31 October 2010

John Keells OnThree20 Luxury Apartment Complex at Union Place Colombo to Start Soon

30th October 2010, www.island.lk

Word leaked out almost three weeks ago that the John Keells group was planning to launch its third residential apartment complex at Union Place, Colombo 2 following the success of two other projects on the grounds of the Cinnamon Grand Hotel.

"There was a clamor of interest and people came round and put their names down," a senior JKH executive said yesterday. "The pricing is very attractive." The new complex which the developers describe as "mega luxury" is estimated to cost over US$ 65 million with its 475 apartments being priced from between Rs.14 million for a two-bed roomed unit at the lower levels to Rs.37 million for a three-bed roomed apartment at the highest level.

JKH which signed an agreement last week with the BOI for this project named "OnThree20" said construction will begin in April 2011 and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2014.

The Emperor, the second residential complex that is now being constructed on the Cinnamon Grand property, is due for completion in 2012. Apartments there have almost been fully sold.

As buyers put up the cash for their apartments while building work proceed, the cost of construction is not a drain on the developer’s resources.

The Union Place property on which the newest project will rise was acquired by JKH in the 1980s at a fraction of today’s value and has been held by the company over a long period of time.

The headquarters of Singer (Sri Lanka) is located in the buildings standing on the site which will most likely be demolished.

Related Info:
Sri Lanka JKH Plans Rs 6.5bn Condo Project in Colombo's Union Place

Sri Lanka to Have a 350 Metre Eiffel Tower with Amusement Park

31st October 2010,www.nation.lk, By Gagani Weerakoon

The Cabinet has approved a proposal forwarded by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to build a 350-metre tall TV tower which would be similar to that of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and make the surrounding ground an amusement park.

Government sources said the Cabinet paper was forwarded last week and the ideal land is yet to be identified.

“Initial assessments and feasibility tests will be done eventually,” sources said.

“However, it is to be established in a land in the Western Province. Subsequently, all television stations will have to use this tower and the government will later decide whether to remove other existing TV towers,” said the sources.

A New Factory by World's Largest Sail Maker North Sails Opens in Sri Lanka

31st October 2010, www.sundayobserver.lk

North Cloth Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. was the latest entity to come under the North Sails Sri Lanka Group, when the factory was opened by Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen last week.

In a special message, Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa said that the opening of the new facility of North Cloth is extremely significant at a time that the country is moving towards economic prosperity with the end of the 30-year-

conflict. Internationally, many look at Sri Lanka in a favourable manner.

International organisations that left the country during conflict, have now returned and begun businesses.

An internationally recognised organisation identified Sri Lanka as an ideal destination for investment and tourism. Regarded as one of the greatest success stories of North Sails, the operational facilities of the Group in Sri Lanka have significantly contributed towards its growth and success, with North Manufacturing Lanka being its largest sail making plant.

In a major milestone in the Group's 15-year-long journey in Sri Lanka, North Cloth joins North Manufacturing, North Sails 3DL Lanka and Southern Spars International, subsidiaries of North Sails Group LLC, USA, the world's largest producer of sails and sail technology leader.

North Cloth will produce sail cloth for export.

The first production was initiated at the Biyagama Free Trade Zone by Minister Bathiudeen.

Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy Valerie Fowler, Chief of Economic and Commercial Affairs of the US Embassy Edward Heartney, Gampaha District MP Dulip Wijesekera, Director, Board of Investment of Sri Lanka M.K.D. Lawrence, President of North Cloth Tom Davis, Managing Director of North Sails Sri Lanka Larry McDonald, COO, North Sails, Sri Lanka Tof Nicolle Griffith, Senior General Manager of North Manufacturing Thalib Sanoon and other company heads and staff of North Sails were present.

30 October 2010

World’s Most Expensive Dessert is from Sri Lanka. The Fortress Stilt Fisherman Indulgence from Wine3 Restaurant of The Fortress Resort Hotel, Galle

www.zimbio.com

Sure your collectibles are worth a lot of money, but a dessert? Sri Lanka has great antiques to buy, and is certainly known for their Buddhist temples, but "The Fortress Stilt Fisherman Indulgence", which debuted in March, has brought delicacy and wealth to new heights. Its creation was inspired by the success of the restaurant's other gem-studded treat, the Bombay Sapphire Martini. Wine3, one of the resort's restaurants, offers the Indulgence for $14,500. Yes, I typed that correctly.

$14,500. What makes it so special? "The Fortress Stilt Fisherman Indulgence was created to give visitors at The Fortress Resort in the coastal city of Galle a one-of-a-kind experience," said Shalini Perera, public relations manager at The Fortress.

The dessert is a gold leaf Italian cassata flavored with Irish cream. It is served with a mango and pomegranate compote and a champagne sabayon enlighten, and is complimented by a chocolate carving of a fisherman clinging to a stilt, an age old local fishing practice.

But the crowning jewel, and I mean that quite literally, is the 80 carat aquamarine stone that rests on a sliver of chocolate shaped to resemble the traditional stilt fisherman that is part of The Fortress' logo.

Patrons are welcomed to pocket the gem after they polish off the delectable dessert. The hotel has had many inquiries about the item, one as far away as Japan.

Related Info:
Top 5 world’s most expensive desserts

Colombo All Share Index up by 102.31 Points on Investor Interest

29th October 2010, www.stock-market-today.net

At the end of Friday's trading Colombo ASI closed at 6878.05, up 102.31 points while MPI which represent most liquid twenty five stocks of the Colombo Stock Exchange was up by 129.07 points to end the day at 7241.77. Today's total equity turnover was amounted to 2.65 billion rupees.

There were 133 gainers and only 49 losers for the day. Index heavy Carsons and John Keells Holdings (JKH) were the top two contributors for today's 100 point gains. Carsons was up by 72.60 to close at Rs 1074.50 while JKH closed 7.60 higher at Rs 299.80.

LOLC a leasing company entered in to fast construction industry by acquiring stake in Sierra Construction (pvt) Ltd was up by 17.70 to close at Rs 1299.70. Ship Builder Colombo Dockyard Plc was up by 11 rupees to close at Rs 285.20.

Investor interest is getting hotter on Laugfs Gas IPO as opening date is getting closer day by day. Laugfs initial public issue will officially open on 4th November 2010 and I am sure it will have to close the same day due to over subscription.

SriLankan Airlines Flights to Maldives Six a Day. National Carrier Now Serves 50 Destinations in 31 Countries

29th October 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.com

SriLankan Airlines is almost doubling daily flights to the Maldive islands from December 1 to cater to the peak tourism season and also connecting a fourth city in China, a statement said.

The number of flights to Male is being increased to six a day from the earlier 3-4 a day, the airline, which has long been the largest carrier into the Maldives, said.

The new flights are part of a big expansion in its network and fleet.

"The most significant addition will be the launch of thrice-weekly services to Guangzhou scheduled for January 28, the fourth city in China to be served by SriLankan," the airline said.

This would take the route network of Sri Lanka's national carrier to 50 destinations in 31 countries.

In Europe, SriLankan will add its 13th weekly flight to London, with effect from December 15, flying twice daily on all days except Friday.

In Southeast Asia, both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur will have an added flight for a total of 11 flights each from December 01.

The Middle East will see significant changes throughout the region including the services to Bahrain, Muscat and Doha, the statement said.

Karachi will also have an added frequency, bringing it to four a week from December 01.

In India, where SriLankan serves six cities, there will be increased flights to Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore.

Mumbai will have a total of 10 flights from December 01, up from the earlier daily frequency.

Chennai will have one additional flight for a total of 15 flights, with three on Friday and two each on all other days from December 01 and Bangalore will go to a daily frequency with the addition of one more flight.

The airline has already begun expanding its fleet, with seven more aircraft by the end of 2011.

The first of these, a wide-body Airbus A330, arrived last July. Three more are planned by February 2011, including two Airbus A320s, and a De Havilland Twin Otter floatplane for the re-launch of the domestic SriLankan Air Taxi service.

Colombo Dockyard Delivers 2nd Passenger Vessel to Administration of Union Territories of Lakshadweep, India

29th October 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka's Colombo Dockyard delivered the second of a pair of passenger vessels for an Indian customer but warned profitability could dip this year owing to the effects of recession and growing competition.

Managing director Mangala Yapa said the yard's order book for new buildings was full but it faced tough competition especially from Chinese yards in the repair business.

Yapa said he was confident the yard would do well this year too having had sales of 12 billion rupees and profits of two billion last year.

"Now we're experiencing tough competition from Chinese yards," he said in a speech to flag off the new vessel.

"There could be some drop in profitability because of the competitive nature of the market."

The yard , which books profits on vessel delivery, Thursday delivered the second of a pair of passenger craft for India's Lakshadweep islands.

The vessel, which can carry 250 passengers and 100 tonnes of cargo, was built for the Administration of Union Territories of Lakshadweep and is named Lakshadweep Sea.

She set sail from Colombo port to join her sister vessel, Arabian Sea, which was delivered in January 2010 and will operate between the Indian mainland ports like Cochin and the Lakshadweep island, as well as in the inter-island routes.

Colombo Dockyard said the vessels were the biggest hulls built by the yard and are meant for operation in all weathers.

Passengers have different categories of accommodation on the vessels, with two VIP cabins, 10 first class, 40 second class and 200 normal class passenger transportation facilities. All passenger compartments are fully air conditioned using an air conditioning system.

Yapa said that peace has given a fillip to the yard's marketing efforts and helped win new customers.

"The emergence of peace and stability has helped us expand our marketing activities."

The yard this signed signed a deal to build two offshore oil platform supply vessels for a Singapore customer.

"In ship repair too we were able to attract many new clients particularly from Europe and the Far East who had been reluctant to come to Colombo earlier because of the war."

The island's 30-year ethnic war ended in May 2009 leading to the removal of marine war-risk insurance advisories and faster economic growth.

Related Info:
Sri Lanka Dockyard Wins Contract for Two Multipurpose Platform Supply Vessels (MPSVs) for Greatship Global Offshore Services of Singapore

Sri Lanka's Colombo Dockyard Delivers Supply Vessel to Singapore's Greatship Global Offshore Services

Ceylon Financial Sector Fund Invests in Banking & Insurance Sector which Outperformed Share Market in Sri Lanka

30th October 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.com

A new Sri Lankan investment fund that opened for subscription Friday is targeting the banking sector which is seen doing well given the need for funding to fuel an economic boom, officials said.

Deutsche Bank and Ceylon Asset Management (CAM) Company have set up the Ceylon Financial Sector Fund to invest in banking, finance and insurance companies which have outperformed the share market this year.

The sector is forecast to grow strongly given accelerating economic growth after the end of the island's 30-year ethnic war in May 2009, officials said.

Fund units are offered at 10 rupees each with a minimum investment of 10,000 rupees.

"The banking sector has outperformed the All Share Price Index," Dulindra Fernando, managing director of CAM told a news conference.

"We've created this fund that enables investors to capture part of this booming industry. It is an open-ended fund, fully tax exempt and money can be withdrawn anytime."

CAM Company is a joint venture between Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation which has a 25 percent stake and Ceylon Capital Trust which has 75 percent.

The fund will minimise risk by eliminating speculative trading and daily valuations and the fund's portfolio content will be disclosed on the company website daily.

The 10 companies the fund will initially invest in are Commercial Bank, Hatton National Bank, Lanka Orix Leasing Company, DFCC Bank, Sampath Bank, National Development Bank, Nations Trust Bank, Central Finance, Seylan Bank and Aviva NDB Insurance.

The fund's maximum exposure limit to one company is 15 percent.

"The sector is in very good shape particularly with non-performing loans in the range of five percent with the exception of Seylan Bank," Fernando said.

"In current economic scenario we see banking sector growth being driven by low interest rates,, excess liquidity in the financial sector and hopefully a VAT (value added tax) reduction for the financial sector in the next budget," he said.

"We expect many new projects to need financing in the fast growing sectors of the economy."

Related Info:
Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Tourism Fund by CAM with Deutsche Bank to Invest 0.5bn in 10 Key Leisure Companies

29 October 2010

Sri Lanka's Biggest Securitisation Deal by People's Leasing Company, The Largest Leasing Firm in the Country

28th October 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka's People's Leasing Company (PLC) has raised 1.4 billion rupees by selling lease-backed securities, which the largest such deal in the country so far its structuring agent, NDB Investment Bank said.

PLC has a 24-branch network at and the funds will be used to expand lending and its branch network especially in the North and the East of the country, NDBIB said in a statement.

The securities were bought by banks and provident funds. Deutsche Bank will be trustee to the issue.

PLC is Sri Lanka largest leasing firm with an estimated 20 percent market share.

It is a unit of state-run People's Bank. It is about to finish a 1.5 billion rupee head office building in Borella and is looking to start joint ventures in Bangladesh and Vietnam.

The company had pre-tax profits of 2.1 billion rupees last year, had net assets of 6.2 billion rupees and non-performing loans 3.0 percent. It had an 'A-(lka) rating from Fitch, NDBIB said.

28 October 2010

Dialog Posts Net Profit of Rs 1.69bn for 3rd Quarter of 2010

28th October 2010, www.dailynews.lk

Dialog Axiata PLC announced financial results for the nine months ended September 30, 2010.

Financial results included those of Dialog Axiata PLC and of the Dialog Axiata Group post consolidation with subsidiaries Dialog Broadband Networks and Dialog Television.

The Group posted a robust net profit after tax (NPAT) of Rs 1.69 billion for the third quarter of 2010 taking YTD 2010 NPAT for the first nine months to Rs 3.77 billion, a 138 percent increase YoY.

Group profit was underpinned by robust performance at Company level, with Dialog Axiata PLC featuring the Group's mobile business, posting a Q3 and nine months profit of Rs 1.90 billion and Rs 4.99 billion respectively, up 162 percent YoY.

Subsidiaries DTV and DBN delivered robust growth in terms of enhanced profitability at Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) and NPAT levels.

Enhanced profitability at subsidiary level was underpinned by significant performance improvements in the Fixed Line, Broadband, and Television businesses of the Group. On an adjacent QoQ basis EBITDA (positive) and NPAT (negative) improved by 173 percent and 48 percent for DTV and 432 percent and 57 percent for DBN respectively.

Dialog Group revenues were recorded at Rs 30.67 billion for the nine months ended September 30, 2010, up 16 percent YoY and 4 percent QoQ.

Similar growth was delivered in terms of Group EBITDA which was recorded at Rs 11,151 million, up 5 percent QoQ and 74 percent YoY. The Group EBITDA margin improved by 12 percentage points YoY, to reach 36 percent. The positive growth trajectory in terms of EBITDA underpinned robust growth in Group NPAT of 138 percent YoY and 23 percent QoQ.

Driven by robust performance in the mobile market, the company recorded revenues of Rs 9,671 million in Q3 2010 and Rs 28,068 million for the first nine months.

Company revenue grew by 16 percent compared to the first nine months of 2009 and 4 percent relative to the previous quarter.

Dialog's Mobile subscriber base stood at 6.7 million as at end of September 2010, recording a 6 percent growth YoY.

The third Quarter of 2010 featured the transient impact of downward tariff adjustments in the mobile market, immediately following the introduction of floor rate regulations in July 2010.

Accordingly, Core Mobile revenues (excluding interconnection income) which exhibited 13 percent growth YoY, declined marginally by 1.5 percent on an adjacent QoQ basis. Notwithstanding the transient impact of tariff adjustments across the sector, total revenues were bolstered by increased consumption of mobile voice and mobile broadband services, as well by interconnection income, resulting overall in a 4 percent growth in revenue on an adjacent QoQ basis.

Sri Lanka Dockyard Wins Contract for Two Multipurpose Platform Supply Vessels (MPSVs) for Greatship Global Offshore Services of Singapore

28th October 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lankan shipbuilder Colombo Dockyard has secure contracts for two 78-metre Multipurpose Platform Supply Vessels (MPSVs) for Greatship Global Offshore Services of Singapore, a statement said.

The vessels, to support offshore oil and gas fields around the clock, are scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of the 2012 financial year and the first quarter of 2013.

The yard, a unit of Japan's Onomichi Dockyard Company, did not disclose the price of the vessels, which are of 3,600 tonne deadweight capacity.

Greatship Global Offshore Services is a Singapore incorporated subsidiary of Greatship (India), which is a subsidiary of The Great Eastern Shipping Company.

The statement said Colombo Dockyard had already built two MPSVs to similar design.

The yard worked in collaborative consultation with the owners and Designer Seatech Solutions International of Singapore on the new vessels.

The new platform supply vessels have been designed to perform oil recovery functions as well, meeting the emerging needs of the industry and owners, the yard said.

"These vessels are designed for operating as advanced PSVs as well as light construction support vessels."

The vessels are capable of undertaking multi-purpose roles such as oil recovery, transportation of pipes, fresh water, diesel, methanol, bulk cement, stores, equipment, deck cargo, and transfer of materials between platforms and shore.

Colombo Dockyard also said the new vessels would be among the "greenest, eco-friendly vessels" ever to be built in the yard.

The vessels will be fully equipped with a ballast water management plan, be capable of treating water before discharge to the sea and have 'eco-friendly' refrigerant.

Related Info:
Sri Lanka's Colombo Dockyard Delivers Supply Vessel to Singapore's Greatship Global Offshore Services

Sri Lanka's Colombo Dockyard Delivers First of Four Multipurpose Platform Supply Vessels to Singapore

Sri Lanka Farmers Earn a Premium for Produce by Mobile Use

27th October 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Use of mobile phones has helped Sri Lankan farmers get better prices for their produce and the technology can help reduce poverty, according to a new United Nations study, officials said.

"There is an informational dimension to poverty - poor people need lots of information for their livelihoods such as on market prices, inputs, weather," said Sriganesh Lokanathan of LIRNEasia, a think tank which helped prepare the report by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

A study done by LIRNEasia on small farmers in Dambulla, an agricultural centre in central Sri Lanka, found that 11 percent of their cost of production goes towards information search, "quite a high percentage," Lokanathan said.

"Information communications technologies (ICTs) have a role in trying to bridge this information gap," he told a news conference held to launch the UNCTAD report called 'Information Economy Report 2010: ICTs, Enterprise and Poverty Alleviation'.

"Without it the vulnerability of poor people increases. ICT can give them pertinent information in time and as accurately as possible."

A study by LIRNEasia this year found that farmers with access to 'Tradenet', a local service that gives prices through mobile phones, are able to earn a premium for their produce.

"By just having market price information several times a day they get premium of 23.4 percent on the average price," said Lokanathan. "So there are real impacts ICTs are having."

The increased access to information through mobile phones has enabled farmers to explore cultivation of different crops and to grow higher value ones that increase incomes and get crop advisory services.

Lokanathan said the potential for ICTs like mobile phones to alleviate poverty in the least developing countries was high as in most LDCs half the rural population is not covered.

But he said it was important to ensure such ICTs were affordable and the experience of South Asia, which has the lowest mobile phone rates, could be useful for other countries.

The UNCTAD report suggests encouraging improving mobile coverage in rural areas and making them more affordable, Lokanathan said.

The report focussed on ICT adoption by poor people, or what's known as BOP - bottom of the pyramid.

"More demand-driven intervention is needed. Policymakers need to better understand local needs," he said. "They need to be aware of what works and what does not in the local context."

The UNCTAD report looks at how ICT can be used in enterprises poor people engage in like fishing and farming and how the poor can be involved in the ICT sector itself, such as selling phone reloads.

Related Info:
Dialog Tradenet - Agricultural Produce Price Information in Sinhala

27 October 2010

Heritance Kandalama Wins Wild Asia 2010 Responsible Tourism Award for Large Hotels at ITB Asia Tourism Trade Show

www.dailynews.lk27th October 2010, www.dailynews.lk

Heritance Kandalama won Asia's Responsible Tourism Award for large hotel category at the ITB Asia tourism trade show held at the Suntec City Convention Centre, Singapore on October 21.

The exterior image of Heritance Kandalama

Asia's Responsible Tourism Awards is organised by Wild Asia and it is the only tourism award of its kind in Asia. This annual award aims to recognize accommodation sector and tour operators in Asia who are making a difference to sustainable tourism.

The awards showcase exemplary resorts, hotels and tour operators that are committed to environmentally and socially responsible practices.

This year's awards attracted a larger and more diverse number of participants, from India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Thailand, Cambodia, China, the Philippines and Indonesia. Every year, the judging panel select two finalists for each category based on criteria such as sense of place, whether tourists understand their destinations in terms of the cultural and ecological context; whether the responsible tourism efforts are long-term; involvement of guests, how much the operators involve their guests in their responsible tourism practices; how much sustainability is part of the day-to-day operations and how the operators strive to improve their responsible tourism efforts.

Haycarb, World Leading Maker of Activated Carbon from Sri Lanka Unveils New Logo

27th October 2010, www.dailynews.lk

Haycarb PLC has unveiled a new corporate logo and associated new marketing collaterals to support a strategic re-positioning that better articulates the company's values, vision and personality.

The predominantly Green new logo is a visual metaphor that represents the filtration process, symbolizes Haycarb's global reach and embodies the company's wide-spectrum product suite a portfolio that encompasses all activated carbon based purification applications, the company said.

Launched in Colombo at the seventh International Distributors' Convention of Haycarb earlier this month, the new logo will also serve as an emblematic catalyst for a new phase of growth leveraged on the company's emphasis on striving for technical excellence, innovation and customer centricity in a greener supply chain framework and an environment of new opportunities and application requirements in the global market, Haycarb Managing Director Rajitha Kariyawasan said.

26 October 2010

Sri Lanka Aitken Spence Colombo City Hotel on state-run Ceynor Foundation Property

25h October 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka's listed Aitken Spence group has proposed to build a luxury city hotel on excess land owned by a state-run firm in the island's capital Colombo, fisheries minister Rajitha Senaratna said.

The land belongs to Ceynor Foundation, a state-run boat builder. The firm has offices in Colombo's D R Wijewardene Mawatha.

The area had been zoned for leisure and entertainment development by Sri Lanka's Urban Development Authority.

Ceynor chairman Sarath Kumar de Silva said a 15-floor hotel project, which is the maximum allowed under UDA rules was estimated to cost around 30 million US dollars to build.

"But the UDA may relax this rule," he said. If the rule is relaxed a hotel of up to 40 floors could be built, he said.

Senaratne said he hoped to have talks with Aitken Spence on the project which could be in the 'seven star' class.

Aitken Spence is one of Sri Lanka's largest leisure groups, but it has no city hotel. It also operates resorts in the Maldives.

A media report said yesterday that the cabinet of ministers had approved a proposal by the economic development ministry to give land from a military sports ground in Colombo to Hong Kong-based Shangri-La group for a 75 million US dollar hotel and apartment project.

Related Info:
eBrochure - Aitken Spence Hotels

Shangi-La Hotel in Colombo Sri Lanka Military Sports Ground

25 October 2010

MillanniumIT Built London Stock Exchange Trading Platform Turquoise Achieves World Record Trading Time

21st October 201, www.news360.lk, By Robert Charette

ComputerWorld UK is reporting today that the new London Stock Exchange (LSE) trading platform called Turquoise has achieved a world record trading time of 126 microseconds during tests in anticipation of its roll-out on the first of November.

In September 2009, the LSE announced plans to replace its Tradelect core trading platform with one from Sri Lanka-based MillenniumIT, which it bought for £18 million. It completed the acquisition this past February. The LSE introduced Tradelect a little more than two years ago after spending four years and £40 million on its development, but it has been plagued with problems ever since.

According to ComputerWorld UK, the LSE, with a bit of marketing hype, claimed the 126 microsecond trading time was “twice as fast” as its rivals, BATS Europe and Chi-X, which have trading times of 250 and 175 microseconds respectively.

An article last week in the Financial Times of London, interestingly enough, said that Turquoise had achieved a trading time of 124 microseconds during its tests.

The FT also noted that “the 124 microseconds was the time taken from the moment when a client input an order to the exchange and the message coming back to the client.”

Turquoise is Linux-based, whereas the Tradelect system is based on Microsoft’s .Net architecture.

ComputerWorld UK also wrote that: “David Lester, CEO of Turquoise, said that alongside the 126 microsecond average latency, 99 percent of orders would be processed within 210 microseconds, and only 0.1 percent will take longer than 400 microseconds.”

Of course, given these latency times, one can only imagine what might happen if something goes wrong, as in the case of the NYSE “flash crash.” (In its initial test, Turquoise had a glitch itself.) High-speed, automated trading is a major area of concern to financial regulators, who are worried that if an error occurs, market chaos could ensue.

BTW, the FT quotes the developer of Turquoise, MillenniumIT, as saying that the 124-126 microsecond trading time will be eclipsed in the not too distant future as the next generation trading platforms that it is already developing go into operation.

Related Info:
London Stock Exchange to Buy Sri Lankan Technology Services Company Millennium IT to Gain New Trading System

Sri Lanka Royal Ceramics Net Profit Goes up 48pct

24th October 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka's Royal Ceramics has report a 48 percent rise in group profits to 224 million rupees in the September 2010 quarter from a year earlier helped by strong revenues and lower finance costs.

Revenues rose 41 percent to 1,552 million rupees in the quarter while finance charges fell 51 percent to 53.7 million rupees.

Earnings per share for the quarter was reported as 4.04 cents.

For the half year ending September the firm report profits of Rs 606.5 million up 114 percent with earnings per share of 10.95 rupees.

The stock closed at 323 rupees up 19.20 rupees Friday.

Shangi-La Hotel in Colombo Sri Lanka Military Sports Ground

25th October 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Land in a military sports ground in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo would be given to Hong Kong-based Shangri-La group to build a 75 million US dollar luxury hotel and apartment complex, a media report said.

Sri Lanka's The Sunday Times newspaper said the cabinet of ministers had approved the proposal put forward by the island's economic development ministry, the newspaper said.

The army sports ground would be shifted to another location.

Shangri-La group chief Kuok Khoon – Ean had visited Sri Lanka earlier and had met Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa and also economic development minister Basil Rajapaksa.

Related Info:
Shangri-La Hotels to Come to Sri Lanka. Chairman Kuok Khoon-Ean Visits

LaGuardia of Logan Rockefeller Global on Sri Lanka's Potential as Frontier Market at ICASL CEOs Forum

25th October 2010, www.dailymirror.lk

A highly resourceful interactive session is expected at the forthcoming CEOs' Breakfast Forum organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (ICASL) on 27th October at 7.30 a.m. at the Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo.

The keynote speaker for this high profile event will be Mr. Don LaGuardia - Principle Partner of Logan Rockefeller (LR) Global in New York who will speak on the theme "Investing in Frontier Markets." During his speech, LaGuardia will give an overview of the Global Frontier Markets and the benefits to the economy and local companies from frontier market investments.

LaGuardia will use the breakfast forum as a platform to impart his knowledge and experience to the participants which will include a high degree of corporate leaders including CEOs, business leaders and other professionals in the country.

He will stress on the attractiveness of Sri Lanka as a frontier market and also given an insight into what LR Global looks for in an investment and his company's experiences in other frontier markets.

LaGuardia is a founder and partner of LR Global Partners, and a member of the portfolio investment team that manages the firm's funds. He has been investing in frontier markets for over 13 years and oversees all of the firm's activities in its five offices based in New York, Dhaka, Colombo, Hanoi and Singapore.

Since founding LR Global in 1997, LaGuardia has travelled to more than 30 Frontier Markets and has built up a global network of relationships with local business leaders that aid in the firms due diligence process and opportunity pipeline in otherwise opaque markets.

Previously, LaGuardia spent five years at Rockefeller & Co. (R&Co.) as an equity analyst. Prior to joining R&Co., he spent six years at BMW of North America as a financial analyst and business planning manager. Previously, LaGuardia spent five years as an auditor at PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

LaGuardia received a BA in public accounting from Pace University and an MBA in international finance from New York University. In 1992, he received his Certified Public Accountant designation and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Related Info:
Logan Rockefeller to Invest $25mn in Sri Lanka. Intends to Bring Significant Portfolio Investments

24 October 2010

LOLC Seeks Hotel Chains to Rebrand & Manage Confifi Hotels

24th October 2010, sundaytimes.lk, By Duruthu Edirimuni Chandrasekera

LOLC has zeroed in on three international hotel chain contenders to re-brand and manage Confifi hotels which they recently bought from the Furkhan family, sources close to the company said. They said chains such as Hilton and Accor are interested in managing these hotels.

“We plan to spend roughly US$ 30 million in refurbishing its properties,” a source told the Business Times. The Furkhans sold some of their stakes in related holding companies of the three Confifi hotels – Club Palm Garden (CPG), Riverina Hotel and Eden - to a consortium led by LOLC and Browns in June.

This consortium now own 52% in Confifi Hotel Holdings (owners and managers of CPG) and 25.5% in Riverina which they bought in late May while in June they bought 23.71% in Eden. Further firming its position in the country’s famed golden mile in southern Beruwela, the company bought a 60% stake in Tropical Villas, a beach resort with 50 luxury villas in Beruwela, through a subsidiary LOLC Leisure in August.

“With the Confifi hotels and this latest acquisition, LOLC has now increased its footprint to over 25 acres of prime beach front land,” the source said, adding that the total acquisition cost of all the hotels is more than Rs 800 million.

"Managing hotels is not our business. We bought these hotels as it was a good investment. We want to have a strategic alliance with a major international partner who will manage it for us,” he added.

He said the deal will be finalized soon-possibly by next month.

APTA May Offer Sri Lanka Concessions with a Supportive India

24th October 2010, www.thesundayleader.lk

The three giants in the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), namely Korea, India and China are prepared to recognize Sri Lanka (SL) as a Least Developed Country (LDC) and give it a near zero (90%) duty concessionary entry into their markets on an average under certain tariff lines, a Commerce Department (CD) official said.

CD Director General Gomi Senadheera speaking at a seminar on Trade Agreements (TAs) on Monday said that currently the duty concession is around 20%.

However reaching a consensus under the 4th round of APTA talks which would make these concessions a reality has been delayed due to disagreements by India, but those disagreements are not with SL, he said.

SL exported about US$ 50 million worth of goods to APTA (formerly Bangkok Agreement) member countries last year. China topped the list with US$ 29 million, followed by India (US$ 13 million) and Korea (US$ six million).

Coir products were the island’s biggest export with US$ 24.5 million followed by natural rubber (US$ 14.5 million). Other exports under APTA included rubber products, fish “products,” floor tiles and tea.

APTA is the biggest trade agreement after the Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ILFTA), said Senadheera.

The objective of APTA is to cover at least 40% of tariff lines.
But studies have shown that Sri Lanka has under-utilised APTA concessions by 50%, he said.

CD plans to educate exporters about APTA.

Senadheera’s talk however didn’t cover the EU and US markets, SL’s number 1 and number 2 export destinations respectively.

Exports to the EU have been hit due to the withdrawal of the GSP + concession, while certain exports to the USA are under threat because of the labour GSP issue.
“There are a large number of exports made to the USA which could enjoy the GSP duty free concession, resulting in the saving of millions of dollars in duties,” said Senadheera. This ignorance is either on the part of the exporter, or of the importer, he said.
A number of these concessions are tied to the rules of origin criterion, ie the requirement of a minimum local value addition. For instance under APTA, the local value addition should be a minimum of 45%.

Senadhira said that GSP are non-reciprocal concessions/TAs. Other TAs touched upon by Senadhira in his speech were the ILFTA, Sri Lanka-Pakistan FTA (smoked rubber sheets topped the list last year with US$ 10 million worth of exports under this agreement), South Asian Preferential Trade Arrangement (under which arrangement SL made US$ 1.77 million worth of exports last year) and South Asian FTA (some US$ 608,624 worth of exports to India and Pakistan last year, including US$ 579,420 worth of ekel broom sticks to Pakistan). The seminar was organized by the Spices and Allied Products,’ Producers’ and Traders’ Association. (See also page 37)

Ravi Ratnayake, Director, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Trade and Investment Division says intra-regional trade can play a large role in reducing poverty, but barriers to trade among the region’s developing countries remain relatively high. “By simply eliminating all tariffs among each other, the region can reduce the number of people living on less than $1 a day by 43 million.” (Source: ESCAP)

The three giants in the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), namely Korea, India and China are prepared to recognize Sri Lanka (SL) as a Least Developed Country (LDC) and give it a near zero (90%) duty concessionary entry into their markets on an average under certain tariff lines, a Commerce Department (CD) official said.
CD Director General Gomi Senadheera speaking at a seminar on Trade Agreements (TAs) on Monday said that currently the duty concession is around 20%.
Related Info:
Sri Lankan Exporters Should Make Use of Free Trade Deals

SriLankan Air Taxis Cover Natural Beauty of Sri Lanka in Half an Hour

23rd October 2010, www.island.lk

A new and unique way to capture the natural beauty of Sri Lanka in just half an hour will soon be on offer when SriLankan Airlines, introduces its latest service, the Air Taxi priced at Rs. 5,000 per passenger (from Colombo and Rs. 7,000 from Koggala, the airline announced.

"You don’t always have to be a visitor disembarking at the BIA and taking an air transfer to a pre-scheduled destination. You can simply get on board the Sri Lankan Airlines’ Air Taxis and g-l-i-d-e over Paradise Isle. The scenic routes take off from a water base either in Negombo Lagoon, the Kelani river, Koggala or Bentota. Within half an hour you will be mesmerized by some of the most breathtakingly scenic views of Sri Lanka’s multi-faceted variety and panoramic diversity at just 1500 feet to 3000 feet above sea level,’’ a news release on the launch of the new activity said.

SriLankan Airlines’ float planes will operate from several water bases around the country and have scheduled flights to all these destinations for visitors to the country from BIA. Destinations currently on the cards are the Kelani river, Negombo lagoon, the Tissamaharama tank, Bentota, Kandy, Ampara, Nuwara Eliya, Koggala, Dickwella, and Dambulla.

The scenic route is expected to be a popular half an hour ride for families with children, an ideal opportunity to take a ride in an airplane and view the country’s scenic sights from the clouds and for visitors to the country who wish to catch an aerial view of Sri Lanka.

"A typical scenic route flight, taking off from the Negombo lagoon, will fly over the lush, verdant paddy fields and winding rivers of its western plains and cruise back to base, skimming over the western beaches of Wattala and Negombo,’’ the release said.

"A scenic flight taking off from Bentota or Koggala, will also cruise over its western plains and return to base over the famed southern beaches of Sri Lanka.

"If you choose to take off from the Kelaniya river with a majestic view of the Kelani Temple with its brilliant white dagoba, you will fly over the city of Colombo and then fly over the western beaches of Wattala and Negombo, back to Kelani river.’’

Head of Worldwide Sales Sri Lankan Airlines, Mr. Mohamed Fazeel said, "We are confident that these scenic routes will rejuvenate domestic tourism. The plus is that it takes only half an hour to take a scenic route flight. We are primarily offering two kinds of flights. One which transports visitors from the BIA to destinations of their choice while the other is the 30 minutes scenic flights which both reveal and showcase the beauty of the country".

Scenic flights from Colombo will be priced at Rs 5,000/- per person all inclusive and flights out of Bentota and Koggala at Rs. 7,000/-. Flights can be extended for forty five minutes to one hour at a higher cost to fly over the central hills of Sri Lanka.

SriLankan Airlines will initially operate two Twin Otter aircraft, each with a capacity of up to 15 passengers.

"The scenic flights are available every weekend from Colombo and throughout the week from Bentota while special on-call scenic flights can be arranged for groups,’’ the release said.

"Sri Lanka is unfolding itself as it has never done before. Take to the skies and be part of it!’’

23 October 2010

Sri Lanka Invites Investors for State Owned Sugar, Paper & Ceramic Industries

22nd October 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka's government is seeking private investors to help revive defunct state-owned sugar, paper and ceramic industries, media minister and government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwelle said.

The government wants to revive the Kantalai sugar factory and the Embilipitiya paper mill of the National Paper Company in the east and the Ceylon Ceramics Corporation, he told a news conference.

The Cabinet of minister approved a proposal to revive the industries in private-public partnerships without privatisation to which the government is opposed, he said.

Expressions of interest will be called for from local and foreign investors.

22 October 2010

Why Invest in Sri Lankan Tourism Industry - Sri Lanka, the Gateway to Asian Tourism highway

Tourism is the Fastest Growing Industry in Sri Lanka

  • Tourist arrivals are picking up. For the last nine months ended in September 2010, tourist arrivals are up almost 50 percent year-on-year.
  • Tourism earnings too have kept pace with a 69 percent growth.
  • The Hotel and Travel Index of Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) increased by 199% in 2009.
  • Room capacity has be increased immediately in order to cater to increasing tourist arrivals. Sri Lanka has only 15,000 rooms at present. 13,000 rooms will have to be build within the next 2-3 years.
















Sri Lanka, the Tourist Destination
Sri Lanka has always been a tourist destination. Due to its unique location in the Silk Route in the past Sri Lanka attracted many merchants and explorers. Strategically located at the cross road of both east and west, Sri Lanka continues to serve as an easy point of entry to South Asia and ideal destination to transit and visit. Its uniqueness and size earned it the name 'Taprobane' and 'The Pearl of the Indian Ocean'. Its diversity is great even as its size is small in comparison to neighbouring countries.
This Small Miracle offers leisure and business travellers a spectrum of attractions. The sandy white beaches and attractive underwater life that surrounds the Island give visitors a chance to unwind and relax in a warm and comfortable setting. The beautiful rain forests, mountain ranges and scenic plantations can be visited within a few hours (approx. 4-5 hours travel time), and visitors can also visit the wildlife sanctuaries. Its commercial cities offer many an investment opportunity to the business traveller.

Why Invest in Sri Lanka Tourism
Now Sri Lanka is a nation at peace with the end of long terrorist war in the North of the country. A stable political climate prevailing now in the country will help Sri Lanka to develop into a major Global Logistics Hub in the South Asian region for trade, investment, communications, and financial services.
Sri Lanka offers,
  • Strategic access to the Indian market.
  • A highly literate and cost competitive labour force.
  • Attractive and transparent laws.
  • Sri Lanka’s open economy is ranked as the most liberalised economy in South Asia.
Investors enjoy a range of facilities and incentives that include,
  • Preferential tax rates coupled with tax holidays.
  • Exemptions from exchange control.
  • 100% repatriation of profits.
  • Constitutional guarantees on investment.
The Sri Lankan government together with the Sri Lanka Tourism (SLT) are committed to the development and growth of the local Tourism industry. SLTDA one stop shop helps investors to obtain all necessary approvals to speed up construction without hindrance.
The country’s Board of Investment (BOI) offer potential foreign investors lucrative incentives to start up tourism establishments.
The Government’s vision of making Sri Lanka the foremost leisure destination in the South Asian Region has following key objectives:-
  • Achieve 2 million tourist arrivals by 2016.
  • Target up scale Free Independent Travellers (FITS), who are comparatively high spenders.
  • Make tourism Sri Lanka’s third largest foreign exchange earner.
  • Transform tourism to be the fastest job creator and help reduce unemployment numbers.

How We Can Help You

InvestSriLanka represents a firm of professionals that shares a common goal of taking Sri Lanka forward by bringing in quality investments in Leisure, Finance, Construction, Agriculture, Alternative Energy and Education.

We welcome your proposals. Alternatively, we are happy to provide you a host of information on current projects and proposals in several spheres of investment. We should be happy to work with you from the concept to construction to commissioning of your special project. Our multi-disciplinary firm of professionals is prepared to offer its services at whatever level of expertise called for. In fact, we would be proud to.

Let us start our exchange of ideas now. Please Contact: investsrilanka@gmail.com

See Also:

Sri Lanka Tourist Arrivals and Statistics

One Stop Unit for Investment in Tourism and Step by Step Guide

Important Tourism Related Websites and Contact Numbers

Sri Lanka Offers Special Visas to Investors, Professionals & Senior CitizensInvestment Accounts (SIA) Replace SIERA & TIERA Accounts - For Investment in Sri Lankan Equity, Debt and Unit TrustsAccounts

Sri Lanka Policy Rates Unchanged following Central Bank October Monetary Policy Review

22nd October 2010, www.dailymirror.lk

Central Bank yesterday kept policy rates unchanged following the October Monetary Policy Review.

The Bank said economic growth remains robust and broad based with all sectors contributing to the expansion of output. Credit flows continue to rebound with credit to the private sector from commercial banks growing on a year on year basis by 12.8 per cent in August 2010, further reinforcing the growth prospects. At the same time, year on year growth in broad money remains moderate at 13.9 per cent in August.

The successful issue of the 10-year international sovereign bond on 27 September at a comparatively lower coupon rate of 6.25 per cent and attracting an order book of more than 6 times the value of the bond reflects the improved investor confidence in the economy. Gross international reserves further increased with the receipt of the fifth tranche of the IMF-SBA facility and the proceeds of the international sovereign bond.

Inflation, as measured by the year on year change in the Colombo Consumers’ Price Index (2002=100) increased in September to 5.8 per cent from 5 per cent in August. However, inflation is expected to remain subdued over the coming months.

“Taking into consideration these current and expected developments in the economy, the Monetary Board, at its meeting held on 18 October 2010, has decided to maintain the policy interest rates of the Central Bank unchanged. Accordingly, the Repurchase rate and the Reverse Repurchase rate of the Central Bank would remain at 7.25 per cent and 9.00 per cent, respectively,” the statement added.
The release of the next regular statement on monetary policy will be on 16 November 2010.

Sri Lanka Hambantota Magampura Port Attracts Vehicle Assembly and Cement Manufacture

22nd October 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.com

A new port being built in Sri Lanka's southern Hambantota has drawn investment proposals from local and foreign businesses including the local Senok Combine and Micro Car for vehicle assembly, officials said.

Madras Cements, India's fifth largest cement maker and part of Chennai-based Ramco Group, has also proposed investing in a cement terminal at the port, a greenfield site to be operated as a free port with no taxes.

A Sri Lanka Ports Authority statement said that 27 local and foreign companies among 63 that collected the request for investment proposals have submitted bids.

"The response shows investors are keen to invest in the new port," said Agil Hewageegana, SLPA chief engineer in charge of the port project in Hambantota known as Magampura Port.

He said some of the local firms that sent proposals are in joint ventures with foreign partners.

The new deep water harbour close to the main shipping route across the Indian Ocean, to function initially as an industrial port, was built by Chinese firms and largely funded by Chinese loans.

The SLPA received six investment proposals for cement terminals in Hambanthota when bids closed last week, two for vehicle assembly, two each for liquid petroleum gas and petro-chemical complexes, and three for warehousing.

Investors have also bid to set up a sugar refinery and a fertilizer plant.

The two local firms interested in vehicle assembly are Senok Trade Combine, agents for vehicle manufacturers like Audi, Subaru and Skoda, Transmec Engineering, which assembles the 'Micro Car' in Sri Lanka.

Pakistan's Jamshoro, based in Lahore, which had bid for part of the Shell Gas assets in that country has submitted a proposal for an LPG terminal.

Proposals petro-chemicals investments have come from a Singapore firm and Advance Surfactants Lanka, which makes industrial chemicals.

The SLPA said a total land area of 2,000 hectares belonging to the Magampura Port will be available for local and international entrepreneurs.

"Magampura Port is being developed as a multi-purpose, industrial and service port and aims to make the best of the expanding markets of the Indian sub-continent, with short transit times to India, Africa and the Gulf region," it said.

The government plans to start phase two of the project during the last quarter of this year with the contract agreement recently signed between China Harbour Engineering Company and SLPA.

The financial assistance would be extended by the the People's Republic of China on a concessionary basis, the statement said.

The second phase will expand and deepen the harbour, adding more berths and cranes to handle containers.

ILO Launches Statistics Database of Global Labour Market & Consumer Prices

21st October 2010, www.island.lk

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has launched a new statistics database containing timely information on the labour market and consumer prices aimed at providing vital information needed by policy makers faced with a global economic and social crisis.

The new database Short term indicators of the labour market (STI) was launched by the ILO Department of Statistics on World Statistics Day (20 October) and will be updated each month with the latest national data for indicators reflecting recent and short-term changes on the labour market.

"Governments, employers’ organizations, trade unions, labour market analysts and the media can now count on an improved labour statistics tool, allowing them to better monitor, understand, and analyze the recent events in labour markets", said Rafael Diez de Medina, Director of the ILO Department of Statistics.

The new database contains selected indicators for some 70 countries and territories that gather infra-annual information for the current year. In addition, 40 indicators are available disaggregated by sex. It can be found at http://laborsta.ilo.org/sti/sti_E.html

The new service also includes an interactive map containing most of the data organized by country and topic. Country profiles provide a quick and accurate snapshot of each country’s labour market situation, while information organized by topic allows for cross-country comparison and global analysis. Data are collected in close contact with National Statistical Offices and the process has been optimized in order to extract the greatest amount of information in the shortest period of time.

Especially interesting is the inclusion of seasonally adjusted sectoral data. In the first case, official adjustments were compiled for countries which adjust their data and the ILO has adjusted the time series in the rest of the cases.

The information has passed through quality controls but is nonetheless subject to revisions that the countries may undertake in the future. Users can obtain a printable page with latest data and information can be downloaded to Excel files.

Related Info:
View and download data and metadata for over 200 countries or territories from LABORSTA, an International Labour Office database on labour statistics operated by the ILO Department of Statistics

21 October 2010

Sri Lanka's Second Cardinal - Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith Elevated to a Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI

21st October 2010, www.dailynews.lk

Archbishop of Colombo the Most Rev Dr Malcolm Ranjith has been elevated to the position of Cardinal by His Holiness Pope Benedict the xvi th. He will be anointed as Cardinal by the Pontiff at the Vatican on November 20.

The announcement of the elevation of Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith as Cardinal was made by the Pope at his weekly appearance before the faithful at St Peter’s Square yesterday.

A Cardinal is eligible to be elected Pope and also to take part in the conclave to elect a Pontiff. Archbishop Dr Malcolm Ranjith is only the second Sri Lankan after the late Thomas Cooray to be anointed Cardinal.

Malcolm Ranjith was born in Polgahawela to Don William and Mary Winifreeda. He studied at the De La Salle College in Mutwal before entering St. Aloysius Seminary in Borella in 1965.

From 1966 to 1970, he pursued studies in theology and philosophy at the National seminary in Kandy.

He was thereafter sent by the then Archbishop Thomas Cardinal Cooray to further his priestly studies in Rome, he graduated from the Pontifical Urbanian University with a baccalaureate in theology(B.TH).

On June 29, 1975,Malcolm Ranjith was ordained to the priesthood by Pope Paul VI in St. Peter’s Basilica. He then pursued post graduate studies at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, from where he obtained a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture in 1978; his thesis centered on the Epistle to the Hebrews.

During his time at the Biblical Institute, he studied under Carlo Martini and Albert Vanhoye (both future cardinals), he also attended the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he undertook scriptural research as a post grad scholar.

Sri Lankan Exporters Should Make Use of Free Trade Deals

20th October 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lankan exporters are still not making enough use of free trade deals giving duty free or preferential access to big markets, a senior trade official said.

Gomi Senadhera, Director General of the Department of Commerce, said rates of utilisation of key trade deals like the Asia - Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) and South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) were low.

"Utilisation rates are not very high either because exporters are not obtaining certificates of origin from the department of commerce or because the importer is not presenting it and getting duty concessions," he told a forum.

The seminar on free trade agreements was organized by the Spices & Allied Products Producers’ & Traders’ Association (SAPPTA) of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

Senadhera said APTA, previously known as the Bangkok agreement, was becoming more important as it gave exporters like SAPPTA members access to China, India and South Korea.

China's membership of APTA theoretically gives Sri Lanka access to one of the largest markets in the world, he said.

"Under APTA there is a substantially large volume exported without preferences being claimed to China and Korea for which your importer is paying duty when they are entitled to duty free or preferential duty," said Senadhera.

"The rules of origin and other aspects are quite simple," he said. "Its importance today is that we look at APTA largely as a platform for market access with China and Korea."

Although exports under APTA have grown, it was still only about 50 million dollars worth of goods to China, Korea, India and Bangladesh with about 1,800 certificates of origin issued by the commerce department.

"Our utilisation rates are not very high - only around 50 percent," said Senadhera. "It means there's another 50 percent of exports which should benefit and people are not aware of it."

The main products exports under APTA are coir, natural rubber, tea, apparel, rubber products, fish products, activated carbon, floor tiles, and porcelain.

"We must improve exports to China and South Korea," he said. "If we are not using these free trade arrangements exporters should come and see us to find out how best they can use these trade preferences."

Under the South Asia Preferential Trading Arrangement (SAPTA) also total Sri Lankan exports "remains modest," Senadhera said.

Exports have actually fallen to 1.8 million dollars in 2009 from 3.8 million dollars in 2007.

The main products exported are rubber gloves, natural rubber, black tea, bicycle tires, copra, coconut oil, nutmeg, desiccated coconut, activated carbon, coir yarn and coir fibre.

"To China alone we exported last year about 28 million dollars worth of good and to India 13 million dollars worth under APTA," Senadhera said. "Under APTA we exported more to India than under SAPTA."

These trade deals were useful for exporters as a lot of products covered under them are locally produced for the domestic market and therefore eligible for export.

Senadhera said there was a lot of criticism about the free trade deal with India because more products were sent under that deal than under others.

"That's why we don’t hear about other agreements - when you don't export you don;t have problems. Only when goods go and you have to clear them that you have the problems.

"If a trade agreement is successful that should generate problems - no successful trade agreement is without problems."

Sri Lanka GSP trade deal with the United States was also not being used enough.

"There is a substantially large volume exported where exporters do not use GSP," Senadhera said.

"It appears some exporters and importers are paying a few million dollars in duty for which they are entitled to duty free access. We're trying to find out who these exporters are to find out whether they could get the concession."

Related Info :

South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) - Detailed Information - The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI)

Asia– Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) Formerly the Bangkok Agreement  - Detailed Information - The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI)

Sri Lanka China Signs $82mn Hydro Power Project on Broadlands Kelani River

20th October 2010, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka's state-run Ceylon Electricity Board has awarded a 35MegaWatt 82 million US dollar hydro power plant deal to China, power minister Champika Ranawaka said.

The run-of-the-river plant known as the Broadlands project on Sri Lanka's Kelani River will be built by China National Electric Equipment Corporation (CNEEC) and connected to the grid by 2014.

"The engineering estimate for the project was 102 million US dollar but the contractor is building it for 82 million US dollars," minister Ranawaka told reporters after signing the construction contract with CNEEC.

The CEB also required the bidder to arrange finance.

The project will be 90 percent financed by the Industrial and Construction Bank of China on a 15-year floating rate loan at 220 basis points above the London interbank offered rate and will also include three years grace.

The balance 10 percent funds will come from state-run People's Bank.

Minister Ranawaka said the plant will generate 126GigaWatt-hours of energy a year.

The project involves the building of a 114 meter long, 24 meter high gravity dam across the Maskeli Oya tributary of the Kelani River complex at Polpitiya.
Another smaller diversion weir 48 meters long and 19 meters high will be built across the Kehelgamu Oya and water brought through an 850 meter tunnel to the main reservoir. The main tunnel to the generators will be 3.2 kilometres long.

The Broadlands project is the last plant in the so-called Laxapana cascade power station complex on the Kelani River system which was started 50 years ago.

The CEB is separately rehabilitating plants in part of the Laxapana complex at a cost of 6.97 billion rupees which will add 14 MW of additional capacity and in another part at a cost of 4.2 billion rupees with Austrian suppliers credit, officials said.

20 October 2010

Foreign Investors to Make Major Moves on Colombo Stock Exchange after Budget

20th October 2010, www.news360.lk, By Prasanna C Rodrigo

Foreign investors are showing lot of interest to enter the Sri Lankan stock market but yet to make their moves says Sanjitha Rajasekeran the Research Head of Asia Securities Stock Brokers.

She said “There is lot of inquiries from Fund Managers from Asia, EU and USA”, But added those inquiries haven’t yet been converted to action.

According to her, foreign Fund Managers are coming to Sri Lanka and visiting listed firms and even inquiring through conference calls.

However Rajasekeran said despite the huge interest “they are still adopting a wait and see policy”.

She noted that after the end of the conflict they were expecting a “dramatic entry” of foreign investors to the Colombo Stock Exchange.

However the Research Head of Asia Securities said, as of now the foreign funds which enter the CSE are only getting engaged in the form of “stock picking”.

This means they only buy selective stocks especially from conglomerates, Hotel and Banking sector counters.

When asked when will those interested foreign funds will make major moves, she told us “probably after the budget” if they see the Budget is growth friendly.

Meanwhile during this year so far foreign investors in the CSE are on a selling spree thus recording a year to date net foreign outflow of Rs. 20.58 billion.

Rajasekeran said this is “profit taking” by foreigners who has bought shares when the prices were at rock bottom prices.

However she said net foreign selling has not impacted the market as there is heavy participation by local institutes thus helping the CSE to stabilize.

Related Info:
How to Invest in Sri Lanka Stocks and Shares - Best Performing Capital Market of the World