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Business

Altaaqa Global Energy Services Wins Power Projects in Sri Lanka

Altaaqa Global Energy Services, a leading global provider of integrated energy solutions, has been awarded new contracts to supply 18 MW on two sites for six months by the Ceylon Electricity Board, a statement issued by the company said.

The power plants in Mahiyanganaya and Polonnaruwa, with capacities of 10 MW and 8 MW respectively at 33 KV, are to be delivered within 30 days.

“We are honoured by the trust that the Government of Sri Lanka has put in our capabilities to rapidly deliver an effective power solution,” said James Shepherd, CEO of Altaaqa Global. “We are pleased to be an integral part of the country’s initiatives to provide reliable power to its industries and domestic users.

Shepherd said that they are confident that these power plants will create a positive impact on the quality of power supply in the country and that they look forward to further investing in the Sri Lanka’s power sector through solar and hybrid solutions.

Majid Zahid, Group President, added, “This project provides us an excellent opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to making a difference to our clients, stakeholders and greater society. A continuous and dependable supply of electricity is vital to any rapidly growing country, thus we are thrilled to be playing a vital role in the growth and development of Sri Lanka’s economy.”

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Strong sectoral contributions drive Hayleys third quarter PBT to Rs. 1.7 billion

Iconic Sri Lankan multinational, Hayleys PLC, recorded a strong all-round performance in the third quarter of 2018 (3Q18), as the Group turnover rose by 20% Year-on-Year ( YoY) to Rs. 59.7 billion, resulting in a sharp 80% YoY increase in Group's Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization ( EBITDA) to Rs. 9 billion for the quarter.

The Group's nine months performance was equally impressive with Turnover reaching an enviable Rs.163 billion and the EBITDA reaching Rs 15.1 billion. The profit from operating activities of the Group was Rs.11.3 billion, which is a 68% YoY improvement. However, the net Finance Cost increased to Rs.7.7 billion from Rs. 3.9 attributing to the inclusion of Singer Group's finance cost and the cost of funding recent acquisitions. The Profit before tax (PBT) of Rs.3.5 billion reflect a 19% improvement over the previous year while the PAT increased by 23% to Rs.1.9 billion.

"We are pleased to see such a strong performance across the Hayleys Group over the last quarter. Taken together with the cumulative results of the period, our businesses have displayed resilience in the face of significant volatility in the domestic and international economy," Hayleys Chairman and Chief Executive, Mohan Pandithage stated.

Further Mr. Pandithage said "Bolstered by the consolidated 9 months results of our recent acquisition, Singer (Sri Lanka) PLC, the Retail sector helped to enhance the Group's results. Further, the outstanding performances in our export businesses, increased volume in the Transportation and Logistics sector also have contributed well to the Group's bottom line. Despite the challenging economic conditions, we move into the final quarter with complete confidence in our ability to deliver planned results".

Due to consolidation of Singer (Sri Lanka) PLC ,the Group's Retail sector, expanded revenue during the 9 months to 31st December 2018 to Rs. 52.4 billion, against a previous Rs. 19.9 billion while operating profit rose sharply from Rs. 966 million to Rs. 3.4 billio

The Group's Transportation and Logistics sector posted similarly impressive results, expanding turnover to Rs. 33 billion, from Rs. 25.8 billion in the previous year, while operating profit rose from Rs. 1.9 billion to Rs. 2.2 billion.

During the quarter, the sector's distribution center capacity was increased with completion of new projects including the Advantis Logistics City while expanding their global presence.
 
A Strong performance in the Group's Agriculture sector resulted in turnover rising to Rs. 10.8 billion, from a previous Rs. 10.1 billion while operating profit expanding from Rs. 736 million to Rs. 1.2 billion during the 9 months period.
 
The Purification Products sector (Haycarb Group) posted expanded turnover of Rs. 14.3 billion, against a previous Rs. 10.9 billion while operating profit rose significantly from Rs. 701 million to Rs. 1 billion.
 
The Group's Hand Protection sector (Dipped Products PLC) recorded a turnover of Rs. 12.9 billion while operating profit in the sector expanded from Rs. 266 million to Rs. 622 million.
 
Another notable performance was seen in the Group's Eco-Solutions sector which manufacture and export value added coconut fiber products recorded an increase in turnover from Rs. 3.2 billion to Rs. 5 billion, and went on to make a vital reversal in its bottom line, posting a profit of Rs. 302 million against a loss of Rs. 59 million during the 9 months.
 
The Group has also earned a series of prestigious accolades over the recent past including being crowned Gold Award winner for Overall Excellence in Financial Reporting at the CA Sri Lanka Annual Report Awards together with a further 11 awards. Additionally, the Group also emerged at the top of the LMD Top 20 rankings for 2018 for the second consecutive year.
 
The Board of Directors of Hayleys PLC comprises Messrs. Mohan Pandithage (Chairman and Chief Executive), Dhammika Perera (Co-Chairman), Sarath Ganegoda, Rajitha Kariyawasan, Dr. Harsha Cabral PC, Lalin Samarawickrama, Ruwan Waidyaratne, Hisham Jamaldeen, Aravinda Perera, Noel Joseph and Jayanthi Dharmasena. (Press release)

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Nikki Beach Global to set up resort and spa in Sri Lanka

Nikki Beach Hotels and Resorts will build a new luxury property in Sri Lanka, Nikki Beach Global founder Jack Penrod said.

Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Sri Lanka will be located within a new development in the area’s most pristine beach of Balapitya. Surrounded by rolling hills, beautiful back waters and rainforests, the property, which will be open year round, will consist of 200 rooms and suites with rooftop pools and a stunning 200-meter private beach.

There will also be 4 restaurants and bars on site, a Nikki Spa, Tone Gym and Nikki Beach integration into the resort pool. As the stylish new destination for experiential and holistic travel in Asia, Sri Lanka is known for its untouched nature, beautiful beaches and high level of hospitality. "In its 20th year of operation, Nikki Beach continues to evolve as markets change,” says Lucia Penrod, CEO of Nikki Beach Global.  

“A year ago, we shifted our focus on reorganizing our Hotel Division and the result after one year is three new projects under construction and a deeper pipeline than we have ever had before. Our first beach resort was opened in 2010 in Koh Samui, Thailand, and after 9 years, our hotel brand is ready for take off," she added.

Nikki Beach Hotels & Resorts prides itself on providing guests with an unrivaled and distinctive luxury lifestyle experience. The properties feature cutting-edge architecture, contemporary dining, indulgent Nikki Spa services and signature beach and nightclub entertainment, creating an enhanced Nikki Beach experience.

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Sri Lanka to match funds for high-producing overseas agents 

Sri Lankan tourism authorities are likely to bring back an incentive scheme that supports foreign travel companies that bring in a minimum of 250 visitors.

According to marketing director of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), Madubhani Perera, any foreign operator bringing a minimum of 250 visitors will be entitled to US$10 per guest, plus more for guests over the 250-threshold.

The foreign agent will make their own US$10 per guest contribution, and the joint amount will go towards advertising support for the agent.

The scheme was in effect years ago until it was ceased in 2011. It is now in the process of being restored at the request of the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Travel Agents (SLAITO), subject to approval by the Cabinet.

Mahen Kariyawasam, managing director, Andrews Travels and former president of SLAITO, said that strict criteria will be followed to ensure that the money from the joint incentive scheme is properly utilised.

“In the earlier scheme we had some issues but now we will have a committee that would go through all proposals to ensure a transparent and accountable process,” he said.

Once the scheme is approved, applications from foreign agents who brought in at least 250 guests in 2018 will be entertained.

Meanwhile the much-awaited US$16.6 million, three-year destination marketing promotion campaign has been further delayed and likely to take off only in May (launching at the Arabian Travel Mart). It was due to have been launched at the ITB in March.

The delay is due to tenders, approvals and other paper work which got caught up in the 52-day political crisis in October-November 2018.

While Sri Lanka recently gained endorsement from Lonely Planet, managing director of Aitken Spence Travels – Nalin Jayasundera, pointed out the destination is not reaping the full benefits of such international recognition.

Should there be further delays in the global campaign, he said the destination needs some kind of tactical marketing in at least the top 10 markets until the campaign takes off. “These latest endorsements (could be better taken advantage of) if the tourism authorities work together with the industry on an urgent basis to carry out joint marketing campaigns,” he asserted. (TTGAsia)

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Fitch Affirms Sri Lanka's Dialog Axiata at 'AAA(lka)'; Outlook Stable

Fitch Ratings has affirmed the National Long-Term Rating of Sri Lanka-based telecoms company Dialog Axiata at ‘AAA(lka)’ with a stable outlook.

KEY RATING DRIVERS

Mobile-Market Leader: Dialog’s standalone credit profile of ‘AAA(lka)’ is underpinned by its market leadership in the growing mobile and pay-TV market segments. We believe that Dialog is in a position to gain revenue market share from smaller telcos, given its superior execution and mobile networks.

High Ratings Headroom: We believe that Dialog could receive support from its 83%-parent, Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata) of Malaysia, if its standalone credit profile were to weaken. Under Fitch’s parent-subsidiary linkage criteria, we assess the relationship between Axiata and Dialog as one of a “strong parent, weaker subsidiary and moderate linkages”. The linkages include sharing key management personnel, a common name and common creditors, which could result in reputational risk to Axiata should Dialog fail.

Solid Financial Profile: The company has a solid financial profile, with industry-leading revenue growth, a stable operating EBITDAR margin of 37%-38%, and a low Fitch-forecast 2019 FFO adjusted net leverage of around 1.0x (estimated 2018: 1.0x). We forecast revenue to grow by the high-single-digit percentage (barring any tax shocks) during 2019-2020, driven by data services revenue growth of 30%-35% (2018: 32%). Revenue and EBITDA grew by 16% and 18%, respectively, during 2018, based on preliminary financial results. We expect the government’s 2018 announcement on the removal of floor rates for voice call charges to have only a limited impact on growth.

Stable Profitability: We forecast Dialog’s operating EBITDAR margin to remain stable, as larger economies of scale in the data segment offset falling profitability in the voice and text segments. Strong data growth is supported by proliferation of smartphones; over 80% of new handsets activated on Dialog’s network are 4G-enabled. Telecom tower tax of LKR200,000 per tower (effective from January 2019) will have only a limited impact on operating EBITDAR margin given annual tax liability of around LKR400 million – about 0.4% of 2018’s revenue.

Limited FCF: We forecast limited FCF during 2019-2020 as cash flow from operations will be just sufficient to fund the large capex plan and dividend commitments. We forecast capex/revenue to be around 28%-30% to expand the 4G networks and optical fibre infrastructure during 2019-2020. Dividends are likely to be around LKR3 billion-4 billion (2018 estimate: LKR3.7 billion).

Debt-Funded M&A: Dialog’s ratings have sufficient headroom for the company to undertake a debt-funded acquisition of a smaller operator. However, any rating action would depend on the acquisition price, funding structure, and the financial and operating profile of the combined entity.

Stable Sector Outlook: Fitch’s outlook for the Sri Lankan telco sector is stable, as we expect the mean net leverage for Sri Lanka Telecom PLC (SLT, AA+(lka)/Stable) and Dialog to remain stable at around 1.4x-1.5x in 2019. We expect the sector’s cash generation to improve, driven by higher mobile and broadband data usage. This will be insufficient, however, to fund the large capex requirement, leading to negative FCF. We expect average operating EBITDAR margins to remain stable, driven by improving economies of scale in the data and home broadband segment, offsetting the negative impact of the changing revenue mix.

We believe the recently announced merger between Hutchison Telecommunications Lanka (Private) Ltd and Etisalat Lanka (Private) Ltd is likely to relieve some competitive pressures that have undermined telecom companies’ revenue and EBITDA growth in recent years. The merger is pending regulatory approval.

DERIVATION SUMMARY

Dialog’s business risk profile is stronger than that of similarly rated national peers, given its market-leading position in Sri Lanka’s mobile industry, stable cash generation, and integrated service offerings. Dialog’s financial profile is better than that of SLT, with lower 2018 FFO adjusted net leverage of 1.0x (SLT: 1.8x for 2018), a larger revenue base and a better operating EBITDAR margin. Dialog has demonstrated better market execution than SLT, with its growing market share and rising EBITDA.

Dialog has a comparable business risk profile relative to leading alcoholic-beverage manufacturer Melstacorp PLC (AAA(lka)/Stable).

Melstacorp’s subsidiary, Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka (DIST: AAA(lka)/Stable), controls 60% of Sri Lanka’s spirits production, and has maintained its market leadership due to its entrenched brand and access to a country-wide distribution network. Both Dialog and Melstacorp have shown an ability to pass on the higher taxes to consumers. However, Dialog has higher ratings headroom, given its financial profile is stronger than Melstacorp. Dialog’s 2018 FFO adjusted net leverage of 1.0x is lower than Melstacorp’s 1.9x-2.0x.

Hemas Holdings PLC (AA-(lka)/Stable) is the largest private pharmaceuticals distributor in the country, and has a presence in leisure and the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sectors. Dialog has a significantly stronger business profile with its market position, larger operating scale and ability to generate a wider operating EBITDAR margin, and its ability to pass on higher taxes to consumers. Hemas’s ratings are currently constrained due to regulatory pressures in the form of price controls in its pharmaceutical business. Hemas’s FFO adjusted net leverage is likely to be similar to that of Dialog over the medium term.

KEY ASSUMPTIONS

Fitch’s Key Assumptions Within Our Rating Case for the Issuer

– High-single-digit revenue growth during 2019-2020 (2018 estimates: 16%)

– Operating EBITDAR margin to remain stable around 37%-38% during 2019-2020 (2018 estimates: 38%)

– Capex/revenue to remain high at around 28%-30% (2018 estimates: 29%)

– Dividend payout of LKR3 billion-4 billion during 2019-2020 (2018 estimate: LKR3.7 billion).

RATING SENSITIVITIES

Developments That May, Individually or Collectively, Lead to Positive Rating Action

– There is no scope for an upgrade as Dialog is at the highest rating on the Sri Lankan National Ratings scale

Developments That May, Individually or Collectively, Lead to Negative Rating Action

– FFO adjusted net leverage above 3.5x, provided there is no further strengthening of rating linkages with the parent, Axiata.

LIQUIDITY AND DEBT STRUCTURE

Solid Liquidity: Dialog had sufficient unrestricted cash balance of LKR10 billion and undrawn committed bank facilities of LKR10 billion to pay for its short-term debt maturities of about LKR5 billion as of end-2018, based on preliminary 2018 financial statements. The company has strong access to local banks, being among the largest corporates in Sri Lanka. Debt consists mainly of a USD205 million syndicated facility and LKR14 billion bank term loan.

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Eminent lawyer K Kanag-Isvaran to deliver CA Sri Lanka 22nd Annual Tax Oration 

Eminent lawyer and President’s Counsel Dr. Kanaganayagam Kanag-Isvaran, will deliver the 22nd Annual Oration on Taxation organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) on 06th February 2019 at the CA Sri Lanka Auditorium on ‘The tax collector and the rights of the taxed’.

At the oration, Dr. Kanag-Isvaran is expected to address the Constitutional provisions with regard to taxes, the correlation between the fundamental right equality before the law and tax policy and retrospective tax laws. He will also elaborate on rules of natural justice, right to invoke writs, appellate procedure with a special focus on the recently enacted Inland Revenue Act. In addition, the oration will also focus on the scope for a tax ombudsman, the liability of the directors’ with regard to taxes of the company, rights of the tax payer against recovery action by the Commissioner General of Inland Revenue (CGIR), the right to receive interest from the CGIR, etc.

His oration will navigate through the new Appellate Procedure set out in the Inland Revenue Act No: 24 of 2017 and emphasize on the key changes in the law in this regard.

Dr. Kanag-Isvaran, is a President’s Counsel, having taken Silk in January 1988. He is a Barrister-at-Law of Lincoln’s Inn (1964), a Graduate in Law from the University of London (1965) and an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka (1966). He was conferred the Degree of Doctor of Laws – LLD (Honoris Causa) by the University of Colombo at its Convocation in November 2017.

He has, on the 28th of July last year, completed 52 years of active practice at the Sri Lankan Bar. He has an extensive practice on the civil side in both the original and appellate courts and specializes in several areas of law including, Corporate Law, Intellectual Property Law, Banking and Finance, Shipping and Admiralty, Telecommunication, I.T., and International Commercial Arbitration.

The Annual Tax Oration of CA Sri Lanka is a much awaited event in the institute’s calendar and attracts a large number of professionals, including high-level tax officials from the public sector, and members of CA Sri Lanka. The Medallion to the orator of this event as in all previous events is sponsored by Mr. Esmond Satarasinghe, a founding member of CA Sri Lanka.

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zMessenger becomes first Sri Lankan digital agency to partner with Viber

zMessenger, the multiple-award winning full spectrum digital solutions agency in Sri Lanka, has entered into an official partnership with Viber, one of the world's leading messaging apps developed by Rakuten Viber, to provide multimedia content messaging services locally.

As an official partner of Viber in Sri Lanka, zMessenger is able to promote Viber to local companies and brands allowing them to engage with their customer base by sending out promotional messages with rich multimedia content such as images, videos or a link, all of which go beyond the standard SMS messages traditionally used by these brands over  the years.

The Viber messages will have a greater impact due to its premium environment for communication with customers, helping create greater interactivity, awareness and brand loyalty. Recipients of the messages can view the message content and initiate a direct communication channel with the brand in order to obtain further information, creating a one-to-one connection between the customer and the brand on the Viber platform. 

During the course of its 16 years of operations, zMessenger has built a reputation for its innovative approach and its commitment in transforming the digital marketing landscape of Sri Lanka, empowering local organizations to keep up with the rapid pace of evolution witnessed around the world. It leverages efficient and innovative digital expertise to create cutting-edge IT-enabled business solutions and mobile strategies across a vast range of industries that includes banking and finance, FMCG, manufacturing, real estate, mass media, government and aviation. It currently handles over 90 companies including several of the island’s leading organizations and has provided digital solutions to more than 130 brands.

Expressing her views on the partnership, Jayomi Lokuliyana - Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of zMessenger stated, “We are proud to partner with Viber and become Sri Lanka’s first digital agency to roll out such a timely communication tool for our clients to take full advantage of the ever-increasing number of smart phone users. As pioneers in the digital marketing space, innovation has played a huge role in the growth of our company over the years. This tie-up with Viber, the global messaging giant, highlights our commitment to innovation and takes our products and services to a whole new level. I am confident that our clients will find this to be a convenient platform for interactive communication with the use of multimedia content, making business communication strategies sharp, optimized for perfection and up-to-date with latest trends.”
unnamed                  zMessenger CEO Jayomi Lokuliyana & Viber CRO Cristina Constandache

“We’re excited to work with zMessenger,” stated Cristina Constandache, Chief Revenue Officer at Viber. “We love offering ways for brands to engage Viber users on a whole new level and to offer something that truly enhances their messaging experience."

Viber’s default end-to-end encryption provides stronger security in every voice or video call, message, video and photo, in both group and one-on-one messages where not even Viber can see, read or have access to them.

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Footwear and leather export sector transforms into a vibrant export industry 

Sri Lanka's US$550 million footwear and leather export sector has now been transformed to a vibrant export competitive industry with the assistance of the ministry of industry and commerce on the directions of Minister Rishad Bathiudeen  Rishad Bathiudeen.

This compliment was paid by the President of Sri Lanka Footwear and  Leather Products Association P.G.D Nimalasiri when he delivered the welcome address at the awards ceremony of 11th Sri Lanka Footwear and  Leather fair in Colombo on Monday 27. 

The import cess for shoe parts has been increased to Rs 600 from Rs 300 while resolving issues faced by leather tanners by the treasury on the directions of the ministry, he said. 

The ministry is also considering the establishment of special leather industry and tanning zone. Sri Lanka’s first ever footwear and leather training course series has been implemented with the Sri Lanka Institute of Textile & Apparel (SLITA)  under the Industry Ministry. 

Footwear and Leather Products Industry is Rs 100 Billion sector and has great potential in years to come. The footwear and leather sector operators paid a tribute to minister Bathiudeen for his invaluable support and services rendered to the industry, he added. 

Sri Lanka’s footwear and leather sector employ around 300,000 and according to SLFLPMA’s President Nimalasiri, its annual production is estimated at around the US $ 550 Mn (Rs 100 Billion). It’s among the leading forex-saving industries in the country. The sector involves all scales of Lankan operators. 

According to the Export Development Board (EDB), its exports have surged by 300 per cent in the ten year period from 2008 to 2018. In 2018, its exports totalled the US $ 119 Million. 48% of it was bought by Vietnam and 16% by the UK.  Around the US $ 900,000 of Lankan footwear were also bought by the US (2018).

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Sri Lanka’s Gem and Jewelry Industry Focuses on Ethical Mining 

Sri Lanka is one of the countries with the oldest gem and jewelry industries in the world. The country was also one of the first to begin the process of mining back in the 1900s. Most of the country’s gem deposits are in an area known as the Highland Complex, extending northeast to southwest and containing high-grade metamorphic rocks.

Sri Lanka boasts a true mine-to-market industry, both domestically and for export. A fascinating aspect of this is the harmonious and productive blend of tradition, experience and modernization. Mining is done primarily by use of traditional methods, and is small-scale by choice and design as such mines are considered to be less harmful to the environment and a more stable source of employment for more people, numbering 60,000 to 70,000 miners at present. 

The industry functions through two bodies, the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewelry Association and the National Gem and Jewelry Authority. The SLGJA acts as the apex body that interacts with the Government of Sri Lanka as the industry representative in issue resolution and development of the sector. The latter officiates in terms of regulatory decisions.

As a pioneering mining country, Sri Lanka leads the board in advocating ethical mining practices from as early as the 1900s. The issuance of mining license was initiated during this time, making the island probably the first country to do so. A very important clause — children below the age of 18 years are strictly prohibited from participating in any mining-related activities — was included at the very first regulatory compilation. The regulatory bodies continue to focus on developing the human aspect in the industry, which is the primary capital since manual labor is the main method used in mining. In addition, the NGJA provides an insurance scheme that compensates mining-related accidents, injuries and casualties, which are few and far between.

River Mining Pelmadulla
River mining in Pelmadulla

On an environmental aspect, one of the main concerns is the covering of the pit once mining is completed. The responsibility lies with the mine owner. However, to ensure the closing, the Authority collects a refundable deposit when a license is issued. This fund is used for the closing of the mine, in case it is not done. The appointment of a mine inspector was another initiative made in the 1900s in order to guarantee the smooth, humane process in the mine as well as safeguard the environment.

This growing industry that thrives because of its ethical practices brings one of the highest revenues to the country. Historically Sri Lanka is world renowned for its gems, mainly the blue sapphire. At present the fame has grown far and wide through the extensive marketing initiatives conducted by the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewelry Association and NGJA. The FACETS International Gem and Jewelry Exhibition is the key annual event that has promoted the industry worldwide.

For the past 29 years the FACETS has been the perfect platform to experience the Sri Lankan Gem and Jewelry Industry in all its glory. Held annually in September, the exhibition showcases a wide range of gems and jewelry and has become a focal point for both local and international buyers and sellers. The exhibition also draws attention to the lapidary and educational aspects of the industry. Over the years FACETS has earned a significant amount of global recognition and is known for being the home for the very best of Sri Lanka’s topmost resource. Every year the exhibition draws more and more interest from experts and enthusiasts all across the globe.

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Swiss made medicinal cannabis product to debut in Sri Lanka

Any Sri Lankan that requires the use of medicinal cannabis (marijuana) products for health or therapeutic reasons will be able to buy it from local pharmacies, with the drug poised to launch its debut in the local market soon. 

Medicinal cannabis manufacturer Creso Pharma Limited (CHP) has inked a binding letter of intent with leading Sri Lankan pharmaceutical distributor Ceyoka Health to expand its medicinal cannabis products into the island nation recently, the company announced. 

The partnership will initially obtain the necessary regulatory acceptance from local authorities for Creso’s cannAFFORD-50,  a CBD lozenge designed to treat chronic pain, before marketing other joint initiatives in the medicinal cannabis field. 

The partners have also agreed to establish a comprehensive New Zealand-based cannabis business in the island to explore local research and development activity, domestic cultivation, extraction and product development for meeting domestic and international demand. 

It will explore a wide range of other joint initiatives focusing on innovative therapeutic and medicinal products containing hemp extracts. 

This product has been developed according to good manufacturing practice standards and is produced in Switzerland by Creso’s partner Swiss-based food and pharma development company, Domaco to the highest Swiss quality with a “Swiss Made” label.

There are an estimated 600,000 cannabis users in the country and medicinal marijuana is legal at pharmacies that hold a license from the Ministry of Health. 

There is some domestic cultivation, but it also relies on imports and Creso Pharma is aiming to establish itself as a leading light in the country, foreign news agencies highlighted.  

Ceyoka Health is one of the leading pharmaceutical distribution companies in Sri Lanka, with a distribution network of more than 1,800 pharmacies. Creso Pharma and Ceyoka Health plan to work together on a number of joint initiatives to provide Sri Lankans with hemp-based products.

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Sri Lanka's Jetwing Symphony records revenue growth of 37% to Rs. 484 mn in the quarter ended 31 Dec

Sri Lanka's Jetwing Symphony Group, a hotel owner and operator recorded revenue growth of 37% to Rs. 484 million for the quarter ended 31 December 2018 (Q3FY19) from the last corresponding quarter (Q3FY18).
 
The top contributors were Jetwing Yala, Jetwing Colombo Seven and Jetwing Lake, making up over 90% of the Group revenue. Increased ARR and overall occupancy were key drivers of this growth.
 
Revenue for the 9-months ended was Rs. 1,303 million which was a 30% increase from 31 December 2017.
 
The Group gross profit margin increased to 84%, from 82% for Q3FY19 whilst recording a gross profit of Rs. 404 million - a 40% increase from the previous corresponding quarter. All properties operated with gross profit margins above 75%, driven by proper management of resources.
All Jetwing Symphony Hotels, with the exception of Jetwing Surf, recorded positive EBITDA and EBIT figures. The Group recorded an EBITDA of Rs. 163 million and an EBIT of 82 million for Q3FY19 which translated to a 2 times and a 36 times improvement, respectively, from the previous corresponding quarter.
 
Off-season in Arugam Bay resulted in reduced occupation during the quarter under consideration which, combined with high fixed costs, resulted in poor EBIT and EBITDA performance for Jetwing Surf.
 
The Group recorded a loss of Rs. 32 million, on a recurring basis (profit/loss excluding forex gains/losses), for the quarter ended 31 December 2018 - a 69% QoQ improvement; and a loss of Rs. 170 million for the 9-months then ended, which was a 50% improvement.
 
The Rupee depreciated by c.7.9% against the USD during the quarter, further affecting the Group's bottom line; which ended with a loss of Rs. 131 million (22% drop, QoQ) and a loss of Rs. 370 million for the 9-months then ended, a 7% reduction from the last corresponding period.
 
The operational hotels are positioned as premium - with all Jetwing properties recording significantly higher ARRs than the corresponding quarter. Jetwing Kaduruketha saw a c.83% increase in the ARR as the hotel is consolidating on its luxury eco-resort status. Jetwing Colombo Seven and Jetwing Kaduruketha reported slight drops in their overall occupancy rates, due to a reduction in the number of online travel agency bookings and free independent tourist bookings, as a result of the political situation which prevailed in the country during the quarter. However, the overall occupancy rates of the other properties saw a significant increase which is testament to the popularity of your Group's hotels.
 
Construction of Jetwing Kandy Gallery, Symphony's latest addition, is currently underway with about 80% of the overall sub-structure and 30% of the superstructure work completed.
 
Expansion of Jetwing Symphony's operating hotel portfolio is in line with Symphony's philosophy of maximizing shareholder returns by pursuing strategic investment opportunities, Chairman of Jetwing Symphony Hiran Cooray said.

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93 Fife Residencies – Super Luxury Living Redefined in Colombo

The ground-breaking ceremony of the striking new residential development, 93 Fife Residencies, was held on-site at Fife Road, Colombo 05.

The super luxury apartments are designed to meet the rising demand for exclusive new age living in Colombo. 

Owned and guided by the leadership of New Delmon Hospitals, the apartment complex will be built on a privately owned property spanning 40 perches of land in Colombo 05, one of the city’s rapidly progressing commercial hubs. 

“Our aim is to bring unrivalled modern living options to the deserving residents in Colombo,” stated Director of 93 Fife Residencies Private Limited Mr. Mustaqdeenin his welcome speech. “93 Fife Residencies begins a new chapter in the story of our companies, and also in the lives of the people who will make their homes here.” 

93 Fife Residencies draws inspiration from a vision to create exclusive, elegant and elite living structures, adding value and aesthetic to Colombo’s ever-evolving skyline. A total of 40 limited-edition luxury units will be available in the 10-storey structure, with 4 residential units on each floor. 

The architecture and integrated design for this luxurious property comes from the team of experts at Surath Wickramasinghe Associates, led by renowned Architect and Planner, Dr. Surath Wickramasinghe. 

According to the owner and Director of 93 Fife Residencies Private Limited, Mowjood Mohamed Mohinudeen, the project is a realization of a passion for construction he had for decades.

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