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Sri Lankan among 12 Asian entrepreneurs awarded for forward-thinking environmental solutions

Twelve environmentalists in the Asia-Pacific region have won US$10,000 each to support their energy-efficient, low-waste, and low-carbon business ideas.

Sasiranga De Silva ,a lecturer at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Motratuwa, won an award in the Low Carbon Mobility category for bringing the iconic tuk tuk into the eVehicle market. His startup is developing an affordable conversion kit that will allow tuk-tuk drivers to convert their existing iconic vehicles to an electric powertrain that will generate zero tailpipe emissions.

UN Environment’s Director for the Asia-Pacific region, Dechen Tsering, said, “From plastic waste to climate change, we who live in Asia and the Pacific are confronting environmental challenges face-to-face almost daily. The natural ingenuity we find across our region is the key to solving these problems.”

The winning project address a variety of sustainability challenges across the region, offering innovative solutions for local, regional or even global environmental issues.


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Ericsson and Dialog to roll out Sri Lanka’s first commercial massive IoT network

Dialog Axiata, Sri Lanka’s largest telecommunications services provider, and Ericsson have rolled out South Asia’s first commercial massive IoT network.

The network supports both Cat-M1 and NB-IoT technologies, and is deployed across Dialog Axiata’s Sri Lankan network. The partners say the advanced mobile network technology will help accelerate the proliferation of IoT devices. It will further develop the IoT ecosystem in the country by offering superior coverage, long battery life and cost-effective solutions to enterprises.

“With this launch, we are seeking to accelerate the adoption of innovative technologies by enterprises, and help them create exciting new products and services for consumers,” commented Pradeep De Almeida, Group Chief Technology Officer, Dialog Axiata PLC. “The Cat-M1/NB-IoT network will amplify opportunity for solutions such as smart metering for utilities, smart parking, smart bins, smart environmental sensors for smart cities, logistic solutions as well as other applications in agriculture and farming.”

Ericsson delivers Cat-M1 (LTE-M) and NB-IoT support as a software activation to Dialog Axiata’s existing LTE Radio Access Network. Ericsson's Massive IoT solutions for Cat-M1 and NB-IoT devices are claimed to have low cost, low power consumption, deep coverage, massive connections, and more secure and reliable transmission.

“A well-developed IoT ecosystem is fast becoming key for operators to enable new services and revenue streams,” summed up Vinod Samarawickrama, Country Manager, Sri Lanka & Maldives, Ericsson. “Our partnership with Dialog Axiata to roll out the first massive IoT network for both NB-IoT and Cat-M1 in the country, and notably South Asia, contributes towards this fast-developing IoT ecosystem.”

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Dialog Axiata, Ideamart launch NB-IoT Hackathon

Telecom giant Dialog Axiata, in partnership with Ideamart, hosted a NB-IoT Hackathon for the first time in Sri Lanka. Held on the 17th of March, the hackathon brought together 9 teams tasked with creating NB-IoT services using Dialog’s IoT platform or making existing services NB-IoT compatible. Dialog’s developer relations and community development arm, Ideamart, conducted over 15 NB-IoT awareness sessions around the country for students and startups.

The hackathon was carried out in two phases. Phase one consisted in a pre-hackathon event on 15 March to educate participating teams on Dialog’s NB-IoT network, special device packages, IoT developer kits and the future of IoT in Sri Lanka. Phase two was the hackathon itself, held on 17 March at the Dialog Head Office Auditorium.

The first place winners, Team Death Squad from Innova IT Systems, received LKR 150,000, while 1st runners up, Bite Code from the University of Peradeniya won LKR 100,000 and 2nd runners up, Team Strangers from University of Rajarata and Team Myhub from MyHub.lk received LKR 50,000. Consumer based services initiated at the hackathon included a water quality monitoring tool for the Anuradhapura district, infant healthcare products and fitness bands that use the NB-IoT network and Dialog’s existing IoT platform.

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Allianz completes Janashakthi’s acquisition

Global financial services firm Allianz Group has completed the acquisition of Sri Lanka-based insurer Janashakthi General Insurance Ltd for about $106.4 million (LKR 16.4 billion).

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Janashakthi Insurance PLC Managing Director Prakash Schaffter shakes hands with Allianz Insurance Lanka Managing Director Surekha Alles. Also present are Janashakthi Insurance PLC Director Ramesh Schaffter (left) and Allianz Asia Executive Board Member Zakri Khir. (Image:Daily Mirror)

In an announcement on Monday, the German insurance major said it sealed the buy after receiving all the necessary regulatory approvals and will now begin amalgamating the operations of both companies.

“This transaction brings together two highly complementary businesses for enhanced scale, competitiveness and service capabilities, while positioning Allianz as one of Sri Lanka’s largest general insurers and significantly accelerating its growth agenda in this market,” said the announcement.

After the deal, Allianz Insurance Lanka will be one of the country’s largest general insurers, with a market share of approximately 20 per cent. Further, with close to a million policyholders island-wide, the expanded client base represents a significant growth opportunity for Allianz in Sri Lanka.

Together with its 6 per cent share in the country’s life insurance market, the acquisition positions Allianz Lanka as one of the strongest protection leaders in the country. This supports Allianz’ strategic priorities of achieving market leadership positions and high-quality growth in the Asia Pacific region, Allianz said earlier this month while announcing the deal.

It had further added that Janashakthi will continue to focus on its life insurance portfolio in order to strengthen its presence in the Sri Lankan life insurance industry.

Janashakthi Insurance has been in Sri Lanka for over two decades and focuses on motor, fire and health protection for individuals and corporates. Meanwhile, Allianz with core businesses are insurance and asset management services over 80 million customers worldwide and is a leader in the German market in insurance sector.

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First ‘Lotteries Shop’ by DLB opens in Jaffna

The first conceptual ‘Lotteries shop’ was declared open by the Development Lotteries Board (DLB) in Nallur, Jaffna on March 11.

Introduced under a concept by the current Chairman of the DLB, Sena Sooriyapperuma the move seeks to go beyond the traditional lottery kiosks by providing sellers with new technology and other necessary modern facilities to improve their sales.

Meanwhile, additionally, the DLB also held a one day workshop for lotteries agents based in Jaffna, Mannar, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya districts while also using the opportunity to evaluate their progress during the past year.

The workshop was held under the auspices of CHairman of DLB, Sena Sooriyapperuma, while DLB Distributing agent in Jaffna T. Themarasan, Head of Dan Tv Kuganathan, Working Director of the DLB HR Wimalasiri and Acting General Manager Anura Jayaratne were also in attendance.

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DIMO buys control of seed, fertiliser firms

Diesel & Motor Engineering said it has acquired control of two companies which import and distribute agricultural inputs like chemicals, fertilisers and seeds.

A stock exchange filing said it invested Rs 345.5 million to take 51% stakes in the privately-owned Plantchem (Private) Limited and Plant Seeds Private Limited.

The two firms are engaged in the import, processing and distribution of agri inputs like crop protection products, specialised fertilisers and seeds, it said.

DIMO, best known for importing luxury Mercedes-Benz cars and also selling Tata vehicles, has diversified into other activities including agricultural machinery and crops and fertiliser.

Source : Economy Next

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Dinuk Hettiarachchi appointed as the new Chairman of COYLE

The Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE) announced the appointment of Dinuk Hettiarachchi as its new Chairman, following its 19th anniversary celebrations held on Saturday at the Ballroom of Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo.

Hettiarachchi is the Managing Partner of Nihal Hettiarachchi & Co., a leading auditing and accounting firm in Sri Lanka. He is also the Chairman of 3DH International Group of Companies with a diversified portfolio comprising of oil and gas, power and energy, aviation, real estate, information technology, advertising and marketing, insurance brokers, international trading, travel and tourism and BPO. He is ably assisted by COYLE Senior Vice Chairman Aminda Rodrigo and Vice Chairman Dinesh Jayawardena.

Speaking of his appointment, Hettiarachchi commented: “I’m deeply humbled yet honoured to receive this symbol of leadership and begin a journey that would create numerous success stories and new business opportunities for my fellow entrepreneurs at COYLE. I am even more proud to be given the opportunity to lead this band of highly-dynamic, skilled and engaged members of our business fraternity, Committee members and Secretariat. I am determined to build on the legacy of the last 18 years and take COYLE forward into the future.”

He further elaborated: “My concentrated efforts will hinge on three specific strategic points that will help the chamber set the national standard for fostering economic prosperity. These include: Develop a harmonious environment to generate corporate endeavours and inspire new concepts and proposals that could merge trade and industry between private and Government sectors; create opportunities for COYLE members through various international events organised in Sri Lanka and also by representing Sri Lanka globally; optimising and diversifying Chamber activities to maximise member experience, facilitate greater member-to-member connections and attract new members and ensure that the Chamber achieves the highest standard of operational excellence, enhancing Government, community and business harmony in decision-making processes.”

“We are pleased to have a strong and active leader taking over the reins; and I’m sure that with a group of energetic members who are bound together by a core set of operating values, will dedicate themselves to enhance member value, involvement, calibre and long-term plan and vision for COYLE,” stated outgoing Chairman Kushan Kodituwakku.

COYLE is a leading business chamber providing thought leadership to drive community growth and economic prosperity. With over 120 members comprising of business owners and entrepreneurs, the Chamber has an extensive national and international business network, offering a broad spectrum of activities and services.

Chamber members collaborate with Government officials, policy makers and community organisations to support the community and each other with the mission of building harmony within businesses and communities through its motto, ‘Recognition through Excellence’.

(Daily FT)

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HRAWI to host 18th Regional Convention In Sri Lanka

The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) has announced plans of hosting its first ever overseas and the 18th Regional Convention in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Scheduled to take place from June 27-30, 2018, the convention will integrate business sessions on specially curated topics for the hospitality professionals.

With over 300 participants expected to gather at one place, the convention will offer business networking opportunities for industry players. HRAWI will also organise post-convention tours for the delegates to spend leisure time in the beach destination of Sri Lanka – Colombo.

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Bajaj Qute To Hit Lankan Roads Soon

Sri Lanka’s David Pieris Motor Company Ltd (DPMC), the sole distributors for India’s Bajaj-brand of vehicles is planning to officially launch the first motorized quadricycle Bajaj Qute, touted as an alternative to three-wheelers in Sri Lanka within the next two months, Business Observer learns. According to a company official, the vehicle which made headlines in both Sri Lanka and India in the last few years over safety concerns has finally received the green light from Sri Lanka’s Motor Traffic Department and quality inspection authorities.

 “We have registered four vehicles in Sri Lanka at the moment for testing purposes. However, we have not yet opened commercial sales so far,” DPMC’s Lead Internal and External Communications, Dasun Edirisinghe said.

According to him, the quadricycle which was previously named as RE60 will not be marketed in Sri Lanka as an alternative to three-wheelers to run taxi services but as an affordable four wheel private vehicle for the family. The Indian quadricycle is set to be competitively priced at under Rs. 1 million in Sri Lanka.

The Bajaj Qute runs on a 216.6 cc engine with an ability to produce 13.2 PS power and a top speed of 70 kilometers per hour. The engine will also have CNG and LPG compliant variants, Indian media reports said. It drives a six-speed sequential shift transmission, similar to those found in motorcycles.

Capable of carrying four passengers, the Qute claims to have a mileage of 36 km per litre and emits 66 grams of carbon dioxide per km. Bajaj claims these figures are higher than those seen with a usual three-wheeler, making its quadricycle more economical and environment-friendly. On the safety front, the vehicle which comes with seat belts for both drivers and passengers meets the European Standards and Guidelines of Quadricycle for quality and design.

Bajaj Qute which comes out of the production facility in Aurangabad in India is presently being exported to countries in Europe, Africa, South America, and rest of Asia. The vehicle initially developed by combined efforts of Bajaj and Renault as RE60 under their Ultra Low Cost car project was first unveiled at the Delhi Expo as RE60 in 2012.

Motorized quadricycles are small and fuel-efficient vehicles intended to be a small urban vehicle fit for crowded streets. According to recent research in Europe, motorized quadricycles continue to be an attractive vehicle segment, especially among urbanites.

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Cargills Bank partners with Transfer To in Sri Lanka

Cargills Bank has partnered with TransferTo, a cross-border mobile payments network for emerging markets, to enhance and strengthen its remittance services offered by the bank, according to a press release.

The partnership provides customers worldwide the convenience of sending money in real-time, from over 60 countries across TransferTo's global network, to beneficiaries in Sri Lanka.

Beneficiaries can now collect cash remittances from 17 Cargills Bank Branches and at over 330 Cargills Food City outlets island wide. In addition, customers will receive a 5 percent discount on their purchase when they collect cash remittances at any Cargills Food City outlet.

"As a bank which understands the DNA of its customers, we are pleased to strengthen our remittance services by partnering with one of the world's leading money transfer networks: TransferTo," Buddhika Perera, head of retail banking at Cargills Bank, said in the release. "The integration of mobile financial services with commercial banks to provide delivery of remittance will boost the formal remittance inflow to the country, particularly in the rural and remote areas and the beneficiaries would be able to collect them from any of our 330 Cargills Food City network."


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Ceylinco Insurance posts consolidated after-tax profit of Rs. 8.3 billion

Ceylinco Insurance PLC, the holding company of Insurance giants Ceylinco General Insurance and Ceylinco Life Insurance recorded a massive, consolidated after-tax profit of Rs. 8.3 billion, for the year ended 31st December 2017. The profit before tax stood at an exceptional Rs. 9.2 billion.

Contributing to this remarkable performance, Ceylinco General Insurance and Ceylinco Life Insurance recorded profits after tax of Rs. 1.4 billion and Rs. 6 billion, respectively.

The Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer of Ceylinco Insurance PLC, Ajith Gunawardena commenting on the impressive performance said, "The Insurance sector recorded an impressive premium income of Rs. 33.7 billion in 2017, with Ceylinco General Insurance surpassing Rs.18 billion; an increase of over Rs. 1.9 billion year on year, just as Ceylinco Life Insurance registered a premium income of Rs. 15.7 billion. As the clear market dominator, the Insurance sector, in 2017, remained far ahead of the competition. As an insurance company, we have our objectives as well as our responsibilities. Whenever our customers are affected, we always compensate them within the shortest possible time, often within 24 hrs. For us, this is in line with our values - to stand by our customers in their time of need. Also, as the industry leader, we were able to enhance the goodwill of the industry through our actions."

Ceylinco Life Insurance Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, R Renganathan said, "Everything we do is inspired by the credo that life insurance is a 'Relationship for Life'. Ceylinco Life not only retained its leadership in the life insurance sector for the 14th consecutive year in 2017, the company grew its profit by 95 % to 6 billion while transferring Rs 7.3 billion to its Life Fund, paying Rs 6.7 billion in net claims and benefits and continuing all of its community welfare commitments, We also persisted with our market expansion efforts, benefiting the entire life insurance industry. In that context, Ceylinco Life's performance in 2017 is truly remarkable."

Patrick Alwis, Managing Director of Ceylinco General Insurance commenting on the performance of Ceylinco General Insurance said "the premium income of our flagship brand 'Ceylinco VIP' alone stood at a staggering Rs. 11 billion, with Non Motor Insurance contributing an impressive Rs. 7 billion, allowing the total premium income of Ceylinco General Insurance to record yet another fantastic year. This is in the midst of stiff competition. Despite numerous challenges, we have worked hard and worked together, and we have exceeded expectations, once again. Ceylinco General Insurance paid claims amounting to Rs. 9 billion during 2017".

Source : Colombo Page

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BOC appoints new GM/CEO

Sri Lankan state bank, Bank of Ceylon has appointed K. B. Senarath Bandara as its new General Manager and CEO with effect from 22 February.

The appointment comes following the retirement of GM/CEO D. M. Gunasekara.

Bandara is a senior banker and at present operates as the Deputy General Manager (Sales and Channel Management).

He is a member of the Governing Board of the Institute of Bankers of Sri Lanka and a Director of Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka and Finance Plc. He is also a Council Member of the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka and the incumbent President of the Association of Professional Banks, Sri Lanka. Formerly, he was a Director of the Regional Development Bank.

Bandara is a graduate of the University of Kelaniya in Physical Science with a Second Class (Upper Division) and holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) with a Merit Pass from the Postgraduate Institute of Management, University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

He is also an alumnus of the Harvard Business School, USA, where he successfully completed the Advanced Management Program.


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