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Colombo Port City’s artificial beach opens for public

The artificial beach built within the Colombo Port City limits is now open for the general public.

Locals as well as foreign tourists will have the opportunity to visit the 3.5 km beach free of charge.

Earlier, the walkway built in the Port City was opened to the public.

This artificial beach provides water sports facilities and also has a food court with local and foreign foods.

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Licenced finance companies in Sri Lanka to adopt self-regulation code

The Finance Houses Association of Sri Lanka (FHA), the apex body of all registered finance companies, has announced the introduction of its revised Self-Regulation Code which has been voluntarily practiced by members with a view to maintain the highest standards on strategic and business operations in Sri Lanka’s Non-Banking Financial and Leasing Institutions (NBFI) sector.

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Litro Gas to set up an oxygen manufacturing plant in Kerawalapitiya

As the country experiences an increasing need for oxygen to treat COVID-19 affected patients, the health authorities have conveyed to the Presidential Task Force that a greater need is likely to occur for oxygen.

The companies supplying oxygen to the market at present are able to meet the current daily requirements for 90 metric tonnes. However, in order to ensure no shortages, Litro Gas Lanka Ltd has been instructed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Basil Rajapaksa, Head of the Presidential Task Force to set up an oxygen plant and provide a seamless supply of oxygen to meet the need.

Accordingly, a 25 acre land has been sourced from the Sri Lanka Land Development Corporation and the agreement for the purchase of the land signed on June 2, 2021 between the officials of Litro Gas Lanka and Sri Lanka Land Development Corporation, Litro Gas Lanka was represented by Chairman and CEO Anil Koswatte and other officials while Chairman of the Sri Lanka Land Development Corporation Major General M R W Soysa and the G.M Srimathi Senadheera represented the Corporation.

Litro Gas Lanka has already made a deposit of Rs 500 million in keeping with the state evaluation of land value, as an advance payment towards the purchase of the land – the Company plans to set up a state of the art industrial complex to manufacture oxygen.

As stipulated by the Board of Directors of Litro Gas Lanka Ltd, a modern oxygen manufacturing plant and a distribution network would be set up on the 25 acre land in Kerawalapitiya, announced Litro Gas Lanka sources.

LitroGas Lanka as Sri Lanka’s national LPG provider plans to undertake this nationally critical venture under the aegis of the Presidential Task Force and will contribute towards providing the much needed support for the country’s COVID-19 affected hospital network.

The Company plays a pivotal role in the country’s energy sector with a 75% market share and a network of 42 distributors, over 14,000 points-of-sale, 1,500 home delivery hubs and a seamless supply of LPG throughout Sri Lanka. The Company maintains a strong market presence with their Litro Gas Home Delivery Mobile App and a dedicated 1311 customer care hotline. *Cover Photo: Litro Gas Lanka Chairman and CEO Anil Koswatte exchanges the MOU with Sri Lanka Land Development Corporation officials.

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People’s Bank to issue Sri Lanka's largest ever listed debenture

The People’s Bank Investment Banking Unit (PBIBU) reached a new high in its track record by successfully ensuring oversubscription of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Debenture Issue for LKR 20 billion, the largest ever Listed Debenture Issue in Sri Lanka.

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ICRA Lanka upgrades Asia Asset Finance ratings

Asia Asset Finance PLC (AAFP) has gained a stable outlook with resilience overcoming growth headwinds in Covid-19 environment, leading Credit Rating Agency ICRA Lanka Limited affirmed.

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Aitken Spence PLC expands its wings in hydro power

Aitken Spence PLC has announced that the company has recently acquired hydro power operator Waltrim Energy Limited, a subsidiary of Sunshine Holdings PLC for LKR 900 million.

The company contributes 6.6MW to the national grid via three mini hydropower plants located in the Nuwara Eliya district, namely Waltrim Hydropower (Private) Limited, Upper Waltrim Hydropower (Private) Limited and Elgin Hydropower (Private) Limited.

The Waltrim hydro power draws energy from the Kotmale Oya and Upper Waltrim hydropower and Elgin hydropower from the Dambagasthwala Oya.

Aitken Spence expands its portfolio in hydro power in the pursuit of meeting rising energy demands, sustainable development, access to clean energy, and lowering our national carbon footprint.

This is the second hydro power plant which is owned and operated by Aitken Spence. Branford Hydropower (Pvt) Ltd. is the other hydro power plant with a 2.5MW capacity located in Matale.

The company also owns and operates a wind power plant with 3MW capacity located in Ambewela.

“This is yet another investment made by Aitken Spence that shows our commitment to expand the power generation portfolio with renewable energy projects. Hydro power plays a key role in renewable energy segment in Sri Lanka and this initiative strengthens the country’s efforts to move towards cleaner energy sources and effective and efficient management of sustainable and affordable generation of energy supplied to the national grid,” commented Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC.

The power segment of Aitken Spence is a leading player in the sector with a reputation for investing in pioneering technologies and has diversified into renewable energy by establishing hydro power and wind power plants to support Sri Lanka’s demand for energy.

With their commitment to increase the country’s energy consumption from renewable energy sources, the company recently introduced Sri Lanka’s first waste to energy power plant that was officially launched in February 2021.

Moreover, these initiatives are in line with the collective efforts of the government and the private sector to produce clean energy sustainably.

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SLT Group records Rs. 24.7 Bn in revenue for Q1 2021- Net Profit improved by 14%

Sri Lanka Telecom PLC (SLT) Group released its financial results for the first quarter of 2021, with a remarkable 14.3% year-on-year growth in Profit After Tax (PAT) to Rs. 2.1 Bn.

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People’s Bank negotiates USD 75-100 million loan

The People’s Bank is currently in negotiation with the China-led Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) for a USD 75 million - USD 100 million loan to be lent to COVID-19-hit local SMEs, the bank said this week.

The bank celebrates 60 years of yeoman service of providing financial stability, growth, profitability and leading the way in empowering the lives and livelihoods of Sri Lankan citizens this year.

Being a state-owned bank, People’s Bank, as its name depicts, is a people-centric financial institution that sets goals to be an exemplary corporate citizen.

Despite challenging operating conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a watershed year for People’s Bank as the bank turned a new chapter in its six-decade old history, passing the LKR 2.2 trillion mark in assets and achieving a loan book of LKR 1.6 trillion, as the bank’s loans and advances grew over LKR 300 billion in 2020, it said in a media release. During the COVID -19 pandemic, in order to soften the impact on the overall economy, the bank swiftly implemented a range of relief packages including moratoriums mandated by the government and provided relief to over 480,000 customers, which is the highest number provided by a bank in Sri Lanka.

The bank offered LKR 13.7 billion worth of loans under the Saubhagya COVID-19 Renaissance Facility, while offering over LKR 10 billion in direct and indirect loans to the country’s agriculture sector, realising the importance of food security during a global pandemic. Further, the bank provided LKR14.2 billion worth of financial assistance to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and LKR 286 million in loans to women entrepreneurs during 2020.

Understanding its wider societal role, the bank also assisted teachers, actors, musicians and other artists by giving loans worth over LKR 330 million while assisting university students lending over Rs.170 million to continue with their education, which included loans to purchase laptops.

Further, the bank extended over LKR 6.1 billion in loans to retired/disabled officers of armed forces as at December 31, 2020. The bank has over one million senior citizen account holders, to whom a preferential rate of interest is being paid. The bank also extended LKR 240 billion in local currency and further Rs.80 billion in foreign currency to the Government of Sri Lanka to manage liquidity shortfalls during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bank also purchased LKR 358 billion worth of Treasury Bills and Bonds from the primary auction in 2020, enabling the Treasury and the Central Bank to maintain the rupee interest rates at the desired levels. As one of the largest contributors to the revenue of the exchequer, the bank also remitted LKR 14.4 billion in taxes/dividends to the Government in the last financial year. “The year 2020 brought in unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19 pandemic, but People’ Bank was able to wade through them largely unscathed thanks to the commitment and the dedication of the Bank’s senior management and each and every member of the staff. They all understood their national duty and were completely up for the task at hand,” Bank Chairman Sujeewa Rajapakse said.

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Krannich Asia is expanding its operations to Sri Lanka

After a successful start in the South East region in 2019, the Krannich team operating from Singapore has accepted a new challenge: become the preferred solar distributor of PV installers in Sri Lanka.

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Dialog Axiata’s Genie reaches Rs. 10 billion in transactions by 2021

Powered by Dialog Axiata PLC, Genie, Sri Lanka’s first PCI-DSS-certified payment app has cemented a major milestone moment on its journey in establishing itself as the biggest payment processing network in Sri Lanka through the achievement of over Rs. 10 billion worth transactions.

With more and more customers reliant on smart devices, Genie, powered by Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, is paving the future for digitized Fintech payments in Sri Lanka with its simple and secure payment services.

With over 400,000 downloads to date, Genie has been recognized by SLASSCOM Awards as the ‘Best Startup Product/ Service 2019’ and the ‘Best Disruptor Product 2019’ whilst also bagging two gold awards at the LankaPay Technovation Awards in 2019 for ‘Most Popular Electronic Payment Product (Fintech)’ and ‘Best Mobile Application for Retailer Payments’, Dialog said in a media release.

In addition to these distinct recognition, Genie is constantly transforming its processes to meet the expectations and needs of its virtual audience.

Offering customer’s greater avenues of convenience coupled with a future-fit payment security model Genie has been at the vanguard of the FinTech arena for promoting its recently adopted tokenization technology with a ‘One-Click-Pay’ option across several partner merchants as a digital solution to eliminate friction in its payment process and provide a quick checkout experience with a secure “save card” option on its app/website

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HSBC to introduce recycled plastic payment cards

HSBC announced the rollout of sustainable payment cards made from 85% recycled plastic in Sri Lanka. The new cards, with a vertical design, will be initially issued to HSBC’s Premier customers in April and subsequently to all other credit/debit card customers, later this year.

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SLT-MOBITEL’s mCash partners with Visa to enable Visa Acceptance on LankaQR

mCash, the mobile money arm of SLT-MOBITEL has partnered with Visa to enable mCash merchants to process Visa payments via LankaQR. This joint endeavor will empower mCash merchants across Sri Lanka to conveniently use the Visa solution to receive QR payments from customers.

Visa’s QR payment solution, is a mobile push-payment platform that allows customers to send merchants payments directly from their Visa prepaid, debit or credit card accounts by scanning a QR code with their mobile and following the applicable Visa process for QR payments.

With mCash’s latest addition of LankaQR via partnering bank Commercial Bank enables existing mCash merchants; from small businesses to large-scale enterprises, to conveniently accept payments from any customer who uses an app that is LankaQR certified, including the Visa QR solution. LankaQR codes issued by mCash merchants can accept payments sent through the Visa network using cards issued locally and internationally, placing it amongst one of the most fully-fledged LankaQR codes to be issued to the market.

Commenting on the partnership, Shashika Senarath, Chief Marketing Officer of Mobitel said, “As Sri Lanka continues to evolve digitally, we are proud to partner with Visa and roll out QR code solutions for our consumers ensuring convenience, security and reliability. With this partnership, we are able to deliver new payment innovations for our merchant base through mCash and LankaQR’s interoperable standards thus empowering our customers to pay and get paid seamlessly and further uplift Sri Lanka’s digital payment landscape.”

LankaQR was first launched through an initiative by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL). This was to ensure that all QR codes and QR-based transactions in Sri Lanka occur in a regulated and inter-operative manner. LankaQR’s island-wide activation is further in support of the Central Bank’s ‘Cash Wade’ campaign which aims to increase the adoption of digital transactions in Sri Lanka and to highlight issues related to using cash and encouraging consumers to enjoy the convenience of payments through digital platforms.

Anthony Watson, Country Manager – Sri Lanka and Maldives, Visa said, “The increased adoption of less-touch payments, be it contactless cards or QR codes, signals the shift of consumers and merchants alike, towards more forms of digital payments. We’re delighted to enable QR payments on Visa for merchants of SLT-Mobitel, so they can accept payments from Visa cardholders easily and safely. With this, we aim to expand digital payment infrastructure, usage and acceptance across small merchants in Sri Lanka.”

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