 for our 80-room project in Balapitiya,” Cooray added.

Meanwhile, a tourism sector analyst said that nearly 1,000 rooms are earmarked by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to undergo renovation, in an exercise that will cost almost Rs. 3bn. “So altogether over Rs. 10 bn worth of investments will flood the industry,” he said.

The government is hoping to attract 2.5 million visitors by 2016, up from 447,890 in 2009, the final year of the civil strife, while it is anticipated that Rs. 230 bn of tourist revenue would flow in annually by 2016, up from Rs. 40.25 bn earned in 2008.

Serendib Leisure Group's Hotel Dolphin to be Upgraded to 4 Star. Hotel at Waikkal, Sri Lanka to Renovate 50 Chalet Rooms

28th March 2010, www.nation.lk, By Azhar Razak

Sri Lanka’s Club Hotel Dolphin in Waikkal, a unit of the Serendib Leisure Group is to be upgraded into a four star hotel once the planned US $5 million refurbishment to a part of its hotel is completed. The hotel, which is now a three-star, is to renovate 50 of the hotel’s chalet rooms (cottages) during the period from May 1 to August 31, a senior official of the hotel said.

“All the cottage rooms as well as certain public areas of the hotel will be closed during renovation. However, the hotel would still operate the rest of the 96 deluxe rooms during the period,” Suranjith de Fonseka, Head of Sales and Marketing at Serendib Leisure Management Ltd. told The Nation Economist.
He said that the cottages once refurbished would be more spacious and equipped with an in-room safe locker facility.

Described as the resort for the young at heart, the cottages of the hotel are set in a quieter garden area with direct access to the beach and closer to the pool. Club Hotel Dolphin has two outdoor freshwater swimming pools that include the children’s pool.
The three hotels Club Hotel Dolphin, Hotel Serendib and Hotel Sigiriya that form the hotel sector of the Hemas Group falls under the management of Serendib Leisure Management Ltd., a fully owned subsidiary of Serendib Hotels Ltd.

Hemas Holdings is one of the leading quoted companies in Sri Lanka, engaged in a diverse set of business activities, focused on healthcare, personal care, leisure, transportation and strategic investments.

Colombo Dockyard Attracts European Ship Repairs. Cardiff Marine Inc Tanker Delos Calls in for Collision Repairs

29th March 2010, www.dailynews.lk

Cardiff Marine Inc. Greece owned Motor Tanker Delos called in with collision damages to her shipside as the tanker suffered damage while at Chittagong anchorage. The owners had decided to place the vessel in Colombo for permanent repairs.

Colombo's strategic location and the reputation as a reliable service provider attracted the Cardiff Marine Inc., to utilize Colombo Dockyard facilities for this damage repairs. Cardiff Marine Inc., is a well reputed ship owner/Manager managing a fleet of vessels in excess of six million deadweight. The peaceful conditions prevailing in the country has resulted in major European fleet owners looking at Colombo for their repair requirements, generating much needed foreign revenue for the country.

The tanker Delos initially planned to arrive in Colombo in February finally arrived in Colombo on February 17. Due to her shifted arrival, the initially allocated yard slot was not available as the next planned tanker had already arrived at the repair berth. The only available option was to secure another suitable berth to accommodate the vessel and immediate action was taken to request assistance from the local agents GAC Shipping Ltd. The local agents secured a suitable berth for this massive tanker (LOA 183.00 Meters/Beam 32.00 Meters).

The Shipyard mobilized the repair team under the project leadership of Ship Manager Dhammika Dissanayake, with coordinated support from steel department Steel engineer Avantha Gunathilake and his team to complete the job efficiently. As the job was carried out at the port berth, all required services had to be arranged with meticulous planning and coordination.

Malaysian - Bahraini Joint Venture for a US$ 230mn Waste to Energy Plant in Sri Lanka

25th March 2010, www.dailynews.lk

The BOI signed an agreement worth US$ 230 million with the Malaysian-Bahraini joint venture Orizon Renewable Energy Private Ltd to build a waste to energy plant. The plant will be built on a 20-acre land at Kahatamedawelyaya, Muthurajawela, in the Gampaha District.

The project agreement was signed by BOI Board Members Channa Palansuriya and Upali Samaraweera, Environmental Affairs and Natural Resources Ministry Secretary Jayathilake and Octogon Consolidated Berhad Executive Director and Orizon Renewable Energy Private Limited Siti Fatima Mohamed Shariff.

The project involves several phases. It will first engage in the rehabilitation of the existing Bloemendhal dumpsite.

In addition the project also involves the construction and operation of a new landfill for fresh water wastes from Colombo and the Western Province.

The most important phase is the construction of a waste to energy plant that will completely destroy up to 1,300 tonnes a day of solid waste. Also important is that it will generate 56 Megawatts of power, and export about 45 MW to the net power grid.

The main attraction to the public and to the country is that the wastes will be completely destroyed without causing pollution or gas emissions. It will also ensure that no more lands will be allocated to landfills.

Another dimension is the reduction of health risks as many diseases, such as dengue, have spread as a result of mosquitoes breeding in landfills and other areas where waste is deposited.

The BOI is keen to have promoted this project since in addition to the abovementioned benefits to the country, it has created many opportunities for the training of skilled local workers. Since this is a new area that has not existed in Sri Lanka, it will result in a certain quantum of technology transfers to local communities.

BOI Deputy Director General A.M.C. Kulasekera said that the BOI has taken the lead role in establishing this project but the stakeholder agencies such as the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry, the Sustainable Energy Authority, the Public Utilities Commission and the Land Reclamation Authority also contributed immensely towards its implementation. "The key to success is team work involving all stakeholder agencies," he said.

Orizon Renewable Energy Chairman Siti Fatima Mohamed Shariff, said that the project was very significant as it will add 55 MW to the National Grid.

27 March 2010

Sri Lanka Plans an Economic Zone similar to Dubai Airport Freezone in a Bid to Attract more Foreign Investments

26th March 2010, www.tradearabia.com

Sri Lanka plans to set up a free economic zone near the international airport similar in concept to Dubai Airport Freezone in a bid to attract more foreign investments, said a senior Lankan official.

GS Withanage, additional secretary-aviation, Ministry of Ports & Aviation said, "We have selected Dubai Airport Freezone to be our model as we know the quality of services and facilities provided by the freezone has attracted more than 1450 companies today."

Withanage led a high level delegation from the Ministry of Ports and Aviation to the Dubai Airport Freezone to get a taste of the advanced services and facilities the freezone provides to its customers.

The members plan to apply what they learn in the planned economic zone at Sri Lanka's Hambantota international airport which is expected to be completed in the near future.

“We wanted to benefit from the experience of Dubai Airport Freezone and its ability to overcome the obstacles and reach this high level of services that meet the customers' requirements,” he added.

The visiting delegation was welcomed by Nasser Al Madani, assistant director general of Dubai Airport Freezone and a number of executives.

Al Madani said that the positive reputation of Dubai Airport Freezone in the region had reached far and wide with other countries seeking to learn from Dubai’s experience.

"Dubai Airport Freezone is honoured to share their knowledge and experiences to other countries planning to build major development projects that will benefit the international economy as a whole," he remarked.

In early February, a delegation from Tajikistan visited Dubai Airport Freezone to seek advice from Freezone officials and signed an MoU.

Al Madani pointed out that Dubai Airport Freezone was one of the fastest growing zones in the world according to statistics of "FDI" magazine. "It has become a good model for many companies and countries seeking to set up free economic Freezone in their areas, he added.

Sri Lanka to Set up an Aviation Complex at Makeshift Airstrip Built by the LTTE in Iranamadu

26th March 2010, www.news.lk

The makeshift airstrip built by the LTTE in the jungles of the North is to be turned into an aviation complex under government post-war reconstruction plans. The proposal is part of a regional development plan for the Northern Province.

The LTTE built an airstrip in the thick jungles of Iranamadu near an irrigation reservoir, when the area was under their control.

At a seminar organised by the Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council to brief investors on investment opportunities, the Director of Geographical Information Systems of the Urban Development Authority said that the Government will develop the airstrip into an aviation complex. It will be equipped with a training and research institute.

Another former Tiger stronghold in Mullaitivu, on the northeast coast, has been earmarked as a centre for fisheries-based engineering
equipment industry and for sea-based eco-tourism.

Sri Lanka Development Bond Issue for USD 100mn a Success

27th March 2010, www.dailynews.lk

In response to the SLDBs offer which amounted to US$ 50 million with two year maturity and US$ 50 million with three year maturity both foreign and local commercial banks invested US$ 100 million and the settlement for the issue took place on March 26, 2010.

US$ 92 million was raised through the auction held on March 18, 2010 and the balance US$ 8 million was mobilized via placements.

The total issue of this SLDBs amounted to US$ 45 million of two year bonds and US$ 55 million of three year bonds at the rates of US dollar six month LIBOR + 380 basis points and US dollar six month LIBOR + 395 basis points. The successful conclusion of this first SLDBs issue in 2010 is considered a positive start which reflects investors’ confidence and their preference to invest funds in foreign currency denominated bonds issued by the Government.

Sri Lanka Economy 2009. Growth 3.5pct. Hotels and Restaurants Expanded by 13.3pct

27th March 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka's economy grew 3.5 percent in 2009 pushed by growth in all three major sectors of economic activity, agriculture, industry and services, the Department of Census & Statistics (DCS) said in a statement.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was much slower than the six percent achieved in 2008, largely owing to the global slowdown, although the economy has been recovering in recent quarters with revenue and exports picking up.

The Central Bank has forecast economic growth of five percent this year.

The statistics office said key contributors to growth of in 2009 came from rubber, which grew 7.9 percent, vegetables which grew at 7.3 percent, fishing which expanded by 6.9 percent, mining for construction which grew 18.1 percent, hotels and restaurants which expanded 13.3 percent, and post and telecommunications at 11.7 percent.

The services sector, which accounts for almost 60 percent share of economic activity, grew 3.3 percent, industry which accounts for just over a quarter of economic activity grew 4.2 percent and agriculture, which has a 12 percent share, expanded by 3.2 percent.

The statistics office said estimated per-capita GDP at market prices (per capita income) for 2009 was 235,945 (2,053 US dollars).

The total investment rate for the year 2009 was 24.5 percent with the government investment ratio up 6.6 percent in 2009 from 6.5 percent the year before.

"The gross saving was up 23.7 percent in 2009 compared with the relatively low rate of 17.3 percent in 2008."

Gross Fixed Capital formation at current prices was estimated at 1,147,440 million rupees in 2009, as against 1,115,310 million rupees the year before.

Overall agriculture sector growth was achieved despite a decrease of earnings from agricultural exports and drought.

Tea exports growth, which decelerated for the first three quarters of 2009, picked up by 18.3 percent at the end of the year.

The value added for the rubber production increased of 7.9 percent in 2009.

"Although the growth of first, second and the third quarters registered a slight decline, the fourth quarter shows a significant growth of 22.3 percent," the statistics office said.

Paddy production last year was lower than in 2008 but was the second best harvest ever produced after 1952 and also the second best harvested land extent area for paddy cultivation.

This was because more land was cultivated especially in the east with the end of the 30-year ethnic war in May 2009.

The end of the war also gave a fillip to the fishing industry which grew by 6.9 percent in 2009.

"The fishing industry flourished due to lifting of security measures specially in the Eastern and the Northern coasts and the deep sea."

Japanese Pro-Surfers Returns to Hikkaduwa, One of Sri Lanka’s most Exciting Beach Spots for International Tourists

26th March 2010, www.dailynews.lk

Hikkaduwa, largely dependent on tourism with hotels, small and medium enterprises, fisheries and other indirect forms of employment making up the local economy, has fought severe odds to regain its position as one of Sri Lanka’s most exciting beach spots for international tourists.
The once dark memories of the devastating 2004 tsunami have now diminished or wiped away completely in Hikkaduwa. This is with the gradual return of tourists to the country sparking off hopes for a greater revival in the tourism industry.

The return of Japanese Pro-Surfers Association (JPSA) to Hikkaduwa, after a five-year absence, is evident of the town’s attraction and renewed interest among tourists to Sri Lanka.

This event which is to be an annual fixture, was jointly sponsored by SriLankan Airlines and the Tourism Promotion Bureau.

Sri Lankan Stocks Closes High with Turnover at Rs 5.71bn

25th March 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lankan stocks closed higher Thursday pulled up by gains in index heavy John Keells Holdings (JKH), while a large deal on Hatton National Bank (HNB) pushed turnover to over five billion rupees, brokers said.

The All Share Price Index closed at 3,730.43, up 7.71 points, while the Milanka index of more liquid shares gained 0.38 percent (16.45 points) to close at 4,337.05.

Turnover was 5.71 billion rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

Brokers said foreigners sold 5.2 billion rupees of shares, and bought 465 million, resulting in a net outflow of 4.7 billion rupees.

"The day's turnover was dominated by JKH and HNB," Waruna Singappuli, head of research at NDB Stockbrokers said.

"The market speculation is that local institutional investors, primarily state funds, had increased their stakes in HNB, while a foreign fund sold."

Brokers said 25.8 million HNB shares changed hands at 180.00 rupees, in a negotiated off-the-floor deal. It closed at 180.25 rupees, down 25 cents.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed flat at 195.00 rupees, with 1.22 million shares traded. Seylan Bank closed flat at 46.00 rupees.

JKH, a conglomerate with business interest on transport, retail, finance, leisure and food processing sectors closed at 178.00 rupees, up 7.00.

Aitken Spence closed at 1,378.25 rupees, down 7.75, Hayleys closed flat at 225.00 rupees and Hemas Holdings closed at 117.75 rupees, down 25.

In other trading on the stock market, Environmental Resources Investments ordinary voting shares closed at 241.50 rupees, down 13.00. Its 0000 warrants closed at 150.75 rupees, down 3.00, and 0001 warrants closed at 152.50 rupees, down 1.25.

Brokers said at the end of trade Thursday there were 54 gainers and 74 losers.

25 March 2010

More Convention Centres for MICE Business Tourism in Sri Lanka

25th March 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka is building more convention centres amid fears of a shortage of accommodation following a flood of tourists with the end of its war and temporary closure of a big conference hall.

Tourist industry officials said they are promoting MICE tourism, as travel abroad for Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions is known, catering to the high-end business traveller.

Hosting international conferences and exhibitions draws not only delegates who help fill up hotels but other tourists as well as word about the island's attractions spreads.

"Sri Lanka is not new to MICE tourism," said Vipula Wanigasekara, general manager of the Convention Bureau, which organises events. "We have a long history to way back in 1976."

That was when Sri Lanka hosted the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, which brought in 83 leaders of Third World countries and around 600 foreign delegates.

Last year, the island hosted several international conferences and exhibitions on trade and information technology despite the surge in fighting between Tamil Tigers and government forces.

The Tigers were defeated in May, ending the 30-year ethnic conflict that had retarded economic growth and deterred tourists, resulting in an immediate flood of visitors.

Tourism officials said they are worried the country's infrastructure, neglected by war, has not developed on par with countries competing for MICE tourism like Singapore and Malaysia.

"We were hosting around 60,000 delegates a year in corporate tourism. That was the optimum level we could go with the available infrastructure," Wanigasekera said. "Now we have a situation where the prospects are very high in the coming years."

Imran Hassan, Secretary of Sri Lanka Association of Professional Conference and Exhibition Organizers, said although there is a fast growth in exhibitions, holding of conventions could face problems.

"As far as conferences are concerned, we are going to be hit. We do not have enough hotels in Colombo. And we cannot deal with the rates offered in the Far Eastern countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

"The private sector has to look at building more hotels in Colombo. Otherwise our industry cannot grow although it wants to."

Colombo has two major convention venues; the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) and the Sri Lanka Exhibition & Convention Centre (SLECC).

Both venues can house around 1500 delegates each.

But the BMICH has been closed till 2011 for renovation and expansion, leading to fears of a shortage of space to accommodate conferences.

The government meanwhile has begun building more convention venues across the country.

An International Convention Centre is being built in southern Hambantota, where a deep-water port is also coming up.

Officials said that construction work on the convention centre which is being funded by the Government of Korea is going ahead of schedule and will be open to host conventions by the end of this year.

A 128-acre plot of land has been identified for a convention centre in Arali, in northern Jaffna which was affected by the war.

A conference centre is also planned for Negombo, a tourist resort on the west coast.

Drawing business travellers to a country requires offering them modern convention and conference centres and competitive hotel accommodation rates, officials said.

"Although the industry is looking at major growth, we do not have enough rooms and our rate structure is a bit on the higher side in comparison with the Far East," Hassen said.

"When comparing the rates with the Far East it's going to be difficult to compete - we always have to bid with Malaysia and Singapore, or Thailand, and we can't match their rates."

Hassan said lower hotel rates would help Sri Lanka compete better when bidding to host conferences.

This year Sri Lanka expects to host a number of local and international and exhibitions and conferences.

These include the 32nd Asia-Pacific Dental Congress, Asia Microfinance Forum and the Scientific Meeting of the International Epidemiological Association. The Jaffna Trade and Book Fair is one of the local events.

Sri Lanka Treasury Bill Yields Move Up

25th March 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka's 3-month Treasury bill yields moved up 05 basis points to 8.45 percent at Wednesday's auction, the government's debt office said. The 6-month yield moved up 05 basis points to 9.19 percent while the 12-month yield stayed flat at 9.47 percent.

The government's debt office said it sold 5.343 billion rupees of 3-month bills, 4.333 billion rupees of 6-month bills and 858 million rupees of 12-month bills.

The debt office, which is a unit of the Central Bank, said 534 million rupees of new bills were sold and 10 billion rupees of bills were rolled over at this week's auction.

It received bids worth 18 billion rupees.

Commercial Bank Named Sri Lanka's Best Bank in 2010 for the 12th Year Running

25th March 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Commercial Bank has been declared Sri Lanka’s best bank in 2010 for the 12th year running by Global Finance magazine, the bank said in a statement.

The US-based financial publication’s latest listing of the ‘Best Emerging Markets in Asia’ is to published in its May issue.

The report covers the best banks in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Listed alongside Commercial Bank are the HDFC Bank as the best bank in India, AB Bank in Bangladesh, Habib Bank in Pakistan, Public Bank Berhad in Malaysia, and Shinhan Bank in South Korea.

“Being adjudged the best for 12 consecutive years illustrates the fact that we have been remarkably consistent in getting our fundamentals right,” Commercial Bank Managing Director Amitha Gooneratne said.

The criteria for choosing the winners included growth in assets, profitability, strategic relationships, customer service, competitive pricing, and innovative products

Global Finance editors consider inputs from industry analysts, corporate financial executives and banking consultants in selecting the magazine’s final winners.

Sri Lanka Welcomes Senior Foreign Nationals - Sri Lanka, My Dream Home Visa Programme

www.immigration.gov.lk

The Department of Immigration & Emigration, Sri Lanka welcomes senior foreign nationals who wish to a prolonged stay in Sri Lanka on Residence Visa under the “Sri Lanka-MY DREAM HOME PROGRAMME”.

All applicants who fulfill following entry requirements and wish to enter into “Sri Lanka-MY DREAM HOME PROGRAMME” are invited to submit their applications.
  • Any foreign national over 55 years of age is eligible.
  • Visa valid for 02 years with Multiple-Entry and renewable.
  • Luxury accommodation and male/female domestic help that are quite economical.
  • Low Cost of living and escape from severe weather conditions.
  • Excellent yet affordable medical facilities.
  • Opportunity to invest in Sri Lanka.
Entry requirements:
1. Applicant should remit US$15,000 or the equivalent in an approved foreign currency and deposit them in a fixed deposit account in an approved Commercial Bank in Sri Lanka.

2. a monthly remittance of US$ 1500 or the equivalent in an approved foreign currency for the principal applicant and US$ 750 or the equivalent in an approved foreign currency for each spouse and dependent child for their upkeep (if accompanied by spouse/children) in a savings or current account in an approved Commercial Bank in Sri Lanka.

Required documents:
• Residence Visa Form with 02-passport size photographs. Application is available in the Visa Division of the department of Immigration & Emigration or the Department’s Website www.immigration.gov.lk
• A certified copy of Passport/ Travel document (All pages)
• A certified copy of latest Bank Statement / other related financial documents to indicate the financial capability to support stay in Sri Lanka
• Source of income (Pension / Superannuation) for monthly Remittance for US$1500 for principal applicant and US$750 for each dependent
• Police clearance certificate not later than 06 months from country of domicile
• Marriage certificate of claim Residence Visa for spouse

Terms and Conditions:
• This scheme is open to all foreign nationals who are over 55 years of age. Applicant is allowed to bring his/her spouse and under 18 years unmarried dependent children
• To qualify for the scheme, applicants required to remit US$ 15,000.00 and deposit them in a fixed deposit account in an approved Commercial Bank in Sri Lanka
• In addition to the above, US$1500 for the applicant and US$750 for each spouse and dependent children for their upkeep
• Applicants under this scheme may withdraw their entire fixed deposit anytime should they decide to terminate their stay in Sri Lanka. However, they must obtain prior approval from the Controller of Exchange in Sri Lanka through the Controller General of Immigration & Emigration
• Interest gain from the fixed deposit can be withdrawn and utilized for the applicant’s upkeep
• Should possess a valid medical insuanrence policy, which is applicable in Sri Lanka
• Should submit a police clearance certificate from country of domicile. A police clearance certificate from Sri Lanka at the time of renewal of the residence visa
• Not involve in any type of criminal activities
• Should not involve in any type of political activities in Sri Lanka and not participate in any activities that can be considered as sensitive to the local people and a threat to the security of the country
• No paid or unpaid employment while staying in Sri Lanka
• Applicants are bound by the rules and regulations of taxes of Sri Lanka and they are liable to pay relevant taxes
• Every applicant is expected to submit with half-year bank statement related to the fixed deposit and savings account to the Controller (Visa) of the Department of Immigration & Emigration
• Should inform the Controller (Visa) of the Department of Immigration & Emigration any changes in visa status, personal information is changed

Processing of applications:
The applications are accepted and processed only at the Department of Immigration & Emigration in Colombo.

1. Applicant will be notified the position of his/her application in writing within two weeks of the submission of application
2. Successful applicant will be issued a "Provisional Approval Letter" to open up a fixed deposit foreign Currency account and a savings account for US$ 1500 for living expenses and instruction letter to the Operational Manager of the Bank
3. Applicant should submit with the Bank Statement for fixed Deposit of US$15,000 and US$1500 for monthly remittance to the Competent Authority. Also US$ 750 for each dependent if applicable
4. Residence visa valid for two years, which is renewable, will be granted to the applicant and dependents
5. Fees for the Visa
• Application processing fee of US$ 150 for each applicant and dependent.
• Residence visa fee and tax -SLRS 20,000.00 per year for each applicant, spouse and over 16 years age of dependent children

Procedure for extension of Residence Visa:
Should apply with following documents.
• Residence Visa form “A”
• Copy of the passport/new passport
• Renewal notice of fixed deposit certificate and bank statement of savings account.
• Renewal notice of medical insurance policy
• Police clearance certificate obtain from Sri Lanka

Benefits of the Programme:
• Residence visa valid for 02 years which is renewable, will be granted
• Feeling welcome and safe while living in Sri Lanka among who are kind to foreigners
• Enjoying Sri Lanka’s range of climates, seasons and temperatures etc
• Endless outdoor health-giving opportunities for golf, tennis, physical training in gyms, marathon running, swimming, surfing, snorkeling, sea or fresh water fishing, bird-watching and observing nature in world class game reserves
• Luxurious furnished houses or flats are available on the coast or in the highlands or the cities at moderate rents
• Obliging domestic help male or female is available at affordable fair wages

For applications and instructions, please contact:
Controller (Visa)
Visa Division, Department of Immigration & Emigration
No.41, Ananda Rajakaruna Mawatha
Colombo 10.
Contact Tel -011-5329300

Website : My Dream Home Visa Programme

Applications : Download printable versions of the Application Forms here

Related Info :
Sri Lanka Offers Special Visas to Investors, Professionals & Senior Citizens

Commercial Bank in Sri Lanka Offers SFIDA, Foreign Investment Deposit Accounts for Foreign and Sri Lankan Investors

23rd July 2008, www.dailynews.lk

Sri Lanka's benchmark private bank to accept deposits from foreigners and Sri Lankan expatriates. The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has become one of the first Sri Lankan banks to open its vaults to foreigners, enabling them to open bank accounts following the Central Bank's decision to further liberalize rules on local banks accepting deposits from persons resident outside Sri Lanka.

Special Foreign Investment Deposit Accounts (SFIDA) can be opened in designated Foreign Currencies and Sri Lankan Rupees. SFIDA Deposits are offered in a variety of investment tenures to suit the requirements of each customer.

Citizens of foreign states, Sri Lankan citizens resident outside Sri Lanka, corporate bodies incorporated outside Sri Lanka and foreign institutional investors such as country funds, mutual funds and regional funds can now open SFIDAs with Commercial Bank.

"Through Sri Lanka's largest private sector bank, we would like to provide great investment opportunities to overseas clients and at the same time help the country attract Foreign Funds for its' development activities. Investors would have the comfort of dealing with the Bank enjoying the highest Credit Rating among all the local private banks." Commercial Bank's Chief Operating Officer Ravi Dias said in a statement.

The Minimum Initial Deposit required to open a SFIDA is US$ 10,000 or its equivalent in other designated Foreign Currencies or Sri Lankan Rupees. All SFIDA accounts are exempted from Income Tax, Withholding of Income Tax and Debit Tax. Foreign Currency will be accepted in the form of Travellers' Cheques, Bank Drafts or Currency Notes brought into the country by the account holder on declaration to Sri Lanka Customs as applicable during his / her temporary visits to Sri Lanka. Outward remittances, transfers to other SFIDAs, disbursements of the account holder in Sri Lanka are possible.

Established in 1969, Commercial Bank is Sri Lanka's leading bank, with dominant positions in consumer banking, treasury and securities markets. The Bank owns a network of 166 computer-linked branches, supermarket banking outlets and service centres and 317 ATMs in Sri Lanka while its operations in Bangladesh have grown to nine branches.

The Bank has been adjudged Sri Lanka's 'Bank of the Year' six times by 'The Banker,' a top notch global banking magazine and also been rated the 'Best Bank in Sri Lanka' for ten consecutive years by the US based 'Global Finance' magazine. In July 2007, the Bank was named the 'Best Bank' in Sri Lanka by another prestigious international financial magazine 'Euromoney'. Commercial Bank has been rated AA+(lka) by Fitch Ratings.

24 March 2010

Four New Industrial Zones for North & East Sri Lanka

24th March 2010, www.news.lk

Four new industrial zones are to be established in the Northern and Eastern provinces within the next few months, Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Industrial Development W.D. Jayasinghe said.

He said an industrial zone of 50 acres will be established in Trincomalee and 30 industries will be set up in that zone. A 25 acre land has been identified to establish an industrial zone at Batticaloa town. 15 new industries will be established in that zone. Another industrial zone is to be set up in the Mannar area. The land for this purpose has already been identified.

Guidance and information to begin new industries in the area are being provided for the businessmen in Mannar.

A suitable land for the industrial zone that will be set up in Jaffna is now being identified. It will be established in addition to the Achchuweli industrial zone.

In addition, the Ministry of Industrial Development has implemented a programme to lend a helping hand for the small and medium scale entrepreneurs in the Northern Province. The additional Secretary said the funds for this purpose are being provided by the UN.

Korea Funds $50mn 500KW Solar Power Project in Hambantota, Sri Lanka

24th March 2010, www.dailynews.lk, By Ramani Kangaraarachchi

The Korean Government will grant US$ 50 million to install Lanka's first 500 KW grid connected solar power generation project in Hambantota.

It will also lend money for the Gampaha sanitary waste management yard.

Korea's Ambassador Choi Kichul said their Government is also considering promoting Sri Lanka among Korean investors in solar, wind and biomass power generation, clean development mechanisms, carbon credit, solid waste management, energy efficiency and transmission lines.

He was the chief guest at a seminar on Clean Development Mechanisms organized by the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority held jointly with Ecoeye of South Korea.

The Ambassador said there are also possibilities of sponsoring visitors from Sri Lanka to Korea's energy exhibitions to view latest technologies and technological developments in these sectors.

"We have an interest in assisting the Sri Lankan Government to meet the country's energy requirement by the implementation of a policy framework of increasing diversity of energy supply sectors specially in alternate technologies for better energy efficiency and utilization," he said.

He pointed out that engaging the private sector and civil society as stakeholders and partners is crucial to success of a green economy and the efforts to pursue sustainable energy.

Sri Lanka's First Grid-Connected Solar Power Project to be Set up in Hambantota. 500KW $50mn Project Funded by Korean Government

23rd January 2010, www.island.lk, by Ifham Nizam

Sri Lanka’s first large scale grid-connected solar power project of 500 kw power generating capacity will be set up at Buruthankanda, in the Hambantota district with funds provided by the Korean Government, Sustainable Energy Authority (SLSEA) Director General Chandana Samarasinghe said.

The Memorandum of Understanding to set up the 500kW plant was signed between the Korean and the Sri Lankan governments on Wednesday with the participation of Power and Energy Minister W. D. J. Seneviratne, Korean International Cooperation Agency Resident Representative Song Min – Hyeon, Power and Energy Ministry Secretary M. M. C. Ferdinando and SLSEA Chairman Dr. Krishan Deheragoda.

According to Samarasinghe the agent of the Korean Government would undertake the project up to the level of the grid connection.

He said that the project would function as the pathfinder for solar based power generation projects in Sri Lanka.

Being the first of its kind, the project would provide valuable knowledge required to operate a commercial scale solar power generation project and it would allay any fear of the investors about the solar (photo voltic)PV technology and drive investments in this sector.

The revenue generated from this project will be channelled to the rural electrification programme of the SLSEA which has already identified 12 rural villages for immediate implementation. Through the revenue generated, more than 100 families of the most vulnerable section of the community can be provided with a basic electricity supply every year, he added.

Sri Lanka Stages Boat Show 2010. 24th to 26th April 2010 Event Brings Together Buyers, Manufacturers and Industry Experts

23rd March 2010, www.news.lk

Boat Show 201
0 - 24th to 26th April 2010 at BMICH, Colombo

Boat builders and those in the marine industry pointed out that the Government should be more lenient to those engaged in the industry by liberating the waters further and issuing more licences.

Addressing a media conference of Boat Show 2010, Boat Building Technology Improvement Institute (BTI) Chairman Neil Fernando, noted that the overall marine industry which first recovered from the catastrophic tsunami in 2004 was now experiencing difficulty in sailing forward despite the end of the war last May.

"With the influx of tourists the industry is looking into the prospects of leisure boating and water sports. In this regard we hope that the ports would in the future authorise anchorage facilities for leisure vessels. If the opportunity and capacity were utilised the latter should also be looked upon as an additional revenue generation," Fernando opined.

He remarked that the industry had tremendous potential for boat building in particular and tax incentives would assist the infrastructure development of the subdivision. It was further mentioned that Middle Eastern countries had much scope for skilled boat builders thereby increasing 'skilled' foreign employment prospects. The Institute in this regard has contributed to educational aspects of boat building by training unemployed and unskilled persons. Fernando added that those who had received the training had secured jobs in the Northern and Eastern coastlines.

Chief Guest Export Development and International Trade Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris envisioned that Sri Lanka should be a hub of boats. He too remarked that the country had tremendous potential for exports, especially to countries such as Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar, Bangladesh and Pakistan. He explained that the untapped industry of boat building contributed $37 million in 2007 and $61 million in 2009 to national exports.

"The marine industry goes above and beyond fishing. The country is capable of generating substantial foreign revenue from sails exports to countries such as Australia and New Zealand. Also the cost of fibre glass construction is less and boat builders find it lucrative to invest here," the Minister said.

Chairman Neil Fernando remarked that the industry was yet to adopt a number of precautionary measures. Highlighting a few, the Chairman explained that utilisation of sufficient boats in Nagadeepa, providing proper boats for whale and dolphin watching and restricting the use of fishing boats for this purpose and banning fishing boats that were converted to motor boats from navigating the Hikkaduwa marine park as they caused a severe and irreparable environmental impact.

German Ambassador Jens Uwe Plotner, a sailor himself, commented that his vision for the country was to see a few white sails (leisure sails) in the island besides the usual fishing boats.

The international boat exhibition 'Boat Show Sri Lanka 2010' is to be held from 24-26 April 2010 at the BMICH.

This would be the second time that the event would be held, the previous occasion being in 2008. It was mentioned that while 2008 accommodated 40 stalls and 80 buyers, 2010 had an additional 30 stalls or more and a number of local and international buyers, manufacturers and industry experts.

Construction of Buttala Industrial Estate Nears Completion. Production of High Quality Timber Goods Targeted

23rd March 2010, www.news.lk

The construction of the Buttala Industrial Estate has been completed 95 percent according to the Secretary of the Industries Ministry, RVD Piyathilaka.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa had given guidance previously to produce timber and related goods where timber is found in abundance. Accordingly, the Industries Ministry has been constructing the Buttala Industrial Estate to produce high quality timber and partly finished goods, added the Secretary.

Monthly, 200 truck loads of timber have been dispatched from this area. Timber varieties commonly sourced from this area include teak, mahogany, lunumidella and other class one types.

This industry has created employment for many people around the area as skilled labor is available for this particular industry from the area itself, he added.

In addition to the infrastructure facilities, the Ministry will provide the knowledge of productivity improvement and cleaner production concepts to the prospective entrepreneurs, he said.

Sri Lanka Opens for Derivatives as Legal and Regulatory Framework is in Place

23rd March 2010, 365financenews.wordpress.com

Derivatives, a long-term capital market instrument will be introduced to the Sri Lankan investment portfolio shortly. It could not be implemented until recently due to lack of legal and regulatory framework, Securities and Exchange Commission’s Financial Services Academy Director Dr. Harendra Dissa Bandara told Daily News Business.

Derivatives are gaining much popularity in the emerging markets due to its successful implementation and trading where Sri Lanka could benefit. The objective of this program is to create awareness before the product is introduced to the capital market.

There will be a 2 day conference on derivatives in Colombo and over 100 local participants from the stock brokering industry, market intermediaries, unit trusts, academics, banking and financial professionals and lawyers will benefit from this conference.

Topics such as forwards and futures- products and pricing, trading strategies, clearing, settlement and risk management in derivatives will be discussed.

Aitken Spence Buys Ramada Resort, Kalutara, Sri Lanka

22nd March 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.lk

Sri Lanka's Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings has acquired 100 percent of Ramada Resorts, a beach resort formerly known as Golden Sun Resorts, for 350 million rupees, a stock exchange filing said.

The filing said the shareholders of Golden Sun Resort in Kalutara on the west coast had given the nod to go ahead with deal.

Ramada Resorts, built on a five-acre land, was managed by Aitken Spence Hotels before the takeover.

The hotel has 64 standard rooms and 30 cabanas, three restaurants and two bars, an Aitken Spence Hotels spokeswoman said.

Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings is one of the largest leisure groups in Sri Lanka.

Before the takeover of Golden Sun, the group had seven hotels under the Aitken Spence Hotels and Resorts brand and another three resorts under its luxury brand, Heritance.

Aitken Spence also owns or manages five hotels in India, six hotels in the Maldives Islands and five hotels in the Gulf sultanate of Oman.

The firm plans a rights issue to raise 2.5 billion rupees to expand in Sri Lanka and overseas.

Senok Opens Sri Lanka's First Commercial Wind Energy Plant in Kalpitiya

21st March 2010, www.sundaytimes.lk, By Bandula Sirimanna

Sri Lanka next week begins harnessing winds blowing on the west coast at high speeds, 50 meters above ground level as an energy source to generate electricity at a newly constructed wind power park in the Mampuri area off Kalpitiya in the Puttalam district.

Senok Wind Power, Sri Lanka's first commercial wind energy plant, will be officially commissioned by President Mahinda Rajapaksa tomorrow but connecting of the 10 MW plant to the national grid will be delayed at least till the end of April as the power transmission related work is yet to be completed. Total investment of the project is around Rs.3 billion.

“Wind energy is good and clean but you have to be cautious when connecting it to the national grid,” said Tilak Siyambalapitiya, Director Resource Management Associates (Pvt) Ltd, consultant of the project speaking to Business Times, at the 5 square-km, beach site.

He was on his way to attend the foundation stone laying ceremony of the second phase of the Norochcholai power power project (which is nearby) on Thursday under the patronage of the president.

He said the capital investment for wind power is high, but it is a green energy and will not affect the environment. Once it is operational, in the long run it will be able to sell a unit of electricity at a low price, he said.

Senok Trade Combine Ltd, Promotions and Plantations Director Harin Philip De Costa, said the company signed a Small Power Purchase Agreement (SPPA) with the Ceylon Electricity Board in December 2008 to supply power where they would receive around Rs 20 per unit of power in the first eight years and 50% of that, after eight years.

Though wind power is costly to consumers because the capital investment is high, the cost nevertheless will remain constant for 20 years unlike other current energy like fuel or thermal power which can vary, he said.

Mr De Costa said the company has a close relationship with the residents of Mampuri and other nearby villages and plans are underway to undertake several projects such as the development of pre-schools, construction of a maternity clinic and a play ground.

S. Kumaralingam, an Indian engineer, attached to Suzlon infrastructure Services Ltd handling the installation of wind mills, said that the setting up of five units of Suzlon's S64 1.25MW wind turbines supplied by Suzlon Energy company of India has been completed. Fifty Indian workers deployed by the company are working at the site. He said that the Indian government is providing a subsidy of one third of the capital cost and that is why many private investors are launching wind power projects in India.

Amila Perera, a civil engineer attached to Senok, told the Business Times that 20 Sri Lankans are working at the site and they have completed all civil engineering work including the construction of the access road network, casting of turbine foundations and other infrastructure facilities. However he added that three locations are yet to be completed.

The windpower development programme, facilitated by the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority (SLSEA), is part of the National Energy Policy and Strategy of the government and is a significant contributor to the diversity of energy resources used in power generation.

Related Info:
Sri Lanka's First Wind Power Park to be Opened by Senok at Kalpitiya in the Puttalam District

Sustainable Energy Authority - Wind Projects

Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology to be a Research and Innovation platform for Sustainable Nanotechnology in Asia

www.susnanotec.lk

The Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology envisions being the leading Research and Innovation platform for Sustainable Nanotechnology in Asia. Thereby transforming Sri Lanka into a strong Nanotechnology-focused nation.

SLINTEC promotes a culture that is boundryless and research friendly with a passion for Creativity and Teamwork. This is achieved by promoting values of intellectual prowess, integrity and humility. SLINTEC also strives to inspire an innovative mindset centered on sustainability and an attitude for learning, sharing and mentoring.

SLINTEC has committed itself to uphold the United Nations Global Compact Principles. SLINTEC sets the benchmark for responsible research through strict endorsement of Sustainable Projects.

Serendipity

Probably one of Sri Lanka’s the most significant contributions to the field of science, the term ‘Serendipity’ was coined by Horace Walpole in 1754 in a letter he wrote to his friend and derives from ‘Swarnadip’, the Sanskrit language name for the island.

Describing the ‘accidental sagacity’ in discovering the unsearched, serendipity has contributed more to science than some individuals care to admit. From Wilhelm Roentgen ‘discovering’ X-Rays to Sir Isaac Newton’s apple-induced hypothesis on gravity, serendipity has molded the world as we know today. For some of the greatest discoveries and inventions in history were never searched for by scientists.

Sri Lanka is best known even today for its breathtaking natural geology and natural commodities. SLINTEC is the modern-day Sri Lankan approach to Nanotechnology: promoting intellectual property registration and royalty management as a significant contributor to the economy. Envisioning a community where ‘accidental sagacity’ is accepted as a way of life, SLINTEC promotes continuous research into diverse technological fields in a Nano perspective.

The ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’, is an island full of diversity. From clear beaches of Arugam Bay to precious gems in Rathnapura, Sri Lanka is rich in mineral and geological resources that criss-cross the sunny island.

Yet forgotten as of late, is that Sri Lanka is enriched by generations of scientific and economic brilliance as well.

Forgotten is the rock fortress atop the Sigiriya inselberg and the Dagobas scattered throughout the country. Forgotten is the engineering marvel of the ‘bisokotuwa’. Forgotten is the fact that Sri Lanka, along with India, holds the claim over one of the most ancient use of Nanotechnology. The Carbon Nano-tubes integrated in ‘wootz steel’, from which the fabled ‘Damascus
Steel Swords’ are believed to derive, were discovered in the ‘Samananla Weva’ area dating back to nearly 350 B.C. One need

not look far to recognize that Sri Lanka has always had a rich history of innovation, always keeping in harmony with Nature.

SLINTEC builds up on Sri Lanka’s serendipitous diverse climates and stable environments with a laboratory complex a step

ahead of modern standards to create the perfect R&D environment. By connecting the country to an extensive global resource

base, transforming Sri Lanka into a strong Nanotechnology-focused nation.

The National Geographic Ranks Sri Lanka Second in "Best New Trips for 2010"

adventure.nationalgeographic.com

The 25 Best New Trips for 2010 - The National Geographic has ranked Sri Lanka Second in their list of Best New Trips for 2010

Now more than ever, travelers want their dollars to do more—for others, for the planet, for themselves. At least that's what we found while searching for the best trips of 2010. From wolf-tracking in Slovakia to rafting a forbidden river in Bhutan, here are 25 brand-new adventures, all of them just right for right now.

Sri Lanka MIA No More

After the tsunami of 2004 and the resolution of a decades-long civil war, Sri Lanka is finally starting to look like its old self: a peaceful destination where surf lineups are nonexistent despite world-class waves and centuries-old tea estates are lined with mountain bike–ready trails.

“The silver lining of the civil war is that the land and wildlife have remained untouched,” says Lisa Bolger, trip coordinator for Access Trips, one of the very few outfitters leading excursions to the Indian Ocean island this coming year.

Access’s new itinerary combines surfing at Hikkaduwa (Sri Lanka’s answer to Costa Rica’s Tamarindo—minus the tourists), hiking 7,362-foot Adam’s Peak (considered sacred by four local religions), and mountain biking the same trails that tea farmers have been using since Sri Lanka first began producing the crop 250 years ago. At 25,000 square miles, the island lets you cover a lot in a short amount of time. “Within a half day we move between vastly different topographies, climates, and wildlife zones,” says Bolger. Rare is the place you see rice paddies from the back of an elephant in the morning and ocean views from a mountaintop by midday.

Outfitter: Access Trips; accesstrips.com
Price: $2,795 ($$)
Length: 10 days
Departs: February–April

19 March 2010

Kerawalapitiya Power Plant Begins Operations. Combined Cycle Power Plant Adds 100MW to National Grid

20th February 2010, www.colombopage.com

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa ceremoniously opened the final stage of Kerawalapitiya Combined Cycle Thermal Power Plant today adding another 100 mega watts of power to the national grid.
The first phase of the project added 200 mega watts of power to the national grid. The combined capacity of the facility will now provide 300 mw of electricity to the national grid.

The Kerawalapitiya Power Plant constructed in a suburb of capital Colombo was completed within two years. It was built by a local company at a cost of USD 309 million.

The power generation at the Kerawalapitiya Power Plant is by a combined cycle system fueled by natural gas and costs much less than the average thermal power plants that burn large quantities of oil for power generation.

The project is one of President Rajapaksa's important goals under the Mahinda Chinthana to make the country energy-sufficient in the future.

Electricity demand in Sri Lanka is growing at 8% annually and the Ceylon Electricity Board hopes to meet this demand with the assistance of the Kerawalapitiya Power Plant.

Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne, Fisheries Minster Felix Perera, Senior Advisor to the President Basil Rajapaksa, Minister Sarath Gunarathna, Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy M.M.C. Fernandez also participated in the occasion.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...