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FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » DAILY CHRONICLE™ » Sri Lanka Newspapers Thursday 26/04/2012

Sri Lanka Newspapers Thursday 26/04/2012

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1Sri Lanka Newspapers Thursday 26/04/2012 Empty Sri Lanka Newspapers Thursday 26/04/2012 Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:46 am


Global Moderator

World Bank, IMF pledge US$ 1bn to Lanka
By Ravi Ladduwahetty

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has jointly pledged US$ 1 billion to Sri Lanka at the just concluded review meetings in Washington, a senior minister said.

"The World Bank has pledged a further US$ 500 million for the development of infrastructure, education and health, once the current program was over while the International Monetary Fund will release a further US$ 500 million which could be used in the event of emergencies," Minister for International Monetary Cooperation Dr. Sarath Amunugama told The Island Financial Review yesterday.

He also said that both Brettonwoods institutions were pleased with Sri Lanka’s economic performance and especially with the implementation of recent policy measures to contain the current account deficit and was also content with the projected economic growth of between 7-7.5% billed for 2012.

Strident in this context was the pleasure of the IMF on the implementation of the Standby Arrangement programme in Sri Lanka in sharp contrast to countries such as Greece which went in for similar arrangements with the IMF but crumbled after a few tranches were paid.

"One of the salient features of the review meetings was that the IMF would be sending a review team with the release of the final tranche and it will be then that a further US $ 500 million, which would be held in reserves, would be released in the event of emergencies. The IMF would continue with its surveillance of the Sri Lankan economy," Dr Amunugama, who was also independent Sri Lanka’s 16th Finance Minister, said.

"Another positive aspects of the review meetings was the presentation of the world economy and forecast for 2012 by World Bank Chief Economist Olivier Blanchard, which according to his analysis, where there will be minimum impact in global business in the developed world which would also mean that there will be good prospects for countries such as Sri Lanka which have large volumes of exports to these markets," he said.

2Sri Lanka Newspapers Thursday 26/04/2012 Empty Intervention, moral suasion holds up rupee Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:47 am


Global Moderator

*Everything is queried *Currency dealers say CB prescribed net open positions too low

Moral suasion and intervention in the foreign exchange market prevented the rupee from falling further after the currency fell to as low as 133.60 against the dollar on Wednesday, currency dealers said.

The rupee opened at an all time low of Rs. 131.80/Rs. 132.30 against the dollar yesterday and closed at Rs. 131.65/Rs. 132, with state banks selling dollars in the market and the Central Bank using moral suasion to coerce commercial banks into easing depreciation pressure on the rupee.

A Reuters news report on Wednesday quoted a senior Central Bank official as saying speculation was driving up the exchange rate. But currency dealers say otherwise.

"Speculation is not driving up the exchange rate. Volumes are very thin and a single deal can move the exchange rate and create volatility, because banks cannot absorb the difference between dollar inflows and import demand as net open positions have been reduced by the Central Bank. If the bank increases the net open position a commercial bank is allowed to maintain, then each commercial bank could absorb the difference between the inflows and outflows themselves, and this could reduce the volatility in the market," a currency dealer said.

3Sri Lanka Newspapers Thursday 26/04/2012 Empty Bourse continues losing streak Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:48 am


Global Moderator

* Turnover remains low, indices marginally down

The Colombo bourse yesterday continued its losing streak with both indices edging down marginally – the All Share Price Index by 3.97 points (0.07%) and the Milanka by 4.89 points (0.10%) on a turnover of Rs.312.75 million, up from the previous day’s Rs.288.6 million, with 56 gainers trailing 109 losers.

"It was another quiet day with turnover thin and the indices virtually flat," a broker said. "JKH continued to be the biggest turnover generator while CIC in which state institutions are showing an interest contributed a useful Rs.31.6 million.’’

JKH closed 90 cents down at Rs.205.10 on over 0.2 million shares done between Rs.205 and Rs.206.40 generating the day’s top turnover of Rs.50.7 million followed by CIC which closed flat at Rs.100 on 0.3 million shares done between Rs.99.90 and Rs.101.

DFCC too continued to generate some interest gaining 80 cents to close at Rs.120 on over 0.1 million shares traded between Rs.119 and Rs.121 while Commercial Bank (non-voting) gained 30 cents to close at Rs.85 on nearly 0.2 million shares done between Rs.84 and Rs.86.

Mackwoods Energy opened trading yesterday at a high of Rs.16 against an issue price of Rs.14 but closed at Rs.14.90 trading between a low of Rs.14 and a high of Rs.16 when the first parcel of 200 shares was transacted at this price.


Global Moderator

By Mario Andree

The opportunities in Sri Lanka would capture the attention of several global players in the real estate business according to a recent report by New York based Jones Lang LaSalle, a financial and professional services firm specializing in real estate.

It highlighted that the quality of the construction in the country would improve significantly, due to the demand pressures from overseas investors and the availability of expertise.

According to Jones Lang LaSalle study many foreign investors were eyeing Sri Lanka and were waiting for opportunities, particularly in the hospitality sector.

With major hotel firms such as Shangri-La, CATIC and Sheraton investing in the country many other firms were looking to purchase built hotels and set property to capitalize on the increasing number of tourism, which according to Jones Lang LaSalle would exceed one million arrivals this year.

With the high land prices, the developers were expected to diversify their risks in the core city and increasingly optimize mixed-use development, with multiple assets classes including high-end residential, hospitality, office and retail space, it said.

According to a study by the Department of Estate Management Valuation department of the University of Sri Jayawardanapura,

78 percent of office properties in Colombo were held purely as offices, while 22 percent are mixed commercial and retail developments.

The Island Financial Review yesterday (25) highlighted the demand for office space in Colombo with the city ranked among top major regional cities in the City Competitiveness Ranking.

The report suggested the refurbishment and redevelopment of prime properties to capitalize on the real value which would be more cost effective and also address the demand and supply issues with many investors looking for office space in Colombo.

The report identified several plots of mill land near the CBD and the northern parts of Colombo which would offer immense opportunities for prime residential, hospitality or office projects.

5Sri Lanka Newspapers Thursday 26/04/2012 Empty PCH makes it to Top 50 Brands yet again Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:20 am



Forging ahead as a leading player in the ICT arena, PC House PLC (PCH) made it to the Top 50 in Sri Lanka's Most Valuable Brands yet again, climbing two places to number 48 this year. In the recently published list of Sri Lanka's Leading Brands, conducted by Brand Finance Lanka and Media Services, PCH maintained its position as the best rated ICT company, in a league where companies are valued on performance, accountability, and transparency.

Commenting on this accomplishment, Rizwan Anise, Head of Group Marketing at PCH said, "We see this achievement as an endorsement of our marketing strategy implemented to spearhead the industry, which is the same platform that won us the 50th place last year. Our marketing strategy is directed towards the accomplishment of our corporate vision; to be the benchmark in ICT in Sri Lanka."

"We have come from humble beginnings and notched a place in this prestigious list amongst some very important brands. This just proves that our strategies have worked well and we can be proud of who we are." Anise added.

Brand Finance is an international leader in quantifying and leveraging the value of intangible assets. With 23 offices worldwide, the Sri Lankan joint venture commenced operations in 2003. The focus on the key areas and the selection process includes valuation, analytics, strategy and transactions.

PCH started as an IT hardware retailer, and now has consolidated to the solutions business, earning itself a reputation as a pioneer in modern ICT in Sri Lanka. Being the preferred local distributor for many global giants in ICT, PCH has proved its stability and quality in all of its business endeavors. PCH holds partnerships with IT giants such as Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, Lenovo, Adobe, SAP and Corel.

PCH has maintained an aggressive financial performance during the past year, opening its second 9to9 showroom in Kandy, launched Sri Lanka's first IT help-line launching a IT help desk in Sabaragamuwa University to serve University students and staff and their continued dedication to forging numerous partnership with both global and local IT magnates to ensure the best possible ICT experience for its clientele.

With the country poised to take on a new era, PCH has been playing a proactive part in lifting the nation's ICT literacy through programmmes conducted islandwide. These programmes are educative, inspiring and ensure a skilled future for many youth across this developing nation.

PCH possesses a valuable product/solutions and services portfolio and has stretched their business vertically, integrating into solutions and services, focusing on corporate and domestic markets and horizontally widening the product and solutions portfolio with new segment additions and leveraging into new markets like research and BPO and KPO Solutions (through the acquisition of Infoserve Private Limited, a reputed BPO/KPO solutions provider).

S.H.M. Rishan Chairman of PC House PLC, who was recently recognized for his entrepreneurship within the industry at the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards added, "We are constantly finding ways of expanding our businesses by driving IT innovations through corporate and retail market segments."

6Sri Lanka Newspapers Thursday 26/04/2012 Empty Lankan bank branch density on the rise Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:21 am


Global Moderator

There will be 1,804 more banking branches in the country by 2015, increasing the branch density from 23.5 in 2010 to 30.5 by 2015, according to a survey report launched by Jones Lang LaSalle at Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel on Tuesday.

Chairperson, Gagan Singh and CEO, Anuj Puri launching the report. Picture by Sumanachandra Ariyawansa
Assuming a conservative average area of bank branches to be 2,500 sq ft these would directly lead to demand for at least 4.5 million sq ft of office space across cities in Sri Lanka during 2011-2015, the report said.

Making a presentation on the report, Jones Lang LaSalle, Chairperson, Sri Lanka Operation, Gagan Singh said the future demand for commercial office space in Colombo will be closely correlated with the industries that have the prospects of maximum growth.

While growth in the textiles and apparel industry would result in demand for retail and industrial space, growth in finance insurance and information and communication technology sectors would lead directly to demand generation for quality office space.

She said the growth of the hotels and restaurants sector would result in the development of hospitality real estate. Transport, storage and communications, rubber and plastic products, furniture, the wholesale and retail trade and others would lead to demand for retail as well as industrial space.

Elaborating the growth prospects in the finance, insurance, information and communication technology sectors and its impact on the demand for office space in Colombo she said there were 22 banks operating in the Colombo Metropolitan Region with over 632 branches and 897 banking outlets. The majority of office space occupied by this sector is in self-owned or single tenanted office properties across all major locations in the city.

The Bank of Ceylon and the Peoples Bank are two state owned banks having a large network and several private banking firms such as Hatton National Bank, Seylan Bank, DFCC, Commercial Bank, and Sampath Bank also have an established presence in the banking and financial services sector. There are 11 foreign banks that are operational in Sri Lanka including HSBC, Standard Chartered and CitiBank.

Meanwhile, the number of banking branches in Sri Lanka has been increasing at an average rate of 7 percent per annum since 2007. Today, thebank branch density is increasing at the rate of 100,000 persons per bank branch as per the report.

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