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Focus on prudent tax policies for economic stability

CA Sri Lanka’s inaugural tax symposium  
 
With Sri Lanka continuing to face unprecedented challenges due to the ongoing economic crisis, and government revenue expected to play a crucial role in salvaging the economy, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) in a new landmark initiative, will host its first-ever inaugural tax symposium where matters pertaining to the ongoing crisis and the way forward will be discussed in-depth. 
 
The CA Tax Symposium, which aims to be an annual event, will be ceremoniously inaugurated on Thursday (01st September 2022) followed by two days of technical sessions on 02nd and 03rd September where matters pertaining to macroeconomics, budget
proposals, tax trends, and the way forward will be deliberated in an effort to help bring stability to the ongoing crisis. 
 
The event will be officially inaugurated in the presence of Mr. D. R. S. Hapuarachchi, Director General of the Inland Revenue, Mr. Sanjaya Bandara, President of CA Sri Lanka, Mr. Heshana Kuruppu, Vice President of CA Sri Lanka, Mr. Tishan Subasinghe, Council
member and Chairman of the Faculty of Taxation, Ms. Sarah Afker, Alternate Chairperson of the Faculty of Taxation and Ms. Dulani Fernando, Chief Executive Office of CA Sri Lanka. 
 
The ultimate aim of the symposium is to provide a common forum for both policymakers and taxpayers to deliberate and make suggestions on how the policy framework in the country should be tailored with the best interests of all the stakeholders taken into consideration. 
 
The first session will focus on "Macro Economics - The Context" where the historical context of Sri Lanka’s current economic position will be briefly outlined, with the ultimate goal being to lay the groundwork for a fruitful discussion on tax policies that will be better suited to fulfilling the government's goals. The second session on "Budget Proposals 2022 -
Implementation" will deliberate on how effectively the budget proposals have been implemented with specific focus on how well these policies have been aligned with the economic objectives of the government. 
 
The third session on "Recent Tax Trends - The Local & the Global View" will pay attention to the recent trends in the local and international tax arenas while providing an overview of the tax trends from a regional and global perspective.  The fourth and final session will be on "Chambers Discussion Forum  - Way forward 2023 and beyond" where leading business
associations and chambers will come together to share their views and opinions on the  tax regime in the country and the changes that they would like to see in the taxation policies in the future, apart from sharing their experience in relation to the practical issues in
dealing with the tax statutes, the Inland Revenue Department and other administrative and procedural challenges.

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Pics by Prabodha de Silva

Rooftop Solar is the  only way out of the present energy crisis


UP TO 75%, INCREASE IN ELECTRICITY PRICES FOR CONSUMERS

By Chanaka de Silva

Electricity consumers received an "Electric Shock" recently with the increased tariff announced by PUCSL. The increased consumer tariffs have been put up by 75% on certain bands. The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), however, had in fact requested a far higher escalation an overall price increase of up to 239% of the current tariff.

 

Speaking at a recently held pressmeet held by the  Solar Industries Association (SIA) Secretary Lakmal Fernando said,  with the losses of the CEB amounting to LKR500bn in 2022 and the depreciation of the SLRs, the CEB is almost certain to impose tariff hikes repeatedly unless urgent remedial measures are implemented. From a 100% renewable energy dependant country, running almost entirely on hydroelectricity, Sri Lanka's generation mix had deteriorated to 35% Renewable Energy (RE) - 65% fossil fuel by 2022. The CEB has not made any serious effort to absorb sufficient RE to the national grid, in spite of clear directives from industry regulators over the past decade. Therefore in spite of several warnings by the RE sector,  the country's energy mix was ignored. The CEB's approach has been short-sighted and has not established a long-term strategy for the RE sector, even to date.

Further he added that  if the local market is encouraged to invest in rooftop Slar systems this will give immediate returns to the country. The other benefit is that  grid will not have  to carry the total load  of supplying the  country. With this system the  requirement to generate power through fossil fuels will be greatly reduced thus  will help stem the drain on the  foreign exchange of the  country,  Fernando said.


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Pics by Prabodha de Silva

'TAGS awards 2022' entries open

 

Marking a new chapter in financial and non-financial reporting, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) on Wednesday announced that t is accepting applications for TAGS Awards 2022. It aims to crown the best corporates for promoting transparency, accountability, governance and sustainability.


The TAGS Awards, formerly known as the Annual Report Awards, which commands an impeccable history spanning over half a century, in its 57th year, welcomes any organisation that produces an Annual Report, including multinational companies,  conglomerates, SMEs, and even small-time comnmunity groups, as well as NGOs and NPOs io apply and get recognised, for upholding the integrity of financial, environmental, social, and governance reporting with a key emphasis on transparency and sustainability Organisations producing annual reports can register for the highiy acclaimed competition by providing their Annual Reports for the Financial Year ending on 31st December 2021 or 31st March 2022. Applications will be accepted from 24th August to 16t September 2022 The announcement was made at a press conference held under the patronage of CA Sri Lanka President Sanjava Bandara, Vice President Heshana Kuruppu, and Chairman of the TAGS Awards Committee. Thivanka Jayasinghe, Chief Executive Officer  Dulani Fernando and Alternate Chairperson of the TAGS Awards Committee  Chamila Cooray at the Institute MK Sanjaya Bandara, President of CA Sri Lanka, said that change is essential if we are to face today s environment with confidence and the TAGS Awards aim to reflect these changes, which are not onily pertinent in the current volatile business environment but also aim to gear companies both big and small for future challenges.

 

He noted that while the Annual Report Awards Competition had a particular focus on financial reporting for over half a century, the reconceptualized TAGS Awards will take on a new format with a specific emphasis on both non-financial and financial reporting.


"A key feature of this competition will be how organisations continue to remain transparent and accountable and how businesses, regardless of their size or profits, are making the necessary efforts to give back to society and protect the planet. I am confident that the TAGS Awards will be an important platform for going beyond conventional expectations from businesses

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Lenovo Graphic Workstations from  Softlogic

Lenovo,  Graphic Workstations in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, announces its collaboration with Softlogic Information Technologies (Pvt) Ltd (Softlogic IT), in introducing the best Lenovo Graphic Workstations. This essentially enables the tech community and graphic designers to adapt to the work-from-home concept which is gaining more popularity for many businesses. Graphic design demands the best out of a computer, so if you are a graphic designer, you probably choose your equipment extremely carefully, which is why Lenovo, an established name across the globe, joined hands with Softlogic IT to provide the best Graphic Workstations for customers.

Lenovo offers two of the best graphic workstations for advanced users who need powerful devices to help support more complex workloads such as data analysis and graphic designing. Its two graphic workstations are the Lenovo ThinkStation P Series Fixed Workstation and the Lenovo ThinkPad P Series Mobile Workstation. The ThinkStation P Series workstations deliver powerful performance to handle whatever jobs you need to accomplish: from the P620 with its game-changing AMD Ryzen™ Threadripper PRO to the latest generation of Intel® Xeon® processors combined with NVIDIA® Quadro® RTX professional graphics, in dual- and single- processor systems. Independent software vendor (ISV) certified, energy-efficient, and highly versatile, Lenovo's ThinkStations feature the superior reliability you expect from Think. The ThinkPad P Series workstation fuses the portability of a laptop and the performance of a workstation, the ThinkPad P Series laptops are ISV-certified for all major applications. These systems feature lightning-fast graphics and processing, and the latest cutting-edge technology to handle your compute-intensive needs in surprisingly light packages.

Commenting on this partnership, Roshan Rassool, CEO at Softlogic Information Technologies (Pvt) Ltd said, “We are pleased to say that the Sri Lankan market is growing in terms of technology. We now witness clear importance being offered to graphic workstations by architects, designers, and engineers who use these systems to increase their efficiency and productivity. For many years, these experts have been using customized desktops and notebooks to suit their requirements, though, the graphic workstation is specifically built for ‘number crunching’ jobs that need a high CPU power and outstanding graphic capabilities.


Furthermore, the workstations are already fine-tuned for the software that these experts utilize. We are proud to be a part of Lenovo and the impact they are having in this section of he market.”

Ceylon Chamber Conducts BCCS Awards Briefing Webinar  

 

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce recently held a webinar to brief prospective applicants for the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability (BCCS) Awards 2022. Held this year for the nineteenth consecutive year, the BCCS Awards, which champion corporate sustainability in an increasingly environmentally vulnerable world, are one of the most anticipated events on the corporate calendar. 

Against a backdrop of a challenging year in terms of the global and national socio-economic environment, the Awards seek to highlight proactive initiatives that sought to ensure sustainable and resilient practices.  ‘The purpose of these Awards is to give due recognition to the concept of corporate sustainability in Sri Lanka, whilst encouraging corporates to adopt the best sustainability practices in their business strategies. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic and the current socio-economic crisis that had a significant impact on business operations in 2021/22, this year the Chamber has adopted new and enhanced evaluation criteria, whilst also introducing Awards that celebrate sustainable resilience’, Alikie Perera, Deputy Secretary General and Financial Controller of the Ceylon Chamber stated, delivering the welcome preliminaries on behalf of the Ceylon Chamber. 

The briefing was led by the Chairman of the Panel of Evaluators and a veteran in the field of sustainability, Dr. Ananda Mallawatantri, Country Representative (Sri Lanka) - International Union for Conservation of Nature. Stressing the urgency in mainstreaming sustainable Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices in core business processes and corporate strategies, Dr. Mallawatantri elaborated on ESG practices including circularity, net-zero approaches, life- cycle analysis, science-based targets, etc. as important pillars of sustainable strategies.  The introduction of a ‘Planning and Adoption of Resilient Practices for Covid-19 and Emerging Country Context’ award this year, will highlight corporates that effectively identified, assessed, and implemented Covid-19 resilient practices, as well as practices to ensure sustainability and stability in the context of emerging political, economic and social disruption.

Dr. Chandana Siriwardana, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Engineering - the University of Moratuwa, who will lead the panel of evaluators for the  Best Projects Sustainability Awards, briefed participants on the Best Projects Sustainability Awards application. These awards highlight the efforts of the private and public sectors to develop and implement individual projects that promote a specific aspect one or more aspects of sustainability, and which demonstrate a contribution to the well-being of the people or the planet.  Applications for the BCCS Awards are now open, with the application forms, brochures and other relevant documents accessible at www. chamber.lk  For further information, please call Oshadhi on 0115588851 / oshadhi@chamber.lk or Whitney on 0115588850 / hr@chamber.lk

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Pics by Prabodha de Silva

Nippon Donation Foundation facilitates Roshan Mahanama   The Nippon Donation Foundation is active in over 30 countries around the world and continues its efforts to uplift many sectors in developing nations such as health, and Its entrepreneurship and more. It is one of the leading donations incorporated in Japan oy founder and Chairman Mr. Yuma Muranushi, who from a young age has been wo towards achieving lasting peace in the world. A self-acclaimed entrepreneur, Mr. vudud Degan investing at the age of 19 while studying at the Osaka University in Japan. At age 24, he established a private fund and entered the financial business, managing domestic and foreign funds, and repeating business buy outs. Mr. Muranushi, is in Sri Lanka on the invitation of Dr. Ruwan Perera, the National Director tor the Nippon Donation Foundation. He previously donated Rs.10 million worth of medicine to the National Hospital of Sri Lanka. He is facilitating former Sri Lankan Cricketer Mr. Roshan Mahanama, for his continuous social work and donations during these challenging times. Mr. Muranushi is also in Sri Lanka to seek avenues to expand his commercial and CSR activities widely in Sri Lanka through donations and FDIs on a long-term basis. Mr. Yuma Muranushi commented on his visit to Sri Lanka: "I honoured to have been invited to Sri Lanka by Dr. Ruwan Perera. I see this country as one with endless potential, and it imperative that we do as much as we can to assist this nation and its people in their recovery from the challenges brought about by the current economic situation. I am pleased to be able to facilitate Mr. Roshan Mahanama, whose generosity during these challenging times has been invaluable."

Dr. Ruwan Perera is an electrical engineer who studied at the Tokyo University in Japan and worked at the Sony Corporation for over 20 years at a senior level. Dr. Perera holds 3 global patents under his name and facilitates commercial and non-commercial bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and Japan. He is currently the Chairman of a conglomerate in Sri Lanka, that holds over USD 100 million worth of interest in the country. The latest investment was USD 25 million to build the first ever airport transit hotel in Sri Lanka.

The Nippon Donation Foundation has p edged to continue with their donation programmes and initiatives to previously identified sectors. The organisation will also continue to bridge Japanese investors to invest in lucrative projects in Sri Lanka. Additionally. Dr. Perera will facilitate local exporters who want to enter the Japanese market and as made arrangements for a Japanese investment delegation to Sri Lanka in the next few months to help the people and the government of Sri Lanka recover from the previously identified sectors. The organisation will also continue to bridge Japanese investors to invest in lucrative projects in Sri Lanka. Additionally. Dr. Perera will facilitate local exporters who want to enter the Japanese market and as made arrangements for a Japanese investment delegation to Sri Lanka in the next few months to help the people and the government of Sri Lanka recover from the prevailing economic crisis.
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Fairfirst -Among most loved General Insurance Brands in Sri Lanka


 

Fairfirst Insurance, known for its empathy-based innovations, has transformed the insurance industry since the brand’s inception, and its capabilities in refreshing and uplifting the service quality within the local industry have translated into the company being ranked as “One of the Most Loved Brands” in the General Insurance category, as recognised in the Brands Annual 2022 edition (compiled by Brand Finance / presented by LMD). This also comes on the heels of the company being recently awarded as one of the “Most Innovative Brands” across all categories in Sri Lanka by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) and the only General Insurer that’s acquired the highest Facebook review score of 4.1 ratings (as at May 2022). It is evident from these wins that the company’s evolving capabilities find more unparallel ways in redefining world-class customer experiences with empathy, authenticity, transparency, and responsibility.

Becoming one of the most loved brands has become possible because Fairfirst has consistently and continuously delivered on its brand promise. A promise built on four essential pillars – experts in protection and progression, service quality beyond the usual, meaningful innovation, and peace of mind at the right price – each pillar stands on its own to complement the unique strengths of the company’s efforts in delivering empathy-led, customer-centric insurance solutions and journeys that allow them to redefine the status quo through its world-class service offerings.

Speaking on this achievement, Sandeep Gopal – Chief Executive Officer of Fairfirst Insurance, commented: “To be recognised as one of the most loved brands is a great accomplishment for any company. The weight of this recognition is even greater when our efforts in doing well by doing good for individuals, businesses, and the communities are consistent despite all odds. I thank all our amazing Sri Lankans for believing in us on this journey to be the best. Great moments like these motivate us to continue on our path of contributing to the progression of this nation.”

Whilst the use of such techniques and tools revolutionizes its positioning in the insurance category, being a responsible corporate citizen is also an integral part of the company and its global values. Delving into the grassroots of the community via a proactive community engagement agenda plays a key role in the FairfirstWay of promoting Sensible Optimism. That is why Fairfirst’s thinking is not boxed into short-term goals with immediate results, but goes beyond what meets the eye.

Sasith Bambaradeniya – Chief Marketing Officer of Fairfirst Insurance, also commented: “We are extremely thrilled about this achievement. This recognition serves true to our consistency in delivering on our brand promise, always. A promise that emphasises our strengths in generating unique and empathetic insurance solutions across the market. It is also an apt recognition of being progressive, aligned to customers evolving needs, and always willing to make a sensible difference.”

Fairfirst Insurance Ltd. is part of the global Fairfax Group. The Group is a leading property and casualty insurer, reinsurer, and investment manager, headquartered in Toronto, Canada. Fairfirst is today among the top general insurance companies of Sri Lanka and is recognised as the only Sri Lankan company amongst the 2020 top insurance global giants in Asia-Pacific. Fairfirst serves individuals, businesses, and institutions across this beautiful island through a versatile workforce spread across the comprehensive branch network, affinity partners, and brokers in Sri Lanka.

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Luminex IPO Postponed to 19th May 

 

Luminex Limited has announced their plans for a LKR 250 Million initial Public Offering (IPO) of 31,250,000 ordinary shares at LKR. 8/- per share, that will be postponed until the 19th of May 2022. The postponement comes in the light of the current unrest in the country and at the consultation with the CSE.

The issue, when launched, amounts to an 11.52% stake of the company subsequent to the IPO. The amount of LKR 250Mn raised from the IPO will enhance the working capital to scale up by consolidating local operations. Navara Capital Limited are a financial advisor and issue manager.

Luminex Limited is a leading engineering company and market leader in Telecom Infrastructure Engineering and is also involved in Electrical, Civil and Water Projects as well. 

The company has been in operation for well over 35 years and completed over 850 projects in the past 10 years. It is a leading telecom OSP (Outside Plant) construction partner for Sri Lanka Telecom and Dialog Axiata and a construction contractor for Public & Private entities. The company is empowered by a competent 570 in-house workforce across 8 operation centres and 29 project offices at present.

 

For IPO applications and more information, visit www.cse.lk/ www.luminexpl.com/ipo /www.navaracapital.com .

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Prima Brands win Big at Partner Power 2022

Top-performing suppliers awarded at Keells’ annual supplier convention


 

Ceylon Agro Industries Ltd (Prima Group Sri Lanka), the company behind some of Sri Lanka’s most popular consumer brands such as Prima KottuMee, Prima Stella, Prima Sunrise, Prima Treats, Prima Flour and many more, was recognized at the recently concluded “Partner Power 2022”, the 9th annual supplier convention hosted by Keells.

The Keells Annual Supplier Convention recognized and awarded top-performing suppliers for the year 2021/22 across multiple industries, under four key categories: Best Performance – Platinum Tier, Best Performance – Gold Tier, Best Performance – Silver Tier, and Best Performing – Private Label Supplier.

The highlight of the event was that CAI (Prima Group Sri Lanka) emerged victorious, receiving the Best Performance – Platinum Tier award for its exceptional performance that syncs with Keells’ core purpose of improving the quality of life for the nation, where the best outcomes are ensured for all Keells and Prima consumers islandwide.

 

Photo Caption:

Ceylon Agro Industries (Prima Group Sri Lanka) Deputy General Manager Sajith Gunaratne and Channel Manager Raveen Perera receiving the award

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LankaPropertyWeb Celebrates its 15th Anniversary
With a Focus on the Post Pandemic World

LankaPropertyWeb Sri Lanka’s number one real estate platform celebrated its 15 year anniversary since its inception on the 22nd of April 2022. The real estate company was founded in 2007 offering digital listings for the real estate market in Sri Lanka. Currently, it is the largest real estate platform in the country providing a complete service in property buying, selling and investing. 

The 15-year celebration marks a significant milestone in the company's history as now the website has over 500,000 monthly visits from more than 70 countries including Sri Lanka. It has also become a pioneering platform in assisting property buyers and sellers to connect virtually without geographical restrictions. 

Commenting on the growth of the company, Daham Gunaratna, Managing Director of LankaPropertyWeb (LPW) said, “Since the inception in 2007 as a digital online property portal, we have expanded to many other areas throughout the last 15 years, to help the country’s property buyers and sellers. Now LPW is not only the No.1 property site, but also operates the No.2 site as well, through House.lk and also idealhome.lk, which helps homeowners and builders to find products and services. We plan to continue our expansion into the future years to bring more facilities, insights and assistance to the public to help them with their property needs.”

Besides offering a platform for digital listings, through its LankaPropertyWeb Research wing the company releases monthly data-based informative articles and content on the Sri Lankan real estate market. While LankaPropertyWeb Digital provides digital marketing solutions to the majority of the real estate agents and property developers in the country. Property buyers and investors are also connected with lawyers, valuers and other property related consultants through idealhome.lk and the Buyer and Seller Assistance service that was launched in 2018. 

Since 2017, LankaPropertyWeb has also been organizing its annual property show, the Lanka Property Show. With the pandemic striking Sri Lanka, the initiative to launch the first virtual property show in the South Asian Region was taken up in 2020. The event had seen massive success and will be hosted alongside the physical event from here onwards. The property show is Sri Lanka’s largest real estate gathering and with the virtual property show it has now managed to successfully remove the geographical barriers related to the real estate purchase in Sri Lanka. 

As a part of this year’s 15th anniversary LankaPropertyWeb will be launching a new and improved ad posting and management section, along with relaunching its app with upgrades to facilitate the purchase and sale of property easier. 

While the new upgrades make it easier to post and manage ads from whichever devices you use, it’ll also include new features and technology that have become widely used by property seekers around the world since the pandemic, such as ability to shoot and upload property videos and 360 walkthroughs straight from a standard smartphone, without requiring any additional hardware or software, which facilitates remote viewings of properties. 

The launch of the invest section in 2020 was another significant milestone of LPW in its 15 year journey. In Sri Lanka, the real estate sector contributes up to 6% of the GDP. While the typical rental yield from an apartment for rent in Colombo amounts to 6% and the return on investment is 8%. However, due to the lack of financial literacy, the number of investments taking place is low and those profiting off of these is less. 

“In the dynamic real estate sector of Sri Lanka being the No. 1 property portal of the country LPW is getting prime properties available for sale in Sri Lanka. Going a step further LPW research and strategy team evaluate these properties with a series of internal and external analytics and advise real estate investors to make viable investment decisions making their property search easy and fast. We have supported  first time home buyers to multi billion projects like the Port City Colombo in making their decisions” commented Tharindu Jayaratna Head of Research & Strategy of LankaPropertyWeb.  

The invest page includes features like a Return On Investment (ROI) calculator, a catalogue of top investment opportunities, trending properties and all the details on why you should be investing in Sri Lankan real estate. 

LankaPropertyWeb also launched a complete Property Buying Guide earlier this year in all 3 languages Sinhala, Tamil and English, offering buyers, sellers and investors information on buying, selling and investing in property in Sri Lanka. The guide compiled along with industry experts and lawyers is aimed at bridging the gap in the lack of information in the real estate market in Sri Lanka.

Continuing on with the tradition this year as well LankaPropertyWeb will be hosting the Lanka Property Show 2022 virtually and physically on the 25th and 26th of June, while celebrating its 15th year anniversary. More details on the event will be released in the near future.

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Luminex Limited announces upcoming IPO

Luminex Limited has announced their plans for a LKR 250 Million initial Public Offering (IPO) of 31,250,000 ordinary shares at LKR. 8/- per share commencing on the 12th of May 2022. The issue amounts to a 11.52% stake of the company subsequent to the IPO. The amount of LKR 250Mn raised from the IPO will be utilized to enhance the working capital to scale up by consolidating local operations. Navara Capital Limited are the financial advisor and issue manager. 

 

 

Luminex Limited is a leading engineering company and market leader in Telecom Infrastructure Engineering and also involved in Electrical, Civil and Water Projects as well. The company has been in operation for well over 35 years and completed over 850 projects in the past 10 years. It is a leading telecom OSP (Outside Plant) construction partner for Sri Lanka Telecom and Dialog Axiata and a construction contractor for Public & Private entities. The company is empowered by a competent 570 inhouse workforce across 8 operation centers and 29 project offices at present.

 

Luminex has been certified as EM1 by the Construction Industry Development Authority (CIDA) in the main area of operation and it has also obtained the ISO 9001: 2015 Quality Management Certification awarded by DET NORSKE VERITAS (DNV). The Company has recorded an annual turnover of LKR 2.55Bn for year 2020/2021 and after-tax profit of 295 million.  In the first nine months of the FY 2021/22 the company has recorded a turnover of LKR. 2.48Bn and after-tax profit of LKR. 453 million maintaining a healthy growth rate.

Ruwan Fernando – Managing Director of Luminex commented: “We are pleased to list Luminex Limited on the Colombo Stock Exchange as part of our strategy to broad-base the ownership and to further enhance our brand equity.  Luminex is positioned strongly in the nation’s engineering sector and is geared to expand its operations beyond the shores of Sri Lanka. Since the offer is already announced, we invite the public to subscribe for shares of Luminex against a backdrop of aggressive expansion in telecom infrastructure and water projects which are expected to benefit revenue growth of Luminex favorably.”

 

Jayasankha Alahendra COO of Navara Capital commented “we believe the issue is attractively priced at 3.18 times PE based on the 9months earnings for 31st December, 2021. Luminex presents a favourable investment opportunity even in  the currently depressed market conditions. Based on the historical records of the company, one could expect an attractive dividend payout and this would present an excellent investment opportunity in the medium term.”  

 

For IPO applications and more information, visit www.cse.lk/ www.luminexpl.com/ipo /www.navaracapital.com .

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‘10 Best Sri Lanka Startups – 2022’ Avanta Infotech -SiliconIndia Startup City magazine

 

Avanta Infotech, an end-to-end telecommunications infrastructure service provider in Sri Lanka, was recently recognized by the SiliconIndia Startup City magazine, a leading business magazine focusing on news, challenges, and talks related to start-ups, under its annual “10 Best Sri Lanka Startups – 2022” ranking.

Each year, the ranking, one among the multiple rankings carried out by SiliconIndia Startup City, acknowledges the prowess of the 10 best start-ups in Sri Lanka and their contribution to the growing start-up ecosystem of the country. Commenting on this recognition, Avanta Infotech Managing Director Irishad Ally stated: “We are honoured to be recognized as one of the best start-ups in Sri Lanka for the year 2022 by a leading Indian magazine dedicated to start-ups. This is a testament to our commitment and passion to consistent value creation for all our stakeholders, which stems from our strongest attributes of innovativeness, scalability, and teamwork. Sri Lanka’s telecommunications industry is one of the fastest-growing in the South Asian region. Having recognized this potential since day one, we at Avanta are committed to continuing our efforts to become the foremost player in telecommunications project implementation and consultancy.”

Start-ups are often termed as the innovators of a country and play an influential role to uplift local communities and accelerate economic prosperity. While global statistics back the claim that start-ups create more jobs compared to larger enterprises, start-ups in the telecommunications service industry in Sri Lanka are becoming increasingly competitive and rewarding. Initiated taking these developments into account, the “10 Best Sri Lanka Startups – 2022” list has gained incredible response from the corporate fraternity since inception, as it adds value to the recruitment industry, thus fast-tracking the growth of the start-up culture. 

Sharing insights into Avanta’s way forward, CEO Damitha Kariyawasam noted: “It is truly humbling to be recognized by SiliconIndia Startup City in appreciation of our contribution to the development of the Sri Lankan start-up ecosystem. As a principle, we constantly monitor trends and challenges in the industry. This helps us keep ourselves ahead of the game, the benefits of which are ultimately enjoyed by our clients. Avanta is dedicated to further ensuring the highest standards in our products and service delivery.” 

The selection process to determine the top start-ups in Sri Lanka for 2022 has undergone deep scrutiny, incorporating a comprehensive survey and an interview conducted by a panel of judges comprising CXOs, analysts, and the SiliconIndia Startup City editorial team. Established in 2019 as a subsidiary of Arinma Holdings (Pvt.) Ltd., Avanta Infotech is a complete solution provider catering to telecommunication companies, local operators, and public entities. The company offers clients a wide array of telecommunication products, services, consultancy, and trading requirements, including telco engineering solutions, Software as a Service.

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‘Diabe Tea-Sabaragamuwa’ by Fadna Tea reinvigorates lifestyles
 

Fadna Tea (Pvt.) Ltd., a pioneer in the Sri Lankan herbal tea industry, is making waves with the launch of its new product, “Diabe Tea-Sabaragamuwa”. Fadna introduced the concept of sharing the natural goodness of conventional beverages with the world and now brings its own functional herbal tea products by preserving their natural goodness while conforming to international standards.

 

This product uses 100% natural ingredients to maximise its benefits for patients suffering with blood sugar-related disorders. Understanding the challenges faced by such patients in society, Fadna Tea was motivated to develop a product that would somewhat alleviate their daily struggles. The product is developed in collaboration with the Accelerating Higher Education Expansion and Development Operation (AHEAD) and the Faculty of Applied Sciences at the Sabaragamuwa University.

Speaking about the project, Sabaragamuwa University Vice-Chancellor Senior Prof. Udaya Rathanayake stated: “As a university, we are continuously engaging in these types of product development projects, and launching and commercializing Diabe Tea-Sabaragamuwa is a great initiative as well as a motive for upcoming projects. We expect to do these types of projects similarly with Fadna and also other companies for the betterment of society.”

Fadna Tea Managing Director Chamendra Somatunga said: “Innovation associated with problem-solving is vital for the development of societies and countries. Commercializing products that are born out of this innovativeness not only opens up new avenues for people, especially those suffering from blood sugar-related disorders, to adopt healthier lifestyles but also supports the local economy. We thank the AHEAD Grant for their collaboration, research, and assistance in making this product a success. We hope to introduce and commercialize similar products in the future to serve more people in the long run.”

Fadna Tea (Pvt) Ltd. strives to continuously innovate in collaboration with esteemed research and educational institutes across the country. Research and studies are constantly carried out in collaboration with several universities to improve the quality and efficacy of the products, where research results are published in globally recognized journals. Revitalising the tea industry of Sri Lanka through the superior quality that can be seen at the root of all their products, Fadna Diabe Tea-Sabaragamuwa is a stepping stone in Fadna’s journey towards truly elevating the lifestyles of the people of Sri Lanka.

Fadna products are exported to many destinations across the world. With these great strides, Fadna has expanded its production domain to functional cosmetics based on traditional formulae used in the past.

 

Photo captions:

Image 1 – Fadna Tea MD Mr. Chamendra Somatunga and Sabaragamuwa University Vice Chancellor Senior Prof. Udaya Rathanayake displaying the new ‘Diabe Tea-Sabaragamuwa’ product

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FLUKE POWER QUALITY TECHNICAL HOLDS SEMINAR

Pics by Prabhoda de Silva

BY Chanaka de Silva

 Marlbo Trading Company which commenced operations in 1989 have launched their state of the art power testing unit to date. .  The main business focuses is the importation of Testing Equipment relevant to the Energy Industry, especially Power Quality Analyzers used by the Ceylon Electricity Board Solar Industry, Lanka Electricity Company (Pvt) Ltd. and several other Consultation/Engineering companies working with the Energy Industry.  

 

Speaking to the media Marlbo Trading Company, M ManiymuthuChairman, said,  "Power Quality is one of the major factors to be considered in their day-to-day operations. With the present energy crisis around the country and the future of the energy sector is moving towards renewable energy, this technical seminar on Power Quality Analysis would be of utmost importance to the technical experts engaging in the same. This seminar is organized as a goodwill gesture to the energy industries, taking into consideration of the present situation of the country. However as the Covid-19 pandemic situation is still not fully settled, limited participants have been invited. "

 

Further he added that special arrangements for whoever has missed this opportunity to view this event live on social media platforms as it will be very useful to them, which has already been communicated to them.

 

Marlbo Trading Company, jointly with Fluke Corporation -USA has arranged this seminar presenting the following experts to help understand power analysis further, the Speakers are as follows, H M Wijekoon, Project Director, Colombo Port City Development Project, Ceylon Electricity Board.and  R. Girish, Associate Manager – FPQ & Training Manager, Fluke Corporation.

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Prima KottuMee  ‘Advertisement of the Year’  
SLIM-KANTAR People’s Awards 2022


Prima KottuMee celebrated a night of glory as it clinched the “People’s Advertisement of the Year” award at the recently concluded SLIM-KANTAR People’s Awards 2022. Not only does this re-affirm the brand’s love of fun, but also how much Prima KottuMee has captured the hearts of the youth in the country.


The advertisement features Sri Lankan, global singing sensation and Prima KottuMee Brand Ambassador Yohani de Silva, spotlighting and living the brand’s iconic Hot N Spicy ethos. Commenting on the win, Deputy General Manager  Sajith Gunaratne shared: “It is a great honour to be recognized at one of Sri Lanka’s most prestigious award ceremonies and winning ‘People’s Advertisement of the Year’. This is a true testament of the consumers’ share of heart Prima KottuMee has. It truly inspires us to continue by staying relevant, whilst also raising the bar as to how we communicate our Hot N Spicy ethos. We thank our valued consumers for the immense love and support they continue to show towards Prima KottuMee. We would also like
to thank our creative partner TBWA, media partner OMD, and production partner Premier Edge Productions; our Brand Ambassador; and our very own Prima KottuMee team for the passion and hard work that made this advertisement as well as this achievement a reality.”


The 16th SLIM People’s Awards was organized by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) in partnership with world-renowned research company Kantar. The winners were chosen through a nationwide scientific research methodology covering all provinces, classes, and age groups. A
key national awards ceremony in Sri Lanka, SLIM People’s Awards celebrates the voice of the people, where the favourite brands, organizations, personalities, and programmes that have made a profound impression on the hearts and minds of the Sri Lankan people are picked as
the winners.

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Daraz wins the hearts of Sri Lankan youth
at SLIM-KANTAR People’s Awards 2022

Daraz Sri Lanka won the ‘People’s Youth Choice Service Brand of the Year’ award at the recently held SLIM-KANTAR People’s Awards 2022, clinching the first-ever accolade for the eCommerce platform at the esteemed national awards ceremony organized by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM).

 

Speaking about the award win, Daraz Sri Lanka Head of Marketing Heshan Perera said: “We are honoured to have won the hearts of Sri Lankan youth as their preferred service brand, and are truly humbled that within a short span of time, we have been able to make a significant impact in the lives of our youth. Daraz has always been focused on bringing new and exciting experiences to our customers while enhancing their lifestyles and making lasting impressions. We are confident that the all-new Daraz experience will add even more value to our customers, giving them more reasons to stay with us for the long term. We thank all our valued customers for their love and support, while also thanking SLIM for providing this platform to recognize and honour the voice of the people.”

A key event in the Sri Lankan corporate calendar, the 16th edition of the SLIM People’s Awards was carried out in partnership with the globally renowned research organization Kantar as the Research Partner. The awards incorporate a scientific process through which brands, organizations, personalities, and programmes that have made the deepest impression on the hearts of the people are chosen as the winners each year.

Committed to uplifting communities through the power of commerce and serving the country at large by boosting the digital economy, Daraz has played a key role in transforming the way people perceive and experience online shopping in a changing world, bringing convenience, island-wide delivery, and secured payment options. The eCommerce platform is also focused on empowering its seller community, including women entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), by educating and providing access to wider -markets through tech-enabled business tools.

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More Digital Marketing Professionals by APIDM

The Asia Pacific Institute of Digital Marketing (APIDM), the leading institute for Digital Marketing Education & Skill Training in Sri Lanka, held their Certificate Ceremony for Students who attained the Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing and Certificate in Digital Marketing. The Ceremony was held on the 3rd of March 2022, at Marina Beach, Colombo, with Professor Ravi Dissanayake, the Head of the Department of Marketing Management of the University of Kelaniya attending as Chief Guest. 

 

APIDM is an accredited member of the CPD (UK), and it has been successfully operating in the industry for more than 11 years, nourishing both local and foreign students with the most demanded Digital skills in the industry. APIDM’s leading panel of trainers from Sri Lanka, Australia, Singapore, Serbia and New Zealand, have vast multi-industry experience in both foreign and local markets and are practicing professionals in Digital Marketing. Graduates of APIDM have gone on to work at reputed multinational organisations and corporations both locally and overseas. 

 

In the year 2021, APIDM successfully launched the Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing programme in partnership with the Cam Asean Institute, Cambodia. 177 students of the Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing and 95 students from the Certificate in Digital Marketing program qualified for this year’s certification ceremony. APIDM takes pride in being the skill training partner of these digital marketing enthusiasts and we at APIDM will further facilitate their continuous learning for our students to be more dynamic and up to date with the latest trends in the world of Digital. The Digital Credential Program is offered via a partnership with Everitas, a leading Australian Digital Credentialing Consultant. Credly, the world-renowned Digital credential issuer, helps students share blockchain-enabled Digital badges as verification for their achievement. 

 

The APIDM Professional Diploma of Digital Marketing is one of the most sought-after qualifications in Sri Lanka with content that is certified by the CPD Certification Service. The certification is tributed to the content conforming to continuing professional development principles. The programme provides comprehensive, hands-on sessions that transfer theoretical knowledge into practical knowledge to help students develop and implement digital strategies of their own. 

 

The Certificate in Digital Marketing lays a solid foundation for students who want to embark on a career in Digital Marketing. The programme also provides on-the-job experience for students as APIDM has partnered with reputed Digital Advertising Agencies such as GroupM, Daraz, DigiBrush, Loops Digital, eMarketingEye, ZMessenger, DigitalX, Hash3Three, ALT X and SILK Road as part of its Industry Training Partner Programme (ITPP).

 

As a leading educator in Digital Marketing, APIDM has always and will continue to ensure that students are equipped with up-to-date skills and knowledge of current business trends across the world so that they will thrive in the Digital Age. 

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Providore redefines online shopping 

 

Providore, the online grocery store co-founded by Sri Lankan cricketing legends Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, is redefining online shopping in Sri Lanka by bringing freshness, quality and on-time delivery to every customer’s doorstep.

 

All Providore produce is of the freshest quality as the fruits and vegetables are delivered to their modern processing centre daily. Here, each item is carefully quality checked, cleaned, packed and stored in a specialized optimum temperature-controlled storage, ready to be delivered directly to the customer as and when required by them. 

 

When it comes to deliveries, the Providore Customer Service Associates (CSAs) have been specially trained to use the given mapping software to accurately find the location of the customer instead of calling numerous times. Additionally, while the customers are given the freedom to schedule their deliveries, the CSA ensures that the package is delivered exactly during the allocated time slot chosen by the customer. This provides customers greater freedom and convenience as they are able to plan their deliveries based on their work schedule and availability at the given delivery location. This is very convenient for individuals working from home and especially for busy mothers who have to manage several things on the home front. Using Providore, they are able to easily order the items they require and get them delivered when they want so that they can plan their cooking for the day easily, saving them time and reducing their stress. Furthermore, considering the customers’ need for immediate fulfillment of orders Providore is now available on UBER and PickMe as well.

 

Sharing her views, Menaka Galgamuwa – CEO of Providore stated, “Providore is your all-inclusive shopping experience where everything you want is at your fingertips. Our ethos is freshness and quality and we have taken all necessary steps to ensure that only the freshest fruits and vegetable are received by us, stored at optimum conditions, dispatched carefully and delivered on time to our customers. When it comes to customers who are working from home, especially busy mothers running their households, they will find our deliveries very convenient as they can select the time slot for the package to be delivered so that they can plan their cooking and meals. Also, the fact that the CSAs won’t be calling multiple times to ask for directions and will simply find his way to your doorstep using the maps tool given to them is another great benefit for the customer.”

 

Providore has gone to great lengths to play an active role in helping reduce the impact of plastic in the environment by partnering with the largest HDPE plastics recycler in the country and one of the foremost manufacturers for sustainable packaging based on polyethylene. By collecting plastic packaging from previous deliveries and using only recycled bags as part of its sustainability roadmap the company is exploring options for more sustainable packaging. 

 

Providore was introduced as a customer-focused start-up venture to deliver unparalleled quality and service for online grocery shoppers in Sri Lanka. Customers are presented with over 2,000 items to choose from and these include everything from daily essentials and groceries to personal care, household equipment, bakery products, health and wellness products, pet food and accessories, along with premium quality products including cheeses, meats and artisanal ice creams and desserts. Providore ensures food safety and hygiene on all products and guarantees 100% quality, service and on-time delivery. Customers can place orders through the Providore website, the Providore.shop App which available on Apple and Google Play Store for daily delivery from 8am to 8pm and now through UBER and PickMe as well for smaller orders and immediate fulfilment.

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Mount Lotus Hospital marks World Glaucoma Week 2022
by creating awareness on Glaucoma treatments and lifestyle changes

 

Mount Lotus Eye and ENT Hospitals, the newest hospital of its kind in Sri Lanka, is marking World Glaucoma Week 2022 by focusing on the various types of treatments for Glaucoma and tips for lifestyle changes if you are diagnosed with it.

 

There are different types of treatments for glaucoma all of which depend on the type of glaucoma you have. The most common type is known as primary open-angle glaucoma and is generally treated using eye drops. Eyedrops reduce the pressure in the eyes and are normally used between 1 and 4 times a day. At times, you may have to try several types of eyedrops before finding the one that works best while there is a possibility that you may require more than one type of eyedrop. In the event, eye drops don’t improve your condition laser treatment may be recommended. This involves a high-energy beam of light that is cautiously directed towards one part of your eye to stop fluid buildup. In rare cases, both eye drops and laser treatment may not be effective and surgery may be required. The most common type of surgery for glaucoma is called Trabeculectomy were part of the eye-drainage tubes are removed to allow fluid to drain more easily.

 

Living with glaucoma will require you to make certain lifestyle adjustments. You may be required to take one or several types of eye drops throughout the day to manage your glaucoma. This should be done according to a proper schedule and therefore alarms and alerts on devices such as your mobile phone, computer or watch are useful. With the loss of vision, you are prone to the risk of falling and injuring yourself. So areas of the household should be cleared of potential dangers and as a habit, you should always scan any room and be aware of the surroundings before entering. Regular exercise based on your doctor's advice will also help your eye health as well as your overall health. If you're an avid reader, you will find reading to be challenging due to the loss of vision. However, by using tools such as handheld magnifying devices you can continue reading. Web browsers allow you to increase the font size and contrast for easier reading while there are also tech-based solutions such as audiobooks to enjoy your favourite books without actually reading.

 

Testing for glaucoma can be done at Mount Lotus Eye and ENT Hospitals located at No.102, Galle Road, Mount Lavinia. It is a specialized hospital dedicated to providing a world-class range of Eye and ENT medical solutions to local and international patients. The hospital is fully-equipped with modern medical technologies and highly-acclaimed, skilled professionals to provide medical and surgical solutions for any kind of Eye and ENT impairment. 

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Pics  By Prabodha de Silva

‘#MyHomeKurunegala’ real estate investment CBH Lands sheds light   

 

Real estate is highly regarded as a stepping stone to financial security, CBH Lands, a leader in real estate in Sri Lanka and the market leader in Kurunegala, shared new research and insights into the strategic importance of Kurunegala to national economic growth and community development.

Speaking at a special media briefing on 8 March 2022, CBH Lands Founder Chairman Yatila Wijemanne and Deputy Founder Chairman Manjarie Tissera explained the historic, territorial, and scientific aspects of real estate investment in Sri Lanka and opportunities for investors through its “#MyHomeKurunegala” initiative. At present, Kurunegala is the second largest contributor to the national GDP (gross domestic product), with the second-largest government teacher base and highest road kilometrage. With a trade economy that functions independently, whereas many other areas mainly rely on tourism or their close proximity to Colombo, Kurunegala is strategically located at the crossroads of key internal routes in the country.

Over the past three years, Kurunegala has demonstrated an annual land price appreciation of 60%, according to CBH Lands Intelligence. While the company only focuses on lands, it was mentioned that lands are an appreciating asset that can be easily valued.

Elaborating further on this in response to a question regarding the viability of real estate investment in the current environment, Wijemanne noted that in recent years, a significant drive for real estate investment for residential and commercial purposes has been recorded. He further noted that while there are certain bottlenecks, the low-interest rates, as well as all-time low housing and home loans offered at present, contribute to the high demand.

When questioned about the environmental impact, Wijemanne explained: “Generally, we have to go through a minimum of around 12 government bodies for each project, starting off with the Local Authority, Provincial Council, Urban Development Authority, and then the government with an analysis. From there we are referred to the Water Board, Central Environmental Authority, and Road Development Authority. We have a separate team deployed to handle all approvals.”

Adding to this, Tissera pointed out that Kurunegala is the only district in Sri Lanka that requires a developer licence, which she opined should be the practice in other districts, too. She noted: “Every district should have a policy where a licence is required for this kind of subdivisions. That way, other rivers and such can be protected, too, not just in Kurunegala.”

Drawing attention to the “Real Estate Decision Triangle”, put together by CBH Lands Intelligence, it was mentioned that investor decisions are based upon the three factors of budget, space, and location. Noting that generally real estate investment is a compromise, especially in Colombo and Gampaha Districts, where one of the factors are sacrificed, Kurunegala poses no such threat at the moment.

Both Wijemanne and Tissera emphasised that while national development programmes and marketing campaigns – such as those implemented in Hambantota – could be highly beneficial, the responsibility of the development of Kurunegala also falls on the shoulders of developers, residents, and businesspersons of the district.

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Gifts that love your body and the planet by The Body Shop

Celebrate love a little more sustainably this year with gifts that love your body and the planet. Activist brand, The Body Shop, has rounded up an assortment of vegan and nature-inspired gift choices including those that can be repurposed or recycled. Made with ingredients sourced through Community Fair Trade partnerships, or that feature clever packaging designed for a second life, shopping for gifts that do good could not be simpler.

Shop more mindfully with The Body Shop vegan gift ranges, choose gifts wrapped in sustainable, bio-degradable pouches to contribute towards a cleaner environment. By opting for more natural materials, you will also be supporting the small-scale artisans who source and craft them.

The Body Shop’s gifts that give back don’t just bring joy to the people you gift them to, they support the partners who help make these body-loving treats. Its Community Fair Trade programs source ethical, high-quality ingredients and help suppliers gain market access. Some gifts keep giving. Spoil the people you love with gifts that can be reused, recycled, or come in re-giftable packaging.

The Body Shop celebrates the day of love with carefully crafted gift packs featuring favourites from its skin, body, hair, bath and body, makeup, and fragrance ranges. The hampers can be customized online or at The Body Shop stores on Bagatale Road, Odel in Alexandra Place, Kandy City Centre, and Colombo City Centre.

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Pics by Chanaka de Silva

Southbeach Weligama by Balmond Studio a celebration of modern beachfront living


106 apartments on Weligama beach from $129,000 equivalent of 26 million rupees
Unique design features combining internationally acclaimed architecture design
combined with Sri Lankan artisanal craft
Balmond Studio's signature design in Colombo is Cinnamon Life


01 February 2022 Colombo Sri Lanka: The beautiful Weligama coast will soon play host to Sri Lanka's most exciting new freehold address South Beach Weligama. These 106 apartments offer exceptional value designed by the internationally renowned Balmond Studio, designers of Cinnamon Life, Colombo.


Balmond Studio combines over 50 years of experience in architecture and design with Cinnamon Life being its visionary ideal for Colombo's transforming skyline. Its London and Colombo design studios renowned for innovation, creativity and passion for modern design is led by Sri Lankan born Cecil Balmond OBE, the world's leading thinker on form and structure. His son John Balmond who leads the Southbeach Weligama project explains the unique proposition Balmond Studios adds to the Sri Lankan property development landscape. 


"Southbeach Weligama offers an affordable alternative to a 5-star hotel infusing a complete, distinctive and ethical lifestyle, promising year-round yield, setting a new trend for coastal living," he says. "In 2017, the Oxford Business Group predicted that beachfront properties in Sri Lanka will increase in value by 50% and in fact, Weligama land values have increased 84% since 2016 as per a report by Jones Lang Lasalle. With these statistics depicting the high-value, Southbeach Weligama narrates, our one and two-bedroom apartments at 727 square feet and 1,137 square feet respectively are predicted to bring in a gross rental yield of 6.5%." Balmond Studios has partnered With global commercial property and investment management company Jones Lang La W has offices in 80 countries, to position a high-level team at Southbeach Weligama to ensure investments are secure and in safe hands.

Besides a 75 meter beachfront and 35-meter swimming pool, John says, "Our entire look is a celebration of modern Sri Lankan talent, from showcasing local artists in the art gallery to having all the furniture handmade in Sri Lanka. The feel is about elegant sophisticated beachfront living embracing international lifestyle vignettes with our renowned F&B partner from London operating the restaurant and poolside bar, while our design intertwines the surrounding Sri Lankan landscape in all its multiple hues."
Southbeach Weligama's oxidized copper façade and blue/green glass balconies reflect the colour palette of the Indian Ocean and surrounding coconut palms. The spacious interiors with their high ceilings, large rooms and balconies are complemented by artisan furniture and lifestyle vignettes handmade by Sri Lankan carpenters and masons.


"We believe strongly in 360-degree sustainability principles being integral in everything we do," says John of Southbeach Weligama aiming to meet the Platinum standards of the Green Building Council of Sri Lanka. "We infuse the synergies of renewable energy and design into our project, with turbines and solar panels powering the lobby and restaurant areas and rainwater harvesting conserving water. We are building strong relationships with our local communities to not just ensure sourcing local produce but also that every piece of furniture within the property is artistically crafted by Sri Lankan artisans. And for every apartment sold, we will donate USD 1,000 to Lanka Environment Fund towards their conservation projects. It is up to us, to protect today to create tomorrow."

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Pics by Chanaka de Silva

Astra Activ support normal immunity and growth & development

Packed with micronutrients and omega 3 & 6 essential fats


Tuesday 1st February 2022, Colombo: Astra was launched in Sri Lanka, back in 1965 providing great taste and the nutrition to help kids 'Grow Healthy & Happy. Astra is currently owned by Upfield which is the largest plant-based food organization in the world with their presence across 95 countries. As an organization which operates with the purpose of making Sri Lankan families,
healthy and happy with great tasting plant-based products which are good for us and good for the planet, Upfield always tries to ensure that they come with solutions which address consumer needs and their tension points The current Astra portfolio includes Astra Fat Spread, Astra Mayonnaise and Astra Cooking Pack.


With the increasing focus on kids' growth and immunity, Astra has now introduced its newest addition 'Astra Activ fat spread to the market, which is fortified with vitamin A, D, B6, B9 and B12 to support the normal function of the immune system and omega 3 & 6 naturally sourced from sunflower and canola oils to support the growth and development of kids. As a plant-based product, Astra Activ is free from bad trans fats and doesn't have any inherent cholesterol. At the same time, it also does not conta in artificial colours or artificial flavours. Astra Activ is also a soft fat spread. So as soon as you take it out of the refrigerator, it can be applied right away. This makes it an ideal fit into today's busy lifestyles helping moms better busy mornings and sending children off to school.


Cementing its credentials as the preferred choice for children in Sri Lanka, the launch of Astra ActivW was held by Upfield Sri Lanka, on 1st February, amidst a timely panel discussion that comprised of an eminent panel including Dr. R.M. Surantha Perera - Consultant Pediatrician and Neonatologist, Ministry of Health of Sri Lanka, Ms. Nilesha Dahanayake - Registered Nutritionist, Nutritionist at Dietplan LK, Former Nutrotionist for the National Football Team, Ms. Nadini Premadasa Musician, Performer and Mother and Ms. Shehani Liyanage - Global Marketing Manager, BlueBand for AMEA (Asia Middle East Africa) & ANZ region at Upfield Lanka Limited.
This panel discussion provided professional opinions and insights on the right micronutrients including Vitamins A, D, B6, B9 and B12 that are important to support the normal function of immunity. The panel also discussed the type of food such as vegetables, fruits, green leaves which can carry these nutrients as well as how difficult it can be to feed these foods to our little picky eaters. Another key point of discussion was on kids growth and development. Parents expectations on growth expands beyond physical growth into mental and cognitive growth as well. And it is important to have the right nutrition to facilitate that. Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids play an important role in this overgrowth of kids. However, these fatty acids cannot be made inside our bodies hence has to be taken in with the diet. Omega 3 can be found in food such as fish oil while omega 6 is abundant in sunflower, canola linseed and similar plant-based
eeds and oils. However, giving the right quantities of these food on daily basis can be challenging specially with kids' food preference. That's why Astra Activ is going to be the best friend of our parents going forward as it is packed with those essential fats and micronutrition in the form a tasty fat spread that is easy to be given to our picky eaters.


The session also offered insights on debunking myths around fats and margarine. There we some shocking data and insights that revealed around consumer perceptions based on resear conducted by Prosoft research agency. 95% of Sri Lankans believe that fats are overall bad, a it makes you fat, which is a completely wrong perception. As per WHO classification, 30% of daenergy must come in the form of fats. All that is importa t is to eat everything in moderation it fats or any other food type. But as a key macronutrient, if you remove fats totally from yodiet that can have bad repercussions such as lack of vitamin absorption and increase in bacholesterol formation in body.
With generations of mothers' trust and love for over 56 years, Astra is also known for its icorflavour and that great taste is still maintained for their newest addition Astra Activ as well. Inmtime where consumers are constantly worrying about source of the products they buy, it is al-noteworthy to share that Upfield products are made with the finest ingredients and made global and local standards. Their products are manufactured locally as per the SLSI standa guideline under both HAcCP and GMP certified facility. They also use new cutting-edg
technology like interestification and full hydrogenation to ensure that no trans fats are formein the process of making their products Astra is a part of the global brand Blue Band which is present across 35 countries including bnot limited to Pakistan, Netherlands, Kenya, Malaysia, and Indonesia. And it comes to households with the same global quality standards through the same processing techniques
provide our families the essential fats and vitamins they need in their regular diet.

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Vision Care’s newly-refurbished Crescat branch brings the latest Emporio Armani eyewear collection

Vision Care, Sri Lanka’s largest eye care provider, has unveiled its most comprehensive Emporio Armani eyewear collection at the newly-refurbished Crescat Boulevard branch, thereby making it the must-visit store for customers seeking the latest eyewear from the world-famous Italian fashion house.
Vision Care customers searching for classic and elegant Emporio Armani spectacles and sunglasses to add a touch of impeccable style can now walk into the sleek, spacious Vision Care branch located at L33 of the Crescat Boulevard and experience incredible, fashionable, and eye-catching eyewear and accessories. While elegance, quality, and simplicity are three main things that have formed the famous company's motto, the brand combines simple shapes and straight lines with metal frames that express the contemporary city vibes. For female customers who like eye-catching and bold sunglasses, the brand offers oversized metal square frames with an interesting A-shaped bridge and high-quality gradient lenses. Aviator sunglasses are offered for both men and women as vintage irregular frames decorated with distinctive details to add a sophisticated and elegant style to any outfit.
Emporio Armani is one of the world’s most iconic brands with a rich, fascinating history that started in 1974. The brand is characterized by its classic style and the use of grey and white colours. The iconic style of the eyewear company combines the brand's heritage spirit expressed in pastel colours and various textures with bright metal details. Each pair of eyewear made by this famed manufacturer is designed under the celebrated slogan " Simplicity and nothing more!" The company's aesthetics and its continued commitment to perfection are masterfully captured in its fashionable and stylish collections. While the brand experiments with eyewear design, it has always stayed devoted to its well-recognizable elegant and laconic style.

Prior to purchasing any eyewear, Vision Care customers can get their eyes tested using state-of-the-art equipment operated by eye care professionals with years of experience in the field. In addition to Emporio Armani, they are able to choose from a wide array of top global brands for
sunglasses and spectacles. Besides pioneering the introduction of the best range of eyewear brands recognised globally to the local market, Vision Care also offers high-quality eye testing, spectacles, sunglasses, contact lenses as well as hearing aids and hearing testing. High quality,
high precision contact lenses, optical and ophthalmic products are available at all outlets.  

parents going forward as it is packed with those essential fats and micronutrition in the form a tasty fat spread that is easy to be given to our picky eaters.
The session also offered insights on debunking myths around fats and margarine. There we-some shocking data and insights that revealed around consumer perceptions based on researconducted by Prosoft research agency. 95% of Sri Lankans believe that fats are overall bad, a
it makes you fat, which is a completely wrong perception. As per WHO classification, 30% of energy must come in the form of fats. All that is importa t is to eat everything in moderation it fats or any other food type. But as a key macronutrient, if you remove fats totally from yo
diet that can have bad repercussions such as lack of vitamin absorption and increase in ba
cholesterol formation in the body.
With generations of mothers' trust and love for over 56 years, Astra is also known for its icon flavour and that great taste is still maintained for their newest addition Astra Activ as well. Inmtime when consumers are constantly worrying about the source of the products they buy, it is noteworthy to share that Upfield products are made with the finest ingredients and made global and local standards. Their products are manufactured locally as per the SLSI standa
guideline under both HACCP and GMP certified facilities. They also use new cutting-edge technology like interesterification and full hydrogenation to ensure that no trans fats are formed in the process of making their products Astra is a part of the global brand Blue Band which is present across 35 countries including bnot limited to Pakistan, Netherlands, Kenya, Malaysia, and Indonesia. And it comes to household ds with the same global quality standards through the same processing techniques provide our families with the essential fats and vitamins they need in their regular diet.

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Eric Rajapakse Opticians at Malabe now

 

Eric Rajapakse Opticians, Sri Lanka’s leading eye care specialist with over 100 years of expertise, has widened its network by opening its newest branch located at No. 888, Athurugiriya Road, Malabe. 

 

The new branch was ceremoniously declared by Rajeev Rajapakse - Managing Director of Eric Rajapakse Opticians at a simple ceremony that was held in keeping with the COVID-19 health guidelines given by the authorities. The company plans to add more branches to its network during the year.

 

The Malabe branch is conveniently located with ample parking, providing customers easy access to their wide range of products and services. The highly-qualified and well-experienced professionals of Eric Rajapakse Opticians use state-of-the-art equipment to carry out all testing. Customers can choose from world-famous spectacles and sunglasses brands including Michael Kors, Prada, Gucci, Vogue, Ray-Ban, Polo Ralph Lauren, PolarSun and many others with more brands to be added to the collection in the future. A comprehensive range of international brands of lenses, including the world-renowned Essilor lenses from France are also available. Additionally, Beltone hearing aids which are made in Denmark and available in over 40 countries, are also available allowing customers to get their eyesight and hearing checked under one roof. 

 

Eric Rajapakse Opticians is widely known as a female-friendly optical brand due to its staff having more female personnel and its product portfolio consisting of a broad range of choices for female customers. All Eric Rajapakse Opticians showrooms provide a safe and secure environment by operating strictly following the health guidelines given by the authorities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Digital Payment Services to develop banking platform-ComBank Bangladesh

 

Award winning fintech software development provider Digital Payment Services (Pvt) Ltd (DPS) has been selected to custom develop a comprehensive digital banking platform for Commercial Bank of Ceylon Bangladesh. The solution will be the first of its kind in Bangladesh, incorporating a number of innovative features to improve the speed of on boarding new customers as well as introducing new banking products and services. 

Over the past several years DPS has been recognized as one of the leading local FINTECH services providers working closely with several financial institutions, both locally and in the region. In Sri Lanka, DPS is the digital banking solution provider to Commercial Bank of Sri Lanka, having developed the innovative “Flash Digital Bank” platform that is used by many customers across the country. 

“Bangladesh offers a number of interesting avenues for a digital banking solution provider,” said Mufaddal Lukmanjee, CEO DPS (Pvt) Ltd. “Most exciting being the possibility of using biometric or facial recognition as a part of the onboarding process to allow faster and more secure Know Your Customer (KYC). We are privileged to work with the Commercial Bank Bangladesh team at this critical juncture in their digitization journey, where the entire country is on the cusp of becoming a regional hub for commerce.” 

“In Bangladesh we currently operate out of 19 branches across a country of 164 million people,” Najith Meewanage, CEO Commercial Bank Bangladesh. “The digital banking platform will enable us to reach more potential customers without having them visit a branch in person. It will also allow us to roll out new services to our customers fast and ensure a better customer experience.”

Commercial Bank Bangladesh has been rated AAA for 11 consecutive years by CRISL (a renowned rating agency in Bangladesh). It has also received two awards as the “Best foreign bank in Bangladesh” by two UK based rating agencies, Global Business Outlook Awards and Global Economics Ltd, and "Most Sustainable Bank in Bangladesh" from Dubai based International Business Magazine Awards in 2021, an indication of the bank’s sustainable and stable growth in the last few years.

Vivo Rewind 2021 – Another Blockbuster Year For The Global Smartphone Brand

 

With a variety of product launches, improved customer service, a global footprint, successful events, and increased sales, Vivo, has emerged as a global leading smartphone maker and has had another successful year in Sri Lanka. According to Canalys, Vivo ranked fourth in the global smartphone market. 

Let's look back at all of Vivo's accomplishments this year, as we look forward to a much bigger and successful 2022. 

Expanded the Product Portfolio 

 

This year Vivo expanded its portfolio at an astounding level. It introduced two smartphones in the V series - the V21 5G with a 44MP OIS Night Selfie System and the V21e with a 44MP Eye Autofocus Technology. In addition to this, the brand also launched the Y1s, Y12s, Y51 and Y53s with stellar features at great price points, as part of the Y series portfolio. 

Self-Designed Imaging chipset V1  

 

V1, a fully customized integrated circuit chip dedicated to imaging and video applications with leading-edge visual quality, was unveiled by Vivo. The Imaging Chip V1 meets user needs by optimizing smartphone application scenarios such as viewfinder look and video recording, in accordance with vivo's imaging system design.

Second Fastest Growing 5G Smartphone Brand

 

In Q1 2021, Vivo became the second-fastest growing 5G smartphone brand in the world, with 19 million units shipped, up by 62 percent from the previous quarter. vivo continues to focus on innovations and breakthroughs in the 5G mobile experience.

CSR Activities under the initiative #vivocares

vivo also undertook two community benefit activities in Sri Lanka under the initiative #vivocares. The first one involved distributing a smartboard to Olcott Maha Vidyalaya in Galle to ensure that 1200 children get an equal digitalised learning opportunity during the ongoing pandemic. For the second activity, vivo provided special donations including bags and stationery items to 150 underprivileged children in Getaheththa Tamil Vidyalaya of Rathnapura district.

EURO Partnership - “To Beautiful Moments” Campaign 

 

vivo became one of the presenting sponsors at EURO and debuted its “To Beautiful Moments” campaign – a platform that encourages and enables fans to be in the moment with friends and family. 

Innovation in 5G Technology

 

vivo is navigating towards large-scale 5G adoption making 5G devices ever more accessible and affordable and has released over 20 models of 5G devices globally. vivo submitted over 5,000 5G proposals to the 3GPP, leading to 15 technical features and getting three technical projects approved. Vivo holds over 3,000 patents for 5G inventions and ranks top 8 in terms of the company’s impact within 3GPP.

Partnership with National Geography – VISION+ Mobile Photo Awards

 

Vivo teamed with National Geography for the second time and launched the VISION+ Mobile Photo Awards. vivo has worked actively to inspire more people to embrace the joys of creation and to accelerate the development of mobile imaging.

Avurudu Festive Campaign

vivo launched a special campaign "Avurudhu Wasi" during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year in Sri Lanka. During this campaign, Vivo offered its customers a chance to win special prizes like Vivo gift boxes and other exciting items on the purchase of exclusive Vivo smartphones. 

Daraz Consumer Promotions

vivo partnered with Daraz.lk, Sri Lanka's no. 1 and largest online marketplace to shower their customers with rewards and special gifts and became one of its Diamond partners. Customers were able to win exciting prizes on the purchase of an exclusive Vivo smartphone and the V and Y series.

vivo’s 4th Anniversary

 

vivo recently celebrated its 4th Anniversary in Sri Lanka and thanked all partners, employees, suppliers, distributors and consumers for their constant support and love. In this constant quest towards technology, Vivo has made some spectacular achievements this year by becoming one of the top-selling smartphone brands in the country, while expanding to 2000+ robust retail store networks and 2 exclusive service centres that offer premium aftercare service.

The brand also made solid partnerships with some key industry players including Abans, Singhagiri, Dialog Axiata PLC and SLT-Mobitel with an aim to serve the Sri Lankan consumers to their full potential.

After another successful year, Vivo is all set to push the limits and achieve greater heights in 2022. We're excited to see what Vivo has in store for us next year!

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'Tutopiya' provides Sri Lankan tutors with global  opportunities

 

  • Over 300 Sri Lankan tutors currently benefit from Tutopiya’s online tuition platform 

  • Significant advantage for Tutors to work from home by choosing flexible hours while earning above market rates 

  • With more than 90% of female tutors, Tutopiya provides work-life balance and financial independence by empowering women 

 

Tutopiya, a Singapore-based edtech platform, announced the official launch of its tutor recruitment drive in Sri Lanka. This drive comes at a time when online tuition is necessary amidst the pandemic and social distancing measures across the globe.

Tutopiya works with a network of experienced tutors to bring online tuition to students at home. Tutopiya specialises in teaching international school students from grades 1-12 focusing on the IGCSE and A levels by Cambridge & Pearson Edexcel Examination Boards and the International Baccalaureate (IB).

Nuha Ghouse, CEO of Tutopiya said, “We are excited to launch our tutor recruitment campaign in Sri Lanka and have already seen a lot of interest from tutors looking for global teaching opportunities which are not disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to offer students access to quality online education, which is crucial at this point, so we have one of the largest and thoroughly vetted active databases of quality teachers to ensure we provide the highest standard of online tuition.”

A growing interest in global online teaching opportunities

Developed and honed in-house over a three year period, Tutopiya’s proudly owns its advanced web-based platform and mobile app which completely equips tutors to offer a high quality online learning experience with absolute convenience in lesson scheduling, joining and teaching. In addition, tutors are provided with teaching resources and ongoing continuous training and webinar series to ensure the tutors are fully supported and up-to-date with the latest international curricula and the best online teaching techniques.  

Tutopiya’s faculty of internationally-qualified subject specialist teachers ensure the students have access to advanced standards of knowledge and skills for every subject offered. Tutors are selectively and privately screened to ensure that they provide students with the best education possible. 

Private live and interactive lessons without leaving home

Through Tutopiya’s advanced mobile app and web-based platform, students and teachers have a range of features that provide a complete solution for online learning - live lessons, practice 

assignments, progress tracking, feedback, lesson recordings, to name a few. This makes online learning most effective, efficient and best of all, convenient.

Becoming a Tutor with Tutopiya

If you are someone who is passionate about teaching and would like to work with students from different parts of the world, visit www.tutopiya.com and submit your online application under the ‘become a tutor’ section. https://www.tutopiya.com/become-a-tutor/

Traditionally, students who enroll in tuition outside of school have to travel to their tutor’s homes or vice versa. However, with more restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is not a viable option for many.

By removing the physical barrier, learners and tutors will have more opportunities and chances for exploring new and qualified educators. Tutors can gain a better understanding of each student through one-on-one time. Through this communication, tutors can deliver customised lessons that suit their individual needs and learning styles for the best outcomes.

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Luminex - Driving innovation in engineering

 

 Leading the field of Telecommunication Infrastructure development, Electrical Engineering Low Tension (LT) and High Tension (HT), Luminex Limited has been powering the nation with innovations in technology since 1986. Sri Lanka’s engineering prowess and spearheading of telecom technology in the region has been noteworthy over the past three decades and Luminex has been a prominent player in the industry. Buoyed by its success within Sri Lanka, it is exploring opportunities overseas and plans to expand to the Middle East in the near future.

 

Ruwan Fernando – Managing Director of Luminex comments: “Luminex has been at the forefront in the fields of telecom, electrical engineering projects in the country which have been recognized with awards and accolades. The success of the organization through the years has been its ability to deliver high-quality products and services in a customized and trustworthy manner. This takes us closer to achieving our vision, to be among the top 10 most preferred for reliability in Total Construction Solutions Providers in Sri Lanka while maintaining a topmost position in the Telecommunication & Electrical Fields.”

 

The company’s project and service portfolio encompass telecommunications, electrical engineering, civil and water projects. Luminex is one of the specialists in Telecommunication Outside Plant Construction. The company is geared to handle any type of technology used in the industry. Sri Lanka Telecom is a key client, that Luminex has served continuously since 1997 to date. Within the last 10 years, the company has completed and handed over more than 850 telecom engineering projects. The range of services includes comprehensive surveying, feasibility studies, laying of Fiber Optic Cables both aerial and underground, by using Modern Technology, Optical Fiber Splicing and Jointing and developing all types of telecoms outside plants.

 

In addition, the company has also worked with leading telecom operator, Dialog since 2008. Luminex specializes in laying of Fiber Optic Cables by using trenchless technology, Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) and state-of-the-art machinery such as Micro Trenching & high-pressure cable blowing in order to keep up with new developments in this rapidly advancing industry. Luminex closely networks with international organizations and forums, which helps to identify, innovate and initiate pioneering products and services. The Company has been graded as EM1, the highest category in Construction Industry Development Authority (CIDA). It has also obtained the ISO 9001: 2015 Quality Management Certification awarded by DET NORSKE VERITAS (DNV).
 

Luminex occupies its own spacious office premises in the heart of Moratuwa Town and has since expanded to 8 Area Offices in the cities of Colombo, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Kurunegala, Chilaw, Negombo, Jaffna and suburbs, which cover contracts offered by the Sri Lanka Telecom, Dialog and other Telecom operators. In order to support its activities, the Company possesses a complete fleet of projects vehicles, modern plant & machinery, tools & equipment, office premises and storage facilities in warehouses and sub-area stores.
 

Adding further Upul Lekamge – Director & CEO, of Luminex Limited, said, “Luminex’s has completed electrical projects in landmark buildings including Sethsiripaya stage II, Suhurupaya and Defense Head Quarters Complex. Future growth prospects look promising as the company expects to grow business volumes in all key industry segments including water supply projects.  As the government focus on continued infrastructures investments in spite of the pandemic and low-interest scenario is expected to create an environment conducive for revenue growth”.

 

Moreover, the company is on a path of diversification of revenue, international expansion, while staying with technology. As a start, the company expects to have a fully operational presence in Telecom and Electrical engineering in the Middle East in the foreseeable future.

 

The Company’s growth is ably supported by a qualified team comprising of chartered engineers B.Sc. qualified engineers, chartered accountants, degree holders and other professionals. The culture of continuous local and overseas training ensures efficiency and a knowledgeable workforce. Luminex has established healthy relationships with subcontractors over the past 35 years and today has over 60 subcontractors supporting all its business segments.

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Celebrate the season in style with  Vision Care’s latest 

 Vision Care, Sri Lanka’s pioneering eye care solutions provider, promises to make this season special by offering the most delightful seasonal gifts for you and your loved ones at the best affordable prices. In its promotion, Vision Care is offering an attractive 20% discount on sunglasses, making it a great holiday gift for all your nearest and dearest this festive season.  Valid from 11th to 31st December 2021, customers can visit its showrooms island-wide to avail of reasonably priced, branded eyewear in a wide variety of shapes, colours and designs. 

Vision Care maintains a vast array of designer brands representing different styles and colours, backed by the expertise of its highly trained staff. From tinted glasses to chic shades and everything in-between, Vision Care’s eyewear for men and women includes designer brands such as Ray Ban, Vogue, Emporio Armani, Polaroid, Vintage, Polarsun, Carrera, Michael Kors, Prada, Bvlgari, Coach, Oakley Gucci and Porsche. Top brands from the Milan-based Luxottica Group, the largest eyewear company in the world, having a brand portfolio that counts many proprietary and prestigious licensed brands, are also available for the brand conscious looking to make an impression this season.

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HSBC EDPL relocates to Mireka Tower

 

HSBC Electronic Data Processing Lanka (Pvt) Ltd (HSBC EDPL) is poised to relocate from Rajagiriya to Havelock City’s Grade-A office space, Mireka Tower. The highly anticipated office tower is set to open in mid-2022 and its opening has been further bolstered by the announcement of HSBC EDPL as its latest tenant.  

HSBC EDPL consolidated the move by signing a lease agreement with Havelock City (Pvt) Ltd on 13 December 2021. HSBC EDPL will occupy eight floors within the coveted office space in Havelock City, which is lauded as one of Colombo’s most sought-after locations for work.

HSBC EDPL is one of HSBC’s key Global Service Centers (GSC) which operates from only eight countries, including Sri Lanka.  It forms an integral part of HSBC Global Operations underscoring the importance of Sri Lanka to the world – from its office in Sri Lanka, HSBC EDPL’s employees deliver high quality financial and professional services for international clients around the world.

Commenting on Mireka Tower’s newest high-profile occupant, Pravir Samarasinghe, Chief Executive Officer at Overseas Realty said, “HSBC EDPL’s relocation from its existing office in Rajagiriya to Mireka Tower is a validation of the building’s high-end specifications and compliance with stringent international health and safety standards required by premium multinationals. It is an endorsement of Overseas Realty as a landlord reputed for its expertise in catering to the requirements of corporates with wide and complex local and international specifications for their office space and to the needs of their employees. Further, the move is also a marker of the centrality and ease of access of Mireka Tower’s location within the city. Mireka Tower’s design reconceptualises the contemporary office space. It prioritizes quality infrastructure and amenities and comes primed with unique features. We’re very pleased to welcome the HSBC EDPL Centre to Mireka Tower.”

With an exclusive corporate address, the distinctive 50-storey Mireka Tower features Grade-A premium and energy efficient office spaces built to the highest construction standards. The tower is a key focal point in the highly anticipated 18-acre Havelock City mixed-use development project. Occupants of the tower will be able to innovate, strategize and sculpt the businesses of Sri Lanka’s commercial future in expansive, column-free, and light-filled offices that offer spectacular cityscape views.

The office tower is adjacent to the Havelock City Shopping Mall providing easy access to medical, banking, and telecommunication services, as well as a variety of retail and food and beverage options. Commuters can access the building via bus and the proposed LRT stations, with the additional advantage of two basement levels of parking with over 800 vehicle spaces.

Mireka Tower is developed by Mireka Capital Land (Pvt) Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of Overseas Realty (Ceylon) PLC, the owner, manager, and developer of the iconic World Trade Center Colombo. With over 20 years of successfully managing the World Trade Center in Colombo, Overseas Realty brings extensive expertise, domain knowledge and experience to its real estate developments, providing the highest standards of design, build quality, facilities and services.

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Spikes Asia Announces Full Jury Line-Up for 2022

The Juries will judge work in 24 awards categories to set the region’s benchmark in creative excellence and marketing effectiveness

Spikes Asia has today announced the full jury line-up of industry leaders set to judge the Spikes Asia Awards, Asia Pacific’s most prestigious creative communications accolade.

Now in its 35th edition, the Spikes Asia awards will bring 106 jurors together to judge work in 24 awards categories, including new awards developed in response to the region’s shifting creative trends: The Creative Data Spike, the Social & Influencer Spike, and the incorporation of the Tangram Awards to form the new Strategy & Effectiveness Spike. In 2022, the awards will set the definitive benchmark for not only creative excellence but also marketing strategy and effectiveness in Asia-Pacific for the first time. 

Philip Thomas, Chairman, Spikes Asia, said, “This formidable line-up of jury members represents the dynamism and diversity of the APAC creative community and the evolution of the Spikes Asia Awards. 2022 is an exciting year for Spikes Asia. The number of Spikes Award categories have been refreshed and expanded and the new Strategy & Effectiveness Spike recognises the vital link between creativity and marketing effectiveness.”

The jury members represent locations across APAC, including Bangladesh, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, across a wide range of creative industry disciplines and backgrounds.

The juries will convene remotely to judge the work in February 2022 and the Spikes Asia Awards Grands Prix and Special Awards winners will be announced in March 2022. ‘Spikes Asia x Campaign Asia: The Experience’ is also set to return from 1-3 March 2022. 

The jurors are announced as follows:

Brand Experience & Activation, Creative eCommerce Jury

Jury President - Natalie Lam, Chief Creative Officer, Publicis Groupe, APAC, MEA

Eugene Cheong, Chief Creative Officer, DDB, APAC

Nicolas Courant, Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy, Singapore

Takahiro Hosoda, Executive Creative Director, TBWA\HAKUHODO, Japan

Jesse Wong, Creative Director, GREYnJ UNITED, Thailand

Aalap Desai, National Creative Director, Isobar, India

Ettie Hsieh, Senior Creative Director, Havas, China

Prue Jones, Design and Creative Director, Fjord, Australia

Creative Effectiveness Jury

Jury President - Michaela Lyon, Integrated Client Lead, dentsu, APAC

Justin Hind, CEO, CHE Proximity, Australia

Richard McCabe, Chief Strategy Officer APAC, McCann Worldgroup, Singapore 

Arindam Bhattacharyya, Chief Strategy Officer - Media and Performance, APAC, dentsu, Indonesia

Michi Muramoto, Department Director of Experience Solution Unit, Experience Design Center, ADK Marketing Solutions Inc., Japan

Prem Sundar Narayan, Chief Strategy Officer, Ogilvy & Mather, India

Amrita Randhawa, CEO, Publicis Groupe, Southeast Asia, Singapore

 

Design, Industry Craft Jury

Jury President - Paul Chan, Chief Creative Officer, Cheil Worldwide, Hong Kong

Nicholas Adamovich, Head of Design, HostHavas, Australia

Kimiko Sekido, Art Director, Dentsu Inc., Japan

Nopparath Eksuwancharoen, Creative Director & Head of Art, SOUR Bangkok, Thailand

Paolo Garcia, Groupe Executive Creative Director, Publicis Groupe, Vietnam

I-Fei Chang, Chief Creative Officer, Wunderman Thompson Taipei, Taiwan

Russell Miranda, Creative Consultant, Dentsu Grant, Sri Lanka

Geet Rathi, Design Director & Creative Director, TBWA, India

 

Direct, Outdoor Jury

Jury President - David Guerrero, Creative Chair, BBDO Guerrero, Philippines

Kenneth Tung, Executive Creative Director, Havas, Hong Kong

Jaiyyanul Huq, Executive Creative Director, Grey, Bangladesh

Sam Choi, Executive Creative Director, Innored, South Korea

Kristal Knight, Creative Director, Saatchi & Saatchi, New Zealand

Garima Khandelwal, Chief Creative Officer, MullenLowe Lintas Group, India 

Barbara Humphries, Creative Director, The Monkeys, Australia

Huy Dinh Nguyen, Creative Director, Circus Digital, Vietnam

 

Entertainment, Music Jury

Jury President - Kazoo Sato, Chief Creative Officer, TBWA\Hakuhodo, Japan

Jia Ying Goh, Strategist, Product Creative Studio, Netflix, Singapore

Karla Henwood, Executive Creative Producer, Squeak E. Clean Studios, Australia

Dew Intapunya, Chief Content Officer, Ensemble, IPG Mediabrands, Thailand

Hamza Amjad, Senior Creative Director, Ogilvy Pakistan

Patrick Tom, Director, Creative, Walt Disney Company, Hong Kong

Janice Jose, Senior Regional Director, UMG for Brands, Universal Music Group, Singapore

Sushant Sreeram, Director – Marketing, Amazon Prime Video, India


 

Film Craft Jury

Jury President - Sneha Iype, Partner, Executive Producer, Nirvana Films, India

Wuthisak Anarnkaporn, Film Director / Founder, Factory01, Thailand

Cinnamon Darvall, National Head of Broadcast Production, HERO, Australia

Jo Motoyo, Film Director, TOKYO / TAIYO KIKAKU, Japan

Frances Cooke, Creative Director, Clemenger BBDO Wellington, New Zealand

Laura Geagea, Managing Director, China, Asia + MENA, Sweetshop, China

Firrdaus Yusoff, Creative, Forsman & Bodenfors, Singapore

 

Film, Print & Publishing, Radio & Audio Jury

Jury President - Paul Nagy, Chief Creative Officer, VMLY&R AUNZ, Australia

Masaya Asai, Chief Creative Officer, Droga5 Tokyo, Japan

Andrew Hook, Executive Creative Director, APAC, VCCP, Singapore

Veradis Vinyaratn, Chief Creative Officer, TBWA\Thailand, Thailand

Jonathan McMahon, Executive Creative Director, Special Group, New Zealand 

Dennis Kung, Creative Director, Wieden + Kennedy, China

Nicoletta Stefanidou, Chief Creative Officer, Tinker Tailor, Hong Kong

Swati Bhattacharya, Creative Chairperson, FCB, India

Kat Gomez-Limchoc, Executive Creative Director, Blackpencil Manila, Philippines

 

Healthcare Jury

Jury President - Wendy Chan, Chief Creative Officer, Edelman, China

Shunsuke Kakinami, Executive Creative Director, McCann Health, Japan

Vaishali Iyer, Country Head Communications & Patient Engagement and CSR, Novartis, India 

Kieran Moroney, Creative Director, VMLY&R, Australia

Gary Steele, Chief Creative Officer, DDB New Zealand, New Zealand

 

Innovation, Creative Data Jury

Jury President - Emad Tahtouh, Principal - Creative Technology, Deloitte, Australia

Simon Brock, Executive Creative Director, Digitas ANZ, Australia

Yusuke Miyabe, Executive Manager, Global Digital Business Development, Group 1, Hakuhodo, Japan

Dante Abelarde, Executive Creative Director, MRM, Singapore

Christina Lu, Global CMO, AliExpress, Alibaba Group, China

Jane Stanley, CEO, Heart&Science, New Zealand

Parattajariya Jalayanateja, Managing Director, Wunderman Thompson, Thailand

 

Media Jury

Jury President - Kasper Aakerlund, Regional President, UM APAC, Singapore

Jacqui Lim, CEO, Havas Media Group, Singapore

Minhee Kang, Global Media Director, Innocean Worldwide, South Korea

Rupert McPetrie, CEO, Greater China, MediaCom, China

Aimee Buchanan, CEO GroupM ANZ, GroupM Communications, Australia

Divya Karani, South Asia Chief Executive Officer, dentsu Media, India

Sapna Nemani, Chief Product & Solutions Officer, APAC, Publicis Groupe, Singapore

James Hawkins, Chief Executive Officer, Asia Pacific, PHD Media, Singapore

Sian Whitnall, Co-Chief Executive Officer, OMD, Australia

 

Mobile, Digital Craft Jury

Jury President - Jean Lin, Executive Officer, Dentsu Group Inc., Global

Ryutaro Seki, Creative Director, Google, Japan

Josephine Lin, Group Creative Director, Unisurf Digital Marketing, Taiwan

Tay Guan Hin, Chief Creative Officer, BBDO, Singapore

Claire Waring, Executive Creative Director, R/GA, Australia

Kelly Pon, Chief Creative Officer, BBH, China

Yun Jeong, Jang, Global Creative Director, integrated Retail & Digital, Cheil Worldwide, South Korea

Park Wannasiri, Chief Creative Officer, Wunderman Thompson, Thailand

 

PR Jury

Jury President - Shouvik Prasanna Mukherjee, Chief Creative Officer, Asia Pacific, Golin, Singapore

Tom Sanders, Creative Director, ANZ, Herd MSL, Australia

Tiffany Hu, Managing Partner, PR, Ogilvy Shanghai, China

Kenny Yap, Managing Director, Red Havas, Singapore

Maiya Kinoshita, PR Planner & Copywriter, Dentsu, Japan

Sunaina Jairath, Communication @ Cred, Cred, India 

Shafaat Hussain, Managing Director, Omnicom PR, Singapore

 

Social & Influencer Jury

Jury President - Tea Uglow, IC, Creative Lab, Google, Australia

Graham Drew, Chief Creative Officer, Grey, Malaysia

Akae Wang, Executive Creative Director, Tencent, China

Jax Jung, Global Creative Director, Cheil Worldwide, South Korea

William Beale, Associate Creative Director, APAC, VaynerMedia, Singapore

Pei Ling Ho, Global Creative Director, Creative Works, Google, Singapore

Satoshi Chikayama, Executive Creative Director, TBWA\HAKUHODO, Japan

Teeny Gonzales, CEO, Seven A.D., Philippines

 

Strategy & Effectiveness Jury

Jury President - Anupama Biswas, Senior Director, Analytics & Insight - APAC Lead, The Coca-Cola Company, Singapore

Ayu Sasaki, Creative Director, Dentsu, Japan

Seung Eun Jang, CEO, Overman, South Korea

Chris Colter, Chief Strategy Officer, Initiative, Australia

Priya Patel, Group CEO, DDB Group Aotearoa, New Zealand

Anil K Nair, CEO, VMLY&R, India

Sindhuja Rai, Global Media Investment and AMEA CX Lead, Mondelez International, Singapore

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Exclusive Pelwatte offer at Keells

 

Pelwatte Dairy Industries welcomes the festive season of Christmas and December with an exclusive partnership with Keells offering their signature Salted Butter at a concessionary discount of 15% off from the 01st to the 31st December 2021.

Commenting on the offer, Chaminda Pathirana – Channel Manager, Modern Trade said, “Its that season when Kitchens will be full of laughter and excitement and a time where families, friends and communities get together and divulge the food; and Pelwatte is humbled to give them the opportunity to indulge into their product of choice.”

Pelwatte butter is produced using the fat from locally sourced milk, is high in nutrients and healthy as well; the butter is made from the fat in fresh milk with no added preservatives. Fresh milk contains about 84 % fat and the process of butter production tends to increase the fat percentage so in order to control the fat percentage a standardization process is used which is also another reason as to why Pelwatte Butter is considered all-natural. They are manufactured to the highest quality standards and have no artificial preservatives added to extend shelf life.

Pelwatte Dairy has always aimed to supply the country's domestic milk demand while also improving the socioeconomic position of local dairy farmers. While maintaining the country's milk self-sufficiency remains the major goal, Pelwatte Dairy helps farmers, their livelihoods, and their families in a variety of ways, empowering them and driving their own, as well as the country's prosperity.

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1) Hon. Minister Namal Rajapaksa, Minister of Youth and Sports & State Minister of Digital
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Eswaran Brothers completes Sri Lanka’s first-ever electronic Bill of Lading 

 

The electronic Bill of Lading (eBL) facilitated by the blockchain underpinned TradeLens platform spurs innovation by digitalizing manual, time-consuming, paper-based shipping and logistics processes, while also contributing towards greater ease of doing business across supply chains for all involved stakeholders

 

Eswaran Brothers Exports, one of Sri Lanka’s premier tea suppliers for over five decades, became the first exporter out of the country to adopt eBL from TradeLens, a digital supply chain platform underpinned with blockchain technology that allows electronic issuance, transfer, and surrender of original bills of lading. 

Eswaran Brothers’ initiative to adopt TradeLens eBL comes at the time when the Digital Ministry of Sri Lanka is building and implementing a holistic strategy to address all pillars of digital transformation. The strategy includes a cluster of digitisation projects and organisations that have come together to unlock the potential of new technologies for economic growth and the overall betterment of society. One such project, which TradeLens is also involved in, is the instillation of a data integration solution called ASYHUB, currently developed by UNCTAD, which allows for the smooth exchange of cargo data between the customs IT system, ASYCUDA, and multiple trade data providers. The Ministry has immensely supported Maersk’s drive to promote the use of TradeLens eBL and other digital solutions in the country.

Hon. Minister Namal Rajapaksa - Minister of Youth and Sports & State Minister of Digital Technology and Enterprise Development of Sri Lanka, congratulated Eswaran Brothers, Maersk and TradeLens teams on the completion of the first eBL in Sri Lanka by saying, “We believe digitalization is the cornerstone of operational efficiency for our business stakeholders across supply chains. The collaboration of Sri Lanka’s traders and other stakeholders in the supply chains with TradeLens is a very important step in strengthening this digital agenda and staying ahead of the curve when it comes to digital transformation. We are excited to be a part of this digital journey, that TradeLens offers the Sri Lankan shipping and logistics industry.”

“As we cater to markets in over 52 countries, we realized digitization is the key to streamline our business easily across the global supply chain. With the TradeLens eBL, we’ve digitized our manual paper-based processes. This has helped to reduce errors, improve security, and have mitigated chances of any additional costs. We are also able to offer superior customer service. We are very pleased to partner with Maersk for TradeLens’ simple and straightforward eBLs.” Subramaniam Eassuwaren - Vice Chairman, Eswaran Brothers Exports.

TradeLens is a carrier-neutral, blockchain-enabled digital supply chain platform, jointly developed by Maersk and IBM. The solutions offered by TradeLens are accelerating the digitisation agenda of the supply chain industry around the world by transforming manual, paper-based and time-consuming administrative processes into digital ones. TradeLens allows an original bill of lading to be digitally issued and moved electronically through its journey with all the stakeholders. This not only reduces the hassles of sending physical papers from one stakeholder to the other through a courier process, but also eliminates the possibilities of documents getting lost or forged and eliminates all sorts of inefficiencies from manual processes. 

"At Maersk, we are constantly working towards connecting and simplifying our customers’ supply chains. This means that we cover every aspect of the integrated container logistics solutions that we are offering in the market. TradeLens has brought to table solutions that will delight our customers with ease of doing business, visibility, speed, and safe & secure digital solution that will create value for them,” said Siddharth Iyer - Country Manager, Maersk Sri Lanka and Maldives. 

Apart from issuing eBL, TradeLens members can use the platform to connect within the logistics ecosystem and share information needed for their shipments based on permissions, without sharing sensitive data. TradeLens makes it possible to access data from the source in near real-time, boosts the quality of information, provides a comprehensive view of data as cargo moves around the world, and helps create a timelier, secured record of transactions. Launched in 2018, the TradeLens ecosystem now includes more than 350 organizations – extending to more than 10 ocean carriers and encompassing data from more than 600 ports and terminals. It is fully integrated with both SAGT and CICT in Sri Lanka meaning importers and exporters have access to a pre-built supply chain ecosystem.  Already the platform has tracked 50 million container shipments, 2.5 billion events and roughly 25 million published documents.

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Photo Captions 

  1. Hon. Minister Namal Rajapaksa - Minister of Youth and Sports & State Minister of Digital Technology and Enterprise Development of Sri Lanka

  2. Subramaniam Eassuwaren - Vice Chairman, Eswaran Brothers Exports.

  3. Siddharth Iyer - Country Manager, Maersk Sri Lanka and the Maldives

  4. The Eswaran Tea logo

  5. Eswaran Tea 

  6. Tea Tasting Eswaran Tea

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Industry Awards for Amana Takaful 

2021 has been a year of awards and well-deserved accolades for Amana Takaful Insurance – one of Sri Lanka’s premier insurance companies with an ardent dedication ‘To Every Sri Lankan As One’!

 

Winning some of the prestigious awards in the insurance industry this year has rightfully elevated Amana Takaful Insurance to a level playing field in the international arena while symbolising its exceptional resilience, credibility and customer-centricity in the insurance domain.

 

Amana Takaful Insurance was felicitated with two distinct awards at the esteemed Insurance Asia Awards 2021 which witnessed the participation of over 100 insurance companies from across 25 different countries.  Bagging the titles ‘Insurtech Initiative of the Year - Sri Lanka’ and ‘Education Insurance Initiative of the Year - Sri Lanka’, Amana Takaful Life Insurance was recognised as one of Asia’s most outstanding life insurance companies for its innovative initiatives and solutions.

 

Among the latest additions to the accolades are the titles, ‘Most Innovative Insurance company Sri Lanka 2021’ and ‘Most customer-centric Insurance Provider Sri Lanka 2021’ from the World Business Outlook Awards 2021. The company remains committed to continually evolving and upholding global best practices in insurance, as it forges ahead to provide peace of mind for all Sri Lankans through World-Class Insurance solutions.

 

Additionally, the Global Economics Awards 2021 bestowed Amana Takaful Insurance with the ‘Fastest Growing Insurance Company – Sri Lanka 2021’ award – a true testament to the company’s outstanding growth and credibility, especially over the past few quarters across 2020 and 2021. The Global Economics Awards programme recognises the best market players from around the globe and serves as the epitome of trust and credibility of its recipients, which is what makes this such a substantial win for Amana Takaful Insurance.

 

The homegrown insurance company brought in further laurels by clinching three more accolades at the International Business Magazine’s 2021 Awards. Amana Takaful Insurance was recognised as the ‘Best Takaful Insurance Provider 2021’, while simultaneously being awarded for ‘Most Innovative Insurance Product Portfolio 2021’ and ‘Best Insurance Customer Satisfaction Award 2021’ in the Asia category.

 

These truly noteworthy accomplishments showcase Amana Takaful Insurance’s extraordinary potential to influence the Sri Lankan insurance sector, while also recognising the quality excellence of its diversified insurance solutions that cover the many needs of its clients. This further ensdorses the trust that it has successfully cultivated and sustained among its loyal customers – a true measure of its brilliant business ethics.

 

Commenting on the aforementioned accolades, the company issued a statement: “We are extremely honoured to be bestowed with some of the prestigious awards in the insurance space. Amana Takaful Insurance places a great deal of importance on rigorously adhering to the global ethical standards in insurance and believes that this is an essential and non-negotiable duty. It brings us great joy to be recognised for this commitment on a global scale, and we consider it a true reward for our sincere efforts towards integrity, excellence and responsibility.”

 

It was further mentioned: “We extend our humble gratitude to our employees – who work tirelessly in delivering nothing short of greatness; our clients and other stakeholders – who place their trust in us with their continued support; and all the aforementioned awards platforms – for presenting us with the opportunity to stay accountable and showcase our calibre alongside our journey of mutuality and solidarity.”

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CAL Launches IPO Portal to Empower Investors

Provides investors anytime-anywhere access to subscribe to IPOs managed by CAL

 

Thursday 21st October, Colombo: Fulfilling its promise to touch people’s lives, Capital Alliance (CAL) is empowering private investors with the chance to capitalize on investment opportunities by subscribing to Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) managed by CAL directly through its newly-launched IPO Portal. CAL’s reputation as Sri Lanka’s leading investment bank has been based on its pursuit of excellence in execution, research and product innovation, and developing a specialization in originating, trading and investing in debt and equity securities over two decades.

 

Committed to inclusion, the newly-launched digital signature backed Portal allows users to apply online for upcoming IPOs of companies intending to list on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), making the investor bidding processes seamless, paperless, and contactless. CAL’s innovations give confidence to clients that change is necessary to meet the complex evolving needs of the markets – making it the ideal cutting-edge partner on the investment journey, be it a first-time or a veteran investor.

 

“CAL’s Investment Banking arm has a well-established position of market leadership in Initial Public Offerings, accruing expertise and experience that enabled us to streamline the process onto a widely accessible digital platform,” commented Vishnu Balachandran - Head of Investment Banking at Capital Alliance.

 

“With the IPO Portal, we are helping clients reimagine their IPO process, offering a wider investor reach to corporates seeking to raise capital in this new, increasingly contactless world”, he further added.

 

The IPO Portal, the latest feature to be added to the company’s continuously expanding digital investment platform, ensures easy access and convenience for investors. Backed by digital signature technology for elevated authentication and security, registered users will also be able to receive notifications on future IPOs announced by CAL to better capitalize on investment opportunities.

 

“CAL continues to expand our contactless, secure and seamless digital investment ecosystem, addressing online security concerns, and utilizing our capabilities to assist and better serve our customers in this post-pandemic trading environment,” Tharindra Kulasinghe - Chief Information Officer at Capital Alliance stated. “We are excited to open our digital offerings to a wider audience, as we witness a surge of retail participation in capital markets and we hope this new innovation will encourage more investors to come forward.” 

 

CAL – Sri Lanka’s leading Investment Bank offering integrated investment and capital market solutions – has augmented its portfolio of services to reposition itself as a future-oriented company catering to family-owned businesses, whilst already serving institutional clients and high net worth entrepreneurs.

 

Interested parties can visit cal.lk/ipo and subscribe to IPOs managed by CAL.

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A one-stop medical & cosmetic hair solution by Christell Luxury Wellness 

 

Sri Lanka’s leading aesthetic solution provider, Christell Luxury Wellness has announced the launch of a new venture – “Christell Crown”. The new centre at One Galle Face shopping mall, will exclusively offer a suite of medical and cosmetic solutions to answer every hair and scalp dilemma, including for the first time in Sri Lanka, “AAPE Stem Cell Therapy” for hair growth.  

 

At Christell Crown, clients have access to the latest in equipment and procedures, where medical doctors and highly-trained professionals customize hair treatment plans from a broad range of solutions; including hair & tissue mineral scans, stem cell hair growth therapy, PRP, scalp rejuvenation and circulation boosters, hair growth light therapy, hair and nail VitaDrip® infusions, bio revitalization, Ayurveda scalp and hair treatments, natural hair extensions, scalp micropigmentation, and dandruff and grey hair treatments among many others.

 

With the introduction of the cutting-edge and non-invasive AAPE® (Advanced Adipose-derived stem cell Protein Extract) treatments in particular, the brand further enhances its extensive portfolio of professional skin, hair, and body treatments by leveraging the regenerative power of stem cells; especially effective in addressing skin and hair conditions such as premature skin ageing and hair loss. For skin cell restoration, the products induce collagen into the skin to maximize the revitalizing effects of the skin rejuvenation. For addressing alopecia or hair loss, the products strengthen and nourish hair follicles and surrounding tissues to make hair regrow.

 

Developed by the world-renowned dermatologist, Dr. Byung-soon Park, AAPE stem cell therapy for hair and skin maladies is a result of over 17 years of research, proven by multiple published studies. Furthermore, AAPE is the first product based on stem cell described in SCI journals with clinical results in humans, having been conducted on over 600,000 clinical treatments and used by over 3,000 dermatologists in more than 30 countries worldwide.

 

“At Christell Skin Clinic, we only offer US FDA-approved alternative treatments to invasive dermatological surgeries that would otherwise be painful, have numerous side effects, or are just not as effective in the long term,” said Dr. Shanika Arsecularatne, Medical Director of Christell Skin Clinic. “We are proud to bring many firsts to Sri Lanka and yet again with the launch of Christell Crown, we are excited to be the first to introduce the many possibilities of AAPE, and are certain that as with all of the other products and therapies we have pioneered, this offering too will significantly change the lives of many.”

 

Founded in 2014 by established aesthetician Prof. Ramani Arsecularatne, the Christell Skin Clinic has over the years offered a personalized and non-invasive approach to dermatology, helping clients get the very best out of their skin, hair, and body. From humble beginnings, the cosmetology centre has expanded its services, reach, and international standing, and now boasts two state-of-the-art facilities in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, with over 50 full-time employees, including specialized cosmetologists, medical doctors, and nursing staff. The centre has served more than 35,000 clients to date, including heads of state, VVIPs, ambassadors, expatriates, and residents.

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Hitachi Digital Payment Solutions launches Asia’s first touchless ATM technology

 

In a first for Asia, Hitachi Digital Payment Solutions (HDPS) has successfully developed a touchless ATM solution which is currently live at Sri Lanka’s Sampath Bank. 

Customers can now withdraw cash from an ATM using their personal mobile phone without touching the buttons or surface of the ATM screen. The technology minimizes the need to physically touch ATM surfaces, reducing risk during COVID-19 while also reducing the time spent at the ATM itself.

“With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, we knew we needed to develop long term solutions to provide safer alternatives that would help solve the current issues of access and safety faced by banks and their customers. The goal was to create a solution that utilized existing technology and services for a fast and cost-effective rollout. By creating a solution that used a consumer’s personal mobile device and the bank’s existing ATM technology, we were able to achieve just this,” said Dinesh Rodrigo, CEO, HDPS. “The process is now faster, and people spend less time at ATMs to access their funds. Importantly, it is also designed with an eye on flexibility without compromising on security.”

While globally there is a move towards cashless transactions given the prevalent health risks, there are still large segments of people, particularly in Asia for whom such access is limited. Here ATM cash withdrawals and deposits (along with in branch banking) remain the mainstay of financial transactions. At the same time, phone and smartphone penetration in these regions remain high, making the mobile phone driven touchless ATM application an ideal solution that addresses market realities. 

The technology that runs the touchless ATMs follows all regulatory and security standards. It requires customer presence and uses session specific encrypted information, ensuring safety. Further, the use of the bank’s mobile application validates users’ credentials and biometrics. Crucially for banks there is no need to change or upgrade existing ATM hardware ensuring no added capital expenses. 

“The robust and agile technology which guides this has scope for more applications. We expect to further extend the offerings by facilitating deposits using CRM terminals. We are also working to further streamline the processes by reducing the average per-transaction time taken at the ATM/CRM machines. We are also in the process of exploring avenues to possibly cater to the unbanked population of Sri Lanka and Asia as well. HDPS intends to actively promote this service to our existing customers within the AP region to provide them an edge over their competition,” explained Masaya Okita, CMO, HDPS.

The touchless ATMs utilise the Hitachi ibSuite™- eWallet solution as well as the Hitachi ibSuite™ – Self Service solution. HDPS has a reputation for providing customers with cutting edge and first in the world solutions, enabling them to stay ahead of their competition and provide exceptional, personalised customer solutions without compromising on transaction integrity and security. 

Globally, payment regulators are amending their service offerings in light of the coronavirus and a heightened need to carry out transactions securely while ensuring the safety of employees and customers. HDPS’s innovative product serves as a welcome impetus to this growing shift. 

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Cargills among 'Most Admired Companies' 2nd year running

 

Wednesday 6th October 2021, Colombo: Cargills is humbled to have been selected as one of the Top 10 Most Admired Companies of Sri Lanka by CIMA, ICCSL and the Daily FT, for the second consecutive year. This recognition is a testament to the resilience of the Cargills business model in the face of the pandemic, as we continued to grow by placing the needs of the community first. Our philosophy has always been based on the belief that by focusing on community development, the balance sheet looks after itself. 

Community first

As an essential service provider and a leading food company, we continued to meet the needs of the consumers during the pandemic. Our reach and impact went beyond serving our consumers. At a time when many farmers across the country were left without a marketplace, we provided a guaranteed market for thousands of farmers and supported their livelihoods. At the same time, we ensured that not a single ounce of milk went to waste as we increased our fresh milk collection rate to 180,000 liters per day. During the 2020/21 Financial Year alone, Cargills generated direct income over Rs. 9 Bn to the dairy and agriculture farming community in Sri Lanka.

Realizing the challenges faced by small entrepreneurs in the aftermath of the first lockdown last year, we launched an initiative called ‘Village to Home’ in September 2020, with a vision to provide local entrepreneurs a platform to engage with a larger market. In addition to supporting them with packaging, marketing, and quality assurance, the Cargills Bank provides low-cost financing to help increase their capacity.

Supporting the economy

By sourcing most of our raw materials locally and producing value-added consumer foods that compete with global brands, Cargills plays an important role in saving foreign exchange for the country. Our food brands have become leading national brands due to our focus on quality and innovation.

In spite of the challenging operating environment that prevailed during the last 18 months, Cargills continued to make investments across all business verticals and across the country. In total, the Cargills Group made Rs. 6.4 Bn in capital investments during the 2020/21 Financial Year. It reflects our belief in Sri Lanka and her ability to overcome the current challenges and rise again stronger as we have done before. As a leading Sri Lankan corporate, Cargills stands ready to continue our investments, impacting community development and driving value for all stakeholders.

 

Our team is our strength

This recognition was only possible due to the Cargills team, who continue to serve the needs of the community even during the most challenging of times. During the pandemic, our primary duty was to protect our team and ensure their emotional, physical, and financial well-being. In addition to providing the necessary support and building the confidence of the team, we have also taken steps to ensure our team is vaccinated. Over 98% of the Cargills team which consists of over 12,000 members have been vaccinated to date.

Forward together 

Our farmers and suppliers played a pivotal role in helping us meet the consumers’ needs. We would like to thank them and assure them that Cargills will stand by our partners at all times. Our sincere appreciation to our consumers, who continue to support and believe in us. As one of the oldest and most trusted companies in the country with a heritage of 177 years, Cargills will continue to stay true to its core values of providing affordable nutrition and serving our communities across Sri Lanka.

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CAL  a preferred employer with  ‘Great Place to Work’ certification

 

Sri Lanka’s leading Investment Bank offering integrated capital market and investment solutions, Capital Alliance Holdings (CAL), has been certified as a ‘Great Place to Work’ in an independent and anonymous survey conducted by Great Place to Work®. Affirming the Group’s human capital policies, CAL received an ‘A’ grade assessment on the staff trust index and the culture audit metrics to measure its people practices Great Place to Work®, is the global authority on workplace culture, employee experience, and leadership behaviors proven to deliver market-leading revenue, employee retention, and increased innovation. With their team at the heart of everything they do, CAL continuously has a pulse on its team to ensure that it is a great place to work. The Group’s core values of Integrity, Fairness, Dynamism and Teamwork reflect the emphasis it places on ensuring a contented and productive workforce. 

 

Commenting on the certification, Rochelle Mortier - Chief Human Resources Officer, Capital Alliance said, “The success that CAL has achieved over 20 years in the industry has been driven by its people, reputed to be the industry-best. We are delighted to be certified as a Great Place to Work on the basis of an independent study on the critical pillars of staff trust and employee experience. In the fast-moving industry in which we operate, it is critical that we retain and reward our employees by ensuring a fulfilling workplace culture that celebrates their achievements while supporting them to realize their potential. CAL remains dedicated to investing in its human capital and sustain a superior employee experience.”

 

CAL which has an enviable workplace culture of employees who are nurtured as one family. The company has a refreshing approach to developing its people, thereby helping build an incredible team of professionals who understand the value of maintaining CAL’s impeccable reputation to reach new heights.

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TRI-ZEN reports  45% completion

A combination of attractive interest rates and the launch of real estate-focused financial products is leading a trend towards investing in apartments, according to John Keells Holdings Vice President, Head of Sales and Marketing (Property Group), Nadeem Shums.

Sri Lanka’s financial sector has reached a phase of low-interest rates - for fixed income products and housing loans. Together with strong underlying demand for condominium properties, the developer reported a surge in demand from investors on the lookout for stable, high yielding investments.

“Despite the challenges arising from the pandemic, the real-estate sector has continued to perform well. We have also made steady progress on construction with the towers ascending to the 39th floor. You can now start to see TRI-ZEN taking shape and transforming Colombo’s skyline,” Shums stated. 

He added that with increased urbanisation more Sri Lankans are seeking a new standard in the convenience offered by properties like TRI-ZEN because of the central location, superior amenities, and attractive rupee pricing. “This is where our competitive pricing, relative to other metropolitan developments, proves to be particularly attractive. Especially with increased construction costs and land costs, the value of such condominium properties will continue to appreciate.”

In order to offer aspiring homeowners greater financial flexibility, JKP announced a slew of partnerships with some of Sri Lanka’s leading banks for its ground-breaking ‘Freedom Mortgage Package’. By providing customers a two-year interest free period on their mortgage, it requires customers to only pay 20% now and nothing more for the next two years. Customers can enjoy a payment free period of two years, after which the interest payments begin, and the capital repayments are made three years thereafter.

Interest rates are attractive, from just 7% per annum, and homeowners have the choice of a suite of mortgage packages with minimal down payment required. With three leading banking partners offering expansive branch networks and excellent customer service embedded within the pioneering mortgage plan, homeowners have the choice of partnering with a financial institution of their choice.

“The response to Freedom Mortgage has been very positive, and it has allowed many investors who, would typically not be in a position to put together large amounts of capital, to finally have a clear path to invest in a project like TRI-ZEN. This is game-changing for those looking either to hold the property as a long-term investment or to simply have a pad in the city for your family,” Shums said.

TRI-ZEN is a joint venture between Indra Traders (Pvt) Ltd and John Keells Holdings PLC, with China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd (CSCEC) serving as the main contractor. The three-tower 891-unit apartment project on Colombo’s Union Place will have one, two and three bedroomed apartments, with two-bedroomed apartments starting from just Rs. 36 million.

The complex will have over 35 amenities for a thriving community including green spaces, a jogging track, a swimming pool, fitness and wellness studios, and a games room, providing residents with an integrated living space capable of meeting all their needs, while its central location provides easy access to the heart of Colombo.

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SLIM Launches Data-Drive Marketing Professional
Producing Future-Ready Sri Lankan Marketers:

 

The modern marketer should be two things: Agile and Data-hungry. Today, consumers have become extremely picky about the products they buy and the messages they choose to read. In response, marketers have to curate personalised messages to approach various customer segments, which requires data. The influx of information marketers receive every day is overwhelming, and one might need to critically analyse them to make a wholesome improvement in strategic decision-making.  Collecting data at every customer touchpoint is as important as analysing them to better understand the audiences, predict the future consumer behaviours, and make effective real-time marketing decisions.

In a bid to upskill the modern marketers and to make them future-ready, the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing—the apex marketing body in the country—recently launched the ‘SLIM Data-Driven Marketing Professional (DDMP). The launch was held at Hilton Colombo Residencies with the participation of industry experts in the country, who joined the programme virtually. The ceremony was conducted under the auspices of Thilanka Abeywardena, President, SLIM and Nuwan Gamage, Vice President-Education, SLIM and Sanath Senanayake, Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director, SLIM. Moreover, Seninda Bandara, Lecturer, SLIM/Founder, Boutique Agency Network and Chamira Jayasinghe, Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Arimac joined the virtual launch as guest speakers to enlighten the audience with valuable insights on data-driven marketing and its significance. 

DDMP is a 3-month course that is focused on the theoretical as well as the practical context of data-driven marketing. SLIM DDPM is an ideal specialised programme designed to sharpen the knowledge of aspiring marketing managers—both conventional and digital—and provide the necessary understanding, knowledge and skills in data-driven marketing.

This professional qualification is curated in a way to evoke interest and educate about the essential applications and best tools in data-driven marketing, as well as blockchain technology in order to equip professional marketers to compete effectively and efficiently in their respective markets. DDMP covers a wide scope including, data mining to analysing and effective data-driven decision making. With the knowledge gained through this programme, marketers can streamline the digital marketing initiatives—the adoption of big data, cloud, social and mobile marketing campaigns—of their respective organisations to yield a better ROI.

 Commenting on the launch of DDPM, Nuwan Gamage, Vice President-Education, SLIM stated, “The entire world is driven by digitalisation, which has changed our social behaviour, economic system and political landscape. In order to survive in such a technology-driven volatile environment, the objective of SLIM is to produce future-ready marketers. Therefore, we have introduced this latest professional qualification to empower local marketers with a global mindset.”

Addressing the audience during the launch, Seninda Bandara, Lecturer, SLIM/Founder, Boutique Agency Network said, “The very idea of data-driven marketing is about how we capture, acquire, and integrate data at all touchpoints of the marketing process by using technological solutions such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. The content of this particular course is an orchestration of theory and practice in a way to give a deep understanding of data-driven marketing and its application.  This course covers a wide scope, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, Internet of Things, data analytics, data visualisation, big data as well as blockchain technology.”

Sharing valuable insights and his experience in the area, Chamira Jayasinghe, Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Arimac discussed the significance of data technology and its role as the next level of digitalisation. He also stated about ‘Diyasen’, a case study developed by Arimac on the orientation of robotics in a Sri Lankan context.”

SLIM is poised to groom the prospective marketers of the country to make them future-ready by bridging knowledge and competency gaps through quality educational programmes. During a time when a ‘fingertip society’ has emerged, and almost anything is just a click away, digital marketing and its advancements have become part and parcel of marketing. Therefore, it is of paramount importance for marketers to explore the depths of the digital aspect of marketing to excel in dynamic industries. Moreover, producing future-ready marketers is one of the key strategic pillars of the Institute’s ‘Future-Ready Sri Lanka’ national initiative. As per the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report, 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025, as the adoption of technology takes the world by storm. As technology continues to dominate, the soaring demand for the profession of data scientist would skyrocket in the coming years and become the number one profession in the world by 2025.

Therefore, SLIM expects to enhance the value of the country’s human capital through various initiatives and create a future-ready Sri Lanka. Furthermore, the Future-Ready Sri Lanka initiative is driven by the mission of establishing Marketing as the driving force which enhances business and national value. SLIM believes that modern marketers should certainly embrace data-centric tools to make the most of the treasure troves of audience data being gathered from numerous devices and platforms to thrive in the digital age. SLIM is synonymous for its exceptional learning experience created through its focused and experienced panel of expert lectures.

SLIM is the National body for Marketing in Sri Lanka and has been promoting marketing excellence and elevating the status of marketing since 1970. It is a member of the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL), Organisation of Professional Associations of Sri Lanka (OPA) and Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL). SLIM also has received ISO 9001:2015 certification in recognition of its superior quality management system and ISO 2990:2010 for Learning Service Provider (LSP), providing non-formal education and training services.

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EMA calls for re-start of events 
Amidst enforcement of COVID-19 safety regulations

 

  • Issues comprehensive handbook with protocols to ensure COVID-safe events

  • Urges industry, venues, and clients to pledge support to follow suggested guidelines

  • Expresses grave concern over the survival of industry if safety violations lead to further outbreaks

  • Approx. 130,000 jobs and 600,000 livelihoods connected to the Rs 30 Bn industry at risk 

  • Calls for prioritizing industry in vaccination rollout, 60% national threshold needed to safely scale-up events

  • Emphasizes country’s potential as a safe hub for MICE tourism if pandemic can be controlled

 

Following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in Colombo, the Event Management Association (EMA) issued comprehensive guidelines for hosting COVID-safe events and called for the strictest possible adherence from stakeholders.

The EMA’s Handbook lists out detailed safety and hygiene standards and protocols to ensure that all future events will be hosted in a responsible manner - minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission at events in order to avoid further shutdowns of an industry that is already on the verge of collapse after 14 months of closure.

The EMA represents the interests of an array of business segments, from event management companies, wedding planners, equipment rental companies (sound systems, lighting, LED, etc.) stage & set fabricators, furniture & infrastructure rental companies, and digital creatives companies to venues, florists, musicians, event support services, entertainers, dance troupes, artists, designers, technicians and many more. In total, the entire sector is estimated to contribute as much as Rs. 30 billion to the national economy.

“We express our collective gratitude to the Government for taking a positive decision that will allow our members to earn a living after several painful months. While we welcome the opportunity for events to be hosted once more, extremely strict enforcement of comprehensive safety protocols is essential to avoid transmission of COVID-19 at events. 

“When events were previously allowed, we have been disappointed to see many instances when these measures were totally disregarded. If such carelessness recurs and further COVID-19 cases arise, another shutdown will risk permanently destroying what is left of our industry. For the sake of all those employed and the families who depend on our industry, this cannot be allowed to happen. We therefore call on all stakeholders to implement and enforce our recommendations immediately and without compromises,” Roshan Wijeyaratne, President, EMA stated.

“Many event companies have made massive investments into infrastructure, equipment, and development of skills with investments ranging from Rs. 10 Mn to Rs. 800 Mn per business. They are now on the brink of collapse and are struggling to pay wages and meet financial commitments. Without assistance, they face impending bankruptcy. This will affect 130,000 direct and 600,000 indirect jobs and the people and families who depend on our industry for their livelihood,” Sajith Kodikara, Vice President, EMA.

Events are considered essential to businesses as a vital tool of ‘live communication’ which enables a cross-section of industries to present new products to the market and generate sales. In that regard, a high frequency of corporate events is often correlated with a healthy economy.

For countries that are beginning to emerge from COVID-19, face-to-face meetings and events are a priority feature of work they are looking to restart. A study of 125 New Zealand-based organisations found that 97% are planning to hold a business event in 2021 – up from 94% of respondents to a survey conducted in May 2020. Another recent study found that business travel has increased by 55% since restrictions eased while 37% of respondents expect to resume travel in 2021.

“Another crucial factor to consider is the potential for Sri Lanka to be positioned as a ‘safe event hub’ for MICE and destination event tourism which will accelerate Sri Lanka’s economic revival. That is provided we are able to get the health crisis under control with a scientific approach and a sustainable way forward for the industry. If we delay, we will most certainly lose out on business to other countries in the region,” Nishan Wasalathanthri, Treasurer Member, EMA. 

In emulation of global best-practices adopted as a solution to ensure compliance of guidelines, the EMA Handbook proposes the appointment of ‘safe-event ambassadors’ tasked with reporting on non-compliance of guidelines.

“The handbook is created to simplify the organisers’ tasks of planning and hosting events and to mitigate the risk of weaker standards being applied. While the guidelines are already comprehensive, we expect to update it with additional information shortly,” Minha Akram, Committee Member, EMA added.

The Association also expressed its support for the Government’s efforts to control the pandemic and re-start the Sri Lankan economy.

“As with many sectors of the economy today, our industry is in dire peril. There is however a light at the end of the tunnel, in the form of mass vaccination. We take great encouragement from the Government’s emphasis and continuing rollout of vaccines to the public and request the prioritization of vaccines for industry members.

“In order for all sectors of the economy to scale up activity, and have a meaningful chance at recovery, we need to achieve 60% vaccination as soon as possible. Only then will we be able to see larger scale events take place. We also take this opportunity to urge the public to continue cooperating with public health measures to speed our progress to recovery,” Gerry Jayasinghe, Advisory Counsel, EMA said.    

The EMA handbook will be available online on www.emalk.org from 19 July 2021.

 

Captions(L-R):

EMA 1 – Mohamed Hussain – Member, Charm De Silva – Member, Saliya Weerasekera - Asst. Secretary, Roshan Wijeyaratne – President, Nishan Wasalathanthri - Treasurer, Malinda Lowe - Member and Gerry Jayasinghe - Advisory Counsel, Event Management Association Sri Lanka

EMA 2 - Roshan Wijeyaratne – President, Event Management Association Sri Lanka 

EMA 3 - Nishan Wasalathanthri – Treasurer, Event Management Association Sri Lanka

EMA 4 - Saliya Weerasekera - Asst. Secretary, Event Management Association Sri Lanka

EMA 5 - Charm De Silva – Member, Event Management Association Sri Lanka

EMA 6 - Malinda Lowe – Member, Event Management Association Sri Lanka

EMA 7 - Mohamed Hussain – Member, Event Management Association Sri Lanka

EMA 8 - Gerry Jayasinghe - Advisory Counsel, Event Management Association Sri Lanka

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Basilur Tea collaborates with Hemas Pharmaceuticals to launch TIPSON

Basilur Tea Export (Pvt) Ltd recently partnered with Hemas Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Ltd to distribute TIPSON, an internationally recognized brand in the local market. A premium herbal infusion that has attracted many consumers across the globe, TIPSON has a vast range consisting of Organic Turmeric, Organic Ashwagandha, Organic Avocado, Organic Moringa, Organic Matcha and Organic Tulsi herbal infusions.

Including a functional wellness range with products such as Slim tea, Immune booster, Detox tea, Digestive support, Sleep-well tea, Liver cleanse and an Organic Beauty tea range, TIPSON is well equipped for all customer wellbeing requirements. Of the variety of TIPSON products available, Hemas Pharmaceuticals has decided to collaborate in the distribution of products in the Turmeric, Ashwagandha and functional wellness categories. Through this partnership, TIPSON is now available in several leading supermarkets in Sri Lanka.

Basilur Tea is renowned in multiple international brands across the globe as a premium gifting brand. While Basilur Tea is known for its superior quality Ceylon Tea, unique blends, freshness and unique branding, TIPSON is 100% natural, organic and consists of high quality herbs which enhance the vast amounts of health benefits. Its organic herbal infusions segment focuses on the health and wellbeing of its customers. Founded by Dr. Gamini Abeywickrama, an individual with decades of experience in producing and exporting the finest quality Ceylon tea, Basilur Tea aims at being more than just a beverage but rather a wholesome experience. Through the partnership with Mr. Andrey Mareev, a leading creative director, with some of the best tea designs and concepts seen in the tea industry, Basilur Tea was conceived.

With the highest quality Ceylon tea and unique products carefully developed over a decade of innovation, along with the use of cutting edge technology, creativity and constant research and development, Basilur Tea aims at personifying the luxurious elements of the most premium teas across the globe. Constant innovations, uniqueness in packaging and tea blends have positioned Basilur Tea products as an exclusive premium range internationally, resulting in a growing number of accolades and awards.

Over the years, Hemas Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Ltd. has held the position as Sri Lanka’s leading pharmaceutical importer and distributor while becoming one of the most streamlined and modernized organisations in the industry with continuous growth over its operations. As such, the collaboration between Basilur Tea and Hemas Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Ltd. reflects the expertise of two renown companies.

Inspired by years of research into the nutritional and functional benefits of herbs and fruits, TIPSON creates a unique, flavourful and overall healthy experience for customers to immerse themselves in. With interest in health, fitness and wellbeing steadily increasing, TIPSON is the optimum solution for refreshment at any time of the day. Available at exclusive Basilur Tea outlets at Liberty Plaza and Colombo City Center, these premium quality products ensure excellence and healing in every sip.

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Vision Care relocates 
Wellawatte outlet to provide enhanced services

 

Vision Care, Sri Lanka’s largest eye care solutions provider, unveiled its newly-revamped, more spacious Wellawatte outlet at its new location at No. 30, Galle Road, Colombo 06. The official opening ceremony was a low-key event held in accordance to the health guidelines given by the authorities. 

 

The relocation and reopening of the Wellawatte outlet is in keeping with Vision Care's objective of providing the best quality eye and hearing care solutions to their valued customers by delivering superior products and services as well as greater convenience through all their outlets. The outlet offers modern infrastructure and state-of-the-art equipment and is manned by Vision Care’s well-trained, highly-experienced eye and hearing care professionals. It provides ample parking facilities together with large interior space that includes two eye testing units, hearing solutions and a wider selection of international eyewear brands. This means that customers traveling on Galle Road and living in the surrounding areas have the chance to access the latest eye and hearing care solutions as well as a wide array of world-renowned brands for sunglasses and frames. They are able to choose from top global brands for men and women such as Ray Ban, Vogue, Emporio Armani, Polaroid, Vintage, Polarsun, Carrera, Michael Kors, Prada, Bvlgari, Coach, Oakley, Gucci, Porsche and many others.

 

Harsha Maduranga - General Manager of Vision Care stated, “Despite the pandemic situation in the country, Vision Care has been mapping out plans to expand and upgrade our network in Sri Lanka when the time is right. We feel this is the time to move ahead with our plans to connect better with our existing and potential customers. This relocated Wellawatte outlet is the latest addition to our growing list of state-of-the-art outlets. I am sure that the outlet’s prominent location and world-class facilities will serve the customers in the area well. Given the risk of travelling these days, we are happy to bring our services to our customers’ doorstep so that eye and hearing care of international quality is just a short distance away for them.”

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Kotmale and Sri Lankan Dairy

 

 Kotmale has become one of Sri Lanka’s national dairy brands contributing to the nourishment of the country and strengthening the local dairy farming community. As a fully owned subsidiary of leading food company Cargills (Ceylon) PLC, Kotmale is a 100% Sri Lankan company. By sourcing fresh milk from over 17,000 local dairy farmers, Kotmale generated over Rs. 5.2bn of direct income for the Sri Lankan dairy farming community in 2020. Today, Kotmale has established itself as Sri Lanka’s largest private sector collector of fresh milk, collecting 180,000 litres on a daily basis.

 

Sri Lanka’s dairy industry

Sri Lanka imports about 60% of its milk requirement. That amounts to about USD 320 Mn (or LKR 64bn) of foreign exchange leaving the country every year. Though Sri Lanka has always had a milk deficit (local supply is less than local demand), regional peers like India are self-sufficient in dairy. Low milk production in Sri Lanka stems from two issues: 1) low and declining number of milking cows and 2) low yield per cow compared to global levels which has led to decreasing profitability for farmers.

 

Sri Lanka’s milking cow population has fallen quite drastically in recent times. From 596,000 in 2015 to 444,000 in 2019, the milking cow population has dropped 25% within a span of four years. This is an alarming statistic that needs immediate addressing from all stakeholders involved. Secondly, Sri Lanka’s milk production per cow remains low at around 3 liters per day, whereas the average global yield is around 7 liters per day and the yield in neighboring India is 8 liters per day. Low yield and low profitability have forced many farmers away from dairy farming which has further weakened local milk production. 

 

Why is dairy important?

Dairy is a key component of a balanced, nutritional diet for both children and adults. Fresh milk contains important nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, B vitamins, potassium and vitamin D. Unfortunately, however, Sri Lanka’s per capita consumption of dairy is below globally recommended levels. One of the main reasons for this is the affordability factor. By increasing local production of fresh milk, Sri Lanka can not only reduce its dependence on imported milk but also improve the affordability of milk for local consumers, which will increase per capita consumption of fresh milk.

 

Kotmale and Cargills contribution

Over the years, Cargills has made significant investments to improve dairy production and support the smallholder dairy farming community in Sri Lanka. Cargills has provided both technical and financial support to dairy farmers to enhance capacity while providing a guaranteed marketplace. Cargills also ensured uninterrupted collection of milk during the COVID19 lockdowns. In addition to guaranteeing the best price for the farmer’s milk, Cargills contributes 50 cents for every liter of milk collected into a fund. This money is not reduced from the price paid to the farmer but is a direct contribution from Cargills, as a thank you for the dedicated service of our farmers to the country. These funds are used to provide educational scholarships to children of dairy farmers and support community development projects.

 

Cargills remains committed to the Sri Lankan Government’s vision of achieving self-sufficiency in dairy. To further support this national goal, Cargills started a dairy modernization program in partnership with 500 dairy farmers. As part of this project, Cargills established dairy model farms during 2020, providing farmers with assistance in improving the breeding stock, feeding systems including grass and fodder cultivation, improved cattle sheds, along with better nutrition and care for the animals. Farmers are also supported with land preparation and the necessary seeds for fodder cultivation. The Company hopes that the success of the dairy model farm project will encourage more farmers to emulate such a program and adopt similar practices, which will eventually lead to increased fresh milk production. By doubling the milk yield across the farmer network, Kotmale will be able to improve the incomes of farmers and further support the sustainability of the dairy industry. Given that smallholder dairy farmers form the backbone of the Sri Lankan dairy industry, making up more than 80% of local milk production, it is imperative that any future project to reach self-sufficiency and increase domestic milk production keeps the small dairy farmer at the center of it.

 

Kotmale supply chain and manufacturing

The Kotmale dairy supply chain from grass-to-glass is an extensive one with stringent quality checks to ensure the customer receives the highest quality products. The farmer network of over 17,000 smallholder dairy farmers bring their milk to the Cargills milk collection centers spread across the country. Once the quality of the milk is assessed, the milk is taken to a milk chilling center where the quality of the milk is assessed once more. Currently, there are 33 Cargills owned milk chilling centers around the country. The milk then makes its way to one of the four Cargills dairy processing facilities located in Banduragoda, Hatton Bogahawatta, Kelanimulla, and Kilinochchi where a third and final quality check is carried out. 

 

At the state-of the-art dairy processing facility, expert teams manufacture dairy products ranging from UHT milk, pasteurized milk, yoghurt, cheese, butter, curd and dairy ice cream. The processing facility in Banduragoda is the largest integrated dairy facility in the Sri Lanka and has been approved for international-grade manufacturing.

 

Kotmale products

Kotmale products offer round the clock nutrition for the family with the largest portfolio of dairy products in Sri Lanka. The Kotmale fresh milk comes in three different options – Full Cream, Low Fat, and Zero-Fat – meeting the needs of a range of customers across different demographic profiles. Kotmale has invested significantly in product innovation to bring healthier options for the customer. The recently launched Kotmale Milk with Oats is one such example, which provides wholesome nutrition of oats combined with fresh milk. The Kotmale jelly-yoghurt is another new innovation, combining the nourishment of yoghurt with the great taste of jelly at an affordable price to the consumer.

 

The Cargills philosophy

The Cargills philosophy of sourcing from local smallholder farmers and manufacturing value added dairy products that compete with international brands has proven to be a great success. It provides affordable nutrition for the consumer while increasing incomes for the Sri Lankan dairy farming community. The Company’s fresh milk sourcing alone saved over USD 28 Mn in foreign exchange for the country in 2020, while directing this income towards Sri Lankan farmers. As a food company focused on providing affordable nutrition, Cargills will continue to invest in uplifting local dairy farmers while bringing the best quality products to local consumers.

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Forming Bonds of Steel for 35 Years

One of the most reputed hardware merchants in Sri Lanka, Janatha Steels was established in 1986, as a partnership and celebrates 35 years of excellence this year. A pioneer hardware supplier with a wealth of experience in the industry, they currently supply to a variety of construction industries including and not limited to engineering firms, plantations, and hydro projects. With a focus on imports, procurement, manufacture, warehouse, supply, wholesale and retail of all general hardware materials inclusive of tools, pipes, tubes, sheets, plates and many more, Janatha Steels offers the best products with imports from the world’s leading manufacturers such as Germany, China, India, Pakistan, Taiwan, Thailand and Korea.

Janatha Steels has had many iconic moments within the past 35 years. Commencing operations in 1986 with only a 3-member staff, they proceeded to import hardware items from Singapore in 1988, acquired their own warehouse in 1990, and by 1994 had started importing steel rods. By 1999 they had acquired more warehouses, which enabled their venture into the manufacturing of wire nails, nuts, bolts and fencing barbed wire in 2006. In 2007 they commenced the manufacture of wire nails at the Ekala factory and had started importing tools by 2010.

Providing productive direct employment to over 700 workers and indirect employment to thousands, Janatha Steels is now a force to be reckoned with and has remained reliable for 35 years. In 2013, Janatha Steels was named as one of the ‘Most Respected Companies in the prestigious LMD magazine further boosting its image.

Speaking to Vasudevan Subramaniam – Managing Partner, Janatha Steel, on the journey of over three decades, he stated, “During the early part of 1980s, when I was working with my father at his business, I had a dream of starting my own business to introduce my innovative thoughts. Having discussed my ideas with members of my family and after explaining my passion and ideas to them, they encouraged me to take that first step and embark on my journey towards setting up my own business. As the country’s economy was open in the 1980s, both the private and the public sectors were actively involved in new construction projects such as the low-cost housing projects initiated by the then Prime Minister Hon R Premadasa under Gam Udawa in 1987, the accelerated Mahaweli scheme and related small and large scale irrigation projects and hydropower plants, which needed hardware items as well as some general housing projects. Under these circumstances, I thought it was the ideal time to enter the field to address the growing demand for steel. It is amazing to see the fruit of our efforts as we are now one of the pioneering hardware companies in the country.”

Bonds of steel were formed when Mr Shayanthaan, the elder son of Mr Vasudevan, formally entered the business as a partner in 2016. The subsequent acquisition of Gamage Trading (Pvt) Ltd in Matugama to manufacture round and square tubes, in 2018, is evidence of the continuous growth and prosperity of the company.

From 2018 till the present day, the group has diversified into related and non-related fields such as Taprobana Island (Pvt) Ltd., a company engaged in importing and trading of stationery items, and Hemka Pharma (Pvt) Ltd., importers and traders of pharmaceutical equipment. In addition, Janatha Steels established Janatha Green Solution (Pvt) Ltd., to supply and install rooftop solar panels, Janatha Cement (Pvt) Ltd., to import, package and supply quality cement to construction industries and Janatha Automobiles (Pvt) Ltd., to acquire international agency representation for agricultural equipment and auto spare parts. Janatha Plantation (Pvt) Ltd. was also established to develop the existing poultry and agri-farm business located in Wattala as this would facilitate the expansion into the coconut and other cash crop plantations.

Janatha Steels has also initiated multiple CSR projects as they believe in the importance of ensuring the welfare of the people. The ground floor of Ganapathy Hindu Ladies College, Colombo was constructed by the Managing partner Mr S. Vasudevan. He also donated computers to Thiruvalluvar Tamil Vidyalayam in the district of Matale. Numerous donations in cash and kind are made periodically to several religious and educational institutions island-wide. The team at Janatha Steels believe in carrying out their CSR projects without the glitz and glamour of publicity, as the act of serving the people is their priority.

Picture 2 - Sasith Bambaradeniya - CMO,
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Picture 1 - Sandeep Gopal - CEO, Fairfir
Fairfirst recognized as the ‘Best General Insurance Brand in Sri Lanka’ 

Fairfirst’s recent streak of both local & global awards and recognitions is a true testament to their continuous focus on being the best rather than the biggest. The leading insurer recently clinched the title of ‘Best General Insurance Brand in Sri Lanka’ at the 9th edition of the Global Brand Magazine Awards 2021, where they were recognised as the only Sri Lankan insurer to win alongside other global insurance brands such as AXA, Swiss Re, LIC (Life Insurance Corporation of India) and other non-insurance brands such as Google, Alibaba, DHL, Samsung and many more. Another global recognition for Fairfirst and for the 2nd time in Sri Lanka comes on the heels of 3 distinguished titles in 2021 for ‘Best Motor Insurance Claims Process (Click2Claim), ‘Best Cyber Insurance Company’ and ‘Best Employee Benefits Provider’ at the Global Banking & Finance Awards 2021. Fairfirst also achieved the distinction of being the only Insurer to bring home the ‘Merit Award’ at the CNCI Achiever Awards 2020 for Industrial Excellence.

Fairfirst has always taken an empathy-based approach to develop solutions for customer needs, combined with a design-led thinking culture that reinforces a learning mindset that encourages to #GiveItATry and learn from failures. In doing things The Fairfirst Way, this formula has led the company towards delivering a consistent investment in a number of world-class products, processes and capabilities. Thus, proving to be a key differentiator through empathy-based innovations that have brought convenience and peace of mind to millions of Sri Lankans.

 

Speaking on these wins Sandeep Gopal – CEO, Fairfirst Insurance states, “These wins show that regardless of trying times, we will always work together to further innovate and revolutionise the insurance industry. This, in turn, will contribute to our future readiness in terms of nation-building and serving insurance needs of amazing Sri Lankans, The Fairfirst Way,”

 

Further commenting on these exciting wins, Sasith Bambaradeniya - Chief Marketing Officer, Fairfirst Insurance says, “It’s an absolute honor to be winning and achieving local and global milestones in our journey towards being the best. With an expansive and active empathy-led design and communication agenda, we will always strive to be the Best rather than the Biggest.’

 

With a passion for making complex insurance solutions simple and accessible, Fairfirst is a leading insurance company that is part of the Canadian-based Fairfax Group. Serving individuals, businesses and institutions, the company offers its out-of-the-box solutions via its team of 1400 professionals, who work across a service center network comprising 56 branches. Putting innovation, fun and excitement back into the insurance industry, Fairfirst is fast-becoming an industry leader that people turn to and trust.

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Women in Management, National Youth Services Council calls for Nominations

 

 'New Generation Awards 2021’ under the theme of “Arise Shine” In the journey of finding hidden talent of Sri Lankan youth and their unsung contribution to the nation, Women in Management (WIM ) in partnership with Sri Lanka National Youth Services Council organizing the New generation Awards for the 2nd consecutive year on 17th July 2021 at Galadari Hotel.

 

The New Generation Awards 2021 aims to shine a spotlight on Extraordinary young leadership within the age group of 15 to 30 years, to support and recognize the positive contribution to their communities, nation and the World at large considering sectors such as careers, entrepreneurship, Technopreneur, sports, social service, innovation, talents, arts, creative science, social media, etc. Nomination open from 1st May to 30th May 2021 and can be made by visiting www.womeninmanagementawards.org This year’s panel of judges, chaired by Damitha Wickaramasinghe - Chairman National Youth Service Council together with a diversified team including Ms. Varuni Amunugama Fernando - Managing Director Triad Advertising Limited and the national TV channel Derana, Ms. Kasturi Chelleraja Wilson- Group CEO Hemas Holdings Plc, Director  Zahara Ansary – Country Manager CIMA Sri Lanka, Dr. Ravi Dissanayake - Senior Lecturer, Department of Marketing Management, the Faculty of Commerce & Management Studies of the University of Kelaniya, (Prof) Dr. Suranaga De Silva – Director of CERIPA and Act Director at CUCEC at University of Colombo and  Yasas Hewage – Marketer, Innovator & Entrepreneur “

 

This is the second year we are organizing the NG awards, and we are happy to witness the positive changes, as well as the opportunities the last year’s award winners, received after the recognition they received from the NG Awards. We ensured that the past winners used the award to build their future and to inspire the youth. I have personally witnessed that they are proudly and positively doing that Head Office said Dr. Sulochana Segera Founder/Chairperson of WIM as the initiator of the New Generation Awards. In the process of this tremendous journey, the role of the National Youth Services Council explained by  Damitha Wickramasinghe - Chairman National Youth Service Council saying “The National Youth Services Council, as the apex body in Youth Development in Sri Lanka, deeply appreciates the interest and commitment displayed by Women In Management in organizing New Generation Awards for the youth of Sri Lanka. The NYSC has partnered with WIM, enthusiastically extending support to initiatives of this nature, founded by non-governmental actors in recognizing youth talent and contributing towards Youth Empowerment with the goal of harnessing the potential of future leaders.”  Varuni Amunugama Fernando - Managing Director Triad Advertising Limited and the national TV channel Derana enlightens the fact on judge’s measures saying “With performance comes recognition, rewards and exciting new opportunities. Use the stage wisely, kindly and patriotically. The future of our country is in your hands..”  

 

Kasturi Chelleraja Wilson- Group CEO Hemas Holdings Plc, said “The future is you. Want more for our country, more for our people, So be the best versions of yourselves and unleash your potential.”  Zahara Ansary – Country Manager CIMA Sri Lanka said “our youth is a significantly important segment of our country – they are our future. The New Generation Awards are meant to recognize trailblazers under various categories who are movers and shakers in their own environs – all for the betterment of society and our country. We’ve seen how the past winners have gone to inspire other youth and created a great impact. I am delighted to be in the panel of judges to select Sri Lanka’s best!” , Dr. Ravi Dissanayake - Senior Lecturer, Department of Marketing Management, the Faculty of Commerce & Management Studies of the University of Kelaniya, “"empowering future leaders for sustainability " (Prof) Dr. Suranaga De Silva – Director of CERIPA and Act Director at CUCEC at University of Colombo said “Creation of visionary leadership for sustainable future" and Mr. Yasas Hewage – Marketer, Innovator & Entrepreneursaid “The old world is being disrupted with a loud invitation for the youth, begging you to reimagine and rebuild , so take a risk and lead This year New Generation Award will be chaired by Dr. Himalee De Silva, WIM ExCo member, Senior Lecturer, Institute of Indigenous Medicine, University of Colombo said “As a person who works with youth I think this is a great opportunity for youth to find their future support system” and Vice Chair will be Onella Karunanayake WIM member, Executive Director OSM Holdings said “I am happy to part of this for the second consecutive year, as a youth we feel that we are stuck in a blame generation for individualism but NG Awards open a great opportunity for youth to prove that its just a myth”

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EFL 3PL  becomes the 1st GDP Certified  Service Provider

 

 EFL 3PL, a member of the leading conglomerate Expolanka Holdings PLC, was certified by Bureau Veritas as a ‘GDP certified 3PL service provider’ for its pharmaceutical supply chain, thereby making them the first logistics company in Sri Lanka to obtain this certification. This internationally reputed certification cements the company’s new focus on expanding its pharma vertical in keeping with its vision of offering best-in-class compliance standards to its customers. Bureau Veritas is a globally recognized leader in certifications of management systems, ensuring organizations comply with international standards.

 

The Good Distribution Practices (GDP) Certification for Pharmaceuticals secured by EFL 3PL demonstrates the company’s dedication to good distribution practices and quality in every aspect of its service offerings. In essence, Good Distribution Practices (GDP) is a quality system for warehouse and distribution centres dedicated for medicines. The scheme ensures that consistent quality management systems are in place throughout your entire supply chain, from the early delivery of raw materials to the manufacturing plants, to the final shipment of finished drugs to the end user.

 

“Within a short period of time EFL has successfully established itself as a forerunner in healthcare logistics regionally, the GDP certification provides our valuable clients with the added reassurance that their precious cargo is being stored, managed and transported in the best possible manner in accordance to global best practices” said Saif Yusoof – Managing Director, EFL.

 

A valid GDP certificate demonstrates that EFL 3PL is committed to quality in every aspect of its service, and is a vital partner of the healthcare supply chain. The certification ensures adherence to high standards of quality assurance and integrity of the distribution processes of pharmaceutical products; uniformity in licensing of wholesaling of pharmaceutical products; and facilitating removal of barriers to trade in pharmaceutical products.

"By being the 1st to achieve the GDP Certification, Expolanka has demonstrated its commitment to uphold the quality and integrity of pharmaceutical products throughout the supply chain" said Shan Nanayakara - Country General Manager, Bureau Veritas.

 During the pharmaceutical GDP certification process, highly-qualified independent auditors analysed various facets of EFL 3PL’s operations, including Organization and Management; Personnel; Quality System including the traceability process; Premises, warehousing and storage (storage condition and stock control) Transportation and products in transit; Complaint Handling and many other critical areas.

 

Commenting on the certification, Sammy Akbar - Director – EFL 3PL & Freeport said: “We are committed to uplift the standards of the 3PL industry to greater heights, being the 1st to receive the GDP certification is yet another testament towards that commitment. We believe that compliance is hygiene and the receipt of this valuable certification will enable and guide us to ensure that we consistently deliver a high quality of service to our customers which they have come to be accustomed to from our company.”

Dr. Sanjeev Jha - CEO Fairfirst Insuranc
Fairfirst Insurance Limited Announces Leadership Succession
 

    Fairfirst Insurance announced that the current CEO & Managing Director, Dr. Sanjeev Jha will be transitioning into a new role soon and, with this, will be relocating out of Sri Lanka. A suitable succession plan has been put in place with Mr. Sandeep Gopal, the current Deputy Chief Executive Officer, to take over as the Principal Officer and CEO of Fairfirst Insurance effective 1st May 2021.

Dr. Sanjeev Jha will be transitioning into an Advisory role with Fairfax Asia. As their Advisor, he will be working on strategy, leadership development, analytics & innovation across multiple high growth insurance markets across Asia, including Sri Lanka. He has also been appointed as a non-executive Director of a leading healthcare management company in India.

A veteran in the field of insurance, Dr. Sanjeev Jha beats the odds by playing the corporate strategy somewhat differently – by striving to be the best and not necessarily the biggest. With this mindset, during the last 5 years, Dr. Sanjeev Jha has been instrumental in creating a fresh and dynamic brand in the local insurance industry that is led by the values of Empathy, Authenticity, Transparency and Responsibility. As a true testament to his vision, within a short span of 5 years, the Company has received many local as well as global accolades recognizing its efforts in Innovation, World-Class Service Standards, Brand, Governance & Employee and Community Engagement. Recently, Fairfirst became the only Sri Lankan Company amongst 22 global companies listed in the ‘2020 Top Insurance Workplaces in Asia-Pacific’ by Insurance Business Asia. Also, the Company marked another milestone by being the youngest brand to be awarded the Gold in the Insurance Category and Silver in Best Digital Marketing Innovation across all sectors at DIGIS 2020 organised by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing.

 

Over the years, Dr. Jha has established a reputation for achieving successful turnarounds, delivering efficient M&As, creating and nurturing high performing teams, driving empathy-led innovation, and running successful businesses with solid governance structures. His efforts in building a sensible and sensitive brand is directly linked to his advocacy of “business being a force to do good”. With this mindset, he guided the Company to engage with several community & social welfare focused investments to enhance the wellbeing of the community the Company operates in. 

 

Since joining Team Fairfirst a year ago as the Chief Strategic Officer,  Sandeep Gopal has settled well in the company and has increasingly engaged with the business. Mr. Sandeep brings with him a multi-dimensional international experience by having worked at many multinational corporates such as Barclays, RSA, Allied World and Swiss Re, in UK, Hong Kong and Singapore.

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Image 1 - ITBR with Deepal Sooriyarachch
Corporate leaders provide insights  to  Entrepreneurs’ Organization Sri Lanka

 Led by a vision to build the world’s most influential community of entrepreneurs, the Entrepreneurs’ Organization or EO, which counts successful
CEOs as members have planned exciting sessions of ‘In The Boardroom’, an intimate gathering of members which features leading speakers who share their experience of leading their organisations. EO’s annual learning survey found that members preferred smaller events where participants could engage more closely with the speakers.

 

Responding to the request and in compliance with post-lockdown health and safety guidelines, In The Boardroom will feature smaller gatherings of 18-20 participants at each session which will be ‘Forum Confidential’, which simply means that whatever is said in the room, stays in the room, which gives speakers a greater confidence and comfort to share their full breadth of experience. In The Boardroom offers an opportunity for EO members to get up close and personal with business icons of Sri Lanka, such as Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson, Group CEO of Hemas; Shiromal Cooray, Chairman of Jetwing Hotels; Suresh Shah, CEO of Lion Brewery; Dumith Fernando, Chairman of Asia Securities and Colombo Stock Exchange; and Deepal Sooriyaarachchi,
Former MD of Aviva NDB Insurance. The speaker will give a speech about their journey in life and business to where they are today, including their biggest learnings. This will be followed by a moderated discussion and then a question and answer session. The format of In The Boardroom event is new to EO Sri Lanka’s learning calendar of transformative events although it is common in overseas EO chapters. 


Having the support and guidance of other successful entrepreneurs helps EO Sri Lanka’s members relook at their own strategies and goals to fulfil their true potential despite challenges. EO’s global community counts 14000+ members across 62 countries. EO offers unique advantages to members such as gaining access to the world’s top experts and surmounting challenges through their encouragement and support. Since EO is a non-profit, all dues are channelled towards enhancing the member experience. 

About Entrepreneurs’ Organization Led by a vision to build the world’s most influential community of entrepreneurs, the Entrepreneurs’ Organization or EO, is a high-quality support network of 14,000+ like-minded leaders across 61 countries. Lauded for being “the ultimate toolbox for entrepreneurs” by
none other than Forbes magazine, EO has been helping entrepreneurs achieve transformational growth since 1987 through the power of life-enhancing connections, shared experiences and collaborative learning. Worldwide, EO’s member base is clocking median sales of US$5M and counts 14,000+members having 4.1M+ employees across 198 chapters, located in 62 countries. EO also has a vibrant Sri Lanka chapter as well, which was established in 2017, and now counts 34 members with five forums recording median sales of US$5 Mn. Every member is a Sri Lankan CEO running a successful business.

Cargills  among the  10 'Most Admired Companies' 


Cargills (Ceylon) PLC, a leading Retail and FMCG company in the country, had the distinction of being listed in the Top 10 Most Admired Companies for the 2019/20 financial year. This recognition was awarded by the International Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (ICCSL), the Chartered Institute of Management
Accountants (CIMA) and the Daily FT. This accolade is a testament to our long-standing commitment to creating sustainable value for all our stakeholders.
Backed by a 175-year legacy in Sri Lanka From serving a few to serving many, Cargills has been through a journey from being a primarily wholesale and retail business to a diversified company with a presence across the country and is also a large contributor to the local food manufacturing sector.

 

A presence across the length and breadth of the country Our retail arm, Cargills FoodCity is the most widespread retail chain with outlets in all 25 districts in the country. By expanding into new regions, we create new markets for our farmers and entrepreneurs and also provide employment opportunities to the youth. Embracing innovation is at the core of our business model and this is evident in many new ventures such as Asia’s first mobile supermarket, Cargills 2 Home and Cargills Online, the country’s first end-to-end online grocer. Venturing into new sectors Over the last 20 years, we have ventured into the food manufacturing business and have built brands and elevated them to new heights. To strengthen the country’s food industry and provide our customers with nutritious food on a daily basis, many investments have been made towards building several state-of-the-art manufacturing and processing facilities.
We also look for ways to improve domestic production and are always engaging with more farmers since most of our raw materials are sourced locally.
Furthermore, in our efforts in enhancing local markets, we also help ease the country’s foreign exchange pressures thereby complementing Sri Lanka’s
endeavours to reduce import costs.


Our contribution towards the farming communities Our work with our farmers is the heart of our socio-centric business model. We strive to empower the farming community in more ways than by sustaining their livelihoods. Through our Sarubima Fund, we give back to our farmers by offering their youth, educational scholarships and initiating many community development projects in the rural areas. Moreover, we bring in the youth and give
them career opportunities through our independent educational institute, the Albert A. Page Institute (AAPI). We actively engage with our farmers in order to improve their productivity and yields for them to be entrepreneurs in their own right, aka “gentleman farmers”. We provide them with extension services, technical input, guidance on best practices (such as Good Agricultural Practices/GAP) to improve their access to the market. Moreover, we have taken our farmers on overseas visits and introduced them to modern farming techniques which enabled them to build their own model farms. Strengthening domestic dairy production


We have transitioned to be a major contributor to the Sri Lankan dairy industry and extend our fullest support towards improving domestic milk production. With our end-to-end dairy value chain proposition which includes Sri Lanka’s first fully integrated dairy processing plant, we have a strong commitment towards enhancing the productivity of our dairy farmers and actively encourage the consumption of fresh dairy as a lifestyle. Grateful for the support
We are humbled by this recognition, the credit of which goes to each and every team member of our Cargills family and we would like to thank the awarding
bodies for this honour. We have immense trust in our team who has rallied around the vision of Cargills, which is to serve the needs of the community at large. They are our heroes and we are grateful that they have placed their confidence in us as they understand that whatever their individual contribution is, it is for the betterment of the country.

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Huawei Y7a the best mid-range smartphone

Huawei Y7a is the latest mid-range smartphone in the popular Y series with top of the line flagship specifications. It also packs a much larger screen competing head to head with its rivals. Even though Y7a is positioned in the mid-range category, it is equipped with flagship smartphone features and offers
great value for money for a mid-range phone. Huawei Y7a packs seven unique features that make this smartphone a great value for money buy within its price range.


A smartphone with a large screen is a must-have given watching high-quality movies, playing games surfing the net, and reading E-books are staple activities of any smartphone user today. Modern smartphones on average have large screens around 6.2-6.3 inches. Huawei Y7a, on the other hand, comes with a bigger, 6.67-inch screen which is not usually found in a mid-range phone. The screen occupies a 90.3% extravagant screen to body ratio, with a well-spaced design that makes it an ideal fit in the palm for continuous long time use. Y7a’s epic design is maintained on either side with a punch
display that features the selfie camera and a premium back cover design with three creative colours: Crush green, Blush gold and Midnight black.
A bigger storage capacity means users do not require an external memory card. Modern smartphones feature high-resolution cameras that shoot high-quality, large-sized photos. The increasing availability of heavy apps and games also demand larger storages. Huawei Y7a features a 128GB storage which
enables users to pack all high-resolution photos, videos, games and applications without worrying about device storage space anymore.


Huawei Y series is power-packed in the camera department. Y7a carries that legacy with a 48MP Quad Camera set and the lenses are powered by Artificial Intelligence. The 48MP high-resolution shooter with f/1.8 aperture works as the main camera and helping to capture ultra-wide photos is the 8MP Ultra-
Wide Angle Lens with f/2.4 aperture. Depth effect is portrayed by the 2MP Depth Lens with f/2.4 aperture and for macro photography lovers, Y7a accommodates a 2MP Macro Lens with f/2.4 aperture. The combination of the main camera with the rest of the camera lenses in AI focus brings crystal clear
images with access to a wide shooting frame. Though capturing images in low/dim light is not a plus point in mid-range smartphones, Y7a’s ‘Super Night Mode’ enables the user to take vivid images even in the dark.


Most of the smartphone users at present opt for smartphones with more powerful batteries that help them to avoid the trouble of ‘frequent charging’. They are fully aware that smartphone batteries drain quickly while playing games and watching videos as the high-resolution screen is a drainer of battery
power. One big reason for Huawei fans to cherish their Huawei phone is the long-lasting battery. Y7a packs a 5000mAh battery that gives users plenty of power even after a full day’s use. A mere 10- minutes’ charge is enough for two hours of video playback which hints of the phones’ real capacity
when the charge is in full cycle. A major concern with bigger batteries is the length of time it takes to be charged fully. Also, most of the mid-range smartphones do not support fast charging. With Y7a’s 22.5W Huawei SuperCharge technology, users can now re-charge the Y7a ‘incredibly fast.’ A 5000mAh bigger battery plus 22.5W Super Charge support is the perfect combination for today’s youth who love to stick with the phones for long hours. 

 

A powerful chipset brings faster processing. Huawei Y7a is powered by a 14nm Kirin 710A chipset that lets you play even the most demanding games without a lag. Kirin 710 chipset paired with the 4GB Ram of Y7a performs well in multi-tasking, high-quality video streaming and loading of apps. A Fingerprint lock screen is a familiar scenario in mid-range smartphones though a side-mounted fingerprint power button in mid-range phones is a rare treat. In fact, the side-mounted fingerprint is proven to be more convenient to handle with the thumb finger and is quick to respond. Y7a features a side-mounted fingerprint that unlocks the device in a split second. The new Huawei Y7a is priced at a truly affordable price of Rs 35999.00 only and is available at all Singer Mega and Singer Plus showrooms, and authorized resellers. Customers can also order it online via Daraz.lk and get it delivered to their doorsteps.

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Sri Lanka’s INIVOS and UK’s Muzulu in milestone partnership to offer full-scope Enterprise solutions

 


INIVOS Consulting, the fully fledged Sri Lankan Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions provider announced its partnership with Muzulu, the UK based provider of industry leading ERP business solutions. The partnership aims to support a wider base of customers globally, with an initial focus on Sri
Lanka and Europe. Both INIVOS, a channel partner for IFS and also end-to-end corporate business solutions provider and Muzulu, both a channel and services partner for IFS in the UK share a unified vision to provide high quality, focused ERP solutions and consultancies to empower business processes.
This partnership in the form of a joint venture opens new avenues for the two value providers to expand market opportunities in each other’s regions. Having demonstrated its determination to enter the Sri Lankan market, Muzulu has chosen the reputed INIVOS as its collaborative, go-to market partner in Sri
Lanka.


Sharing his thoughts on the partnership, Asanga Marasinghe, Managing Director of Inivos said: “We are looking forward to work with Muzulu, a company that has a vast experience in various industries. This venture is a win-win for both companies as we are able to mutually expand our services across both Asia
and Europe. We always choose right partnerships at the right time which is why we are fast becoming the preferred choice among world’s leading organizations. Key pillars such as flexibility, fast and real time access to market insights and customer centric approach have propelled us to where we are today and we will continue to uphold them in our new journey with Muzulu.” Partner / CEO of Muzulu Limited, Hamish Johnson said: “Forming this venture with INIVOS is an extremely exciting move for Muzulu. Our implementation teams have an enviable track record delivering successful global ERP projects. Working with INIVOS, we see a huge opportunity to use our successful, solution focused approach to deliver even greater success for both Muzulu’s and INIVOS’s current and future customers. “  Partner / CTO of Muzulu Ravi Edirisinghe said “When we look at Sri Lanka's Software and ICT sector; we
can see that there is a shift in how knowledge and skills are valued in the industry. Traditionally it had a big focus on the software development and programming aspects; however, with most of the pioneering ICT companies reaching their maturity levels; the industry has started to give much more
prominence to consultancy-based services. It is equally true for both technical resources and business knowledge-oriented resources. And this is why, Muzulu believe this is the right time to venture into Sri Lanka. Inivos has a great track record of acquiring the best talent available in the industry. They have
proven that they have got the formula right when it comes to building skilled professional teams. We believe, with this industry background in place, and the ‘perfect business partner’ match; both Muzulu and Inivos can go a long way together.” 

 

Both INIVOS and Muzulu share similar business philosophies when it comes to the provision and extension of ERP services to a gamut of industries such as engineering, construction, infrastructure, manufacturing, energy and utilities. In addition to IFS services, both companies specialize in providing
end-to-end solutions in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), Enterprise Resource Planning Management (ERP), and Supply Chain Management (SCM). Based in Colombo, Sri Lanka, INIVOS Consulting (www.inivossl.com) has emerged as a key player in the
ERP segment helped by its highly experienced team of consultants. INIVOS has been able to build a strong client base in Sri Lanka, Asia, Middle East, South Africa and Europe within a short time span. INIVOS caters to the business requirements of the enterprise sector via serving IFS offerings and equips
the SME sector with Acumatica’s ERP solutions. Its channel partnership with IFS was recently extended to sub-Saharan African region.


Muzulu, headquartered in Oxford in the United Kingdom, delivers industry leading ERP consultancy interwoven with high quality supporting products and solutions, consistently delivering high satisfaction and return-on-investment for our clients. Our expert team of functional and technical implementation
consultants average more than a decade of experience implementing ERP solutions across a diverse range of industries. We have direct experience implementing ERP solutions for every region of the globe. To further this approach, we have partnered with key software organizations to support
improving our client’s businesses, including IFS, Dell Boomi and Pagero.

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Fairfirst Academy to strengthen capacity and capability

 

Fairfirst was recently recognised by Insurance Business Asia as one of the top 22 insurers to work for across the Asia Pacific. This win is a tangible recognition of their progressive work-culture that makes it possible for them to nurture the goodness of each employee. Further strengthening their focus on building capability and capacity, the company has launched a unique learning and development platform, named Fairfirst Academy. 

 

The Fairfirst Academy has been built by combining the expertise and capabilities of internal and external subject matter experts whose objective is to impart knowledge seamlessly and easily and thereby enable each employee to be the best they are capable of. Training is provided in a language of your choice from Sinhala, Tamil and English. Apart from extensive modules on insurance, Fairfirst Academy also hosts sessions on other essential life-skills including wellness and mental wellbeing.

 

In the Fairfirst Academy, participating students go through a structured series of modules that expand the learning curb across different areas such as insurance, service, leadership and soft skills. As a result of the training offered via the Fairfirst Academy, Agents of Fairfirst Insurance, have been achieving high pass mark percentages in the certifying exams conducted by the Sri Lanka Insurance Institute.

 

The company has expanded its training and development initiatives to include special wellness programmes to promote holistic individual wellbeing especially during times of Social Distancing and Working from Home. Some recent programs included knowledge shared by doctors and religious leaders on maintaining a balanced mental and physical wellbeing to cancer awareness sessions. In addition, focus group-based discussions were held on how to achieve better work-life improvements with the latest programme focusing on preventive COVID19 measures.

 

For Fairfirst, regardless of social distancing, their training calendar has been active. All training happens via classes being carried out on a virtual basis through virtual classrooms. Dr. Sanjeev Jha, Managing Director & CEO of Fairfirst Insurance states, “We are excited with the responsibility of supporting and empowering talented individuals as they move towards leadership positions. Personally, my best awards are the people I have nurtured and groomed into becoming sensitive, sensible and successful business managers.”

 

What’s unique about the Fairfirst Academy is that knowledge is not solely focused on the employees but also shared with the community as well. This is a true testament to Fairfirst’s belief in investing in the future and wellbeing of the nation, whilst promoting a culture of continuous learning and development across this beautiful island. 

 

Spearheading the Academy, Head of Human Resources,  Manjari Kumarage commented, “Fairfirst is the best place to build your career in insurance as we provide undivided attention when it comes to the success of our employees and the community. We believe that developing our people’s capabilities and strengths reinforces a culture of optimism and giving it a try is the best way to start.”

 

Fairfirst Insurance Limited, is part of the global Fairfax Group. The Group is a leading property and casualty insurer, reinsurer and investment manager, headquartered in Toronto, Canada. Fairfirst is today among the top general insurance companies of Sri Lanka and is recognised as the only Sri Lankan company amongst the 2020 Top Insurers across Asia-Pacific. Fairfirst serves individuals, businesses and institutions across this beautiful island through a versatile workforce spread across the comprehensive branch network, affinity partners and brokers in Sri Lanka.

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Singer Finance leads Tier Two Rankings by K Seeds Investments

 

In the latest national rankings of ‘Listed Finance Companies of Sri Lanka’ Report by K Seed Investments, Singer Finance (Lanka) has seized the best performing Finance Company rank among Tier 2 finance companies in Sri Lanka.

The Report, issued by K Seeds Investments (Pvt) Ltd has identified Singer Finance (Lanka) as the leader in its Tier 2 (with an asset base of Rs 20-100 billion) among listed finance companies out of 12 such companies ranked. The accolade to Singer Finance comes through a ranking carried out considering their excellent performance in the fourth quarter of 2019/’20 (January 1 to March 31).

Chairman of Singer Finance (Lanka) Aravinda Perera commented: “This top ranking is a clear indication of growing acceptance of Singer Finance’ reliability and returns on investment. This is a vote of confidence from the industry to us and we are delighted by this accolade.” The report groups the listed finance companies based on their asset base, and ranks them in their respective categories among its peers. Singer Finance topped the “Category 2”.

“The results of the report depicts the commitment of Singer Finance to achieve the highest standards to meet the future expectations of the listed finance company sector” Chairman Aravinda Perera adds.

 ‘Ranking of Listed Finance Companies of Sri Lanka’ report ranks the Finance Companies according to their performance results stated in their Colombo Stock Exchange interim reports. The sample for the survey consisted of randomly chosen licensed finance companies listed in the Exchange. The companies were evaluated based on the latest quarterly financial statements published. The finance companies were categorized into four categories based on the size of the asset base. The Categories 1, 2, 3 and 4 denoted the Companies having an asset base larger than Rs 100 Bn, asset base between 20-100 billion, asset base of Rs 10-20 billion and asset base smaller than Rs 10 billion respectively.

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Fairfirst Insurance settling claims in record time:

Over 1,100 motor claims within one hour, every month.

 

Wednesday 4th of November 2020 Colombo: The notion of lengthy claim settlement processes after an accident is a time consuming and strenuous situation for a customer. With this understanding, Fairfirst introduced a revolutionary virtual assessment technology known as Click2Claim (C2C), where a policyholder is able to conduct a self-inspection of the damage virtually – by converting their phone camera into video mode. Today via C2C, Fairfirst has become the fastest claim settler in the country by assessing and settling motor claims instantly, thus enabling the company to settle 1,100 claims within an hour and 1,800 claims within a day on a monthly basis.

 

In setting new standards in insurance, the company believes its core job is to settle claims and it does so efficiently by being fair and fast in its dealings so that people can get back on track without hindering their progression in life. In a time where customers are used to claims being predominantly handled via an assessor visiting the accident site, Fairfirst’s proactive approach set new standards in the market. The company redefined the whole claim settlement process by completely eliminating the time wasted at the accident site waiting for an assessor. Further, it fast tracked the claim settlement process by providing instant claims.

 

For customers with Fairfirst, this hassle-free process starts by customers calls being answered in under 3 seconds by a 24/7 Call Centre to guide customers on expediting their claims. Thereafter, the claims experts come onboard to take on the process of handling all claim intimations virtually. Therefore, in the unfortunate event of an accident, the customer has to contact the Fairfirst Call Centre on 0112 428 428 who will connect the call through to the claims experts to start a video-based assessment of the damage on real-time basis. As this process is done through the help of smartphones and data connectivity, a customer’s claim can be assessed and paid in full in less than 10 minutes, depending on the nature of the damage.

 

Fairfirst also makes sure that every step of their customer’s journey is uplifted in an empathetic manner through their additional value-added services such as: the availability of a 24/7 island-wide free Roadside Assistance Cover along with access to more than 100 EasyFix garages island-wide for cashless repairs that come with a warranty.

 

Being the most innovative insurer makes the road ahead clear for Fairfirst and much more convenient for customers. Theirs is a commitment in providing a ‘Fair and Fast’ solution at all times thus ensuring the values of Empathy, Authenticity, Responsibility and Safety especially in the context of promoting social distancing.

 

Despite being a relatively young brand, Fairfirst Insurance has secured a strong foothold in the market while leading digital disruption in the industry. As testimony to its innovation, Fairfirst Insurance was recently awarded the ‘Best Online Insurance Company in Sri Lanka’ at the Global Banking & Finance Awards 2020. Fairfirst also achieved the distinction of being the only Sri Lankan company to be listed in the ‘2020 Top Insurance Workplaces in Asia-Pacific’ by Insurance Business Asia. This is yet another global recognition for Fairfirst in Sri Lanka and comes on the heels of the ‘Most Innovative’ award across the Fairfax Group of Companies located around the globe while also being featured as one of the youngest brands in the ‘Top 100 Brands Directory in Sri Lanka 2020’.

 

Fairfirst Insurance is part of the Canadian based Fairfax Group. Fairfax, through its subsidiaries, has an international insurance and reinsurance business with a global underwriting reach, longstanding relationships and a broad product range. Fairfax has a strong foothold in the growing insurance and reinsurance markets of Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Brazil.

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VMware Empowers Customers to Build their Multi-Cloud Future

 

VMware’s Multi-Cloud Strategy Unlocks the Value From Any Cloud While Delivering Better

Security and Simplified Operations

 

VMware, Inc. (NYSE: VMW) announced new innovations to help customers build, run, manage, connect, and protect any app on any cloud. Today, more than 15 million enterprise workloads run on VMware in the cloud, and more than 4,300 partners offer VMware-based cloud services. With these new and updated offerings, customers and partners can unlock multi-cloud’s full potential value by providing more developer freedom while providing IT with consistent and efficient security and operations.

 

VMware is delivering a range of solutions and services to help customers survive and thrive in the most turbulent market in generations. VMware’s cloud, app modernization, networking, security, and digital workspace platforms form a flexible, consistent digital foundation on which to build, run, manage, connect and protect applications, anywhere. Applications are at the heart of digital transformation. They enable businesses to deliver powerful and personalized digital experiences to customers and employees. The complex and diverse needs of applications drive the need for multi-cloud strategies. VMware helps organizations at all points in their multi-cloud journey.

 

“VMware has reached a major milestone in its plan to unlock the power of every cloud for every business. We now support customers’ application strategies by delivering VMware-based services on every major public cloud provider and hundreds of VMware Cloud Verified partners worldwide,” said Raghu Raghuram, chief operating officer, products and cloud services, VMware. “As we drive our strategy forward, we are expanding our portfolio of cloud infrastructure, operations, and security services to enable faster application migration and modernization, and better business agility and resiliency.”

 

Delivering a Unified Platform for a Modern, Multi-Cloud World

VMware supports organizations across all clouds and all application types. The company offers a complete cloud portfolio that delivers consistent infrastructure and operations and enables a flexible and agile developer model that allows businesses to:

 

  • Migrate and Modernize Apps on VMware Cloud on AWS: This will improve IT agility and maximize uptime and performance, while the new and expanded disaster recovery capabilities help minimize business disruptions.

  • Running VMware Applications on Microsoft Azure: the next-generation Azure VMware Solution enables customers to easily extend or migrate on-premises VMware applications to Azure. Customers can achieve cost savings and better TCO.

  • Simple, Scalable, More Secure Infrastructure as-a-Service On-Premises: VMware Cloud on Dell EMC, the data center-as-a-service offer of Dell Technologies Cloud, adds new VMware HCX workload migration capabilities, improved performance, new host types, and support for multiple clusters within a single rack.

  • Single Marketplace Featuring Thousands of Apps and Solutions: with the new consolidated VMware Marketplace, customers can discover thousands of validated third-party, open-source, and first-party solutions. These can be deployed across vSphere, VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud on Dell EMC and VMware Tanzu environments. With VMware Cloud Director service integration, partners can offer tenants a modern application catalog for developers.

 

Unifying Multi-Cloud Management and Operations

VMware Cloud Management enables organizations to consistently deploy, operate, and govern applications, infrastructure, and platform services across any cloud environment. New cloud management innovations enable:

 

  • Innovative Cloud Management Hybrid Subscription Solution enables proactive issue avoidance, troubleshooting and automated workflows in a unified management and support experience.

  • AI-driven, Cloud-Delivered Application Performance Optimization helps assure service-level agreements are met while enabling business agility as customers scale and migrate workloads across environments.

  • Multi-Cloud Operations for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure: CloudHealth by VMware now supports Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), enabling enterprises to view all public cloud costs from a single platform.

  • Multi-Cloud Security Posture Management and Compliance: CloudHealth Secure State adds real-time monitoring for Google Cloud, as well as 20 new AWS and Azure services, including managed Kubernetes and serverless configurations.

 

Empowering Cloud Providers with the Complete VMware Multi-Cloud Portfolio

VMware Cloud providers and Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are trusted advisors for customers that need expertise and guidance navigating their multi-cloud journey. New cloud services make it easier for these partners to deliver and customers to consume VMware’s expanding portfolio of multi-cloud services.

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Fairfirst Insurance – Most Innovative Insurer to pioneer 
Contactless Insurance Solutions

The year 2020 has showered multiple global and local accolades on Sri Lanka’s rapidly-growing insurer and digital disruptor, Fairfirst Insurance Limited. The company was recently awarded the ‘Best Online Insurance Company in Sri Lanka’ at the Global Banking & Finance Awards 2020. Fairfirst also achieved the distinction of being the only Sri Lankan company to be listed in the ‘2020 Top Insurance Workplaces in Asia-Pacific’ by Insurance Business Asia. This is yet another global recognition for Fairfirst in Sri Lanka and comes on the heels of the ‘Most Innovative’ award across the Fairfax Group of Companies located around the globe while also being featured as one of the youngest brands in the ‘Top 100 Brands Directory in Sri Lanka 2020’. Its motto to be the best rather than the biggest is proving to be a key differentiator through empathy-based innovations.

 

Fairfirst’s commitment in ensuring the most innovative insurance solutions for its customers has recognised them as pioneers of Contactless Insurance as they redefine the customer journey from purchasing an insurance policy, making a claim to renewing the policy. 

 

Fairfirst’s Digital Shop is the first end-to-end online insurance purchasing platform in Sri Lanka, offering a seamless interface that enables customers to browse, customize and buy at their own discretion. The unique feature of this platform is the ‘A La Carte’ policy. Perhaps the first of its kind in the world, unlike traditional motor insurance, Fairfirst’s Digital Shop offers customers the flexibility of designing their own motor policy. Customers can choose from a menu of insurance solutions and decide what they want to go for and how much they want to pay for it - all of this can be done in as fast as 5 minutes and on the go.  

 

Customers can also chat via WhatsApp on 0770-428428 to purchase motor insurance within 5 minutes; log onto www.fairfirst.lk to make a payment, renew a policy, buy a policy for instant coverage or even inquire on the status of a claim. Fairfirst’s customers can talk to the trilingual ChatBot, Machan, for real-time updates on claims available at their fingertips.

 

The Fairfirst Call Centre is fully functional 24x7 on 0112 428 428 with the guarantee of every call is answered within 3 seconds by a friendly human who will assist in any insurance-related inquiry.

 

Through virtual and remote technological capabilities, Fairfirst’s Click2Claim facility enables all claim intimations to be handled virtually. In the event of an unfortunate accident, all customers have to do is get on a video call with the Call Centre who will remotely assess the claim on a real-time basis to provide an instant assessment and offer. Via an instant assessment, customers can collect the cash payment from the nearest Commercial Bank Branch on the same day, thereby eliminating the waiting time at the accident site, long claim forms/applications whilst being given the freedom to repair their damaged vehicle at their most preferred garage.

 

Fairfirst Insurance Limited is part of the global Fairfax Group. The Group is a leading property and casualty insurer, reinsurer and investment manager headquartered in Toronto, Canada. Fairfirst is today among the top general insurance companies of Sri Lanka and is recognised as the only Sri Lankan company amongst the 2020 Top insurance global giants in Asia-Pacific. Fairfirst serves individuals, businesses and institutions across this beautiful island through a versatile workforce spread across the comprehensive branch network, affinity partners and brokers in Sri Lanka.

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Post Covid 19 growth will depend on  Innovations

By Chanaka  de Silva

    

Today the most serious concern facing companies of all types is how to remain profitable and competitive in a fast-changing global environment.  The key to this is innovation. At the cutting edge of innovation, the company SL Robotics Solutions (Pvt) Ltd.

Speaking to  SL Robotics Solutions (Pvt) Ltd. Head of Operations Thilanka Leula, who commented on the present situation of requirements that appear in the agricultural industry said, that with the ever-increasing shortage of labour that the world face, therefore it is vitally important that industries employ cutting edge technology in order to stay ahead in the field. One of the groundbreaking solutions designed and deployed his team is the Smart Farming Solution / Greenhouse Automation. A system that allows ‘smart managing’ the activities on the farm.  This system provided real-time access to monitor and control of the environment. The system monitors the set parameters independently and makes the adjustments accordingly. Thus, leaving little necessity for human intervention.   All this whilst the data could be monitored in real time. Another of the success stories is the ‘Smart Lilly’.  A dream for anyone involved in agriculture of any scale. This system monitors the moisture level of the garden soil and automatically activates the watering system to maintain the plants through your mobile.

 

     Commenting further on innovations that save costs Lelua said, SL Robotics have been building tailor-made systems which combine electronics, firmware, mechanical and software technologies in their system. Systems of similar capabilities are usually not available locally or of exorbitant cost.  The strength has always been in analyzing the problems, and providing advice for the best solution and consultation to be provided. As a 100% Sri Lankan company SL Robotics has the ability to provide the best solutions to meet Sri Lankan requirements in both cost and solution as well.

Of the many innovations developed and leading  the field  is a sensor-based complete ‘Factory Output Dashboard’ system, an  Intelligent Material Management’ systems which saves both power and manpower, a ‘Smart Physical Parameter Management’ systems which monitor Temperature, Humidity, Light, Air circulation, Auto gates, Motion related activities and developed ‘Robotics Related Automation’ to industrial environments. and currently, the development of programmable humanoid robot hardware for different applications is underway.

 

Finally, SL Robotics Solutions (Pvt) Ltd. Head of Operations Thilanka Leula, said whenever the requirement for the innovation of a system within an organization for the purpose of maximizing profit is required, SL Robotics has stepped up to the challenge. Therefore, in a global playing field where the trend and requirement for high returns from small sized companies, innovation of their processes is the single most vital factor for survival. To this end both small and medium and large scale sized organizations have sought solutions from SL robotics. A specific policy maintained  is the  promotions of innovations for  both small medium scale companies  thus  opening an avenue  for the  maximization of their profits.

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 Maersk to enhance customer experience

 

A.P. Moller - Maersk introduces strategic changes that will further improve customer experience and end-to-end service delivery. As part of this, the Safmarine brand will be integrated into Maersk to enhance customers’ access to the global integrated offering. In addition, the Damco brand’s Air and LCL (Less than Container Load) offering will be combined with Maersk’s logistics and services products to complement its end- to-end offering. Also, a more simplified and customer-centric global Ocean & Logistics organisation is being introduced.

 

These changes represent a major step towards becoming an integrated container transport and logistics company, connecting and simplifying customers’ supply chains. “Our customers are at the heart of our vision. Their evolving supply chain needs are increasing the demand for multiple modes of transport and to meet these needs, we’re bringing our company’s expertise and capabilities even closer together. Taking these steps are key to accelerating our transformation,“  says Vincent Clerc, CEO of Ocean & Logistics, A.P. Moller -Maersk.


Over time, the value propositions of Maersk and Safmarine have converged, as both brands have been focusing on building a customer-centric culture and as the digital interactions with customers have increased. “With the integration of Safmarine, we can present Safmarine customers with the full ocean and
supply chain offering and more scale. At the same time, I’m very excited to have Safmarine’s passion for customers closer to Maersk by uniting our teams,” says Vincent Clerc. Since focusing purely on freight forwarding in 2018, Damco has demonstrated significant value to customers in the Air and Ocean LCL space. During this time, it has become apparent through close customer engagements that the value proposition of Maersk can be greatly enhanced with
the expansion of multiple modes of transport.


The integration of Air and LCL into Maersk will help meet these needs and give businesses access to a simplified, connected and agile experience under the Maersk brand, as well as to its scale.Maersk uses its own assets to offer unique value propositions, hence it will not pursue the Ocean FCL Multi-carrier product (NVOCC) as a general offering. “Businesses need Air and LCL products to connect their supply chains and with these offerings firmly placed in our global integrated portfolio, we aim to serve our businesses better and more efficiently across their supply chains,“  says Vincent Clerc and continues: “Our colleagues in Damco have delivered a remarkable effort under challenging market conditions, serving customers through focus, discipline and expertise which will now be a strong asset for our customers in Maersk.” Due to the changes, the Safmarine and Damco brands will no longer be marketed by the end of 2020. In addition, Maersk will simplify its organisational structure across Ocean & Logistics globally to further improve customer centricity and efficiency. As part of this, the back offices of Maersk and Hamburg Süd will come closer together into more customer-centric teams, while continuing
to meet customers as two separate brands with a differentiated service model.

Suranga Herath, CEO, English Tea Shop a.
Great Game of Business All Star Champion
The ETS Team with the International All-
English Tea Shop is Great Game of Business All Star International Champion 2020
  • Advocates shared value; employees, tea-growers and shareholders grow together

  • Showed profitability even through COVID-19 due to GGOB

  • Achieved 20% compound annual growth in value-added per employee in last 5 years

 

October 6, 2020 Colombo Sri Lanka:  Sri Lanka’s English Tea Shop which markets premium organic tea to 50 countries won the prestigious Great Game of Business All Star Award 2020 – International Champion having demonstrated a sustainable continuity in its business model showcasing profitability even through COVID-19. The Company inculcates the best practices of open-book management (OBM) which encourages a shared value culture of employees thinking and acting like owners.   

 

Playing the ‘Big Game’, ETS created a foundation of shared value by purchasing tea directly from tea growers to promote and sustain agricultural practices, allowing its team, farmers and shareholders to grow together.  The Company posted a 31% increase in productivity in the first year of playing GGOB has in the five years since, seen 15% of the company being employee owned.

 

Commending ETS on this All Star win, President & CEO of SRC Holdings Corp Jack Stack who is known as the Godfather of GGOB said, “You have taught us that we are on the right path and right direction. What distinguishes ETS from others is the consistency, which is something they have really understood.  Not only are they growing with their senior employees but they also have the mechanism to engage the younger team into the business.”

 

A firm proponent of open-book management which inspired him to infuse these practices into ETS, CEO of English Tea Company Suranga Herath said, “In our part of the world, opening the books to your company is not incentivized nor encouraged, which is an inherent challenge. But by playing the Big Game, I’m proud of achieving 20% compound annual growth in value-added per employee in the last five years.” He adds that OBM breaks down the ‘we-they” culture by increasing the degree of transparency and trust everyone has about the business and its processes. “As the line-of-sight of work to key business outcomes improve, so does the wealth creation and sharing.”

 

For a Company that has navigated the challenges of both COVID-19 and Brexit successfully, Herath believes the award reinforces the tangibility of the ETS shared value concept.  “The team directly influences the direction of the business. We continued our weekly huddle rhythm even during COVID-19 online, brainstorming and updating our planning scenario to prepare us for diverse outcomes.  Because of this culture of shared ownership, our team was thinking like owners of the Company which is what made the difference.”

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Singer partners with Malaysia’s Signature Group- introduces world’s leading Kitchen solutions

Singer, Sri Lanka’s premier consumer durables retailer, has partnered with Signature Group, Malaysia’s largest Kitchen Cabinet and Wardrobe manufacturer.


With this new partnership, Singer aims to begin manufacturing Signature Kitchen systems and products in Sri Lanka. This collaboration is expected to reinforce Signature brand’s presence in Sri Lanka which treats the local consumers to a blend of Europeanness, elegance, style and products that are manufactured with high quality materials.


To showcase the new partnership, Singer will also be displaying Signature’s innovative product portfolio in Sri Lanka for the first time at Singer Homes, Ratmalana and will expand to 30 more outlets in phase 1. Singer will manufacture Signature Kitchen systems at the state of the art Singer Factory complex and will unleash innovative ideas to expand cuisine capacities of Sri Lankan homes backed by Signature Kitchen. Malaysia’s
Signature Group has been awarded the FORBES ASIA Best Under a Billion commendation, 2016 MSWG-ASEAN Corporate Governance Excellence Award and even collected many other awards in previous years.


Commenting on the recent partnership, Mahesh Wijewardene, CEO of Singer Sri Lanka PLC says: “We are extremely delighted of this partnership with Signature which allows us to bring world-class kitchen solutions to the door-steps of Sri Lankans. As a widely known household brand in Sri Lanka, Singer is well equipped to enter into Kitchen manufacturing with acclaimed Signature brand.”


Malaysia’s Signature Kitchen is renowned for staying abreast with innovative and contemporary European designs in kitchens and wardrobes with over 25 years of expertise and a strong presence in 15 countries. Signature Kitchen is a leader in supplying kitchen systems and solutions to the Asian market and continues its great run in retail segments as well. Quality, functionality, design and style are well preserved at Signature Kitchen which focuses on
provision of customer-driven, fully customizable solutions with innovation as its core driver. “Singer’s island-wide presence in Sri Lanka and strength in manufacturing has made it a strong candidate to this partnership. We are honored to work with a brand of the caliber of Singer and are looking forward to this
partnership which opens the opportunity for Sri Lankans to an international experience in kitchen systems. 

 

Signature team is working hand in hand with Singer (Sri Lanka) to share industry’s best practices, coupled with innovation and creativity” said Tan Kee Choong, Group Managing Director of Signature International, Berhad.Singer (Sri Lanka) PLC is at the forefront of Sri Lanka’s retail segment with a portfolio of over 600 electronic items, 1200 home appliances and boasts more than 50 internationally renowned brands. With over 430 retail outlets,


Singer has propelled into become a dominant player offering best in class in after sales services. Singer supports customers with credit card offers, hire-purchase and convenient payment schemes along with comprehensive warranties. Singer (Sri Lanka) has won numerous awards for the wide range of top-quality local and international brands and on top of such efforts, it has been awarded the number one People’s Brand for 14 consecutive years at
the SLIM-Nielson People’s Awards.

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Samsung Galaxy Note20 | Note20 Ultra 5G now in Sri Lanka

The Galaxy Note20 5G series is making adapting to the next normal even easier by building on the heritage of the Note series and delivering an unparalleled experience designed for users that want to get more done and enjoy premium entertainment in the palm of their hands from anywhere they desire. Delivering powerful control over both work and play aspects of user’s lives for the first-time ever in the industry, Samsung’s new Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra - in a timeless premium design and in mystic colours, are now available for purchase in Sri Lanka. 

 

To work faster and smarter the Galaxy Note20 series brings the S Pen and Samsung Notes feature for acing all those presentations even while working from home. The Galaxy Note20 Ultra’s 120Hz display enhances the experience even more for life-like precision whether you’re jotting down notes in a meeting or scribbling down a grocery list. The S Pen has evolved to become the ultimate productivity companion.

 

Samsung’s partnership with Microsoft reaches new heights on the Galaxy Note20 series. With Microsoft’s Your Phone app and Link to Windows integration on select Samsung phones, users can sync their Galaxy smartphone to their Windows10 PC to share messages, photos, notifications and calendar reminders in almost real-time. The Galaxy Note20 series introduces a suite of new experiences for a more continuous productivity flows.

 

Note20 series lets you relive your fondest memories in high-fidelity with Pro Video mode. Shoot like a movie director in 8K at 24 frames per second to give your home videos that cinematic look. Alternatively, shoot in Full HD at 120 frames per second and play back the video at 120Hz to get a super smooth look.

 

In addition, the Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra are 5G ready which makes them compatible for 5G usage on commercial availability of the 5G network in Sri Lanka.

A feature-packed device wouldn’t be complete without a design to match. The Galaxy Note20 series elevates the design heritage of the Note series with a timeless and durable design featuring new Mystic colour options and a matching S Pen. Soft, neutral tones and a textured haze finish add a touch of sophistication and a premium feel to Samsung’s most powerful Note yet.

 

Samsung Electronics revealed five new power devices that seamlessly integrate to empower consumers navigating a rapidly changing world: Galaxy Note20 and Galaxy Note20 Ultra, the most powerful Note series yet; Tab S7 and S7+, versatile tablets for productivity and creativity; Galaxy Watch3, a premium smartwatch along with advanced health features; Galaxy Buds Live, stylish and ergonomic earbuds with amazing sound quality; and Galaxy Z Fold2, the next generation foldable smartphone with enhanced refinements. Alone, these devices are powerful tools to help you maximize work and play. Together, as part of the Galaxy ecosystem, they work together seamlessly so you can spend your time focused on what matters the most.

The Galaxy Note20 series is available for purchase from 29th August 2020 onward at island-wide authorized dealers of John Keells Office Automation and Softlogic Mobile Distribution which can easily be identified by the Samsung logo placed outside the shop. Also available at authorized partners - Softlogic Retail, Singer, Singhagiri and Damro. Network Partners Dialog and Mobitel and through the online portals; Samsung E-Store, Daraz.lk, MySoftlogic.lk and mcentre.lk. Customers can also reach out through the Samsung customer hotline, Monday to Sunday 8.30am to 8.30pm or post their inquiries on Samsung Members which offers 24x7 assistance providing real-time solutions

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Singer Fashion Design program calls for enrollments  

 

The Singer Fashion Academy, being in operation for over 60 years, has called for new enrollments to its Certificate in Fashion Designing - a highly sought-after qualification in Sri Lanka’s Fashion industry, a qualification which is also validated by the Chartered Society of Designers (CSD), UK. The Academy has commenced accepting applications for the September intake of the certificate program and the intake is open till 30th of September 2020.

Singer Fashion Academy is the first Sri Lankan institute to gain course validation from CSD, UK, the internationally recognized professional body for the design profession, which champions professional design practice. The Academy helps students to achieve international recognition with a clear-cut pathway for aspirants in fashion designing. The September 2020 intake for Certificate in Fashion Designing will see the Academy introducing a perfect blend of both online and in-class sessions with the integration of course modules to suit a flexible online learning method. The online sessions will be held via Microsoft Teams platform while the students will need to be present for the in-class practical sessions. The recordings of all online lectures will be available on Microsoft Teams for further reference of students.

Singer Fashion Academy will conduct a series of introductory sessions to provide students with an insight to the program. These sessions will be conducted via ZOOM and work to create pre-awareness for applicants about the course and its career prospects. Registration for these free awareness sessions can be done through Singer Fashion Academy Facebook page or by calling the hotline: 0766177177. In addition, the students who register for the Certificate in Fashion Designing program also receive a free fashion designing tool kit that they will use during the program for pattern making.

The Certificate in Fashion Designing is a stepping-stone to a solid career path. The six-month long Certificate is the foundation program and upon completion, students gain entry into the Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Fashion Designing. The Certificate in Fashion Designing is a bi-annual course, which is available in March and September intakes. Students with two credit passes for both Mathematics and English for the GCE Ordinary Level examination are eligible to apply for this course. The Diploma in Fashion Designing (one-year program) and the Advanced Diploma in Fashion Designing (one-year program) that follows are equivalent to the first two years of a University program under the UK curriculum. The students who successfully complete the course will be awarded with an internationally recognized certificate from the Chartered Society of Designers (CSD), UK in addition to the certificate awarded from the Singer Fashion Academy. 

The academy ensures that students reap maximum benefits from the course by offering comprehensive practical sessions, mastery of industry skills, exposure to industry experts and reputed lecturers from both local and international universities, personalized discussions and Q&A sessions. Therefore, the contribution of the Academy to Sri Lankan Fashion Industry is substantial. Commenting on the overall contribution of Singer Fashion Academy, Koshitha Peramunugamage, Head of Singer Business School said: “Over the years, we were able to groom passionate individuals into professionals in fashion designing. This is why despite the ongoing challenges, we are firm in providing uninterrupted education to students from all corners of the island who are eagerly awaiting enrollment in our courses. We have stayed true to our promise of shaping students to become professionals in fashion designing, and we always aspire to provide an international level experience and recognition through our courses.”

Singer Fashion Academy offers over 20 different programs including three Diploma programs, eight Certificate programs and 11 short courses. It has established 65 strategic learning centers enabling students to take up the courses from the nearest and most accessible learning center. In addition to the validations by the Charted Society of Designers, UK, most of the courses are recognized by the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC) of Sri Lanka as well.

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New FriMi savings products help customers manage money

 

Pushing the boundaries of digital payments to new heights, FriMi, Sri Lanka’s  and trusted digital banking solution, is set to infuse a fresh new approach to savings with the launch of their new product, ‘Savings Pots’, a one-of-a-kind savings. One of the first banking products launched in addition to the existing savings account, FriMi is inviting customers to open 3 more additional savings accounts called ‘Savings Pots’ in a matter of a few clicks. The customer can divide their income amongst these pots while earmarking funds for ‘must do’ activities giving them the freedom and flexibility to move funds amongst the accounts. The concept of ‘Savings Pots’ empowers customers to manage money better based on mandatory spending for house rent, utility bills, insurance premium, bills, educational payments etc., while simultaneously keeping money aside for recreation and other important things rather than facing a month-end surprise when the income dwindles. FriMi helps customers save for a rainy day by not allowing any transactions directly through these pots or to have them linked with debit cards. 

 

One of the unique features of the product is that is creates one platform for all needs including fund transfers to other bank, sending money via the mobile number, making all utility bill payments, other credit card payments and more from the comfort of their homes. The App also allows users to keep track of all expenses and earnings in a graphically categorized method to manage money effectively. 

 

Commenting on the  launch,Head of FriMi, Nazeem Mohamed  said, “FriMi has revolutionized digital banking in Sri Lanka, in a manner that has liberated customers to make digital payments while on-the-go and to enjoy unprecedented convenience and ease of use. Inspired by the immense trust and adoption of FriMi, we are proud to add further value with a new savings product, ‘Savings Pots’, which is a highly engaging money management product to streamline savings. ‘Savings Pots’ helps customers manage their funds easier while they streamline their income and optimize finances. It is money made easy for our deserving clients. The use of a reliable and trusted digital banking solution like FriMi to power people’s digital lifestyles is indispensable and a must-have!”

 

In addition to the ‘Savings Pots’ FriMi now also offers customers Fixed Deposits for long term savings. FD’s from FriMi offer you even more convenience as you can open one from your phone without having to fill out forms at the bank. With a minimum deposit of Rs. 50,000, a customer can open FD’s for 1, 3, 6, 12, 24, 36, 48 or 60 months, collecting their interest at maturity, monthly or annually and the interest will be credited to the customers FriMi account.

 

 

Owned and backed by the stability of Nations Trust Bank, FriMi inspires trust when it comes to confidentiality of financial transaction. Today, it is the market leading, fully-fledged Digital Banking experience, Mobile Wallet & Payment System - giving its over 125,000 customers an unparalleled experience. FriMi is also launching Lanka QR, a popular QR code to make transactions ‘tap and go’, easier and contactless.

 

FriMi became a crucial partner for one and all during the recent pandemic and work from home directive as it helped people make online transactions with ease and convenience while tracking their expenses. It has established its credentials as a premier lifestyle brand that helps users enjoy multiple experiences with ease as it has a strong network of merchants amounting to over 3,500. It is rapidly expanding both its e-commerce and physical merchant network across the country by using its QR and unique API integrated payment capabilities. FriMi also marks dominant presence in the Justpay service on interbank transactions due to its significant market share.

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New Country Sales Manager to strengthen VMware Technology Ecosystems

VMware, Inc. (NYSE: VMW), a leading innovator in enterprise software, today announced the appointment of Devendra Manuvel to the company’s leadership team as Country Sales Manager for Sri Lanka and the Maldives. 

 

n his new role, Devandra will oversee the delivery of VMware’s industry-leading innovations to the region, enabling organizations to access next-generation technologies to pivot towards an increasingly digital and mobile-first economy. 

 

With over 19 years of industry experience with a strong skill set spanning across enterprise technology, channel partner management and business development, Devandra will be responsible for leading business development for Sri Lanka and Maldives, with a focus on strengthening partner relationships and delivering greater strategic value to customers as they navigate digital transformation to stay above a rapidly evolving business landscape.

 

Devendra’s previous role at VMware was to run channels in Sri Lanka and Maldives. He actively led and cultivated strategic relationships across VMware and partner business organizations to help drive differentiated customer success. Prior to VMware, he also held a number of senior executive positions at Microsoft and IBM Software, making him a good candidate to fortify VMware’s mission to empower the technology and innovation ecosystems in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

 

“I am honored to take up this new role, especially at a time where keeping pace with digital transformation has become key to driving business results,” said Devendra. “With a budding IT industry valued at $5 billion and the country’s continued investments in the ICT sector, Sri Lanka has all the right conditions to grow into dominant player advancing technology and driving innovation for the South Asia region and beyond. VMware is excited to help these two budding economies embark on their digital transformation journeys to build inclusive and sustainable growth for businesses, industries and communities.”

 

“We are excited to have Devendra on board, as VMware helps businesses in Sri Lanka and the Maldives unlock growth opportunities with digital technologies. We are confident that Devendra’s addition to the leadership team will elevate VMware’s offerings to empower businesses in the region to achieve more,” said Nitin Ahuja, Country Manager, Nascent and Vietnam, VMware.

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FS named a Leader in the Gartner 2020 Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management

 

IFS, the global enterprise applications company was duly recognized as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management (FSM).   IFS achieved the highest overall position for its ability to execute in the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management which is a testament to its long-term product investment strategy and singular customer focus. Since 2014, IFS has been recognized as a Leader in every Gartner Magic Quadrant published for FSM.

2019 was yet another transformational year for IFS in the FSM space, during which the company completed the acquisition of Astea International while growing its field service management business organically by 51 percent versus 2018. IFS has also welcomed a large number of new customers to its service management fold, including regional telecommunications leader Saudi Telecom Company, energy and communications technology solutions provider SPIE France, and US oil and gas producer Endeavor Energy Resources

The IFS partner ecosystem was also significantly extended by PTC, whose Servigistics® Service Parts Management will, in combination with IFS Field Service Management™, allow companies to increase equipment uptime and service part availability as well as improve service delivery and execution efficiency.

“Being once again positioned as a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management is, in my opinion, an important validation of our unwavering commitment to enabling our customers to power their growth through service,” said Marne Martin, President of IFS Service Management. “Over the past year, we have continued our aggressive investment in the service management business, adding more go-to-market, product, implementation and support resources and expertise to bring even more value to our customers, both globally and regionally. As we continue to tackle the challenges of 2020 together with our partner ecosystem, our focus remains firmly on empowering our customers to accelerate revenue generation and deliver on digital transformation goals with intelligent service solutions that encompass every business process within the complete service value chain.” Martin futher added.

IFS’s offering combines world-class real-time scheduling optimization alongside a breadth of service management and field service capabilities that are unmatched in the market. This makes IFS uniquely capable of managing the entire service lifecycle for businesses from mobile workforce, planning, service desk, and contact center to contracts, warranties, forward and reverse logistics, and depot repair. IFS connects the complete service value chain enabling businesses to deliver digital transformation and power growth through service.

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Hatch & LAN gear up to launch Sri Lanka's first fintech accelerator

When Hatch opened in 2018, it quickly became a hub for innovators. It enriched the entrepreneurial spirit within its walls by offering generously curated regular programmes of mentoring sessions, learning workshops and events. In April 2020, Hatch in partnership with Lankan Angel Network (LAN) and through the support of the Ford Foundation, will officially launch the first chapter of its start-up accelerator programme ‘HatchX’, establishing Sri Lanka’s first fintech accelerator. The programme’s strategic partner will be the Fintech Association of Sri Lanka (FASL). It has also received the endorsement of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL).

This first chapter will stay true to HatchX’s unique vision of moving beyond the traditional accelerator model by linking six innovative start-ups with financial regulators in order to bridge the divide between the two in the start-up ecosystem. The programme is being launched at a time when Sri Lanka is urgently looking towards fintech solutions to address essential needs, especially as businesses and financial institutions are seeking digital solutions to deliver timely services to their customers in order to meet unprecedented demand.

HatchX acts as a platform that supports start-ups and mature companies to scale their products and services in Sri Lanka and the region, while also opening up opportunities for collaboration, encouraging sharing and enabling access. Through HatchX’s foundational pillars focused on education, investment readiness and networking, entrepreneurs can access knowledge, expertise, collaboration and investment opportunities- all within the safe space of a curated accelerator programme designed by an internationally experienced expert team.

Commenting on the accelerator programme, Hatch co-founder Jeevan Gnanam said: “This will really put our cohort of start-ups through the mill. They’ll learn everything they need to about making it in a tough space and emerge stronger and more investible. They’ll be linked directly with banks, investors, and service providers as well as CBSL. Eventually, they will become products that will hugely improve how we access finance in Sri Lanka and beyond. Especially now, that the country is waking up to the need for digital financial solutions to meet their daily needs. Everyone benefits, and everyone learns.”

The fintech chapter of HatchX is funded by the Ford Foundation through LAN, a platform for angel and private investors who invest in high-growth early stage Sri Lankan ventures. Since 2012, LAN has supported more than 30 start-ups via funding and mentored over 1,000 start-ups. Recently, LAN launched Sri Lanka’s first Angel Fund to back early-stage start-ups via a structure fund.

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From left HUTCH AGM, Data, VAS & Digital Yarthav Mathiaparanam, Chief Technology  Officer Dhananjaya Ponnamperuma, Chief Executive Officer Thirukumar Nadarasa, Chief Marketing Officer Ramzeena Morseth Lye, General Manager Marketing Hamdhy Hassen, Chief Information Officer Asanga Ranasinghe

HUTCH announces island-wide 4G roll-out

Pics  by Chanaka de Silva 

Unveiling a pivotal achievement post its strategic acquisition of Etisalat Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., in 2018, Hutchison Telecommunications Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, today announced the successful completion of the merger between the two networks and smooth migration of customers from multiple systems to one of world-class unified system.

 

Senior officials from the local subsidiary of global telecommunication giant CK Hutchison Holdings, announced that the massive network merger would now provide customers access to a bigger and better network of 2G, 3G and 4G services across the country. The company also unveiled its fresh outlook and brand value proposition - “Be. Anywhere” - celebrating the completion of its 4G network coverage in Sri Lanka.

 

This network development offers the population as much as 95% coverage across all 25 districts, while serving millions of people across 12,000 plus Grama Niladhari divisions. With over 3500sites being merged, the 4G network expansion was a complex process. A total of more than 400 engineers and technical support staff from Sri Lanka and experts from several other countries were deployed to execute the project in a record time of 12 months.

 

Commenting on the  4G roll out, Chief Executive Officer, HUTCH, Thirukumar Nadarasa said, “We are delighted to announce the 100% successful merger of both the networks. We are proud of our Engineering and IT teams for achieving this mammoth undertaking within the scheduled timeframes despite the trying and turbulent operating environment last year. The completion of the island-wide 4G network coverage has propelled HUTCH to the forefront of the industry and this is a testimonial of our commitment to serve all segments of the Sri Lankan market. We will continue to bring benefits of the latest mobile technology to people in Sri Lanka, thereby making it easier for them to live their life and conquer dreams by being anywhere they are!”

 

Powering ahead to deliver on its promises, Hutch has also completed installation  of the most advanced switch and core network in the country as part of the strategic investment. In addition, the company has deployed one of the most progressive Converged Billing Systems (CvBS) in the world, where Post-pay and Pre-paid billing systems can run on a single hybrid platform offering a wide variety of products and services delivered in multiple ways to suit customer convenience.

 

Hutch subscribers can expect many more exciting technology rollouts and digital backed products and services as part of the company’s investment in modernizing and expanding its services in Sri Lanka.

 

BENEFITS OF HUTCH 4G

By extending 4G coverage across Sri Lanka, Hutch has taken a giant stride in its mission to provide digital inclusivity to customers from every walk of life and to bring affordable broadband services across the entire country. Hutch wants to ensure advanced technologies deployed will make a tangible difference in people’s lives such as affordable data connectivity to all parts of the country.  4G provides a more robust experience and allows Hutch customers to download large files such as videos, games and streaming high quality videos much faster and smoother. Current Hutch customers can upgrade to a 4G ready SIM in an instant and free-of-charge, while retaining the same mobile number as the new number is transferred into the new 4G SIM instantly. A 4G ready SIM can be obtained by ordering online; by visiting a SIM upgrade Retail Outlet or by dialing 1788 to get the SIM delivered FOC to your doorstep. Furthermore the same affordable Hutch Data packs available on the 3G network can also be used on the new 4G network seamlessly.

 

 

 

From left HUTCH AGM, Data, VAS & Digital Yarthav Mathiaparanam, Chief Technology  Officer Dhananjaya Ponnamperuma, Chief Executive Officer Thirukumar Nadarasa, Chief Marketing Officer Ramzeena Morseth Lye, General Manager Marketing Hamdhy Hassen, Chief Information Officer Asanga Ranasinghe

Tasha Marikkar moderates session on How
‘Prajāva’, forum on creating shared values 

 

English Tea Shop which has been in the forefront of the organic tea industry in Sri Lanka in infusing Prajāva (community) through Creating Shared Value (CSV), highlighted how sustainable business is rooted in social and environmental impact, at a global forum held at the Galle Face Hotel recently. 

 

The importance of realizing the need to create economic value competitively while emphasizing sustainability gained added fillip as nearly all key industry players gathered at a common forum to share ideas, debate and discuss tools for the future of the industry.

 

The Great Game of Business, President , Rich Armstrong elaborated on the concept of Open Book Management through the Great Game of Business as a fundamental tool for effective CSV.  Augmenting ideas and thought lines into the discussion were Managing Director of Best Group New Delhi Nitesh Jain, Founder Partners of Echo Brand Designs UK Nick Dorman and Nigel Ritchie, COO of Spider PR UK Michelle Butler and Member of the Visiting Faculty of  INSEAD Business School France & CEO, Global Strategic Corporate Sustainability Dr Ravi Fernando.  Senior Lecturer from Harvard Business School and co-author of the renowned seminal article Creating Shared Value Professor Mark Kramer shared insights via a video address.

 

 

 

The findings of an English Tea Shop case study on CSV were presented by a team from the Post Graduate Institute of Management, while Senior Partner and Head of Advisory, Ernst & Young Arjuna Herath was tasked with launching the English Tea Shop’s Employee Share Ownership Plan, yet another first. The initiative paves the way for a broad based ownership structure as a natural next step towards sustainability and succession, driving performance and business continuity upon a strong foundation of consistent sustainable performance and long term prospects.

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Woman-centric WERK launches as corporate partners get on board

WERK, Sri Lanka’s first online woman-centric professional network, was launched amidst much anticipation on recently  at Hatch in Colombo. The well-attended event brought together invitees from various stages in their respective professional lives, paving the way for a promising line-up of projects from the new online platform.

Committed to tackling this disparity by accelerating the career ambitions of women in Sri Lanka, Yusra Aziz-Eliyas and Amrit Rupasinghe set up WERK (Women Entrepreneurs Resource Kit), Sri Lanka’s first woman-focused online professional network. In embodying its mission of unlocking the combined power of female entrepreneurs and corporate women in Sri Lanka to create economic and social progress - the platform will provide networking, advice, resources and opportunities for women to take their careers forward.

Testament to the underlying need for such a service, at the end of the official launch event membership stood at over 400 members representing over 380 small and large businesses, all looking to connect, learn, and rise professionally.

“The case for greater gender equity has never been more compelling,” says Yusra Aziz-Eliyas. “Through WERK we aim to facilitate for women to take their respective ‘hustle’ forward and eventually cement the app’s position as the largest knowledge base for women entrepreneurs and corporate women in Sri Lanka.”

While WERK already stands out from other community networks in the wealth of corporate partnerships it has acquired so far -all having realised the immense potential of this unique and diverse talent pool-, the platform is seeking to further enhance its offering through collaborating with more companies that align with its values. For the launch event alone, the principal sponsors included amanté and Hatch as well as launch partners Selyn, Crimson, Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC), SOZO Beverages, Clear, Rhoda Gifts, Shifani Reffai Photography and Limelight PR.

Furthermore, in keeping with the ethos of WERK, 10% from all corporate membership subscriptions will be donated towards upskilling women from underprivileged backgrounds and charities that provide support services to victims of violence against women.

In addition to varying discounts and offers these alliances provide for the WERK community -from bookkeeping to office attire, website building tools to software- WERK currently partners with a range of professional associations and organizations which also provide great resources for its members looking to advance their careers through educational workshops, networking events, mentoring programs, volunteer and employment opportunities, career services and support, and much more.

Interested professionals looking to further their careers can sign up at www.werk.community. For sponsorships and corporate collaborations, click on the 'Partnerships' tab on the website, and for more information or ways to get involved, just drop an email at hello@werk.community.

Corporate Health and Productivity Awards
COYLE with JETRO to announce  winners

‘’Sri Lanka Corporate Health and Productivity awards 2020’’ organized by the Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE) together with Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is set to unfold on 25th of February 2020 at the Lotus Room, BMICH from 4.30 pm onwards. The awards ceremony, featuring its second edition, is considered an honest effort in raising public recognition of enterprises which are engaging in corporate health and wellness initiatives.

The event will be graced by advisors and members of the judging panel, Dr. Yoshiaki Ichikawa, visiting Professor, Tama University/ CEO, Sustainable Business Laboratory, Dr. Shigeru Yamato, Head of Global Business Investment and Alliance, Open Innovation Center, Infocom Corporation, Masatomo Itonaga, Resident Representative of JETRO Colombo, Athulla R. F. Edirisinghe, Managing Director of Strategic Management Alliance and past President of JASTECA, Dr. Rohitha Silva, Managing Director of Idac (Pvt) LTD and former Chairman of COYLE, Dhammika Fernando, President of CIPM Sri Lanka, Dr. Hasini Banneheke, MBBS, Pg.Dip Med Micro, MD (Med Parasit) Senior Lecturer, (Consultant Parasitologist), Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

COYLE and JETRO have been working hand in hand with regard to uplifting the health and productivity of enterprises and many initiatives have been set up company-wise, providing necessary guidance and backing up. Major highlight was the streak of workshops carried out targeting the corporate sector primarily focusing on building a culture of corporate health and wellness. These initiatives were also instrumental in aligning companies more towards figuring out health and wellness aspects.

COYLE, Chairman, Aminda Rodrigo, commenting on the awards ceremony, ‘’we are into the second edition of Sri Lanka Corporate Health and productivity awards which has gained wider recognition among the corporate sector. Last year, we were able to recognize and honor enterprises which successfully engaged in health and productivity initiatives and we are on the lookout for another breed of enterprises and provide them the recognition they deserve.”

The ceremony is organized in line with the Health and Productivity Stock Selection Programme held in Japan by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE). The enterprises which performed outstandingly towards the betterment of their employees will be selected through surveys based on international standards. The winners will be announced under the categories of Extra-Large, Large, Medium and Small corporates depending on the number of employees.

The organizing committee certifies that the winners will be bestowed with the necessary recognition whilst promoting them as an attractive investment option for investors who see them as worth approaching.  Moreover, the winning enterprises will be endorsed as great working places for employees. The enterprises which participated in the previous edition of the award ceremony have reiterated the value of this initiative, being a major awards ceremony held in recognition of excellent efforts in uplifting corporate health and wellness.

Employee health and wellness plays a huge role in discerning the direction of a company as it directly affects the productivity and performance of the employees. It is proven over the years that proper implementation of health and wellness programs lead to alleviate work-related stress, attain job satisfaction, improve performance and engagement among employees. This awards ceremony not only pays tribute to the winning enterprises, but also delivers a timely message to the world regarding the need to initiate more programs of this caliber.

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EY to conduct training sessions for corporates

Embracing change and managing disruption to enhance growth potential

The New Year 2020 sets the stage for new technologies that is sure to disrupt the set methods of the business sector. The emerging technological innovations in Automation have reengineered the way businesses operate and provide huge potential in improving efficiency and increasing the quality of work output. These technologies have raised a fundamental question – “Are you ready for Robots?”

EY is set to conduct a hands-on training for process automation that is to be held on the 12th of February 2020 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at Hilton Colombo Residencies, Union Place Colombo 02. This full day training session will act as a catalyst in providing a simple understanding of the most popular Automation tools in the market and equip you with basic knowledge on what you may need to know to use these Tools, where the participants will receive an education as the official of EY share their experience in RPA and enable them to understand the powerful automation tools available in the market while providing firsthand experience.

The event will be facilitated by Hiranthi Fonseka, Partner EY Sri Lanka, Johann Anderson, Manager, Financial Accounting Advisory service, EY Sri Lanka and Avinash Fernando, Assistant Manager, RPA, EY Sri Lanka. The attending professionals possess hands-on experience in working with Automation Tools, expertise in Business process mapping & reengineering and one of EY’s key resources in Financial Accounting reporting and analytical services. Furthermore, Avinash Fernando specializes in Automation Tools of Blue Prism and Automation Anywhere and Experience in using VBA. Avinash also possesses expertise in software engineering using languages such as C++.

The training program features a brief introduction on robotics as well as training in tools including UI Path, Blue Prism and Visual Basic for Applications. Moreover, the topic of Implementation and Case Studies of Process Automations. This program is deemed as highly beneficial for those working in the operations, finance, HR, business processing and IT sectors.

RPA is emerging as a powerful tool for businesses globally, however it is still a developing market in Sri Lanka and service providers in RPA play a vital role on the successful implementation and management of the Automation Journey. EY believes a successful RPA journey consist of numerous challenges. As one of the largest RPA consultancies, EY offers support and expertise in taking you through a successful RPA journey with minimum pain points. The Global knowledge base that EY possesses and shared views of all EY firms will provide your company a benchmarked and tested successful implementation process for RPA.

CG Corp Chairman Binod Chaudhary hoists
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Binod Chaudhary opens first five star luxury hotel in Dubai

 

  • Chaudhary’s foray into hospitality began with his investment into the Taj Samudra Sri Lanka

  • Sri Lankan hospitality footprint spans 14; global footprint is 130 hotels in 87 destinations

  • Taj Jumeirah Lake Towers becomes world’s first hotel to fly Nepalese flag permanently

 

Nepali billionaire and investor in Sri Lanka Binod Chaudhary opened his very first luxury five star hotel in Dubai last month, making it the only five star hotel in the world to permanently fly the legendary Nepalese flag, Rato Ra Chandra Surya. CG Corp’s stakeholding in the Taj Jumeirah Lake Towers is 50 percent.  This ‘Business Luxury’ hotel comes under the umbrella of Nepal’s first and only billion dollar multinational conglomerate to be listed by Forbes.

 

CG Hospitality’s journey began in 2001, when Binod Chaudhary, Chairman of CG Corp Global invested in Taj Samudra Sri Lanka along with two other Taj properties in the Maldives. Besides the Taj Samudra investment, the Group has joint ventures with Ceylon Hotels Corporation and Jetwing, heralding a portfolio of 14 hotels in various categories around the Sri Lanka. CG Corp claims its hospitality portfolio has grown by 4,300 percent over the last 13 years, with footprints in 11 countries.

Continuing his father’s entrepreneurial legacy, Rahul Chaudhary joined the already successful CG Corp Global in 2006 as Managing Director and has been spearheading the new hospitality properties in key destinations around the world.  He manages a portfolio of 130 hotels and resorts with 6,507 keys in 87 destinations, out of which 94 are already in operation while the rest are expected to open within the next two years. The Group aims to operate over 200 hotels and resorts in the not-so-distant a future.

With the investment in the Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT), CG Hospitality has established its headquarters in Dubai to cover the Middle-East, Europe and Africa markets. 

Binod Chaudhary said that, “The Taj JLT Dubai is a timeless combination of century-old legacies and luxury woven into contemporary sensibilities and quintessential Indian heritage.  With the launch of this major hotel operation, CG Hospitality’s distinguishing luxury and ethical benchmarks have been infused into the UAE with the iconic hotel setting new benchmarks in ‘Business Luxury’ in the region’s hospitality sector.”

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FINCO Trading exclusive partner for Häcker

 

FINCO Trading, a subsidiary company of FINCO Holdings was announced as the exclusive partner to distribute Häcker Kitchen germanMade, German-based company Häcker küchen GmbH & Co. KG which specializes in modern fitted kitchens. This partnership with Häcker will turn a new chapter in FINCO Trading as Häcker is a family-owned company which was established exclusively for kitchen manufacturing and with its years of expertise and high-quality products, customers are more likely to embrace products that have been tailor-made for a modern and cozy lifestyle. Häcker is constantly expanding its product range to include both, attractive and highly sophisticated kitchens with premium finishes. Having identified Sri Lanka as a country that is quick to embrace world-class, renowned and modern lifestyle brands, Häcker joined hands with FINCO Trading to represent the German brand in Sri Lanka.

 

Häcker is an owner-managed family business run by the father and son duo, Horst and Jochen Finkemeier. Today, Häcker is the second largest manufacturer of kitchen furniture in Germany. Their joint contribution to the brand comprises of projecting extensive experience and adaptation of new technology to the Company, provides support and evaluation while the other engages in developing, creating perspectives and never losing sight of the fact that a steady hand is needed when it comes to the strategic direction of Häcker. The company has long since become a global operator though its roots remain in Rödinghausen in Eastern Westphalia, Germany.

 

Keeping up with the spirit of the times without shying away from innovation or investment. FINCO Trading too, is a family owned but professionally run company, just as it is with Häcker and it only seemed fitting that both companies would join hands. FINCO Trading was set up by FINCO Holdings Ltd in 2019 to cater to the growing need of premium home ware to the local market.

 

Häcker chose to expand their business footprint in Sri Lanka following an extensive analysis of potential companies to partner with. Häcker’s goal of providing high performance contemporary and innovative designs resonated well with FINCO’s stance in improving the level of gracious living through the provision of exceptional products and services for their customers in terms of home and lifestyle.  

 

Commenting on the partnership with Hacker, Priyanjith Weerasooriya FINCO Holdings Managing Director stated, “We believe that better business and a better world go hand-in-hand, whether this comes available in the form of a beautiful kitchen products, innovative appliances and technology offerings. We are proud to have been appointed as the exclusive partner of Häcker Kitchen solutions in Sri Lanka and we believe that our prospective customers will no doubt be able to experience true designs, world-class craftsmanship and innovation from one of the well-regarded brands in the world.” 

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New levels of energy efficiency from  Jinasena
New CJ SMART 

 

Jinasena (Pvt) Limited, one of the leading water management systems and solutions providers in Sri Lanka, has revolutionized water pumps in the country by launching their new generation CJ SMART series domestic water pumps, the most advanced and energy efficient water pump in the country.

 

As the world moves towards greater energy efficiency, companies are expected to support Government initiatives by embracing a greener, more sustainable future by manufacturing cleaner, energy efficient products. As a pioneering organisation with over 110 years of innovation and engineering excellence, Jinasena has taken on this challenge by manufacturing Sri Lanka's first-ever IE1-rated domestic water pump that guarantees significantly higher energy efficiency thanks to its IE1 motor and unique impeller design. The high efficiency impeller has been designed to outperform other impellers in the market. This means that Jinasena's new generation of water pumps is ahead of current stipulated Government regulations for energy efficiency and is a new benchmark for domestic water pumps in Sri Lanka.

 

The Jinasena CJ SMART water pump series pays homage to the company’s Founder C.J. Jinasena while the specially-designed Jinasena TRJ 2019 Impeller, the key component of any water pump, is a tribute in memory of former Chairman Rohan Jinasena. These water pumps are ideally-suited for both domestic clean water application and deep well application and offers a host of key features that position it ahead of all other domestic water pumps available in the market today. The IE1 energy efficiency motor makes this series the first-ever domestic water pumps in Sri Lanka with this efficiency rating while the Jinasena TRJ 2019 Impeller gives best in class performance coupled with anti-rust technology. All pumps consist of a Totally Enclosed Fan Cooled (TEFC) motor with Insulation Class-F winding. The patented pump casing design effectively increases heat dissipation to maximize motor efficiency while the sealed rubber cage, high precession Japanese ball bearing ensures a longer lifecycle. The pump has dual protection against thermal and overload current for maximum protection to the motor (In-built and external TOC) as well as IP54 Ingress Protection from Solids and Water. Guaranteed to provide improved suction and significantly higher flow rate, the low noise pump unit comes with reliable and durable spare parts. The Back Pull-Out construction allows for easy maintenance and repairs.

 

All CJ SMART series water pumps are available through Jinasena’s network of 16 Service Centres located at Colombo, Buttala, Kalutara, Ekala, Avissawella, Dambulla, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Galle, Kaduruwela, Tambuttegama, Anuradhapura, Kurunegala, Ampara, Embilipitiya and Jaffna. All pumps come with a 7-year warranty, highly-reliable after sales service and ample spare parts. The company is currently carrying out intensive training programmes through all 16 outlets to create awareness among plumbers in each of the locations on the key features of the pump, how to install them and carry out any routine maintenance activities. The company is also in the process of expanding its footprint across the island by appointing new agents so that customers can access the new water pumps, as well as all other Jinasena products, closer to their homes.

 

Sharing her thoughts on the revolutionary range of domestic water pumps, Shani Jinasena - Executive Director of Jinasena (Pvt) Limited stated, “We are very proud of this new generation of domestic water pumps as this a significant milestone in the 114-year history of the company. Through these pumps, we at Jinasena have proved our long-standing power to innovate and we are helping showcase Sri Lanka's ability to manufacture a world-class product. Our engineering experts worked tirelessly for a long period of time and we looked into every possible aspect of the product in keeping with our legacy of delivering customised engineering solutions that enrich lives.”

 

Expressing his views, Dr. Shehan De Silva - Director of Jinasena (Pvt) Limited stated, “The ‘smart’ aspect of these water pumps is derived from the cutting edge impeller design, materials and processing technology that is used. The impeller, the key component of any water pump, is designed and manufactured in-house using engineering-grade plastic which is significantly tougher and more durable than standard plastic and is therefore ideally suited for areas of the country that have hard water. The Jinasena R&D team merged the company's renowned advanced design capabilities with foreign manufacturing efficiencies to create a new-generation water pump. This has enabled the company to manufacture a water pump that brings the best of both worlds - higher performance driven by Jinasena's unparalleled engineering knowledge of water pumps and lower costs brought about by tapping into foreign manufacturing efficiencies.”

 

Founded in 1905, Jinasena (Pvt) Limited was the first Ceylonese-owned engineering company and was rated among the five leading engineering companies in the island by 1932. In 1950, the son of the founder T. S. Jinasena, designed and manufactured the first Jinasena Centric Water Pump. It is still the only water pump that is entirely manufactured in Sri Lanka. It continues to enjoy a significant market share in Sri Lanka due to its strong brand name, sturdy construction, proven track record, availability of spare parts and reputed after-sales service. The company also specializes in Water Purifying Solutions, Irrigation Solutions and Solar Solutions, which makes Jinasena one of the few companies that can provide Water Management Solutions (on or off grid) under one roof. In addition, the company is also involved in Renewable Energy solutions and Agricultural Machinery in keeping with its slogan “One trusted name and many possibilities”.

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Ocean Lanka ties up with  Bluesign®

Text  Pics by Chanaka  de  Silva 

Ocean Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd., Sri Lanka’s largest weft knitted fabric manufacturer, has recently received the honour of achieving the status of system partnership with Bluesign®. Bluesign® a Swiss holistic system that provides solutions in sustainable processing and manufacturing to industries and brands. Ocean Lanka becomes  the first ever manufacturer of Sri Lanka to come into system partnership with Bluesign®,  dedicating themselves to the continuous improvement of environmental performance.

Speaking at the  function Asia/Ocean, bluesign technologies ag, CRM Manager Director Sales, Walter Streitler, ,said, “Bluesign® has recognized the potential in Ocean Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd. in becoming a textile and apparel manufacturer that can expressively focus on reducing its harmful impacts on the environment and we are proud to have Ocean Lanka as our system partner. In a day and age where environment, safety and wellbeing best practices are rapidly deteriorating, Bluesign® ensures that harmful practices are eliminated from the very beginning. Apart fromreducing the risks, the bluesign® SYSTEM encourages its system partners to continuously improve safety during the use of chemicals, optimize processes regarding resource consumption and change the product design in terms of environmental impact.”

 Speaking further Streitler said, this venture takes us to study very diverse companies. We first study their systems and situation first. Then we recommend what procedural changes need to be made. We then start working with them implementing the systems.  The results of these systems are long term. Thy will over a period of time assure you of a healthier environment for  your  workers and surroundings. This help in creating health benefits  all round.   Initially companies are reluctant to divulge their procedures and  processes. But we must clearly say that all information we receive we keep in utmost confidence. This information will not  be divulged to any other  person.

Further  he added, we  go into the  detail of what particular  chemicals  and  other  material should  be  ordered. Every  step of the process  is  scrutinized and  designed to have  the  least  environmental impact.

Ocean Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd.  Managing Director Dr. Austin Au, said “We are extremely honoured to achieve the milestone of being the first ever bluesign® SYSTEM PARTNER in the textile and apparel industry. Throughout the past two decades, Ocean Lanka has remained committed to reducing the adverse impacts induced on the people and environment. We are indeed overjoyed by this monumental achievement, which would ensure safer and more sustainable environment for all our stakeholders in the long run.”

The recently concluded comprehensive bluesign® ASSESMENT at Ocean Lanka’s manufacturing facility confirmed that the company meets high standards for environmental performance, wellbeing and responsible use of chemicals and other hazardous substances. As a system partner of Bluesign®, Ocean Lanka is dedicated to reducing the effects of manufacturing on people and the environment..

 

The bluesign® SYSTEM, based on input stream management, ensures that approved chemical products and raw materials are used in all steps of the manufacturing process and that substances posing risks to people and the environment are eliminated. On-site inspections verify the proper application of chemical products and raw materials in controlled processes and ensure the responsible use of resources to guarantee the highest level of consumer safety.

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Rajitha Jayasuriya on CAL Holdings Board

 

 CAL Holdings Limited, a leading investment bank, recently announced that Rajitha Jayasuriya had joined the CAL Holdings Limited Board as Non-Executive Independent Director.

 

Rajitha Jayasuriya, Attorney-at-Law, currently heads the overall legal operation of the USD 2 Bn Sri Lankan apparel industry leader MAS Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, as its Group Director - Legal. She draws from a two decade long legal career and has built a cross-functional legal team for the apparel giant, covering Corporate Law, Intellectual Property and Corporate Governance and has also partnered the organization in its cross-border ventures to its new business verticals, including innovation, startup acquisitions, brands and IT solutions. Rajitha serves on the boards of several subsidiary companies of MAS including a leading New York-based Femtech company.

 

She was ranked number 11 in the list of the 50 most Influential Business Leaders in Sri Lanka in 2014. In 2017 she was recognized at the Top 50 Professional and Career Women Awards by Women in Management and awarded an Outstanding Achievement Award for Law, at the Zonta Woman of Achievement Awards. More recently, Rajitha was also listed in the “New Establishment 100” by the Echelon Magazine. 

 

Capital Alliance (CAL) offers capital market solutions mainly focused on family office and family business solutions.  CAL’s reputation as Sri Lanka’s leading investment bank has been based on its pursuit of excellence in all aspects of its operation. By upholding gender equality at the Board Level and further cascaded across the enterprise ensuring it is integrated into the company’s decision-making process and culture, CAL is positioned as a pioneer in its human resource policies which has helped it build a world-class team of professionals.

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Wavenet CEO addresses Digital Transformation Asia 2019

Global Wavenet (www.globalwavenet.com) CEO, Suren Pinto, was invited to speak at Asia’s largest 5G conference, Digital Transformation Asia 2019 in Malaysia. The three day event is a must attend for organizations in the global ICT Industry looking to take advantage of the 5G opportunity.Wavenet CEO, together with other international telco specialists such as VP Technology Strategy & Transformation, Cheng Choon Si - Singtel, V Devadatta - Practice Head Innovation & Industry Relations, Wirpro, John Zhou - Director, Data Lake Service Huawei and Micheal Lawre - Director TM Forum hosted the panel discussion on 12th November 2019 titled “Charting a path towards the network of the future”. The topic addressed questions on designing dynamic network infrastructure driven by analytics, addressed data challenges, automation, AI and 5G which will drive network transformation in the future. Questions were posed on what investments were needed across networks and which of these could be future-proofed. The panel also discussed making the transition into a software-defined and Opex-driven network model, and on what is needed to support network slicing and edge computing.

The event was organised by the international TM Forum which is the professional industry body that represents service providers and suppliers in the telecommunications industry. The framework standard operated by TM forum enables CSPs and suppliers to rapidly transform business operations, IT systems and the telco ecosystems, enabling CSPs to capitalize on the opportunities presented in a rapidly evolving digital world.

Wavenet CEO Suren Pinto who spearheads the strategic business direction of the company stated on this occasion, “The biggest trend we see in the industry is the IT-fication of telecoms. This means that there needs to be a fundamental shift in the mindset for CSP’s and a level of business agility that does not exist today. We as Wavenet are at the cross section of this IT and Telecoms transformation given our roots as an IT and software company with deep domain expertise in telecoms and networks. We help our CSP customers by building the tools and systems required to bridge this gap and enable them to not merely digitize their systems, but digitalize their business.”

Over the years, Wavenet’s award winning VAS solutions portfolio that includes network consolidation solutions in the Cloud, has already transformed CSP networks all over the world in over 20+ countries. With the natural shift towards a ‘digital’ market, and Wavenet’s frequent innovation focus in staying ahead with telco software solutions in a dynamically changing ICT market, the company has launched its new ‘Digital Transformation Suite’ of services earlier this year which supports changes in 5G, AI  and automation that is rapidly driving network transformation for its telco customers.

Nitin Gupta, CTIO at Wavenet also attended the event and met with key CSPs. Nitin says ‘5G opportunity can be realized with relevant customer centric use-cases that deliver strong benefits for CSPs and motivate them to prioritize 5G investments. Wavenet has always been ahead of the technology curve pioneering telco solutions. 5G is enabling a new shift towards business model innovation, service-centric usages, technology advancements like network slicing. We are constantly transforming our core solutions to offer customized solutions to leverage these market shifts and help CSPs to create value. Our world-class software capabilities and solutions aims to address our customer’s strategic ambitions and assist them in this digital transformation” he stated.

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Second South Asia Investment Conference co-hosted by CAL successfully concludes in Singapore

Tuesday 12th November, Colombo: The second South Asia Investment Conference (SAIC) jointly organized by Capital Alliance Securities (Pvt) Ltd (CAL), AKD Securities and Lanka Bangla Securities Ltd was successfully held in Singapore this week.

The conference played host to round-the-clock meetings attracting over 100 participants. Included herein were institutional investors from seven countries and some of South Asia’s top listed companies.

South Asia is considered to be the fastest-growing region in the next ten years. In this context, the objective of the forum was to present Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan as a singular collective investment destination. “South Asia’s frontier countries needed more prominence. By considering the relative scale of these countries, a combined conference was the best way to attract investors” said CAL, Managing Director, Global Markets, Deshan Pushparajah.

The conference also saw keynotes and Q&A sessions where representatives of each country presented their economic outlook and investment prospects.

Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Associate Professor and former Institute of Policy Studies, Chairman Razeen Sally speaking at the event highlighted that further stabilization of the economy through better debt management, improved ease of doing business and abolition of para tariffs were the urgent policy requirements needed to accelerate Sri Lanka’s economic growth to 6-8% levels. “I think that these reforms would be enough to deliver a significant boost to growth. The political question is whether Sri Lanka can go from ‘no reform’ to some reform?” he said.

Professor Sally also added that the main area Sri Lanka could leverage growth in is through its ports and logistics sector. ”Sri Lanka has every possibility to become the South Asia hub in shipping and logistics, if it can get some simple reforms through. The geography is just right, placed between Singapore and Dubai along the Asian trade route. By opening the market to shippers, shipping agents, and building the connectivity around it, Sri Lanka could attract the ancillary services needed to create an eco-system of logistics in quick time. This should be done not with the Sri Lankan market in mind but with the bigger South Asian market in mind”.

Bangladesh is expected to be the fastest-growing economy in South Asia in 2019. Much of its USD 300bn economy was achieved in the last decade. “If growth continues in the same phase in the next five years it will be half a trillion USD,” said Dhaka Stock Exchange Managing Director, Majedur Rahman. The country also boasts a robust exports sector led by its apparel industry, which is expected to drive its total exports by 10% this year.

In respect to Bangladesh’s capital markets, Rahman expressed that recent issues in liquidity has caused a reduction in volume and value traded in its exchange which he partially ascribed to the high levels of non-performing loans in the banking industry. “Bangladesh private sector has grown faster than regulators can catch up with. Naturally, this creates lapses in governance and regulation. As a result the banking industry’s liberal handing out of loans have caused concern” he said. ”To address this, the government has requested to maintain at least 85% asset-deposit ratio. Many banks used to exceed more than 90%, but most banks have bridged the gap. And the end of the year I’m hoping it would be a much better scenario for banks”.     

In the keynote presentation on Pakistan, Chairman Sulaiman Mehdi of the Pakistan Stock Exchange Limited said the country’s benchmark index Karachi Stock Exchange 100, provided a USD adjusted return of 82.6% compared to 9.5% return of the MSCI emerging market index. He also added that with the IMF stipulated fiscal reforms, and due to inversion of the yield curve, investors have now started reverting into the Pakistan stock exchange.

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EFL 3PL kicks off Data Insights on Demand (DIOD):

Logistics giant partners ith Fortude to enhance business visibility

 

 Expolanka Freight (EFL) announced a group wide initiative of incorporating Business Intelligence (BI), commencing with the 3PL Cluster. In hand with implementation partner Intellint, a Fortude brand, the Power BI tool’s proven advanced reporting capabilities will significantly enhance EFL’s business visibility.

The move comes on the heels of EFL adopting Robotics Process Automation (RPA) in its 3PL (Third Party Logistics) business in May. The award winning and transformative solution was implemented across all 3PL Fulfilment Centers and Freeport to support day-to-day operations, making it the first 3PL to have achieved this in Sri Lanka.

“The introduction of BI will help us set the stage for advanced analytics such as supporting data insights on demand,” says Sammy Akbar - Director, EFL 3PL & Freeport. “EFL 3PL is on a hyper digitization and efficiency drive, and this is the next step. We want to make our results visible in line with equipping ourselves for Industry 4.0.”

The company has selected Power BI, the analytics solution widely known to be the best- in-class. With the tool EFL 3PL can visualize their data and share insights across the organization with an option to embed these insights in an app or the EFL 3PL’s website. By connecting to multiple data sources and integrating with other systems such as HighJump (tier one WMS), a CRM system, a Labour Management System and Oracle Finance, Power BI will bring EFL’s 3PL data to life with live dashboards and reports.

In addition, EFL 3PL has established a Data Science and Solutions Division, which has deployed full time data scientists to review live data sets that will generate real time insights for managers and clients, enabling them to make informed decisions and avoid costly mistakes. The tool is developed and provided by Microsoft, a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Analytics and BI Platforms for 12 consecutive years. The implementation will be in three phases; phase 1 will include the HighJump and Oracle systems integration, leading to phase 2 which will encompass the integration of all other systems (the Labour Management System, CRM, HRIS etc). The platform will subsequently be extended to EFL 3PL clients during phase 3, enabling real time visibility and decision making at their fingertips.

 

EFL 3PL’s implementation partner for this initiative will be Intellint, who has vast experience in implementing data analytics solutions for global corporates, including organizations in the logistics sector. “We look forward to working with a partner like EFL 3PL, to help uncover operational insights leveraging Microsoft BI tools,” says Surangana Sarathchandra - Senior Vice President, Delivery of Fortude. “EFL 3PL’s goal is to inculcate a data-driven culture with advanced and predictive analytics to help make business decisions quickly and confidently. The Intellint team specializes in leveraging Microsoft BI services to deliver these results with speed and visibility while saving costs for their clients.”

The transition to a BI platform is informed by EFL 3PL’s Industry 4.0 initiative. The goal is to uplift the benchmark so that clients float logistics outsourcing Requests for Proposals (RFPs) with EFL 3PL already in mind, said Leroy Ebert – EFL 3PL’s Chief Growth Officer, noting “Project DIOD is a carefully thought-through decision guided by Hanif Yusoof - Group CEO, Expolanka Holdings PLC. DIOD, once leveraged properly is bound to bring in cost savings to both clients and us.” He also added, “We are confident when we say EFL 3PL is positioned at the forefront of innovation in logistics. EFL 3PL provides the most advanced offering in the industry, strengthened with tools like RPA, HighJump, Labour Management System, CRM System, BI, etc.”

About EFL 3PL  EFL 3PL is a member of Expolanka PLC – a leading conglomerate with interests in Logistics, Leisure and Investments. The company has thrived on overcoming the challenges of operating in limited logistic infrastructure markets, taking its operations to 18 countries, 60+ offices and over 2300 staff around the world.

 

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Huawei Experience Store at One Galle Face Mall

 

Huawei, the innovative smartphone brand in Sri Lanka, introduced the latest Huawei Experience Store at the One Galle Face Mall amidst a ceremonial gathering. Peter Liu, Country Head, Huawei Devices Sri Lanka, accompanied by officials from Singer Sri Lanka PLC and Huawei attended the opening ceremony.

The all new Huawei Experience Store provides a chance for all consumers to be offered an understanding on the premium innovations of Huawei and their offerings in terms of products and services. The new outlet, located at the One Galle Face Mall showcase itself as an avenue for smartphone enthusiasts in Colombo and the surrounding area to visit and experience the brand and all the exciting offers it provides to all customers. Numerous offers were also available at the launch wherein many customers were able to experience the most recent technology available from Huawei.

The new Experience Store features latest expertise from Huawei and will provide an ideal opportunity for Huawei consumers to experience and purchase their dream Huawei smartphone and accessories which comes with an unmatched pricing, highest quality and excellent after sales and service support by Singer Sri Lanka PLC.

Commenting on the latest opening, Huawei Device Sri Lanka Country Head Peter Liu, stated “We have always been an active participant in terms of providing the best experience to our loyal consumer base in Sri Lanka. One Galle Face Mall, Colombo’s largest mall and the latest addition to Colombo’s attractions, is a perfect fit for our consumers to gather and be educated about the latest technology and the premium offers that are brought by Huawei. As Sri Lankan consumers have embraced all our innovations enthusiastically, we always strive to offer to them all the latest updates and novelties we bring.”

Liu further commented, “Huawei has successfully been able to increase its presence in Sri Lanka over the years. Huawei recognizes Sri Lanka as a major market and sets to continue forward to establish an extensive market footprint within the country. Singer Sri Lanka as our main distributors has immensely influenced in introducing Huawei island wide and making it available to the public.”

The public will not only receive the opportunity of entering the store and ‘experiencing’ the products on display but they can also place their orders and purchase any Huawei device through the Experience Store. Customers who visit the Store will be able to access information, and receive advice and help with regard to Huawei smartphones and devices through the help of dedicated and highly trained customer sales assistants.

Huawei is ranked 47th among the World’s Top 100 Most Valuable Brands in 2019 according to Brand Finance. Recently, Huawei succeeded in securing Number 72 on Interbrand’s Best Global Brands.

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Poland and Sri Lanka tie up for Trade and Tourism

 

Text and Pics By Chanaka de Silva

 

Sri Lanka  Chamber  of  Commerce  struck new  ties  with the Polish Chamber  of  Commerce  for economic ventures  between the  two countries , at a  function held  in Colombo   recently.

 

Addressing the gathering the Polish delegation head, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Poland, Maciej Lang said, there is  a  vast untapped market for  both Sri Lanka  and Poland to venture into.  With Polish Airlines now flying direct this will bring both clients and investors much closer. Hence the ascertaining of key areas for business in Colombo and the possibility of enhancing terms of trade, investment and tourism promotion between the two countries he said.

 

Further he added “Measures need to be taken to gain a sizable market share in Poland as it is the second largest export market in the European region. The launch of non-stop flights between Warsaw and Colombo will provide an impetus for growth in trade and tourism while Sri Lanka could market the country as a preferred destination in Europe,

 

“The business forum could be considered as an opening for bigger cooperation in terms of cultural exchange and commerce. Trade between Poland and Sri Lanka has rapidly grown from US $ 19 million to $ 199 million over the past years. There is vast potential for growth into which both countries  must  venture.

 

With the regaining of the EU GSP+ concession by Sri Lanka, EU importers are exempted from paying import duty on over 7,000 product lines exported from Sri Lanka and that has widened the avenues for Sri Lankan exporters to reach European markets by offering competitive prices for our products.

 

 

Also speaking at the gathering Deputy Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, Nalin Bandara Jayamaha said, “Poland could use Sri Lanka’s strategic location to boost connectivity to the European Union (EU) and increase trade related activities for the benefit of both countries. Poland is the EU’s number one export market and the advantage of duty exception is enjoyed by over 7,000 products. Sri Lanka could gain much by enhancing exports to Poland. As the share of exports is small at present, Sri Lanka could work towards exporting more products to the EU market through a better relationship with Poland”.

 

 “Poland is considered the fastest growing economy in Central Europe. It recorded 5.2 percent GDP growth last year. The inclusion of Poland in the EU single economy has given us a lot of opportunities. Sri Lanka could benefit from this. This is an ideal platform to grow trade and tourism. As air connectivity has been established, it is easier than before to engage in trade and commerce. This has also opened up more investment opportunities,” he said. The

In line with Sri Lanka’s National Export Strategy, the country will the market diversification strategies by exploring the opportunities in untapped markets such as Central Europe. Although Sri Lankan exports to Central and Eastern Europe have increased by 32% from 2016 to 2018 with the advantage of the GSP+ concession, there is a huge potential in further promoting exports.

 

 

Trade between Poland and Sri Lanka last year was $ 97 million, while Sri Lanka’s exports to Poland amounted to $ 45 million. There is a strong potential to increase the number of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka. The number of arrivals from EU to Sri Lanka: 800,000 tourists (2018). From Poland to Sri Lanka – 20,000 (2018), she said. 

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Belluna Japan confirms faith in Sri Lanka

An impressive hotel the ‘Le Grand’ Galle that combines its historic location, views of the Indian Ocean and sandy beaches, it’s all in all a unique offering for an unforgettable experience. Attracting business and leisure travelers, the sprawling expanse of the highly aesthetically designed property offers a serene and relaxed ambience. Many of the hotel’s rooms and suites have stunning views of the Indian Ocean and UNESCO World Heritage site of Galle Fort.

 

Le Grand Galle offers all the imaginable creature comforts such as an inviting swimming pool and a private plunge pool, a state-of-the-art gym, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, as well as wellness spa where Balinese therapists combine traditional rituals with precious oils and salves to nurture, balance and restore a guest's peace of body and mind. Guests will enjoy lounging at the hotel's one-of-a-kind poolside bar, sipping on delightful cocktail concoctions and a live action cooking station.

 

Its cuisine is another reason why Le Grand Galle is recommended so highly because it takes a fresh approach to dining experiences with its use of rustic and ruggedly tropical décor. TASTE, an all-day dining restaurant offers the ambiance and simplicity of a modern bistro with food that is delightful and brings back memories of home while BLUE, Le Grand’s specialty seafood restaurant boasts an open kitchen, an enviable wine list and sprawling views of the deep blue ocean. The exquisite meals are prepared using seafood delivered daily by local fisherman.

 

The tastefully appointed rooms at Le Grand Galle offer a warm embrace with its décor and amenities fit for the modern-day traveler, such as coffee machines, select Ayurveda amenities and more. The elegantly styled Plunge pool Suite offers 146 square meters of luxurious living space.

 

447 Luna Tower

447 Luna Tower is the first luxury apartment project in Sri Lanka launched under the joint collaboration of Belluna Co. Ltd. Japan and Asia Capital PLC. As a testimony of its long-term commitment to the market, Belluna had pledged investments of upto USD450 Mn for developing real estate projects in Sri Lanka. Reflecting the Japanese pursuit of perfection and precision, 447 Luna Tower has differentiated itself through a coalescence of enchanting aesthetics and well-thought-out functionality. 447 Luna Tower has also spared no cost in its goal to create a true contemporary urban oasis at Union Place. Apart from its already impressive credentials, the project has on board PWA as the Principal Architects, a firm that boasts an array of upmarket hotels and minimalist designer homes in their portfolio; and two global giants - Arup and Ong & Ong. Arup is an international leader in structural engineering that will bring world-class depth of creative and technical expertise, while Singaporean firm Ong & Ong - operating in 13 countries across three continents - offers unrivalled know-how in cross-discipline and integrated design solutions.

 

Further, the luxury apartment project has strengthened its partner portfolio by inviting447 Luna Tower will reflect the Japanese pursuit of perfection and precision.


 

Belluna Co. Ltd

Belluna Co., a Tokyo Stock Exchange - First Section listed company, and a significant player in the global real estate industry, has adopted a long-term view of Sri Lanka’s real estate sector, investing heavily in a slew of property development projects. Belluna’s collaboration with Asia Capital PLC reiterate its confidence in Sri Lanka’s growing real estate industry. 447 Luna Tower is the first of many projects to be undertaken through this dynamic joint alliance.

 

Belluna’s other projects encompass an under-construction 300-room city hotel in Marine Drive in Colombo 3; a 70-key leisure property in partnership with leading global hospitality company, Marriot International Inc., in the Maldivesan ultra-luxurious 57-room resort in Galle, which opened in August 2018.

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Minister caught flatfooted

By Chanaka de Silva

Pics by Devenda de Silva


 

Dr. Harsha de Silva State Minister for Economic Affairs and Public Distribution was invited for the launch of the Research Intelligence Unit (RIU) report of the Economic Form Platform  to a forum without him being notified of the subject matter of the discussion prior to his arrival..


 

Addressing the gathering Dr. Harsha de Silva State Minister for Economic Affairs said that he was shocked at this as a discussion of tax matters does not happen at a forum such as this. Further that a government minister does not usually sit to pontificate on tax matters with representatives of the  Tobacco and alcohol industries. ”. He further added that had he been informed beforehand on the topic he would have accepted the invitation.


 

Speaking at the RIU Economic Forum and the launch of Thinking Citizen Platform report held at the Hilton Hotel Colombo on Monday, he said: “I was not briefed beforehand on the topic on tobacco and alcohol taxation. Moreover, the RIU report made available to me now is based on the objectives of achieving tobacco taxation. Had I known that the discussion was on alcohol and tobacco I would not I have come here.” 


 

Referring to the taxes on alcohol, an index structure was needed based on a unit of alcohol contained in a bottle. The minister said that he was against the proposal when the government wanted to place a seal on aerated water and other beverages that do not pay excise duty and the government agreed to his proposal. When asked about whether wine stores’ permits have been issued to Member of Parliament, he said that he too had come to know of it and anyone could have access to such information under the Freedom of Information Act.


 

Finally, the minister said he was surprised to learn that Sri Lanka was the most expensive country in the world to purchase cigarettes. If the report is correct it implies that people are veering away from purchasing tax paid legally manufactured cigarettes to illegally smuggled or locally manufactured cigarettes that does not bring revenue to the state. However, the incentive to consume or not such products depends on the tax imposed on such items.  “I have brought this to the notice of the government to rethink ad hoc changes made to the tax system,” he said.


 

Meanwhile, the Thinking Citizens Platform was launched at the forum.   RIU CEO and Founding Director Roshan Madawela said the Thinking Citizen Platform is a new concept that addresses complicated issues that arise in sectors that require deeper approach than from the state as everyone lives in a complex world with a globalized economy. 

 

A panel discussion focusing on the findings of the report was moderated by CEO of RIU Sri Lanka Roshan Madawela. RIU Sri Lanka Economist Lalinda Sugathadasa, Economist and Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva, Chief Operating Officer of Advacata Dhananath Fernando, Former Head of HDFC Maldives and Consultant RIU Sri Lanka Dr. Priyanka Beddevithanna and CEO of Lion Brewery PLC and Past Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Suresh K Shah joined in as panelists.

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Build SL Housing and Construction International exhibition launched

 

Pics by Devenda de Silva

 

 

 

Chamber of Construction Industry Sri Lanka is recognized by the Government as the apex representative of the construction sector in Sri Lanka. The membership comprise of under mentioned 12 professional bodies representing the spectrum of the industry from builders, suppliers, manufacturers, designers, Quantity Surveyors, Engineers, Architects etc., and in addition over 300 companies engaged in activities related to construction sector. The Chamber has positioned itself as the voice of the industry and has earned the respect of the government which consults the CCI on a regular basis.

Institutional Member Representatives

1. Sri Lanka Institute of Architects

2. Institute of Quantity Surveyors Sri Lanka

3. Institute of Town Planners Sri Lanka

4. The Surveyors Institute of Sri Lanka

5. The Institute of Valuers of Sri Lanka

6. The Association of Consult• g Engineers Sri Lanka

7. Society of Structural Engin ers Sri Lanka

8. Ceylon Institute of Builders

9. National Construction Association of Sri Lanka

10. Major Constructors of Sri Lanka

11. Insurance Association of Lanka

12 .Lanka Ready-mix Concrete Association

 

A main Chamber's activities is the hosting of the largest housing and construction related

exhibition in the country on an annual basis. Next year it will be held during the 22nd, 23rd and 24ü1 May 2020 at the BMICH and will be the 16th annual exhibition organized by this Chamber. Build Sri Lanka 2019 will showcase the latest developments in the building and construction industry, with eminent industry experts, stake holders and decision makers in attendance, making it an ideal event to source new products, network and usher in new contacts and business opportunities. Over 40,000 trade visitors are expected over the course of the event, looking to source the latest, inventive products on offer, not accessible otherwise in the local market, in addition to new product launches and added features.

 

This exhibition will feature many stalls of overseas companies from several countries making it a truly

international exhibition. A special feature that will draw the attention of many visitors to the exhibition will be the separate International Pavilion with the exclusive participation of Overseas Companies.

All indications, are that the Build Sri Lanka 2020 will be the largest and most important construction sector related exhibition ever held in Sri Lanka, with the inte st shown to date by the industry stakeholders.

 

Event Segments of Build SL 2020

Oi.building & construction materials

02.1nterior decor & furniture

03.Tools & equipment

04.Construction consultancy services

05.Construction Machinery & industrial vehicles

06.Sustainable construction & green building

07.1nternational pavilion

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Property expert Michael Yam highlights major opportunities 

Pics By Devenda de Silva
 

  • Highlights lessons from Malaysian development experience relevant to current challenges in SL

  • Calls for urgent recalibration of policy to support housing and property development industry

  • Reiterates potential for focused property policies to enhance Sri Lanka’s regional economic status

The future of Sri Lanka’s economic development could very likely hinge on how domestic policies towards real estate evolve, particularly with respect to supporting the massive demand for vertical living in Colombo and its suburbs.

These were some of the key insights which emerged out of a Breakfast Meeting jointly hosted by John Keells Properties and DFCC Bank at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel on 24 September 2019.

Featuring insightful presentations by Guest Speakers, CEO and Managing Director of Malaysia’s Impetus Alliance Advisors, Michael Yam and Impetus Alliance Advisors Director, Shaun Mok, as well as a panel discussion with John Keells Properties, Sector Head, Nayana Mawilmada, the breakfast meeting provided an exclusive group of DFCC Premier customers with an unprecedented overview of current challenges, potential solutions and latent investment opportunities in Sri Lankan real estate.

“While the rate at which real estate development takes place can be drastically altered by socio-economic volatility, the demand for housing is primarily driven by population growth and employment opportunities. In that regard, there are many lessons that can be drawn from the story of Malaysia’s development and adapted to help Sri Lanka overcome its present challenges,” Yam explained.

Currently ranked third out of 10 countries in the ASEAN region – which itself is the 3rd fastest growing group of nations in the global economy, Malaysia’s current success at the macroeconomic level is directly traceable to policy reforms passed in the wake of the global financial crisis that sought to enhance financial system resilience by – among others – reclassifying real estate as a priority sector.

“This fundamental reclassification enabled the state to implement stable, property-friendly policies, improve access to finance, ensure rule of law and enhance connectivity through substantial investments into public transportation. In cities like Kuala Lumpur, this framework enabled the decentralization of commercial and administrative complexes outside of the Central Business District. As a result, the load placed on public infrastructure is distributed more evenly, enabling the entire city to function more efficiently,” Yam explained.

He further noted that if Sri Lanka could follow in these footsteps – the country could well be poised to play a similar role to the SAARC region that Malaysia does for ASEAN.

“Over the past decade, Sri Lankan real estate has made some truly impressive advances – particularly in relation to the development of high-rise condominiums, branded residences, and commercial spaces. Meanwhile, there are some notable mixed used integrated developments in the pipeline and plans for greater connectivity in public transport. However, even major cities like Colombo have been slow to move towards transit oriented development and planned township development. These are areas which will have to be given careful consideration moving forward,” Yam stated.

Among the most pressing challenges facing the country over the medium-term will be the dearth in affordable vertical living within the city and its suburbs.

“Vertical living and multi-family residential spaces will be absolutely fundamental to solving Sri Lanka’s future housing challenges. At present just over 90% of Sri Lankans live in single family detached housing, and over time, this is a dynamic which cannot be sustained within the city, leading to increasing volumes of new housing stock being shifted to the fringe of the city massive traffic congestion, and major distortions in real estate prices,” John Keells Properties’ Mawilmada stated.

Illustrating the growing severity of these issues, he pointed to analysis carried out by John Keells Properties which found that average commuting times from major residential suburbs had increased to almost two hours on average. Meanwhile, average vehicle speeds within Colombo have steadily plunged from 22 km/h in 2012 down to 8 km/h in 2018.

“Among the most urgent priorities will be to change the way we approach urban development. There needs to be a shift towards densification and mass transit, while the private sector needs to be stimulated with the right incentives to help fill the gap in middle-income housing. This cannot be accomplished without transparent regulations that help stimulate development and lowering the cost of construction – which are presently among the highest in the entire region.

“Similarly, there needs to be a concerted effort on the part of policy makers and the private sector to help widen access to housing finance – such as through a reduction in interest rates and tax rebates for first-time home buyers. Such reforms will undoubtedly have a transformative impact on our society and our economy,” Mawilmada stated.

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CIPM Sri Lanka to Host Prestigious World HR Congress2020 from 6–8 July

 

Pics By  Chanaka de Silva

 

 

 

CIPM Sri Lanka – the Nation’s leader in human resource management in collaboration with the Asia Pacific Federation of Human Resource Management (APFHRM) and The World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA) will be hosting World HR Congress2020, the world’s largest HR conclave in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 6-8 July 2020 at the BMICH. Over 2,000 people management professionals and business leaders from Sri Lanka and overseas are expected to participate in this mega people management event. In addition to the main tent event, a pre-conference event on the topic of “International Knowledge Sharing by People Professionals” featuring 4 plenaries which also consists of 3 Keynote by world renowned thought leaders, 4 panel discussions, over 20 technical breakout sessions, the HR Service Providers Exhibition which runs alongside of the conference and the Grand Finale of the CIPM Great HR Debate will be part of the proceedings of the World HR Congress2020. Furthermore, three separate events by invitation only too will be held prior to and post the World HR Congress 2020. These will be the APFHRM Regional Meeting and Heads of the world People Management Institutes Meeting which consists of 93 countries in 5 continental federations which will be on 5th July 2020, and the WFPMA Board Meeting on 9th July 2020.

WFPMA is delighted that CIPM is hosting the 2020 World Congress in Colombo, Sri Lanka. CIPM is a valued and leading member of the Asia Pacific Federation of Human Resource Management and was selected by the WFPMA Board as the host country following a robust tender process. The combination of CIPM’s successful record in holding innovative and highly relevant HR congresses and Colombo’s reputation as a highly attractive congress venue with excellent facilities, proved a winning combination. The World Congress enables HR professionals to build a global community of peers, to discuss new developments in HRM, and to network with colleagues from around the world who face similar complex challenges in human resource management. We are looking forward to an exciting congress and to greeting HR professionals and their management colleagues from around the world to this unique HR event and to experience this wonderful country” said Bob Morton - Secretary General, WFPMA.

When every manager plays a “people management role”, the people management professional’s role evolves into a role of an internal coach, guide, policy setter and an architect of strategy adding significant value to the organization. Thus, the World HR Congress2020 is aptly themed as “Exalting People Professionals: Explore, Expand and Excel” in order to encourage, energize and enthuse people professionals in the increasingly strategic role that they play in their organizations” said Dhammika Fernando-President, CIPM Sri Lanka and Director, APFHRM.

The conclave will deliberate on the various aspects and implications of digitalization, disruption, diversity, inclusivity and happiness of people in a new world of work and life.

As the host country organizing this prestigious conference, our programme and agenda for the participants over the 3 days will be fully packed to freely disseminate and share knowledge, new and innovative ideas and insights. Our carefully selected speakers and panelists will delve deeply into the subject matter in order to kindle new thinking and approaches to people management, taking advantage of disruptive technology to build the better world for work and life” he added.

CIPM Sri Lanka won the opportunity to host the biennial World HR Congress in 2020 in Colombo after an intense competitive bidding and evaluation process held during the Annual Meeting of the APFHRM amongst other bidding countries in the Asia Pacific region including Australia where the World HR Congress was held successfully on 2 previous occasions, the Philippines and Thailand. Prof. Ajantha Dharmasiri – Immediate Past President CIPM Sri Lanka received the official proclamation from Peter Wilson-Chairman, WFPMA that the World HR Congress 2020 will be held in Sri Lanka at the World HR Congress 2018 held in Chicago, Illinois in USA.

CIPM Sri Lanka has appointed a high powered organizing committee led by President CIPM Sri Lanka – Dhammika Fernando (Chairman) and Immediate Past President – Prof. Ajantha Dharmasiri (Deputy Chairman) together with 8 Sub-Committees for Technical, Promotional, Sponsorships, Logistics, Secretariat, Ceremonials, Participation and Security, Health & Safety to organize the event in keeping with international convention standards.

The World HR Congress is also considered as an ideal platform for Sri Lankan HR professionals to build and develop an extensive network of peers and colleagues in the region and from across the globe for continuous exchange of knowledge and ideas even after the conclusion of the conclave.

The World HR Congress 2020 will coincide with CIPM Sri Lanka’s 60th Anniversary. With many accolades earned and significant achievements over these 60 years including the most recent accolade of the award of the Chartered Status, CIPM Sri Lanka is now strengthening its role as a dynamic regional and global People Management Professional body.


 

Alethea relaunches  technology-based educational framework

Pics by Devenda de Silva

 

Alethea School and Alethea International school has taken the initiative to fill the mismatch of technology and the pre-existing traditional classroom education. Through the relaunch of the school, Alethea will shift their educational vision towards a technology-driven educational framework that is reflected in the school’s teaching, learning process as well as the infrastructural facilities that are in par with the Gen Z educational demands.

 

Alethea group, is one of the oldest privately-owned schools in Sri Lanka, with over 90 years history in the field of education. The School is an official Pearson – Edexcel teaching center, that is authorized to host examinations in Sri Lanka, as well as, a Cambridge International School & British Council Partner School. As such, taking the next step towards becoming a leader in the local educational industry, the school announced a relaunch with a complete facelift across the curriculum, extracurricular activities as well the facilities offered to the students.

 

“The educational philosophy of Alethea School and Alethea International School since its inception by the founding family has been based on making the school ‘A home away from home to everyone’. As such, we have always stood progressive in our outlook while sustaining the values of our culture, traditions and multi-religious values. However, in the era of the Gen Z, we have identified that it is crucial the education we deliver to our students replicates the positive advancements of technology. Alethea Group, took measures to assess and evaluate the existing academic programme and infrastructure and made a decision to relaunch the entire school framework, so that our delivery matches the ever-changing demands of the world outside. Thereby, the school has introduced smart classrooms, along with many innovative turnkey digital educational elements, including five digital science labs, two music studios & art studios, a state of the art computer lab, an e-library. The school has also taken steps to create modernized classrooms with students’ lockers, smart interactive boards. We also took measures to include an international standard basketball court” indicated Anitra Perera, Managing Director/Coordinating Principal, Alethea Group of Schools, chronicling the vision behind the relaunch of the school.

 

 

In addition to the digitalization of the entire school, Alethea Group has also made space for the school to be an inclusive educational institution that accommodates students of all caliber and different academic needs. As such, the school houses a learning resource unit and a special needs unit; both established to cater to the specific requirements of some of the students. The LRC assists students who might otherwise find a regular classroom learning session challenging. The experts in the LRC aptly support learners with dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, ADHD physical impairments etc. The special needs unit is a separate facility dedicated to helping students with severe difficulties. Special programmes are customized for each individual learner after extensive consultations and meetings with parents. One-to-one sessions, continuous observations, monitoring and assessing are rigorously applied to help such children integrate themselves into society. The school also conducts an Activity Center at the Junior school with the aim of providing young children, a comfortable, caring and safe environment while the parents are away at work. 

 

 

 

 

 

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CHE Summit 2019: Outbound training with Positive Employee Engagement

Pixs by Devenda de Silva

CHE Launches HRIS tool for qualitative assessment in association with hSenid Business Solutions.

Sri Lanka’s premier outbound training provider, CHE Adventure Park,

Successfully hosted CHE SUMMIT 2019, on 29th August 2019 in Colombo, spotlighting on the impact of outdoor and adventure based training towards work force empowerment that culminates on long term positive ramifications on an organizational context.

 

CHE SUMMIT gathered over 75 Corporate CEO’s and approximately 300 heads of Training and Development Company representatives, where the panel discussed of using outdoor and adventure training as a timely and result oriented HR tool that could easily outdo the outcomes of traditional indoor trainings.

 

During the event the company launched the advanced HRIS tool; Peoplelogica, which can provide quantifiable assessments on outbound training. This marked CHE’s entry into futuristic workforce development pathway. Through Peoplelogica, CHE would deliver a range of customized people capital solutions for organizations of all sizes, from all sectors. Coincidentally, organizations could utilize this tool to improve client and employee engagement levels by providing management teams with the information and tools to assist them to better understand client and employee needs.

 

“The offering for the corporate at the CHE Adventure Park is not merely outdoor training. We like to identify ourselves as a consultant or a partner in overall HR and Training development of an organization. CHE Adventure Park introduced Peoplelogica, a software tool, launched for the 1st time in Sri Lanka, that identifies pre-training status competencies and provide the gaps identified in it. As such this further enables organizations to see the behaviour changes at the post training stage. Thus, it is easy for organizations to measure training impact or ROI. Under such context, CHE would not be conformed to traditional out bound training but take a leap towards a much-expanded scope that would inculcate technology to bring measurable results to any partnering organisation. In other words, we are ready to redefine our identity from an adventure park to a multi-dimensional corporate training solutions provider,” Shehan Piliapitiya, General Manager Operations, CHE Adventure Park highlighted while emphasizing their venture towards organisational talent management and development.

 

Elaborating on their future partnerships and existing training philosophy, Pilapitiya added, “CHE plans to launch BRC Asia, as a training and Consultancy Firm, which would focus on competency mapping, training conduction, and providing consultancy towards organizational development. Currently, CHE offers team building activities and customized training. Where the training philosophy centralizes on learning from experience. This stands true to CHE’s vision to addresses the workforce training needs through experiential learning. Participants learn to correlate Through experiencing, sharing, analyzing, reflecting and correlating the learnings for application at the workplace. Which ideally makes experiential learning the most effective medium to develop individuals and teams at the workplace.”

 

CHE Summit 2019, included inspiring speeches by 6 training experts including 3 international speakers who provided exceptional intel towards the offering of CHE Adventure Park as a result oriented and scientifically driven out door training service provider, who transcends the traditional ideology of leisure and excitement-based adventure training.

 

CHE Adventure Park is an outbound training company that conducts outbound training, Behavioral skills training, team building workshops using the experiential education methodology for corporate companies, institutions and schools. The programs offered at CHE Adventure park includes mountain Biking, rafting and kayaking ,Rock climbing , trekking or engage in extreme adventures such as Zip Line, Scavenger hunt, Race Challenge programs, Multi day river excursions, Target shooting, Archery, high rope activities, paintball or immerse oneself in nature by sleeping under the stars in a luxurious tent.

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Singer Launches John Deere 4WD Tractors 

 

Pics by  Devenda de Silva

Singer Sri Lanka PLC, a household name in consumer durables and diversified company in Sri Lanka launched three 4WD Tractor models from the world-renowned USA based brand John Deere. The launch was held ceremonially at The View, Waters’ Edge recently.

The introduction of innovative technology from one of the world’s best brands, John Deere, was the emphasis for Singer Sri Lanka to bring down the best equipment to Sri Lanka’s existing Agri machinery industry. Singer Sri Lanka currently markets two-wheel tractors and have been named as market leaders for the fourth year. With their current stance in the market and with being the No. 1 in the two-wheel tractor market, they only saw it fitting that they select from the best in global Agri machinery technology and introduce it to the country.

The current market demand for Agri machinery is big in Sri Lanka and this came as a timely initiative to introduce the 4WD tractor and fulfil the requirement of user-friendly, economical and innovative technology for their consumers. With Singer Sri Lanka’s expertise in this sector and with their established dealer network island wide, they can leverage on this and ensure the availability of these products.

Commenting on the recent launch, Singer Sri Lanka CEO, Mahesh Wijewardene said, “With the trusted name that Singer Sri Lanka has, we wanted to take a step forward to provide our support towards enhancing the agriculture sector in Sri Lanka and the tie up with John Deere Agri equipment will be a win for both companies. We look forward to unveiling more products in this category in the long run in developing the Agriculture sector.”

Three John Deere models were introduced at the launch, the 3036E, 5045D and 5047D with a horsepower of 36, 47 and 45 respectively. Key features include power steering, powerful hydraulics system and a high lifting capacity safety bar among other things. Both, the 3036E and 5045D are available on 4-wheel drive only whereas the 5047D comes as a 2-wheel drive which can be switched into a 4WD. With the purchase of one of these models is a 42 blade rotovator which comes free with it. Other accessories such as disk ploughs, tine tillers and front loaders can be purchased separately as well and easily incorporated into these tractors.

Giving his insight about the new unveiling, Singer Sri Lanka Marketing Director, Kumar Samarasinghe said, “We are delighted to have one of the world’s best global brands such as John Deere on board with Singer Sri Lanka and we can guarantee our consumers will receive the best of equipment incorporating user-friendly tech specifications that would enable them to achieve maximum outcome.”

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HUTCH deploys first fully-fledged NFV based Core Network

 

By Chanaka de Silva

Hutch launches fully upgraded NFV facility in order to sever customers of  both Etisalat and  Hutch. This will ensure that faster and better services will be provided over the network, said Hutchinson Telecommunications (P) Ltd., CEO Thirukumar Nadarasa speaking at the launch of the tech hub IN Walpola recently. The fastest-growing mobile telecommunications provider consolidated its position in the market by upgrading its high-tech hub located in Walpola to a fully modernized facility.

 

Addressing the gathering  Nadarasa said, that with the networks merged they are in a better position now to serve their clients. This new network will enable them to deliver faster and cheaper data services. Affirming its technological advancements, HUTCH recently established its superior 4G network in Western and Eastern Provinces and a nationwide roll-out is currently ongoing. During this process, HUTCH has deployed the first fully-fledged NFV (Network Function Virtualization) based Core Network, a technology that allows operators to move out from a traditional hardware-based system and move to a more generic IT server for telecommunication services. Through this deployment, all specialized systems tailor-made for telecom applications will run on any standard IT server, allowing flexibility, rapid deployment and low Capital Expenditure in upgrading, which are essential aspects in a rapidly-changing technology landscape.

 

Speaking further he added that  Hutch keeping the best interest of the clients at heart have launched very cost-efficient data packages targeting the  students so that it will help them in their school projects and research work, which is now a very large part of the curriculam.

 

HUTCH will also be deploying one of the most advanced Converged Billing Systems (CvBS) in the world where Post-pay and Pre-paid billing systems can run on a single platform. This gives flexibility to defining unique packages which will suit any individual or corporate user, based on their requirements.

 

Thirukumar Nadarasa - Chief Executive Officer of HUTCH Sri Lanka stated, "The deployment of the most advanced core network and converged billing systems in Sri Lanka demonstrates Hutch’s commitment to providing the best and most advanced services to its subscribers. This is coupled with the ongoing deployment of a nationwide 4G network that will help to bring affordable broadband services throughout the entire country. The recent takeover and integration of Etisalat 2G/3G network under Hutch will also finally offer competitive 2G and 3G services nationwide on par with its major competitors. We are therefore pleased that Hutch is now able to offer a competitive alternative mobile service to the market".  (Pics  by   Devenda de Silva)

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Samsun Galaxy S IO brings ground breaking features 

Pix by Chanaka de Silva

With revolutionary innovations in display, camera, security and performance.

 

 Celebrating 10 years of Galaxy innovation, S10,today unveiled its stunning new line of premium smartphones Galaxy SIC) in Sri Lanka Galaxy SIO is designed for consumers who want a premium smartphone that allows foc immersive, personal and intelligent experience. Galaxy SIO empowers consumers with ii6 ground-breaking innovations in display, camera, security and performance io meet lheic distinct lifestyle needs. Galaxy Sloe, Galaxy SIO and Galaxy SIO+ will be available across select retail stores and select online platforms beginning March 15, 2019.

 

With the launch of Galaxy S 10, Samsung, Sri Lanka's People's Youth Choice Brand foc 2 consecutive years is leveraging a decade of leadership in flagships to usher in a new era of smartphone technology. Galaxy SIO smartphones come with many next generation features

such as Infinity-O Display, versatile Pro-Grade camera, Wireless PowerShare and in-display Ultrasonic Fingerprint Scanner (only on Galaxy SIO+/SIO) and set the stage for the dawn of a new mobile era.

"We are fully committed to build a complete ecosystem of smart devices for consumers across all corners of the world. With the launch of Galaxy SIO, we are offering consumers an incredible experience that is tailored to their everyday needs, Leveraging a decade of industry

leadership, the Galaxy SIO line is built on our legacy of unparalleled innovation to deliver an exceptional user experience to consumers especially Millennials," said Hanbae Park Managing Director, Samsung Sri Lanka.

Moving beyond the limits to inspire new passion for smartphones amongst consumers, Galaxy SIO is a triumph of innovation. Galaxy SIO is the ultimate representation of innovation in design, performance, and camera. With Galaxy SIO+, Samsung has unleashed breakthrough

technologies to realize this vision of the future smartphone. Galaxy SIOe is built for those who want the power of these new smartphones in a compact package.

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Vantage Top Quality Innerwear Line launched

 

Vantage. one of Sri Lanka's most respected men's fashion labels launched their brand new ran€e of Vantage Innerwear at a gala launch event held at the Shangri-La, Colombo. The moment took place at the Lotus Ballroom at Shangri-La, Colombo on the 9th March. during the evening and witnessed the crérne de la créme of Colombo's elite fashion scene in attendance.

 

Vantage is a top quality men's clothing label under the umbrella of Sri Lanka's premier clothing supplier. Ebony Holdings

Vantage Innerwear reveals a range of top quality undergarments for men, providing varying and exciting designs in the style of Boxer Shorts and Trunks. The entire range of products includes the attractive Vantage stripes range, crafted from the highest quality fabrics which contain a 95% cotton and 5% spandex mix. Vantage Innerwear Garments are designed for optimum support and to provide free leg movement

. They also feature very comfortable and stylish waistbands and are available in many attractive colours.

 

Speaking about the launch of Vantage Innerwear, Rasmi Raheem Chairman of Ebony Holdings mentioned, 'Good things begin on the inside and with our vision to be a preferred fashion icon for discerning, fashion-conscious customers who demand the best from their attire, we feel that a line of innerwear is something that will be appreciated by our customers and also something that will help to more fully complete our line up. Constantly striving to provide our customers with the best, we are always on the lookout for new ways and innovative ideas to provide high quality products.

 

 

Vantage is one of the top-notch labels that com