Friday, April 30, 2010

Colombo Stock Exchange now at history best points level

                               DAILY MARKET REVIEW

29/04/2010 (S.L.S.Picks) – Sri Lanka stock Market continues its bull run for the second day on a shortened trading session today. Market declined due to profit taking on 27/04/2010 & 28/04/2010 was a holiday.

Investors picked Banking sector companies expecting improved performances for the Jan – March 2010 Quarter. Already Sampath Bank has announced exceptional results for the first quarter 2010 registering a growth of over 50% over last year results.

All share price index rose by 33.88 points to close at record high level of 4188.88 & more liquid Millanka index was up by 17.04 points to close at 4712.43.

Turnover for the day was healthy Rs 1.0b.n backed by retail investors.

Foreigners purchased shares to the tune of Rs 74m.n. & sold shares to the tune of Rs 152m.n. reflecting a net foreign out flow of Rs 78m.n. for the day.

The Oil Palm sector rose by 10.41% & was the leading sector today, due to price appreciation of Bukit Darah Company, followed by Footwear & Textile sector. The leading negative performing sector was the Construction & Engineering sector.

Shares of Raigam Wayamba Saltern Company commenced trading yesterday in Colombo Stock Exchange after its successful IPO. The company shares peaked Rs 5.25 & Closed at Rs 4.10 giving investors a return of 64% within a very short period.

There were 87 gainers as against 48 losers today.

  • Good Hope PLC declared First & Final Dividend of Rs 12.00
  • Indo Malay PLC LC declared First & Final Dividend of Rs 9.50
  • Shalimar (Malay) PLC declared First & Final Dividend of Rs 10.00
  • Selinsing PLC declared First & Final Dividend of Rs 12.50

  •  Central Bank of Sri Lanka has forecast a 6.5 % economic growth for the country in year 2010.
  • Stable government to adopt consistent economic policies in the country.
  • Expected boom in the Tourism sector in future. Tourist arrivals to the country has increased after the end of 30 year old civil war & already recorded a 50.3% growth so far for the year 2010. ( JAN - MARCH).
  • The Economic growth in future is expected to be well supported by the development activities in the Construction & the Agricultural sectors as well.
  • Sri Lanka Share Market (Colombo Stock Exchange) ranked No 01 in Asia & second best in the world in 2009. We are the best performing stock exchange in Asia so far for year 2010.
  • Announcement  of the holding an Indian film festival in Sri Lanka will boost the hotels sector.
  • Expected improved earnings  by the listed companies in future.

  •  Several large parcels of Janashakthi Insurance took place today @ Rs 14.00. This share will have a good future ahead & can expect short to medium term upward trend in this counter.
  •  Massive price appreciation in Bukit Darah company was took in place today.This is the second consecutive day price appreciation for the Bukit Darah company. All other Oil Palm companies declared dividends yesterday & Investors expecting a mammoth dividend or some other positive News from the Bukit Darah company.

  • Overseas Reality
  • Colombo Land & Development Company 
  • C.W.Mackie 
  • Janashakthi Insurance
 source -

Sampath Bank first quarter post-tax profit rises 53.6%

The Pre-Tax Profit of the Sampath Bank at Rs.791.5 million for the first quarter 2010 registered a growth of Rs. 93.3 Mn (13.4%), over the previous year’s Rs. 698.2 million, aided by several factors.

The bank’s continued success in professionally managing its core banking operations, paid rich dividends, according to a statement.

The Net Interest Income (NII), which is the net return of the bank’s entire fund-based operations, made the single largest contribution for the increased profitability, by rising from Rs 1,741.5 mn in 2009 to Rs. 2,199.5 mn in 2010, registering an impressive growth of Rs 458.0 Mn or 26.3%.

The growth in NII, in turn was facilitated by the continued expansion in the fund base and the success of the Bank in managing the returns thereon, as reflected by the improvement in the Net Interest Margin (NIM).

Consequently, the NIM rose from 5.07% in the first quarter 2009 to 5.59% in 2010, as shown above. Prudent fund-management measures taken by the Bank, which included improving the composition of the fund-base on both sides of the Balance Sheet, managing maturity patterns and maximizing the financial returns of fund-based products, contributed towards increasing the NIM. Furthermore, measures taken to minimize the NPA Ratio and timely re-pricing strategies of the ALCO, supplemented the task.

Apart from the NII, the other income of the Bank, bulk of which is commission and fee-based income, too recorded a growth of 9.6% in 2010, over 2009. The only source of core-banking income, which recorded a negative growth (by 55.1%) in 2010 was exchange income, largely due to the revaluation loss of Rs.26.028 mn., incurred in 2010, as against the revaluation profit of Rs. 113.994 mn recorded in 2009.This in turn was mainly due to the appreciation of LKR against the US Dollar, from Rs.115.60 as at 31.03.2009 to Rs.113.95 as at 31.03.2010.

The operating expenses of the bank recorded an increase of 16.9% during the period, mainly due to expenses incurred in connection with the rapid branch expansion program undertaken (19 new branches during the 12-month period ended 31/03/2010) and the salary revision to the staff effective April 1, 2009.

The Specific Provision for Loan Losses for the period under review amounted Rs.702.569 mn, as against Rs.254.718 mn for the corresponding period last year. This increase of Rs. 447.851 mn in specific loan loss provisions, was due to the bank’s decision to make additional loan loss provisions as a prudential measure against certain identified NPLs, over and above the prevailing time–based provisioning requirements. Hence, additional provisions totaling to Rs516 mn were made, disregarding the collateral held against these NPLS. This move also helped the Bank to increase its Provision Cover (excluding the General Provisions) against the NPLs from 54.34% as at 31.12.2009 to 61.83% as at 31.03.2010.

However, the increased recoveries helped to off-set partially, the effect of these additional provisions on the bottom line. The recoveries, which rose from Rs.133.012 mn in 2009 to Rs.424.457mn in 2010, included a specific recovery of Rs. 331.9mn, made against a Foreign Currency Bond, for which full provision was made in 2008.

The Post Tax Profit of the Bank of Rs. 558.610Mn for the 1st quarter 2010, recorded an increase of Rs. 194.820 Mn, (53.6%) over the previous year’s corresponding figure of Rs.363.790 mn. This increase was due to the Bank’s tax charge for the period under review, decreasing by Rs. 101.494 mn, despite the increase of 13.4% in pre-tax profits., which in turn was facilitated mainly by the recovery of Rs.331.9 mn against a Foreign Currency Bond referred to above, not being liable for tax and the effects of certain other tax planning measures implemented.

Based on the above profits, almost all the key financial ratios of the Bank recorded a significant improvement during the period under review, as detailed above. Apart from the increase in the Net Interest Margin, the drop in the NPL Ratio from 7.57 % to 6.89% and the increase in the Provision Cover from 54.34% to 61.83%, within a three month period in 2010 are noteworthy.

Total deposit base and the total assets of the bank grew by 5.3% and 4.1% respectively, during the three month period under review. In addition, the total advances of the Bank too recorded a growth of 3.8% during the period, thus continuing the growth trend that began in the 4th quarter 2009.

Reflecting the growing investor confidence in the bank, the Sampath share price has now risen to an all-time high level, surpassing that of all other banks listed on the CSE. In terms of market capitalization, Sampath Bank’s ranking on the CSE has now improved to the 15th position, as against the 19th position held on 31.12.2009. Further, for first time in the recent past, Sampath share has been considered as one of the most liquid stocks of the CSE and included in the Milanka Price Index. The share-split that effectively increased the number of shares held by the shareholders by 10%, was successfully concluded recently and the final dividend for 2009 was paid on the increased number of shares.

Currently Sampath Bank has 137 branches and 192 Automated Teller Machines. The bank opened 6 new branches this year, Plans are underway to accelerate the expansion program.

Last year, the Bank won many accolades on its superior performance. This process continued in 2010, with the Bank being ranked as No. 10 in the list of "Top Ten Companies" by the "Business Today" Magazine.

No share of profit was recognized in 2010 under the Equity Method of Accounting in respect of LankaBangla Financial Ltd, (as against Rs.46.786Mn recognized in 2009), as this company is no longer an Associate Company of the Bank. Nevertheless, it was possible to record a post-tax profit growth of 52.2% at group level as well, due to the improved financial performance of the other subsidiary companies of the bank.

source -

Sri Lanka - Colombo Stocks Bounce back

                        DAILY MARKET REVIEW

29/04/2010 (S.L.S.Picks) – Sri Lanka stock Market continues its bull run during today’s trading session as well after a drop in indies due to profit taking on 27/04/2010. Further growth in the market is expected on back of Earnings expectations, Recovery in Plantations (both Rubber & Tea) due to the recovery of the world economy, Boom in the tourist arrivals, Political stability in the country etc.. (Go through our daily reports for the past several months)
Tourist arrivals to the country have already shows us a dramatic improvement after the end of 30 year old civil war in the country.

All share price index rose by 20.54 points to close at 4155.00 & more liquid Millanka index was up by 0.41 points to close at 4695.39

Turnover for the day was healthy Rs 2.0b.n

Foreigners purchased shares to the tune of Rs 191m.n. & sold shares to the tune of Rs 805m.n. reflecting a net foreign out flow of Rs 614m.n. for the day. This was mainly due to the large transaction that took place in Overseas Reality (Ceylon).20m.n. worth of shares of OSEA changed hands today in the market.

There were 75 gainers as against 73 losers today.

  • L.B.Finance declared an interim Dividend of Rs 5.00
  •  Aitken Spence PLC declared an interim dividend of Rs 3.50


  • A large parcel of Overseas Reality Ceylon changed hands today. We expect OSEA to perform well in the future on back of the economic recovery in the country after the end of 30 year old civil war.
  • Property sector PER is around 7 & the overall market PER is around 20. This clearly reflects the growth available for this sector in the future.

  •  Overseas Reality Ceylon
  • Colombo Land & Development Company

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sri Lanka - Hotels ready for tourist influx -Major refurbishment drive needed:

Harshini PERERA

Sri Lanka is equipped with 14,000 rooms in 250 hotels to cater to half a million tourists from various destinations now.

The present capacity of the leisure sector will be sufficient to meet the current requirement but these hotels need to be refurbished. Considering the target of 2.5 million tourists by 2015, the present capacity of accommodation will not be sufficient, a senior tourism official said.

Some of the hotels have already started refurbishment and others should also get started, Sri Lanka Tourist Development Authority Director General S. Kalaiselvam told Daily News Business. “Tourists arrivals was 2 percent in 2008 and 2009 but in the first three months of this year it increased to 20 percent. Fifty percent of the hoteliers should go for refurbishment soon,” he said.

He said that at present Hotels in the Northern and Eastern part of Sri Lanka do not cater to the demand. It is expected that in 2012 numerous hotels will come up in these areas. The “Sri Lanka Tourist Development Authority is in the process of identifying locations for tourism in the Northern and Eastern areas. The selected land will soon be leased out to build hotels,” Kalaiselvam said.

“We have already developed two islands for tourism in Kalpitiya and will call tenders for the rest of the six islands in the future,”he said. He said most of the hoteliers today are investing in North and East.

The hotel school in Colombo is well-equipped with facilities to train the necessary staff for the industry.

He said hotel schools in Kandy, Anuradhapura, Bandarawela, Koggala will more effectively cater to the industry. The salary scales in the hotel industry have also gone up while a person’s salary is ultimately decided by the hotel.

source - 

Jaffna becomes stocks savvy - Six brokering firms to help investors:

Charumini DE SILVA

Jaffna investors are keen on investing in banking, tourism, manufacturing and plantation stocks, stock broking companies in Jaffna said.
SEC Director-General Channa de Silva     CSE Chairman Nihal Fonseka

Speaking to Daily News Business SKM Lanka Holdings Operations Director, Manjula Kumarasinghe said around 10 new Central Depository System (CDS) accounts were opened on the first day of CSE Jaffna branch operations.

CSE Jaffna branch commenced operations last Tuesday at Hospital Street, Jaffna.

“Investors are keen on getting a higher return for their investments compared to the returns that they get from the banks. The investor profiles will improve gradually with the market becoming more active,” he said.

They are keen on investing on banking, tourism manufacturing and plantation stocks, he said.

Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers Managing Director R. Muralidaran told Daily News Business that over 30 new CDS accounts were opened and the response received from the investors was commendable during the first day of trading at the Jaffna CSE.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Director General, Channa de Silva told Daily News that the commencement of CSE Jaffna branch was important. He expects it will contribute to the CSE turnover in a significant manner.

He said out of the seven stock brokering companies, six commenced operations at the Jaffna branch. The opening of this branch was successful. The stock brokering companies which started operations have recruited qualified employees from Jaffna and it is an encouraging indication about employment opportunities created through the opening of the CSE Jaffna branch. The market is growing and SEC expects more stock broking firms will also join, de Silva said.

The Director General said the response they received from Jaffna people for the seminars that were conducted was good. More awareness programs about the stock market will be conducted with the support of the Jaffna University.

The commencement of these stock brokering companies is an encouraging factor in interest and the growing potential it offers. “We hope new businesses will emerge from Jaffna and will get listed too,” de Silva said.

Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) Chairman Nihal Fonseka said the Government, SEC and CSE are very keen that the people of the Northern province will get the chance to share the peace dividend, with much more benefits expected to accrue in the future.

Six stockbroker firms Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers, Asha Phillip Securities, Lanka Securities, Capital TRUST Securities, SKM Lanka Holdings and SMB Securities commenced operations at the CSE Jaffna branch.

These firms offer clients access to online trading, real-time market information, research reports and investment advice.

The CSE branch in Jaffna will also be instrumental in conducting continuous educational programs in the region to equip investors in Jaffna and the Northern Province with the necessary knowledge to participate actively and prudently in share trading.

source -

Sri Lanka - Hotel sector shares gaining strength

By Mario Andree

Hotel sector shares trading in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) have improved to unbelievable heights in recent weeks.

The hotel sector continues to be a favourite given the high expected earnings, the CSE said.

The CSE said hotel shares had yet not reached their real value and it is hoped to gain further.

There are some hotel projects in the pipeline to be listed in the CSE.

Many companies that invested in Jaffna are looking for listings in the CSE in the future, CSE data showed.

In Sri Lanka, capital has been a constraint for the development of many projects. Earlier companies went for banks when in need of capital but today they turn towards equity funds, so many companies in the hospitality sector has turn towards trading shares, a broker said.

The keen interest in the hotel sector helped it gain higher than other shares. Many locals have invested in hotel shares, he said.

During the war period, the tourism industry was not catering to the local tourists but solely depending on foreigners.

At present, many hoteliers are catering to locals as well as foreigners. This has resulted in the rapid upward movement of shares in the stock market.

The past week has recorded the highest investment contribution to the hotel sector. CSE data shows.

The Board of Investment (BOI) said it has approved and signed agreements for eight new investments worth US$20 million that will create 500 job opportunities, a release showed.

Two mini-hydro power plants and new hotels and hotel refurbishment are among several investments approved by Sri Lanka’s investment promotion agency which would ensure the fulfillment of tourist needs which is expected to arise with the gaining of the sector.

The deal with Nilwala Vidulibala Company for a venture to establish a mini-hydro power plant at Morawaka, south east of the capital Colombo, with an investment of over US$3.28 million.

It also approved an investment of over US$5.5 million for another mini hydro-power plant, of 4,000 kilowatts capacity, at Kirkoswald Estate, Norwood, in the central hills.

The listed Aitken Spence Hotels, which operates a chain of hotels in Sri Lanka, the Maldives and India, signed an agreement with the BOI for an investment project to refurbish and upgrade Neptune Hotel at Beruwala, a beach resort on the south-west coast, with an investment of more than US$4 million.

Aitken Spence hotels have gained positive at the CSE. The last trading price stands at Rs. 450, according to the CSE report.

BOI also gave approval to the listed Stafford Hotel for a US$4.4 million investment to refurbish and upgrade Club Dolphin at Waikkal, on the north-west coast.

The BOI also said it approved an investment of US$500,000 to set up a 25-room hotel in north-central Vavuniya by Thampa Tourist Hotel and Inn.

source -

Sri Lanka Overseas Realty expands amid a property market pick up - LBO

Sri Lanka Overseas Realty expands amid a property market pick up

Apr 28, 2010 (LBO) - Sri Lankan developer Overseas Realty (Ceylon), a unit of Singapore's Shing Kwan group said it was starting an expansion of a property project amid a pick up in the property market.
Overseas Realty owns the twin tower World Trade Centre building in Sri Lanka's capital which houses the Colombo Stock Exchange.

It second major project, Havelock City, is on 18 acres of prime land in Colombo and is developed through Mireka Capital Land, a joint venture with state-owned Bank of Ceylon.

The firm has begun work on the second phase of the Havelock City mixed property project which includes a retail mall.

Chairman S P Tao said that sales of new apartments in the project and occupancy at its existing World Trade Center (WTC) building have begun to pick up after slumping last year owing to global recession and ethnic strife.

The company has invested in the foundation work and designs for Phase 2 of Havelock City and plans are being drawn up to proceed with the club house and commercial development, Tao told shareholders in the annual report.

Tao said in 2009, the first phase comprising two residential towers of 226 units, covered parking for 520 vehicles and about two acres of landscaped gardens was completed.

"Though sales were slow during the first half of the year, increased marketing effort commencing October and improved country sentiment resulted in higher sales of apartments in the fourth quarter."

Revenue recognized from apartment sales in 2009 was 1,234 million rupees, double that of the previous year.

The net profit contribution from Havelock City to the group profitability in the year was 106.5 million rupees, Tao said.

Although group revenue rose 34 percent to 1.9 billion in 2009, Tao said profit after tax excluding fair value gain fell 15 percent to 365.47 million rupees.

This was because of a decline in rental income at the World Trade Center and lower than anticipated apartment sales.

"As anticipated, average occupancy at WTC declined 19 percent year-on-year to 68 percent in 2009 (from 82 percent the year before), though an upward trend was witnessed in the fourth quarter," Tao said.

The island's real estate market slumped in 2009 because of amid a balance of payments crisis which pushed interest rates up and killed bank credit amid an intensifying internal conflict.

But the trend reversed towards the end of the year with the 30-year war ending in May 2009.

source -

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Colombo Stocks down on profit taking

                   DAILY MARKET REVIEW

27/04/2010 – Colombo Stock Market was down due to profit taking after several days of continues gains.
All Share Price Index was down by marginal 1.59 points to close at 4134.46 & the Millanka Price Index was down by 8.58 points to close at 4694.98.

Turnover for the day was Rs 2.0b.n. Supported by the retail investors, High net worth investors, & Institutional investors.

Foreign participation was at a low level. Foreigners purchased Rs 225m.n. & sold shares worth of Rs 787m.n. reflecting a net foreign out flow of Rs 562m.n.

Land & Property sector rose by 6.47% due to price appreciation of all most all the property sector shares, followed by the Foot ware & Textile sector. However Beverage Food & Tobacco sector reported a decline of 2.29% which was leading the negative performers list.

There were 77 gainers as against 78 losers.


  • Today we saw renewed buying interest in the shares of the Land & Property sector which was under performed to the market for the last couple of months. We can expect this sector to perform well in the medium to long term since our economy is recovering slowly but surely after the end of 30 year old civil war in the country. This sector clearly underperformed to the overall market due to the sluggish demand that prevailed during the past two years. However now the situation has changed & we can expect this sector has a great potential in the longer run.
  • Plantation sector continues to perform well in the market. Due to the improved Natural Rubber prices in the world market we can expect all the Rubber Plantation companies to report above average results in coming months.
  • Hotels & Travels sector will be in the fore run in Colombo Stock Exchange for next couple of years.

  • Overseas Reality
  • Colombo Land
  • Equity one

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sri Lanka Tourism - Tourism set to be the fourth highest foreign exchange earner

By Mario Andree

Tourism in Sri Lanka is forecast to be the fourth highest revenue earner this year.

Given the high returns estimate and its importance to the country’s economic growth, a focused plan to develop this lucrative market has been implemented by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), official data says.

The country is also looking forward to improve tourism making it the third highest foreign exchange earner by 2016.

According to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Sri Lanka is hoping to earn more than 600 million this year with a number of 600,000 tourists attracted to the country.

External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L Peiris (former Minister of International Trade and Export Development) said last month that Sri Lanka is expecting more than 600,000 tourists for the winter season alone.

Strong investment and focused attention on marketing and reaching high yield markets, in countries such as UK, India, Middle East, Germany, Japan and China will help drive the strategic marketing plan, going forward, SLTDA said.

The SLTPB will pursue a major public relations drive that will strive to promote and build the country’s image.

With the added expertise of a local advertising agency, the SLTPD is committed to building Sri Lanka’s brand image and market reach. Currently, an in-house PR department has been placed; 6 PR agencies overseas are also in operation, officials said

As competition within the tourism environment is growing, globally, the SLTPB is committed to see more foreign tourists visiting Sri Lanka and also develop new initiatives that would keep the domestic market on an upward trend,

(To read more about Sri Lanka tourism click More at the bottom of this post)

Colombo Stock Exchange - Heavy trading in tourism sector shares

Harshini Perera

Hotel sector shares trading in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) for the past few months gained unbelievable heights.

Some shares in the hotel sector went up by 5 percent, but the stocks in the hotel sector has not reached their over-value yet, Capital Trust Securities Director Sarath Rajapakse told Daily News Business.

"There are some hotel projects in the pipeline to get listed in the CSE. Many companies that invested in Jaffna are looking for listings in the CSE in the future" he said.

"Most companies involved in the hotel sector went for IPOs and Rights issues as they have seen the potential in the market. John Keells was the first to issue a public offering. Aitken Spence Hotels Holdings and Marawila Resorts have followed the rights issue in the hotel trade. In Sri Lanka, capital has been a constraint for the development of many projects. Earlier companies went for banks when in need of capital but today they turn towards equity funds," he said.

The keen interest in the hotel sector helped it gain higher than other shares. Many locals have invested in hotel shares. Indian investors go for direct investments in hotels. The investments from foreigners have not yet turned in the CSE.

"During the war period, the tourism industry was not catering to the local tourists but solely depending on foreigners. At present, many hoteliers are catering to locals as well as foreigners. This has resulted in the rapid upward movement of shares in the stock market. The past week has recorded the highest investment contribution to the hotel sector," Rajapaksa said.

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Sri Lanka Tourism - Hiran flies Lankan flag high at key Asia Pacific travel body

By Nisthar Cassim in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Preservation and commitment for 20 years makes him first Sri Lankan to be appointed as Chairman of key Asia Pacific travel body

Jetwing's Hiran Cooray on Saturday made Sri Lanka proud when he was ceremoniously inducted as the Chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), the region's most representative tourism body.
He is the first Sri Lankan to ascent to this position of PATA, which has nearly 900 direct members from international and regional tourism industry, hospitality, airline, and national tourist organisations as well as near 8,000 local members from 40 worldwide PATA country chapters, including in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

Originally founded in Hawaii in 1951 and now headquartered in Bangkok to further the interest of those engaged in and promoting travel and tourism in Asia Pacific, PATA is now a catalyst to the development of the tourism industry in the region. CNN and Time magazine along with Visa are its premier partners.

Hiran also gets the distinction of being the first Chairman in PATA to serve a two-year term under new By Laws and at 46 years of age, he is also one of the youngest to hold this post. ( For full story click Read More at the Bottom of this post)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sky is the limit for Colombo Stock Exchange - up by 0.35% today

                     DAILY MARKET REVIEW

26/04/2010(S.L.S.Picks) – Sky is the limit for Colombo Stock Exchange. Sri Lanka’s only stock exchange – Colombo Stock Exchange continues its upward momentum on  start of a fresh day of trading today.

Many were of the view that the Colombo Market was overheated even two or three months back purely on fundamental basis. This was due to the fact that the All Share Price index & Millanka Price index recorded its upward movement continuously. But many were failed to understand that the upward movement of the All Share price index & Millanka price index were largely backed by the massive price appreciation of the Environmental Resource investment company which has a high weight age over the index values. During the latter part of the year 2009 Environmental Resource Investment share traded around Rs 30.00 – 35.00 levels & it appreciated staggering 800% increase during this year by recording its highest ever price of Rs 275.00/share.(Before the rights issue )

We strongly believe that if this bullish trend continues in future months Colombo Stock Exchange would pass 5000 mark by end of year 2010.

All Share Price index was up by 14.41 points to close at 4136.05 & Millanka Price index was up by 7.73% to close at 4703.56. Hotels & Plantation company shares attracted investor interest. (This was reported continuously by us through our daily market reports & through our special business news articles)

Turnover reported for the day was Rs 1.6b.n

Foreign purchases were Rs 350m.n. & foreign sales were flat at Rs 365m.n. Net foreign outflow for the day was Rs 15m.n.

The Foot Ware & Textile sector reported 8.98% increase & was in the top of the list due to the price appreciation of Ceylon Leather Products, followed by the Investment Trust sector due to the share price appreciation of Environmental Resources Investment Company. Telecom sector reported to be the leading sector in the negative performers list.

There were 94 positive contributors as against 48 negative contributors.


  • Central Bank of Sri Lanka has forecast a 6.5 % economic growth for the country in year 2010.
  • Stable government to adopt consistent economic policies in the country.
  • Expected boom in the Tourism sector in future. Tourist arrivals to the country has increased after the end of 30 year old civil war & already recorded a 50.3% growth so far for the year 2010. ( JAN - MARCH).
  • The Economic growth in future is expected to be well supported by the development activities in the Construction & the Agricultural sectors as well.
  • Sri Lanka Share Market (Colombo Stock Exchange) ranked No 01 in Asia & second best in the world in 2009. We are the best performing stock exchange in Asia so far for year 2010.
  • Announcement  of the holding an Indian film festival in Sri Lanka will boost the hotels sector.
  • Expected positive earnings  by the listed companies in future.

  • Seven out of ten companies in the today's top gainers list recorded more than 10% price appreciation for the day, with Amana Thakaful Insurance company & Ceylon Leather Product company reporting staggering 86% & 28% price appreciation respectively for the day.
  • Environmental Resources Investment company share price start to pick up once again after closing of its rights issue dates.
  • Companies which have more relation to the future growth sectors such as Plantations, Constructions,Trading etc. will have a great future.

  • Haycarb
  • Seylan Bank(X)
  •  Lanka Ceramic (which has interests in the fields of Rubber Plantations through its subsidiary Horana Plantation , Other subsidiaries such as Lanka Waltiles & Lanka Tiles) The Ultimate holding company of Lanka Ceramic is Ceylon Theatres PLC.
  • Agalawatta Plantations
  • Kotagala Plantations
  • Kelani Valley Plantations
  • Elpitiya Plantations
  • Balangoda Plantations
  • John Keels Hotels
  • Light House Hotel
  • Kegalle Plantations

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Sri Lanka’s tourism economy enjoys unprecedented boom

Sri Lanka’s tourism economy has recovered so quickly from last year’s civil war that the island is expected to shortly run out of hotel capacity as it experiences an unprecedented boom.

Tourism arrives have risen for 10 consecutive months and were up 50 per cent in March, compared to the same period last ye

Indian tourists took the top slot with 8,607 visiting Sri Lanka, with tourists from the United Kingdom (8,559) and Germany (5,305) following. With the increase in operations of the low cost carrier, Air Asia, arrivals from Malaysia to saw a healthy increase.

Dilip Mudadeniya, Director General Marketing, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, said that this healthy trend would continue in the future too. “This positive sentiment is due to peace and the removal of travel advisories and we expect this healthy trend to continue,” he said.

But according to Ajit Gunawardene, chief executive of John Keells, Sri Lanka’s largest hotel group, if the tourism economy continues to grow at such rates there will be an occupancy shortage within two years.

Sri Lanka’s tourist infrastructure can handle up to 800,000 visitors a year, comfortably meeting expected demand this year of 500,000.

However within the next two years, visitors arrivals are expected to double and then double again two years later to 2 million. He suggests that unless the country embarks on a hotel construction boom it will fail to meet demand.

“This gives you an indication of the type of momentum we want to maintain,” Mr Gunawardene said.

He said John Keells had begun renovating hotels and building more to meet the tourism boom.

It is currently upgrading its large hotel in Colombo, overhauling one in Trincomalee in the war-torn east and building tourist accommodation in the south.

John Keells also has a firm eye on the planned expansion of Colombo’s port, which is strategically placed on shipping lanes between Europe, the Middle East and China.

The group is expected to bid with its partner Denmark’s Maersk for an additional terminal, which would make Colombo the largest port in south Asia.

Tourism boom in Sri Lanka- Go now and beat the crowds
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World Rubber prices to reach new high levels - Great time ahead for Rubber Plantation companies

Rise in global demand, tight supply among factors - By HANIM ADNAN

PETALING JAYA: Rubber is one of the hottest commodities traded so far this year with price rallies seen in most international rubber exchanges.

Tyre-grade Standard Malaysian Rubber (SMR 20) has also been hitting new highs particularly in the past three months and currently trading above the RM10,600 per tonne level.

According to Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) director-general Prof Djoko Said Damardjati, tightness in rubber supply would remain an issue amid an upsurge in demand from China and India for their booming auto and tyre manufacturing industries.

“Severe drought, the current wintering season as well as active replanting activities in most major producing countries could affect rubber output.

“Even the preliminary estimates from members of ANRPC indicate that the global rubber supply is unlikely to rise above 6% this year,” he told StarBiz recently.

ANRPC had earlier estimate that global rubber production could reach 9.5 milllion tonnes this year, up by about 6.3% from last year’s 8.9 million tonnes.

Djoko also expected rubber supply to remain tight until 2011. A large extent of existing yielding trees in major producing countries were planted in 1980s.

“Most of the trees planted have reached declining yield phase, thus the age composition of the existing yielding area is unfavourable for yield improvement,” he added.

Djoko noted that Indonesia and Malaysia had undertaken active replanting activities since 2005.

“I believe rubber prices will remain firm for quite some time until supply recovers, possibly by early 2012.”

Apart from the buoyant demand and drought-ridden supply, he said other factors influencing the rubber market included the weakening US dollar, volatility in yen and the increasing crude oil prices.

Members of the ANRPC countries account for about 94% of the total world natural rubber production.

Interestingly, more than 45% of global consumption of natural rubber is in China, India and Malaysia, which are the major consuming countries in the ANRPC.

ANRPC in its latest report said imports from China during January to February surged 63% for natural rubber and 118% for compound rubber compared with the same period last year.

During the same period, India posted a 17% increase in natural rubber consumption, given the large-scale capacity in its auto tyre manufacturing operation.

Meanwhile, Hwang DBS Vickers Research has also raised its 2010-2012 forecast rubber prices by 39% to 44% as its previous forecasts had not taken into account the price recovery on the back of stronger crude oil prices.

The brokerage said: “We believe strong demand recovery for the automotive sector in China and supply constraint due to ongoing conversions to oil palm and the wintering season between February and April would contribute to the jump in rubber prices.Our assumptions are factoring in 29% lower prices in the second half of 2010 compared with the first half.”

One analyst with a local stockbroking firm said the recent automobile industry statistics unveiled that the pick-up in the auto sector in China and the United States had been strong.

The automobile industry is the single biggest user of latex, easily consuming about 70% of the world latex production.

While some might argue that the price upsurge could be short-term given the traditional low supply wintering season, however, many feel that the current price hike was a reflection of strong demand.

“Even with a possible price reduction down the line, natural rubber prices are unlikely to ease to the low levels of December 2008 and January 2009,” he added.

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See more - Sri Lankan rubber prices hit all time high

Sri Lanka - Good time ahead for all the Tea Plantation companies

Lanka tea output  glitch receding - By Steve A. Morrell

At long last tea seems to have shed subjugated image relegated to low level performance and now enroute to better crop harvests this year. January returns indicated by the Sri Lanka Tea Board, dated February 19, said crop returns end January recorded nearly 10 million kilos more than last year. Best performers were low growns with crop increases of about 7 million kilos. Higher elevation results were not that good at some 800,000 kilo increase. Medium elevation crop increases too were not impressive, but all told tea seems to have recovered.

About 400,000 small holders purportedly are propping the industry, and support extended by the Ministry of Plantation Industries to this sector through the fertilizer subsidy has had positive impact . .

The worst is yet to come though. February is usually a dry weather month, and this year too irrespective of the global warming ‘whipping boy’, prevailing dry weather will affect production, but perhaps to lesser degree than last year. This too is normal.

Sri Lanka’s prime tea land is at higher elevation and performance levels at upper reaches of Central Hills will need some attention.

The growing trend for green tea production augurs well for selected market choices. So too Cut Twist and Curl, or the familiar metaphor CTC tea. Correlating to such production increases, Brokers have also reported increases in value added exports. These and other plus phenomena are good indicators that tea crop and production are on recovery indicators.

Reports from Central hills are that February crop intakes may be low, but with expected conventional rain mid March, April showers would further augment crop increases. Expectations are that ‘things are looking up’.

Ceylon Tea Brokers through their weekly tea Market report said although export volumes dropped last year better prices sustained good market conditions and regressive conditions did not quite register alarming trends that drastically affected the industry.

Export details were that CIS countries were our biggest importers, followed by UAE and Syria, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, and Kuwait who were also in the upper level importer bracket for Ceylon Tea.

Malawi still remains the plus producer worldwide, Sri Lanka and Kenya were worst affected last year.

Last week about 7.1 million kilos were auctioned. This week too the 7 million mark would not be surpassed. 7.6 million kilos would be on offer this week.

Western quality, late in arrival could have some salutary repercussions on the market, but there was not that degree of excitement this year, because quality weather prevailed only in pockets in some Western holdings.

Market indicators effective January this year were good. January ended on an average price realization of Rs.381. per kilo. Last year the same period was Rs 280. the difference this year being about Rs.100 on the plus side.

The industry has not seen these price increases ever. The question is would there be profits to be made.

Tea factory owners have indicated enthusiastic ‘yes’ responses. We also spoke to two Regional Plantation Company sources who said their profits too would ‘not be too bad’.

All told tea is now in advancing mode .

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Businss News Articles







Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sri Lanka - INTERVIEW - War over, Sri Lanka hails return of diaspora cash - Reuters

 By Manuela Badawy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's government expects more capital inflow as the country's diaspora returns to invest after the end of a 30-year civil war, the central bank governor said on Friday.

"With political stability will come investment," Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal told Reuters.

"There will be investment that will come with tourism and infrastructure, but also there will be reinvestment by Sri Lankans themselves. That could be an important area for growth because the investment coming back could be the anchor for growth for next year and beyond."

Sri Lanka's civil war ended last May, and with it came an overflow of money wanting a piece of the current economic revival.

Sri Lanka's stock market has returned more than 172 percent since it hit a trough at the end of 2008, spurred by the end of the conflict and a $2.6 billion International Monetary Fund loan that helped lift the country's sovereign debt ratings.

Government debt prices and the rupee have also rallied on the IMF cash injection and the end of the war.

Sri Lanka's economic expansion is likely to be more than the government's 6.5 percent forecast this year, owing to rapid growth in infrastructure development and tourism.

"Estimates are likely to be revised to closer to 7 (percent) or even beyond 7 (percent)," Cabraal said.

Sri Lanka has been able to slow its inflation rate to 6.3 percent in March from a one-year high of 6.9 percent a month ago, Cabraal said.

"Sri Lanka has been a high inflation country for a long time. We have been able to bring inflation down to very reasonable numbers within the last year, and we are conscious that we have to maintain that," he said.

"This gives a signal that we mean business as far as inflation is concerned, and we see the market reacting to that."

Cabraal also said the next time the government sells a Eurobond it will likely be a 10-year tenor, in order to improve its yield curve. But at the same time, Colombo is encouraging the private sector to sell their own bonds.

"There are several companies that are just going beyond the $1 billion-mark, and there are other companies close to that," he said.

"As Sri Lanka grows, there are many corporates that are possible contenders for global capital. It will be a good opportunity for foreign investors to invest in Sri Lanka."

Any risk that the South Asian island may face, Cabraal said, would be external. "If there is a slow take-off of the world economies, particularly in Europe, it can have an impact on Sri Lanka."

(Editing by Padraic Cassidy and Dan Bases)

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Colombo Stock Market - Best Performing Stock Market in Asia so far for 2010

                       DAILY MARKET REVIEW

23/04/2010 (S.L.S.Picks) –The Colombo Stock Market is up 21.7 percent so far this year, making it Asia's best-performing Stock Exchange & it has shot up over 177 percent since it hit a four-year low on Dec. 30, 2008, rising on optimism the island nation would end a 25-year as reported by the Reuters.

Sri Lanka stock Market continues its bull run for the fifth consecutive day & reported further gains today on back of Earnings expectations, Recovery in Plantations (both Rubber & Tea) due to the recovery of the world economy, Boom in the tourist arrivals, Political stability in the country etc.. (Go through our daily reports for the past several months).

Tourist arrivals to the country have already shows us a dramatic improvement after the end of 30 year old civil war in the country. This was evident from the latest profit figures released by two of leading listed hotels in the country.

All share price index rose by 44.09 points to close at 4121.64 & more liquid Millanka index was rose by 19.05 points to close at 4695.83

Turnover for the day was healthy Rs 1.7b.n

Foreigners purchased shares to the tune of Rs 94m.n. & sold shares to the tune of Rs 451m.n. reflecting a net foreign out flow of Rs 357m.n. for the day.

Trading sector index rose by 2.43% due to the price appreciation of Singer Sri Lanka, which is one time high dividend paying company as Chevron Lubricants, Nestle Lanka, Commercial Bank, Hatton National Bank etc in the Colombo Stock Exchange, followed by Manufacturing sector.

We expect Singer Sri Lanka to perform strongly in the future mainly due to their interests in the Agricultural sector, financial market through Singer Finance & trading activities. They are yet to receive the full benefit of the end of 30 year old civil war in our country.

Stores & Supplies sector was the worst performing sector today in the market with a decline of 2.16% due to the share price decline in E.B.Creasy & Company.

There were 110 gainers as against 45 losers today.

  • Balangoda Plantations declared a First & Final Dividend of Rs 1.25.
  • Light House hotel declared a final dividend of cents .50.
  • Amana Takaful Insurance company declared a sub division of its ordinary shares (01 share into 10 shares)

  • Light House hotel & Hunas Falls hotel has reported 102% & 1294% respectively increase in profitability for the last quarter ended 31/03.2010.
  • Investor interest continues to the hotels sector companies.This sector would be in the forefront & would benefit mostly from the post war economic development activities in Sri Lanka.
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Friday, April 23, 2010

Sri Lanka Tourism another update - The Sydney Morning Herald

Leisa Tyler discovers azure water, tea gardens and a rock fortress during a drive around an island in recovery.

With verdant rain forests and idyllic white-sand beaches, cloistered temples, ancient ruins, blustery mountains teeming with endangered wildlife, mist-wreathed tea gardens, grand colonial architecture, a vibrant culture, lip-smacking cuisine and warm, generous people, at a glance you might think Sri Lanka has it all.

Had it not been for an ongoing civil war between the Sinhalese-dominated government and Tamil Tiger insurgents, some say this ravishing little tear-shaped island off India's southern coast would have been one of Asia's greatest treasures. The 27-year war is now over and Sri Lanka is hoping to reinvent itself as just that.

"When the war ends Sri Lanka's tourism industry will boom," an Indian friend and hotelier has been arguing to me for years. He was right - ever since the war ended last May, tourists have been flocking; last December's arrivals were up 35 per cent on the year before.

"We went from one inquiry a day to 30 a day," says the Australian owner of the Galle Fort Hotel in Galle, Karl Steinberg. It is the same story everywhere. Yala National Park, a leopard sanctuary that was closed in 2007 after attacks by insurgents, has reopened and it's almost impossible to find a room.

The first thing I notice when landing at Colombo's Bandaranaike airport one balmy evening is just how different everything feels. On my last visit, in 2008, Sri Lanka was rife with suicide bombers, kidnappings, assassinations and heavy media censorship. Colombo was eerily quiet and to be avoided.

This time I arrive shortly after the presidential elections in January. Rumors of corruption and vote-rigging are rife but the mood is lighter and brighter than I have ever seen here. People are optimistic about the future, as is the Sri Lankan government, which is starting its postwar recovery with the tourism industry. Alongside a flurry of infrastructure projects, the government aims to welcome 2.5 million visitors a year by 2016 (although the Sri Lanka Tourism board sheepishly admits 1.6 million is a bit more realistic). Conceived literally weeks after the war ended, most of the projects in the works flank the former Tamil Tiger-controlled areas along the east coast, long romanced for their inaccessible beaches and aqua-blue seas, as well as undeveloped stretches on the west coast.

And high on the list of most desirable tourists? Australians. Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade still recommends its citizens revise their need to go to Sri Lanka, despite most countries, including Britain, removing their travel warnings. Alongside plans to relaunch direct flights with national carrier SriLankan Airlines and stage a road show in Sydney and Melbourne later this year, the Sri Lankan government is hoping the peace will convince DFAT to change its advisory. Together with Red Dot Tours' trusty and genteel driver, Herman, and a four-wheel-drive for the notorious roads, I head off to check out the new tourist developments.

Starting at Negombo, a popular beach resort town near the airport, Herman and I head 150 kilometres north to the peninsula of Kalpitiya, where an underwater visitor centre and 14 upmarket island resorts are being mapped out, including an 80-villa, $US175 million ($190 million) resort managed by the Bangkok-based hotel group, Six Senses.

For now the peninsula is largely deserted except for a new Chinese-built coal plant, with a sprinkling of fishers' huts and the Alankuda Beach Resort, an Eco-retreat overlooking the ocean. The resort's setting is awe-inspiring - a breezy beach flanked by sand dunes stretches for as far as the eye can see - as are the complimentary dolphin-watching tours, but with tatty linen, no hot water (or even a shower head) and only curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner, its asking rate of $US360 a night in peak season is way overpriced.

After checking into one of Alankuda's open-air cabanas I head to the beach where I am accosted by friendly locals, overjoyed that foreigners are visiting their remote coastline. "Where are you going?", they ask. "Where do you come from? Do you like Sri Lanka? Do you want to have dinner/a drink/coconut/see my house/see my village/ go fishing? Can you take a photo of my child/mother/best friend? How long will you stay here? Will you come back?"

The encounter repeats itself next day. That morning we had driven from the west coast to Nilaveli on the east, a roaring stretch of sand north of the ancient trading port and 17th-century Dutch fort of Trincomalee. Hosting one of the biggest Tamil populations in Sri Lanka, Trinco, as the town is affectionately known, has been at the forefront of Sri Lanka's civil war.

Once a popular holiday getaway, Nilaveli is devastated; burnt-out houses and the blackened shells of former hotels pepper the landscape, their sides pockmarked with bullet holes.

"Sinhalese, Tamil - you know, most people in Sri Lanka don't even care," a man on the beach selling conch shells tells me when I ask him if he is happy the war is over. "I am Sinhalese but my sister married a Tamil; I speak Tamil. We are brothers. The war was purely political."

Politics still reigns heavily on Trinco. The locals I talk to are thrilled that at Kuchchaveli, an equally dramatic stretch of sand further north, 200 hectares of land has been subdivided for 3000-room resort developments but not that the primary leaseholders are the controversial President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his extended family.

In any case, it is unlikely tourism will flourish here soon. The roads in and out of Nilaveli are still lined with soldiers, with fortified checkpoints every few kilometres and rows of UN trucks ferrying in supplies to refugee camps; not a good start to a lazy beach holiday.

From Trinco, Herman and I head inland to the sublime fifth-century ruins of Sigiriya, one of the three World Heritage sites making up the Cultural Triangle. We would have liked to have continued from Trinco straight down the coast to Batticaloa but we are told the roads are so potholed they are almost impassable. Besides, this lump of rock with ancient frescos and ruins protruding from Sri Lanka's lush heart is one of the country's greatest hits.

Built by King Kasyapa and roughly translated as "Lions Rock", nobody is quite sure what Sigiriya was used for - maybe a royal picnic ground or perhaps a place for meditation - before it was abandoned and swallowed up by the jungle. At the lowest level lie a series of shaded gardens lined with water channels for irrigation. Halfway up the zig-zagging stairs are frescos of evocative bare-breasted maidens. Climb further still, past the sculptured paws of a lion and on to the rock's bare head, and you'll be rewarded with views stretching endlessly. And if you come early in the morning - before the tour buses and the touts - you can have the place to yourself.

You can spot Sigiriya from miles away - perfectly, I discover, with a cold beer from one of Vil Uyana's verandahs. A 25-villa hotel set among rice paddies, Vil Uyana is one of Sri Lanka's most enchanting hotels, a designation that lies not just in its rice-paddy setting but its cheeky flock of resident birds - peacocks, kingfishers and spur fowl to name a few.

From Sigiriya, Herman turns our van back to Sri Lanka's brazen eastern coastline and the bay of Passikudah, an inlet of shallow water and crescent-moon bay that prior to the war erupting in 1983 was one of the country's most popular getaways. Things came to a halt rapidly afterwords and many of the resorts lining the coast were destroyed during the fighting; what remained was then washed away by the 2004 tsunami. But today the beach is packed with merrymakers frolicking in the cove's shallow waters. We buy Cargills chocolate-hearted ice-creams from a vendor with a portable freezer on the back of his tuk-tuk and walk along the palm-lined cove to assess Passikudah's proposed future: a series of ecologically responsible resorts with 1000 hotel rooms opening on to the beach.

Back into the van we continue south, past sparse, scruffy villages and inlets where men cast nets from dugout canoes and women walk among waist-high lotus flowers collecting edible weeds. Multicolored boats named "Rotary Denmark" and "World Mission Evangelism", after the organizations that donated them post-tsunami, line beaches alive with lilac flowers and sand so clean it squeaks underfoot. Skirting the edge of Yala National Park, we stop at Tissa Lake, a reservoir famed for its migratory birds and Sunday picnickers, to snack on delicious crispy-fried fish for Rupees20 (20¢) a piece.

Reaching the south coast is like entering a different country. Affluent, tidy and bustling with sprawling towns and holiday lodges, this sublimely beautiful coastline with sugar-white bays with overhanging elongated palm trees and splays of bougainvillea looks and feels far from the war-ravaged world from which we have just come.

It's in one of these idyllic bays that my favorite Sri Lankan hotel is located. The last residence designed by legendary Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, The Last House merges harmoniously with its setting. Opening on to a glorious beach with crashing surf, the six-room hotel has open living spaces to make the most of the fresh sea breeze, with polished concrete floors and stylish rooms decorated with plump couches, four-poster beds and outdoor bathrooms. Feast on freshly caught fish cooked by jack-of-all-trades manager Ananda Ranasinghe, or venture next door to the Italian-run Surya Gardens, which serves the best pasta in the country.

Sri Lanka has an enchanting collection of mini hotels. Converted from colonial bungalows or Bawa's architectural legacies, they offer travellers a unique and intimate experience and in some cases are destinations in themselves. The most notable include the Kandy House, a former manor house now nine-room hotel with huge concrete bath tubs and four poster beds on the outskirts of Kandy. The Dutch House, built for an admiral of the Dutch navy, has only four rooms, each richly furnished with antiques, Persian carpets and views overlooking Galle. Dilmah Tea's superbly run Tea Trails has four beautifully appointed colonial bungalows inside a working tea estate. Designer Shanth Fernando, who made headlines when he converted Bawa's former Colombo office into the gallery and cafe, Paradise Road, in 1987, recently opened Villa Bentota. The 15-room property is as stylish as it is enchanting - especially when the train from Colombo to Galle rattles through its grounds.

Last but definitely not least is the Galle Fort Hotel in Galle, our last destination on this road trip. A 17th-century Dutch merchant's house, Australians Karl Steinberg and Christopher Ong stumbled over the property during a momentary ceasefire in 2002 - then promptly threw in their Sydney jobs as TV executive and investment banker to restore it.

Neither was experienced in heritage conservation nor hospitality but their efforts paid off and in 2007 the hotel earned a distinction in heritage conservation from UNESCO. It is a breezy, unruffled kind of place, with a laid-back vibe and 12 rooms overlooking a courtyard with pool and wide verandah where guests graze on candle-lit set dinners of rich beef rendang and tangy teriyaki chicken at night.

Perched on the southern edge of Sri Lanka's sun-drenched coastline, the rambling fort of Galle was one of the most cosmopolitan towns in south Asia in the mid 1800s. Discovered by the Portuguese after being blown off course from the Maldives in the early 1500s, Galle endured successive imperial reigns, including the Dutch, who imported slaves from Mozambique to build a vast fortress to accommodate the regional headquarters of the Dutch East India Company - the world's first multinational company. Seized by the British in 1796, Galle then became a strategic hub for ships sailing between Asia and Europe. Back then the streets of Galle were lined with gold, according to a local saying.

Galle fell into a slumber when the main port of Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was then known) moved to the capital, Colombo. But thanks to the Dutch government, which granted $US3.5 million to restore the town's charming architecture, Galle is in the midst of a cultural and architectural renaissance. One project is converting the warehouse barracks into a maritime museum that will display booty salvaged from shipwrecks off the coast. Alongside hotels, a bunch of boutiques and galleries have recently opened, such as Exotic Roots for lacquerware and Lollapalooza for children's toys.

"There is a lot of opportunity in Sri Lanka", says the British founder and director of Red Dot Tours, Charlie Austin, who has lived in Colombo for 10 years. "While other countries have concreted up their coastlines and 'Disneyfied' their ancient sites, Sri Lanka's are in pristine condition. The question is not whether tourists will come but whether the country can grasp this opportunity and create something unique. Is the future bright? Indeed."

Leisa Tyler travelled courtesy of Red Dot Tours and Sri Lankan Airlines.

Getting there

Malaysia Airlines has a fare for about $1220 flying to Kuala Lumpur (8hr), where you change aircraft for Colombo (3hr 15min). SriLankan Airlines has a fare for about $1600 utilising Qantas to Singapore (8hr) and then SriLankan Airlines (4hr) to Colombo. Fares are low-season return from Melbourne and Sydney, including tax. Australian passport holders receive a visa upon arrival for a stay of up to 30 days.

Touring there

Red Dot Tours' Boutique Escape tour takes in Sri Lanka's greatest hits, with two nights at Vil Uyana in the Cultural Triangle, one at Kandy House in Kandy, two nights at Tea Trails in the hill country and three nights at the Galle Fort Hotel in Galle. The eight-day tour is $US1350 ($1462) a person twin share, including a private car and driver, all breakfasts and full board at Tea Trails. Their 14-day Classical Island Tour takes in all of these destinations plus Yala National Park for $US2100 a person twin share, including all accommodation and in-country transfers. See

Staying there

The Last House, the last residence designed by legendary architect Geoffrey Bawa, is now Sri Lanka's finest hotel. Book one of the six rooms from $US185 a room a night, including breakfast, or the house from $US900. The Last House will be closed for renovations from June to September.

Galle Fort Hotel, a laid-back 12-room mansion in the heart of Galle Fort, has four-poster beds and Persian carpets in the guest rooms with some of the best food in the country. Doubles from $US160, including breakfast. See

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Sri Lanka - Record price for Malwatte Valley rubber

Malwatte Valley Plantation obtained a record price over Rs 450 per kg for its Centrifuged Rubber Latex manufactured at their Vincit estate in Avissawella.

The company has now sold its entire production of rubber until the end of its first half financial year ending June 2010 at today's boom prices.

Company Managing Director W.L. Bogtstra said such forward sales were done to insure the profit of this sector arising out of these lucrative prices to end June 2010.

Tea prices though slightly lower recently have resulted in favourable profits so far this year. With increased crops earnings and brought leaf operations the financial prospects of the company are encouraging.

John Keells Tea Market Report
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Return From the Shares Listed in Colombo Stock Exchange Sri Lanka

We selected  following companies listed in the Colombo stock exchange which were represented top price gainers list for the past week (12/04/2010 to 16/04/2010) to give you a basic idea of the value of investing in shares at Colombo Stock Exchange, which was rated as Asia's best performing stock  market & World's second best performing stock market in year 2009.


   Opening Price (Rs)
    Closing Price (Rs)
Week On Week Change

It was good to see that 03 companies out of top 10 companies in last week’s top gainers list were mentioned by us earlier.
Positive Factors  
  • Central Bank of Sri Lanka has forecast a 6.5 % economic growth for the country in year 2010.
  • Stable government to adopt consistent economic policies in the country. 
  • Expected boom in the Tourism sector in future. Tourist arrivals to the country has increased after the end of 30 year old civil war & already recorded a 50.3% growth so far for the year 2010. ( JAN - MARCH).
  • The Economic growth in future is expected to be well supported by the development in the Construction & the Agricultural sectors as well. 
  • Sri Lanka Share Market (Colombo Stock Exchange) ranked No 01 in Asia & second best in the world in 2009. We are the best performing stock exchange in Asia so far for year 2010.
  • Announcement  of the holding an Indian film festival in Sri Lanka will boost the hotels sector.
  • Expected positive earnings  by the listed companies in future.