28 February 2011

Sri Lanka Hosts GP-14 World Sailing Championship. GP14 World Cup Finals at Negombo Beach

28th February 2011, dailymirror.lk

The final day of the series of GP-14 world Sailing Championship took off at the Negombo beach last Friday as the fleet of yachts launched with the sea breeze at the Negombo beach.

The [GP14] World Cup is held in Sri Lanka for the first time in the history, which was earlier limited mostly to the European countries. With the perfect conditions of golden sandy shores and fresh breeze to magnify the yachting experience, the beaches in Sri Lanka can be seen as an ideal location for yachting enthusiasts.

"By conducting an International event of this nature, we are able to convince the world that Sri Lanka is an ideal place for sports and adventure activities enriched with lot of vibrancy and added pleasures that come with it" said Malraj Kiriella - Actg.

Managing Director of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau, who are jointly promoting this remarkable event in the international markets. He also added that events like these would help promote Sri Lanka among the adventure tourists who are travelling around the world seeking such exciting opportunities to enjoy with.

Contestants from ten different countries including Australia, UK, South Africa, Belgium, America and Norway take part in this year's GP -14 World Sailing Championship held in Sri Lanka. Both local and international participants took part in the event adding color to the spirit of the game.

Early this year Sri Lanka Tourism declared Refreshingly Sri Lanka Visit 2011 Promotional campaign, and accordingly the month of February has been allocated to promote sports and adventure tourism. Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau is planning to make the country as a venue for sports and adventure tourism and to target many foreign tourists to the country under this theme.

A surfing and beach volley ball tournament in the southern coast will follow GP-14 Sailing Championships, under the programme of events for month of February. Further Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau will organize a special seminar on "Sports Tourism" on the 28th February which will be followed by a display of "Angampora"- traditional martial arts. The month's programme of activities will have main focus on the ICC cricket tournament which will start their matches in Sri Lanka on the 20th of February.

Sri Lanka tourism has already introduced special tour packages to bring down tourists to the country during the period.

Further Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau is planning to organize publicity and promotion programmes targeting visiting media and foreign tourists. Sri Lanka Tourism Bureau believes that above all programmes would make setting to achieve their target of 2.5 tourists by 2016.

Picture Courtesy: www.dailynews.lk

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27 February 2011

CIC Agri Business Grows Grapes in Kilinochchi to supply Sri Lanka's growing Demand of Wine & Grapes

27th February 2011, www.sundayobserver.lk, By Shirajiv Sirimane

For the first time in Sri Lanka a plant will be built to process wine. In a bid to usher economic benefits to the North-East this plant will be built in Kilinochchi.

CIC Agribusiness would set up this plant and would also grow grapes on 50 acres.

CEO, National Agriculture development (CIC) Keerthi B. Kotagama told the Sunday Observer that they would invest over Rs. 300 million on this project.

He said that the feasibility studies of this project have now being completed. We are also hoping to have a 200 outgrowers for this venture, he said.

Hybrid grape seeds would be imported from Israel and would be distributed to outgrowers while the machinery would be from Europe.

Sri Lanka imports over 90 percent of its grapes mainly from Australia and India and nearly 99 percent of wines. Today a imported kilogram of grapes is priced around Rs. 1,200 while a bottle of wine is over Rs. 2,000.

He said that when this project is launched they could provide red and white wines and grapes less than 75 percent of the current prices.

He said that wine is also considered a health drink and with the 2.5 million tourists expected to visit the country in the future there would be a good demand for these products.

We also hope to export to the Maldives.

Kotagama said that they would provide grape seeds and the technical know-how to their outgrowers and in turn would buy the grapes at a guaranteed price.

He said that the outgrowers concept would also be introduced to the milk processing unit that would be opened in April in Dambulla. The total investment on this project is Rs. 380 million.

The USAID program will also assist this project by setting up 4,000 outgrowers network. They have invested Rs. 400 million and have provided cattle and the technical know-how.

The 4,000 framers from Trincomale, Ampara and the Batticaloa areas would be incorporated in to four farmers' associations to collect milk more efficiently.

We are expecting 5,000 litres per day from each Association.

He said that they would manufacture fresh milk, Yoghurt, butter and flavoured milk and their target market would be the North East. With the ending of the terrorism we see a demand. We have observed that the residents in the North East are more quality conscious.

They look for high quality and hygienic products and we want to cater to this market, he said.

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26 February 2011

Sri Lankan President Requests Advanced Economies not to Expose the World to Danger by Money Printing

25th February 2011, www.news360.lk

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today made a request from the advanced economies in the World to act in a responsible manner and not to place the world in danger by acting irresponsibly.

The President warned that massive quantities of new money injected by certain advanced nations into their economy would have a negative impact on the rest of the world in time to come.

Rajapaksa expressed his concern while addressing the South East Asian Central Bank Governors who are currently taking part in a conference in Colombo.

Speaking about the injection of new money by advanced economies Rajapaksa said “It is widely expected that such infusion, while possibly stimulating growth and employment within the issuing nation, would have a massive negative impact on the rest of the world in time to come”.

He said such decisions should to be taken in consultations with multi-laterals institutions and other key players rather than making unilateral decisions.

Central Bank Governors from countries like Singapore, Thailand, China, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, Indonesia, Korea, Mongolia, Pakistan and Nepal are taking part in this two day South East Asian Central Bank Governors conference which will end tomorrow.

CITICORP Sells Rs1bn UDA Debentures to BOC in a Land Mark Deal

25th February 2011, www.news360.lk, By Prasanna C Rodrigo

CITICORP Investment Bank of Singapore has sold Rs. 1 billion out of the Rs. 3 billion worth debentures it purchased from the UDA debenture issue to the Bank of Ceylon.

The transaction which took place on Friday has been conducted via the secondary market.

The DGM, Investment of the Bank of Ceylon P.A. Lionel said the debentures were bought at a yield of 10.80%.

He added “Both parties benefited from this deal”.

When asked why CITICORP sold the debentures, Lionel said “They would have wanted to test the market” Lionel remarked “This is a land mark deal”.

According to him this is the first time that such a big transaction has taken place in the local secondary debenture market.

He was confident that this will send a message to the international investors about Sri Lanka and will help activate the secondary market for debentures here in the country.

“We wanted to show that their debenture investments can be realized at any given time” revealed Lionel.

CITICORP purchased Rs. 3 billion worth of debentures when the Urban Development Authority issued Rs. 10 billion worth of debentures during last year.

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Sri Lankan Engineers Build 18MW Mini Hydro Plant in Uganda

25th February 2011, www.news360.lk

Uganda has recently connected an 18 MW mini-hydro power plant to its national grid, which has been built by the Sri Lankan engineers.

Sri Lanka’s Power and Energy Ministry announced that the new hydro power plant located 305 kilometers away from the country’s capital city “Kampala” was opened by Uganda’s Energy Minister Simon D’ujanga.

Nearly 200 Sri Lankans consisting of engineers and skilled workers have taken part to build the hydro power plant.

The facility which is known as “Mpanga Hydro Power plant” consists of a 103 meter long tunnel and 3 turbines.

Sri Lanka’s VS Hydro (Pvt) Limited is the firm who has taken over the construction work of this plant, which the investment has been around US$ 26 million.

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25 February 2011

Sri Lanka Securities Watchdog Eases Rules on Price Cap & Private Placements

24th February 2011, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka securities watchdog has eased rules on volatile shares under price caps, trimming the period and also lifting a requirement for a 50 percent up front deposit prior to purchase, an official said.

"The period of the price band has been reduced to 10 days from 15," Securities and Exchange Commission chairperson Indrani Sugathadasa said.

"The requirement for a 50 percent up front deposit has also been lifted."

SEC director general Malik Cader said the rules will take effect from March 01.

The regulator brought in the rules in August 2010 after illiquid stocks in particular started to fluctuate widely.

Sugathadasa said the rules had brought stability to the market and turnover levels remained high dispelling fears that the rules will result in a market crash.

In 2010 the stock exchange had a turnover of 507 billion rupees. But till February 23, a period of less than two months, turnover was 127.7 billion rupees.

The regulator said a one-year lock-in period slapped on private placements will apply to shares allotted after February 07.

SEC said in February that investors who buy stocks in a private placement will not be allowed to sell out after a listing up to a year after the placement.

The lock in period will now be one year from February 07, when the rule was brought in.

The decision followed appeals from investors who bought shares in recent placements before the rule was introduced.

The rule will apply to private placements where investors were allotted shares from February 08 onwards.

Sri Lanka to See app 50 IPO's in 2011 with atleast Two over Rs5bn by April

24th February 2011, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka will see around 50 initial public offerings in 2011, with at least two issues over five billion rupees (50 million US dollars) by April, securities exchange commission director general Malik Cader said.

"We expect about 10 IPOs to come by March-April this year," Cader told reporters. "About two of them will raise over 5.0 billion rupees each from the market."

Cader said a number of state firms were also slated to come to the market.

The regulator is also looking at current rules on IPO subscriptions where large investors are using bank guarantees to apply for stocks. Small investor have complained that it gives an unfair advantage to large players.

"But there is a view that the market has to have high net worth as well as small investors," SEC chairperson Indrani Sugathadasa said.

"We are looking at the rule and will soon make a decision."

Under current rules generally preference is given to small investors with a larger proportion of their applications being filled.

Usually applications for minimum subscriptions are fully filled.

Major Cornea Donor Sri Lanka Has Its First Eye Bank Opened by President

24th February 2011, www.dailynews.lk, By Chaminda Perera

President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday opened the country’s first eye bank at the National Eye Hospital premises. The Lee Foundation of Singapore, National Eye Centre and the National Eye Bank of Singapore provided financial and technical assistance for this project.

President Rajapaksa inspected the Eye Bank and inquired after the health of the patients receiving treatment at the Eye Hospital. President Rajapaksa presented a special memento to National Eye Centre, Singapore, Director Prof Donald Tan in recognition of his service to uplift the health sector in Sri Lanka.

The National Eye Bank will provide high quality cornea to Sri Lankans who undergo cornea transplant. Corneas would be taken from the eyes of dead persons at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka which is close to the Eye Bank with the consent of their kith and kin.

This eye bank will also provide corneas to other countries specially in the Asian region.

The Lee Foundation spent Rs 30 million for the project initially and it will provide US $ 5 million to upgrade the facilities in the bank within the next five years.

Speaking on the occasion, Health Minister Maitripala Sirisena said that Sri Lanka will achieve tremendous development in the field of cornea transplant and eye care in the years to come.

He expressed gratitude to the Singaporean Government for providing technical and financial assistance for the project.

The Minister focused on the proper management of enormous physical and human resources in the health sector.

“Our health sector has enormous resources and they should be manged in a proper way that could provide a speedier service to the patients,” he added.

He commended the services of National Eye Hospital and its staff. The Minister was of the view that patients in a number of developed countries have to be in the waiting list for long durations for cornea transplant and eye surgeries unlike in Sri Lanka.

National Eye Centre, Singapore Director Prof Donald Tang said Sri Lanka was a major cornea provider to the world.

He said that his country desparately needed corneas in 1964 and Sri Lanka came forward and provided corneas to his country at that time.

Prof Tang added Singapore will forever remember this magnanimous gesture of Sri Lankans who had always been generous.

Deputy Minister Lalith Dissanayake, Ministry Secretary Dr Ravindara Ruberu, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Secretariat Gamini Senarath, Eye Hospital Director Dr S Liyanage and Parliamentarian Thilanga Sumathipala were present.

Mini Hydro Power Industry Supplies 175MW to Sri Lanka National Grid, Another 119MW to be Added

25th February 2011, www.dailynews.lk, By Indunil Hewage

Small Mini hydropower industry in Sri Lanka announced yesterday the connection of 175 megawatts to Sri Lanka national grid. Hence, 4.5 percent of the country’s electricity requirements can be supplied from the hydropower industry while saving Rs 10 billion each year from country’s foreign exchange bill.

It is targeted to feed 350 megawatts from hydropower to the national grid within the next decade.

Addressing a ceremony held in Colombo yesterday Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said 83 hydropower plants that are operational in the country adds 175 megawatts to the national grid and another 60 mini hydro plants are to be commissioned in the country by adding another 119 megawatts to the entire national grid in the future.

National Renewable Energy Authority has also called tenders inviting eligible investors to set up additional 176 mini hydro plants with 333 megawatts.

The present maximum electricity capacity in Sri Lanka is estimated 2,000 megawatts and it is estimated that it would reach up to 7,000 megawatts in 2030. The present maximum electricity capacity in the world reaches 13 terawatts and it is predicted to reach 30 terawatts in 2030.

Small Hydropower Developers Association Vice President Probodha Sumanasekera said that out of all renewable energy technologies small hydropower retains the most amount of investment within the country with an over 60 percent local contribution possible. However industry is faced with many challenges.

“There are more than 300 megawatts more of small hydropower projects which can be developed within the next five years. However most of these projects are high cost, low yield projects and we request the relevant authorities higher tariffs to justify the investments,” Sumanasekera said.

Sri Lankan engineers have also engaged in building mini hydropower projects in remote areas in Asia and Africa by exporting Sri Lankan expertise and technology to the world.

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Australian Consortium to Set up Heavy Industries in the Eastern Port of Trincomalee with $700mn Investment

24th February 2011, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka is considering a proposal by an Australian consortium to set up heavy industries in the eastern port of Trincomalee with an investment of 700 million US dollars, a government statement said.

The government is to set up a special zone for heavy industries in Trincomalee to provide access to a deep-water port for investors keen to enter the island after the end of its 30-year ethnic war, a spokesman said.

"There's so much of enthusiasm by businessmen and foreign investors, particularly in the region, to invest in the counter after 30 years of war," media minister Keheliya Rambukwella told a news conference.

"They found that this country that can be commercial hub. One of major components needed is access to a port and the government has decided to set up a zone particularly for heavy industries which need port access."

The statement said Mitchell Consortium, a multinational consortium from Australia with partners from Brazil and Sri Lanka, has made an unsolicited proposal for a zone with heavy industries.

These include a coking coal or metallurgical coal and an iron ore palletizing plant for steel making, and a sugar refinery.

The zone for heavy industries is to be set up on 97 square kilometres of land in the Sampur area of Trincomalee, near the entrance to the bay, part of which has already been earmarked for an Indo-Lanka joint venture coal power plant.

The statement said the Cabinet of ministers gave approval for the consortium to conduct feasibility studies for the project, the first phase of which will be 700 million dollars.

Rambukwella said environmental safeguards will be given high priority in the project.

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24 February 2011

Sri Lanka in Citi's 3G Economies. Global Growth Generators Identify 11 Countries with Most Promising Growth Prospects. BRICS Displaced

23rd February 2011, www.business-standard.com

It might not be just BRICS anymore when it comes to emerging markets but '3G' economies as well.

India and China along with nine other economies have been identified as Global Growth Generators or 3G by financial services major Citigroup.

3G indicates sources of growth potential and of profitable investment opportunities.

"We identify the 11 countries which have the most promising growth prospects. Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Mongolia, Nigeria, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam are our 3G countries," Citi said in a report.

Goldman Sachs' coinage 'BRIC'(Brazil, Russia, India and China) has gained prominence in describing high growth economies. Late last year, South Africa joined the four-nation grouping, which is now known as BRICS.

The Citi report, prepared by analysts Willem Buiter and Ebrahim Rahbari, noted that many of the existing coinages, including BRICS, have "outlived their usefulness".

It said 11 countries identified are poor today and have decades of catch-up growth to look forward to.

"We hold the view that categories emerging markets, advanced economies, developing countries, BRICS, Next Eleven or the Growth Markets are all labels belonging to classification schemes that either have outlived their usefulness or are unlikely to ever have any," the two analysts said.

Next Eleven refers to emerging economies —- Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Turkey and Vietnam.

Growth Markets are BRICs plus Mexico, South Korea, Turkey and Indonesia.

The 3G grouping is based on a weighted average of six growth drivers -- measure of domestic saving/investment, demographic prospects, health, education, quality of institutions and policies and trade openness.

According to the report, Mexico, Brazil, Turkey, Thailand and other countries would need to implement major adjustments, including raising domestic saving and investment rates substantially, to join the list of 3G countries.

"Countries including Iran and North Korea could find it easier to join the 3G set, once they achieve political transitions or transformations required to release their economies (and societies) from their decades-old straitjackets," it added.

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Sri Lankan Elephant Sindu's Paintings on Sale at SriLankan

23rd February 2011, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka's state-run national carrier SriLankan airlines said it will sell paintings by an elephant through the in flight duty free sales collection.

The paintings are drawn by Sindu an elephant at the Temple of the Tooth Relic in the central Sri Lankan city of Kandy. The elephants paints with a brush held in its trunk, the airline said.

The airline also offers a Batik wall hanging depicting the Kandy perahera, an annual procession where elephants, drummers, dancers, torch and flag bearers weave through city streets watched by thousands of onlookers and tourists.

Image Courtesy: www.ft.lk

Citrus Leisure Raises Finances for Two Hotel Projects in Kalpitiya and Waskaduwa

22nd February 2011, www.news360.lk

Two newly formed subsidiaries of Citrus Leisure PLC have raised a combined sum of Rs. 923.5 million via two private placements to build separate hotel projects in Kalpitiya and Waskaduwa.
Accordingly the Waskaduwa Beach Resort Limited, an arm of the Citrus Leisure has raised Rs. 520 million by issuing 52 million shares at Rs. 10 each.

While Kalpitiya Beach Resort Limited which also comes under Citrus Leisure, has raised Rs. 403.5 million by issuing 40.35 million shares.

The Company officials said the raising of money via two private placements concluded during last week.

Citrus Leisure PLC has invested a total sum of Rs. 1926.5 million in both the Waskaduwa Beach Resort Limited and Kalpitiya Beach Resort Limited and has the controlling stakes of both entities.

Citrus announced subsequently, Waskaduwa Beach Resort Limited and Kalpitiya Beach Resort Limited will also apply for a listing in the Colombo Stock Exchange.

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23 February 2011

Sri Lanka India Ferry Service between Colombo and Tuticorin to Start on February 28 with a 500 Passenger Capacity. 100kg Baggage Allowance Given

23rd February 2011, www.lankabusinessonline.com

The resumption of ferry links between India and Sri Lanka after a war is not likely to affect air lines, especially budget carriers, at least initially, officials and analysts said.

The ferry services are likely to cater to a different market than airlines unless or until voyages quicker than the proposed 10-12 hours or fares much cheaper than air fares are available, they said.

Ferry operations between Colombo harbour and Tuticorin in India are set to start next week, said ports ministry additional secretary Anura Jayawickrema, who visited the south Indian port recently to check on arrangements there.

The first ferry, a vessel with a capacity of 500 passengers run by a private Indian operator, is scheduled to sail from India on February 28.

"The Indians are quite ready for the passenger service," Jayawickrema said. "They have converted a big warehouse into a passenger terminal and installed most of the equipment like passenger seating, baggage scanning and immigration counters."

The initial frequency will be two voyages a week which will later increase to three.

On the Sri Lankan side, Colombo port is refurbishing its passenger terminal building, Jayawickrema said.

The island's ferries will be operated by state-owned Ceylon Shipping Corporation which is in talks with several parties on chartering vessels, its executive director A T K Chandradasa said.

"We're looking to hire a ferry with a capacity of 5-600 passengers, including cabins."

Ferry fees have not yet been decided but will be lower than air fares, Chandradasa said.

The main attraction for the maritime link is seen as the 100 kilo baggage allowance for each ferry passenger which officials and analysts say might lure travellers away from airlines.

However, each item of luggage on the ferry will be restricted to a maximum of 25 kilos.

Many of the passengers on board the usually heavily booked flights between Colombo and Chennai are businessmen and traders who are frequent flyers to the south Indian city for shopping.

"Many airline passengers to Chennai from Colombo are small businessmen," an official said. "But you don't get the same type of big shopping complexes like in Chennai in Tuticorin.

"The 100-kilo baggage allowance was offered mainly to attract these types of travellers," he added. "But since Tuticorin does not cater to their needs, it remains to be seen whether they can be attracted."

H M C Nimalsiri, director general of civil aviation, said it was too early to assess how ferry services will impact on air travel but noted that ferries might attract budget travellers if fares were much cheaper than air fares

"The ferry services might impact the airlines to some extent although some people would still prefer aircraft as it's much faster," he said.

"Also, ferry services will cater to a different market. For instance, pilgrims and others who go on package tours are unlikely to switch unless the tours are changed to suit ferry services. So there's unlikely to be any immediate impact on airlines."

Nimalsiri noted that pricing might cause travellers to switch to ferry travel but that airlines could fight back by dropping their own fares.

"Any market is sensitive to price - people may prefer cheaper ferries," Nimalsiri said. "But with more budget carriers coming up ferry services will also find it a challenge."

Faster ferries as available in other countries where maritime transport is common might pose a challenge to airlines if shorter transit times are possible, analysts said.

Although the flight time between Sri Lanka and south India is less than an hour, security concerns that require passengers to arrive three hours ahead of their flights and the time taken to travel between airports and city centres also need to be considered, they said.

The new maritime links come after months of talks between the two countries following the end of the island's 30-year ethnic war in 2009.

The war disrupted an existing ferry linking Talaimannar, in north-western Sri Lanka, and Rameshwaram, on the southern tip of India, which is also to revived.

Ferries linking Colombo and Kochi, another south Indian port, have also been mooted.

The option for travellers to take their vehicles across the water on ferries so they can drive around in the other country is expected to be offered later on, officials said.

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Emir of Qatar to Visit Sri Lanka later this year. Two Countries to Establish a Joint Commission to Develop Bilateral Trade

23rd February 2011, www.gulf-times.com

HH the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani will visit South Asian island republic of Sri Lanka later this year, according to a report in one of the English newspapers of that country yesterday.

Quoting Sri Lankan government sources, Colombo’s Daily Mirror newspaper reported that the Emir’s decision to visit Sri Lanka followed an invitation from the country’s President Mahinda Rajapakse, which he sent through his External Affairs Minister G L Peiris, when he visited Qatar a week ago.

Quoting official sources, the newspaper also reported that the two countries would establish a joint commission to develop bilateral ties in trade, investment, tourism and economic sectors.

When contacted, a senior official of Sri Lankan embassy in Doha confirmed the reports on the proposed visit of the Emir.

“Even though it is too early to say when the Emir would visit Colombo, it is certain that it would take place this year itself,” he said. It would take place at a time which is convenient to both the Sri Lankan government and the visiting delegation, the official added.

Answering a query, the embassy official said besides the Emir, the Sri Lankan external affairs minister had also met HE the Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani and HE the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Sultan bin Hassan al-Dhabit al-Dossari.

The newspaper also said that Qatar had agreed to help to develop tourism in Sri Lanka.

It was also agreed to employ engineers and technicians from Sri Lanka in the works linked to the Fifa World Cup Football, which Qatar would host in 2022.

The local Sri Lankan embassy sources put the number of Sri Lankans in the country close to 95,000.

“This number is based on the records provided to the embassy by Qatar ministry of interior,” said the mission’s official.

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Sri Lanka Tourism Industry Records the Highest Tourist Arrival Growth in the world for 2010

22nd February 2011, www.tourismcambodia.com

Deputy Minister of Economic Development Mr. Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena says tourism has become one of the rapidly growing sectors in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka recorded the highest percentage of tourist growth in the world last year. As per statistics released by the Pacific Asia Travel Association it was at 45 percent. USA has gained 26 percent and Japan 24 percent.

The Minister stated these facts at media conference in Colombo this morning.

The Minister said that there is a steep rise in tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka and in the month of January 74,472 tourists arrived in the country compared to around 49,000 in January last year. He said that this year’s target of 700,000 will surpass if this trend continues.

He added that there is an increase demand for establishing Hotels in the country by leading international Hotel Chains, and Sri Lanka gives priority to granting approval for them.

The Minister said approval has been given for the establishment of 13 new hotels in Passikudah with a foreign investment of 90 Million US dollars which would provide 878 hotel rooms. In Kutchaveli 30 Million US dollars is being spent to build 4 hotels of 5 star grade. He said that requests have been received for the construction of 58 hotel projects.

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Sri Lanka's Ideal Motors to Set up an Assembly Plant to Make Mahindra Three Wheelers & Motorcycles

23rd February 2011, www.dailynews.lk, By Harshini Perera

Ideal Motors will set up a plant to assemble Mahindra three wheelers and motorcycles for the Sri Lankan market.

“We have purchased another one acre property in Ratmalana to set up an assembly plant which will be utilised to assemble three wheelers and motorcycles. Mahindra motorcycles will be launched in the near future,” Ideal Motors, Chairman Nalin Welgama told Daily News Business.

Mahindra Group together with Ideal Motors will put up a technical college in motor mechanism in the near future. Sri Lanka will train young people who expect a career in motor mechanism. Mahindra Group also has shown interest in investing in the IT and tourism sectors of the country in the future.

Ideal Motors has tied up with an Indian tyre giant, ‘Apollo Tyres’ of India as an authorized distributor to import and distribute passenger, commercial and agri tractor tyres as there is a significant expansion in the vehicle market in Sri Lanka. The new tie up with Apollo will be launched in June and Apollo tyres will be available islandwide. Ideal Motors will launch its new product Mahindra Maximo which will be branded in Sri Lanka as ‘Ideal Lokka’ at the end of March. It will be a light commercial vehicle with the latest CRDE technology and expected to sell around 400 units per month at the initial stage.

Though there was a huge boom in the automobile industry after the tax reduction for passenger vehicles, there was no impact on commercial vehicles.

The interest rates are low for borrowings from commercial banks and hence there is a growth in the market. This will increase the affordability of a vehicle through a finance scheme and buying a vehicle will be much more affordable than earlier.

“We had remarkable growth and profitability for nine months during the financial year 2010 and 2011 and it was 35 percent higher than we forecasted. We will concentrate on going for an initial public offering in three to four years time,” Welgama said. “Since the taxes have come down for dual purpose vehicles and vans (double cabs), we are aggressively marketing Mahindra Double cabs ,” he said.

“We expect to increase the sales dealer network to 36 from current sales dealers of 22 and will appoint fresh network for Mahindra motor cycles and three wheelers”.

“We will tie up with Automobiles Association (AA) of Sri Lanka in providing further customer support for new vehicles. Ideal Motors together with Mahindra & Mahindra will provide technical knowledge, training and diagnostics for these customer support unit which will be set up islandwide,” he said. Anand Mahindra in keeping with his pledge will be holding the Mahindra Annual Blue Chip Conference in Sri Lanka in December this year with a delegation in excess of 1,000 overseas participants.

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22 February 2011

SLIM Mod-Tradi Forum on Consumer Trends to Promote Research Based Marketing. Sri Lanka National Body of Marketing to Encourage Best Practices

21st February 2011, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM), an industry body, is hosting a forum on consumer trends to promote more research based marketing and best practices.

"As the national body of marketing we want to encourage best practices in terms of research, advertising, branding and sales," SLIM president Rohan Somawansa, President, said in a statement.

"Understanding the importance of these key pillars is aimed at encouraging marketers to be more research biased in their marketing decision making."

SLIM will host a forum on 'The New mod-tradi consumer', on March 02 at Hotel Galadari, Colombo to discuss the evolution and latest trends in consumer behavior with an interactive session for participants to share experiences.

Key note speaker Uditha Liyanage, director of Sri Lanka's Postgraduate Institute of Management will speak on 'Identifying the new mod-tradi consumer'.

Shaheen Cader, managing director of Nielsen Company Lanka (Pvt) Ltd will speak on the latest consumer trends.

Imal Fonseka, managing director-Hemas Consumer and Srikanth Selladurai, Marketing Director - GlaxoSmithKline Consumer will share their experiences and contribute to the forum.

Tharaka Ranwala, deputy general manager at Sampath Bank and Sajith Gunaratne, senior business manager at Ceylon Agro Industries will tell how decisions based on consumer insights helped them introduce game changing strategies.

Ahamed Aroos the program's steering committee chairman says, Bathiya and Santhush, popular singers, will share how they "conquered the hearts of Sri Lankans using principles of marketing as a case study while bringing in a flavor of entertainment."

Sri Lanka Non Conventional Renewable Energy Contribution to the National Grid was 6.8pct in 2010 with New Projects

22nd February 2011, www.dailynews.lk, Harshini Perera

The contribution of non-conventional renewable energy sources to the national grid has increased to 6.8 percent last year. This was 5.5 percent in 2009.

Going in line with the Government expectation, the non-conventional renewable energy sector targets to have 10 percent contribution to the national grid by the end of 2015.

The number of non-conventional energy projects that commenced in 2010 were high at 90 compared with 85 in 2009. The non-conventional renewable energy sources have contributed to the national grid with 213 megawatts as at January 31, 2011.

The main contributor for non-conventional renewable energy is still held by mini hydro power and it is 172 megawatts as at January 31, 2011.

The capacity of the mini hydro power energy is generated by 84 projects operating in the prospective areas.

The second renewable energy source is the wind power which accounts for 30 megawatts from the production of three projects.

Biomass-agricultural and industrial waste power stands next with a contribution of 11 megawatts while solar power shows less contribution with two and one projects respectively, a Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) official told Daily News Business. Few foreign investors too have shown interest in investing in renewable energy projects.

“The approval process for projects should be faster than it prevails at present and there should be more Government cooperation to the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority (SEA). The Provincial Councils too delay the approval of projects. There should be special incentives given to developers without discouraging them,” Small Hydro Power Developers Association Secretary General S B Niyangoda said.

Related Info :
Non-Conventional Renewable Energy (NCRE) to Supply 15pct of Sri Lanka's Need by 2015. Wind Power to Play a Major Role

Sri Lanka's New Renewable Energy Tariffs Displace Wind as the Most Expensive

High Potential for Wind Power in Sri Lanka. Five New Plants to be Built. 300MW of Power to be Added

Sri Lanka to Build Mini-Hydro and Wind Power Plants

$15mn Biomass Energy Investment on Dendro Plant for Gliricidia Fuel Wood to Supply National Grid 10MW

Solar Energy Can Free Sri Lanka's Dependence on Fossil Fuels - Kanagalingam Gnanalingam, Rtrd Additional General Manager of Ceylon Electricity Board
Power Costs to Reduce with Progressive Tariff Reforms - Energy Consultant Dr Tilak Siyambalapitiya

21 February 2011

Colombo University Starts a Master's Program in Tourism to Cater to Professionals in the Leisure Industry

21st February 2011, /www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka's Colombo University has started a Master's program in tourism to cater to the need for highly qualified professionals in the industry which is growing fast after the end of a 30-year war.

"Now that the tourism industry is picking up fast there is a need for advanced qualifications on par with the rest of the world," program co-ordinator Suranga de Silva said.

"The program will provide enhanced and required manpower of tourism and hospitality industry with academic recognition and professional excellence."

De Silva, who has a doctorate in tourism economics, is also the director general Sri Lanka Institute of Hotel Management.

The Department of Economics at Colombo University is now calling for applications for the Master's program and also a post graduate diploma in tourism economics and hotel management.

The first year of the two year program will be on the postgraduate diploma and the second year will be cover the Master's programme.

Related Info :
Boost to Sri Lanka Tourism from Cricket World Cup 2011 with 150,000 Tourists Expected in this Month

Sri Lanka Trade Minister Invites Indian Business to Set up in Industrial Zones. PPP to Propel $8bn 2010 Export Earnings beyond $9bn this Year

20th February 2011, www.island.lk

The Minister for Industry and Commerce Rishard Bathiudeen addressing a visiting Indian business delegation at the ministry premises recently said Sri Lanka had crossed the US$ 8 billion export earnings mark last year, and with some sharp strategies conceptualized by private-public partnerships 2011 will see Sri Lanka crossing the US$ 9 billion mark.

He invited the Indian business delegation to be part of this strong growth agenda of Sri Lanka.

The Indian delegation consists of businesses in the food and beverages, construction, paper and chemical industries. The minister invited the delegation to forward a set of proposals by the first week of March so that he could personally get involved in allocating space in the industrial zones, and even negotiate with other ministries to allocate lands for the cultivation of fruits and vegetables in the country as long as their was strong partnership with a Sri Lankan company.

Bathiudeen also referred to certain barriers in doing business in India, such as the quality checks on Sri Lankan tea. Being able to conduct these checks in Chennai itself was a welcome move that further strengthens trade under the Indo-Lanka trade agreement, the minister said.

The minister said the apparel Industry continued to perform well even without GSP+ trade concessions to the EU, due to the strong leadership shown by the private sector in infusing cutting edge innovation together with sharp cost cutting strategies which has enabled the industry to differentiate Sri Lankan merchandise against its main competitors such as China and Bangladesh.

The minister said the tea industry had crossed the 1.5 billion rupee export earnings mark with the clear ‘Ozone Friendly’ tea proposition, taking the high ground to add further value into the quality tea that Sri Lanka produces which commands the highest prices at any auction in the world.

Related Info :
Locations of Industrial Estates - Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Sri Lanka

PIA Starts Flights to Colombo after a Four Year Absence. Relaunch Coincides with the 10th ICC Cricket World Cup

21st February 2011, www.ft.lk

After a four year absence, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) yesterday resumed its services to Colombo, with Sri Lanka’s capital served thrice a week from Karachchi. The re-launch also coincides with the commencement of the 10th ICC Cricket World Cup hosted by Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh.

Cricket is a uniting force in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka, lands known for their deep divisions and fissures. Attendance in offices and schools becomes thin in Pakistan and Sri Lanka when their teams are playing in the World Cup.

Pakistan is in Group A in the 10th Cricket World Cup along with the likes of mighty Australia, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand and will play all of its 6 League Matches in Sri Lanka. Pakistan and Sri Lanka will play on 26 February in Colombo.

Sri Lanka will be hosting 12 of the 49 matches in this World-Cup including the fourth quarter final on 26 March 2011 and the first semi-final on 29 March 2011. Both these matches will be held at R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

To make the new services a success, PIA has also launched a special promotion to encourage Pakistanis to fly into Colombo to witness the World Cup matches.

The features of the special PIA World Cup travel package include complimentary airport pick and drop; complimentary stadium pick & drop on match days; accommodation twin sharing bases with bread & breakfast; air-conditioned transport during tours; and city and resort tours with English speaking tour guides.

PIA had also promoted the new service extensively in Pakistan.

The airline also expects to serve large numbers of Sri Lankans who work in the oil-rich Middle Eastern countries, especially blue collar workers. These three new PIA weekly flights to Sri Lanka will serve them also, as cost of travelling home from PIA through Karachi is cheaper than taking a direct flight to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka and Pakistan also enjoys strong bilateral trade relations with a Free Trade Agreement signed between the two countries. Sri Lanka supplies more than three-fourths of the ingredients in the paan consumed in Pakistan. Paan is a very popular edible item in Pakistan and these new PIA flights to Sri Lanka will deeply facilitate the brisk trade in this item. Pakistan is also home to the remains of the greatest Buddhist civilisation, the Gandhara Civilisation.

A brainchild of founder of the nation Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, PIA or Pakistan International Airlines had had many glorious achievements to its credit in its more than 50 years of existence.

It was the first Asian airline to introduce a pure jet aircraft. In 1962, PIA broke the record for the fastest flight between London and Karachi. In 1964, PIA earned the distinction of becoming the first airline from a non-communist country to fly into the People’s Republic of China. It was the first entity in Pakistan to install an IBM1401 computer in 1966-67.

PIA was the first airline in the world to operate a scheduled helicopter service as well to start an air safari with jet aircraft in 1993-94. PIA was the launch customer of the latest Boeing 777-200LR aircraft and first airline in the world to operate the Boeing 777-200ER, 777-200LR and 777-300ER altogether – all the three variants available on the market at the time.

Most important are the contributions of PIA to the global aviation industry. The birth of Emirates Airline was almost entirely in the mid 1980s. It was PIA which provided a B-737 and an Airbus aircraft for Emirates’ initial flights. The cabin, cockpit and scheduling crews were all borrowed from PIA. Similarly, PIA provided extensive help in the inauguration of Singapore Airlines and Air Malta.

The above are just some of the few glorious achievements of PIA. However, PIA never had it as good as today, thanks to the sterling sales performance in 2010.

The last year has been a glorious year for PIA, as it has crossed the revenue figure of Rs. 100 billion for the first time in its history. The airline realised a combined seat factor on its domestic and international routes which is the highest in the last 34 years. The revenue target set for 2011 is Rs. 133 billion, which is 22% higher than 2010 sales revenues.

Related Info :

Pakistan-Sri Lanka FTA (PSFTA) - Detailed Information - The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI)

19 February 2011

Sri Lanka High Tech Economy Survey underway to Study Disposition & Makeup of the Industry. A Joint Effort of FITIS, IISEIE & Microsoft

19th February 2011, www.dailynews.lk

The Federation of IT Industry Sri Lanka (FITIS), the International Institute for Software Economics, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Incorporated (IISEIE) and Microsoft has jointly launched the Sri Lanka High Tech Economy Survey in a collaborative partnership.

This will provide a view of the disposition and makeup of the high-tech industry in Sri Lanka.

“The purpose of this study is to better understand the needs and opportunities for Sri Lankan high-tech industry development, with the results helping to develop programs and initiatives that will grow the industry and develop it as a key driver of economic and social development for Sri Lanka,” FITIS Chairman and FITIS Software Chapter President Govind Nangrani said.

“The information provided by the High Tech Economy Survey will assist the Government and the industry to better understand the needs and opportunities for growth within the Sri Lankan High-tech Economy.

It will also help to align specific programs to enable high tech companies and entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka to create new solutions, new companies and new jobs in the market place,” Nangrani said.

“The output of this study will be the High Tech Economy Report for Sri Lanka that will provide a view of the disposition and makeup of the high-tech industry within the country. Report output will consist of four key components, namely technical audience insight, local high-tech economy maturity, Innovation Readiness Index and strategic entrepreneur outlook,” FITIS CEO Damith Hettihewa said.

“Members will benefit from the survey as the results of the survey will be available for participating members in a form of Innovation Readiness Index - a comparative benchmarking tool which will help them to better understand their organizational capacity for innovation, identify their innovation strengths and that can be leveraged for competitive advantage,” Hettihewa said.

The survey commenced on February 15 and results are expected to be out before the end of March 2011.

The Sri Lanka’s unified ICT Industry Association, FITIS, the Federation of Information Technology Industry Sri Lanka, which constitutes the Hardware Chapter - Sri Lanka Computer Vendors Association (SLCVA) -, Software Chapter - Sri Lanka Association for the Software Industries (SLASI), the Training chapter - Association of Computer Training Organizations (ACTOS), the Telecommunications chapter- Licensed Internet Service Providers Association and Telecom Service Providers Association (LISPA)/ (TPA) and the Professional Chapter - Information Security Audit and Control (ISACA). FITIS has been in operation for the last 15 years as the unified umbrella organization of the ICT industry in Sri Lanka.

FITIS has been actively engaged in developing the ICT industry in Sri Lanka with many programs, which have been successfully implemented for the growth of ICT usage and consequently the growth of job opportunities in the ICT industry.

FITIS has also significantly contributed to ICT awareness in all regions in the country.