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Abans records outstanding nine months consolidated Pat of Lkr 1.5 billion

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The recently ended year posed a series of challenges in the financial market and business sphere, as the Covid-19 pandemic gave rise to a plethora of risks, drawbacks and losses in terms of profit, capital and company sustainability. However, Abans Group emerged victorious in a highly volatile business atmosphere after employing carefully-structured strategies, controlled decisions, and containing trading and monetary conditions with the goal of functioning according to the new normal.

A sharp increase of 187% was depicted in the Group Profit After Tax to end at LKR 1.5 Billion for the nine-month-period ending December 2020 (compared to last year’s LKR 520 Million); while a 175% year-on-year growth was noted in the Profit-After-Tax of Abans PLC (the company) to end at LKR 1.45 Billion, compared to the previous year’s LKR 527.1 Million.

Abans Group scored a record top performance for the third quarter (Q3) for the Financial Year 2020/21 with a Profit After Tax of LKR 793 Million, seeing a significant 144% increase compared to the year before. The Company reported a PAT of LKR 750.6 Million for Q3, a 105% increase from last year, which proves the resilience of the company to adapt to any change in market conditions.

“Foresight, smart strategy and strong implementation has enabled Abans to rise to leadership positions in many of the sectors they operate in. However, it was necessary to recalibrate strategy to ensure they were geared for the new normal, for an era driven by artificial intelligence and big data, which would provide significant competitive advantage to those who were fast enough to embrace it. Following these strategies have proven to be quite effective, as seen by the remarkable results displayed by the Financials up to December 2020,” stated Ms. Aban Pestonjee, chairperson and Founder of Abans Group of Companies.

Despite the severe repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic on several businesses, revenue for Q3 reached a growth of 40%, at both Group and Company level, while Cumulative Revenue for nine months depicted a year-on-year growth of 9%, which is a noteworthy achievement during the past period. The Group Gross Profit stood at LKR 7.4 Billion and LKR 3 Billion for nine months and three months (Q3) respectively.

“Abans has continued to focus on diversification that fuels growth and aids in the company’s resilience. Diversification has enabled the business to continue the growth trajectory amidst volatile market conditions. The company has strategically looked to build better synergies across their various segments in order to give superior solutions to their valued customers, and build on the overall competitive advantage. Thus, the Group, as a whole, is geared to perform even better in the coming year, with the implementation of new policies and evolving methodologies,” said Behman Pestonjee (Tito), Managing Director of Abans Group.

Driven by strategic cost reduction policies and working capital management strategies carried out in the past nine months, the Group’s (as well as the company’s) Admin and Selling Expenses noted a decrease to LKR 4.9 Billion, compared to LKR 5.6 Billion from the previous year. Furthermore, Net Finance Cost for the nine-month-period was reduced to LKR 619 Million from LKR 921 Million; whereas for the 3rd quarter, the same was reduced to LKR 119 Million compared to LKR 286 Million last year. This was reduced mainly due to the low interest rate environment and the company’s strategic working capital management.

Chandrika Perera, Executive Director – Finance, commented, “It is noteworthy that the Group has recorded a significant increase in EBITDA despite the impact of adverse macro-economic conditions. The Group’s financial and business strength and stability has placed Abans at a prominent position of being able to pursue greater heights and achievements in the years to come.” (Abans)

 


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Business

Unlimited music streaming platform in Sri Lanka

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SLT-Mobitel, the nation’s ICT and Telecommunications Service Provider recently partnered with Spotify, to mark their launch in Sri Lanka. Spotify is a paid premium music streaming app which allows subscribers to listen to music to their hearts content. Both, SLT-Mobitel Post-Paid and Pre-Paid customers will now be able to enjoy Spotify by activating a monthly recurring subscription or one-time subscription plan and access unlimited music streaming and downloading facilities.

The subscription charges will get added to the user’s customary billing, where payment will be deducted in real time. Starting from the payment date, the user will be able to access Spotify and download their favourite songs, for the next 30 days. Users who sign up for their first monthly subscription will receive an additional one month, courtesy of Spotify. The one-month subscription plan is not applicable with one-time subscription plans. SLT-Mobitel data rates, depending on the user’s respective broadband charges, will apply.

Spotify also has some exciting features that will provide SLT-Mobitel customers with the opportunity to listen to ad-free music, access millions of uninterrupted music under one platform, play any song they like, anywhere they go, and also be able to enjoy their music offline.

SLT-Mobitel customers can select their preferred premium package under four categories; Individual, Duo, Family, Student. Each category has recurring and non-recurring plans. After one month of free streaming, the package will activate once the offer period terminates. While both, the Individual and Student premiums are limited to one account user, the Duo package offers two accounts and the Family premium is accessible through six accounts. To view Spotify plans, users can log on to https://spoti.fi/3aLWvce

 

 

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Sri Lanka using ‘sovereign power’ over economy: CB Governor

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by Sanath Nanayakkare

Anyone conversant with the elements of a political economy would know that Sri Lanka is using its ‘sovereign power’ to manage the different dynamics of the economy in a sustainable manner, Professor W. D Lakshman Governor of the Central Bank said on Wednesday.

“Some critics are saying that we adopt a so-called modern monetary theory. That’s not the case. In fact, Sri Lanka is using its sovereign power in a number of economic aspects to honour its external debt repayment commitments as well as to reduce its debt burden in the medium term as well as achieve resilient growth in the medium to long term, he said.

“We make policy decisions to boost our gross foreign reserves, meet our external debt servicing, to facilitate monetary expansion, to boost our GDP growth, to strengthen our current account balance and manage our domestic and external economic variables in a sustainable manner. This is not a modern monetary theory. This is an age-old tool used by central banks around the world when the circumstances demand it, he said.

“Certain trade-offs will be necessary when dealing with an economy which has a big fiscal gap to bridge. There are efforts to push Sri Lanka towards the IMF again which would in turn have influence on our policymaking. We have taken policy measures to stabilize the economy and we have adequate reserve levels to meet our debt repayments. Meanwhile, we are in negotiations with overseas central banks and multilateral agencies to further boost our reserve level and it would materialise within a matter of weeks,” he noted.

“One of the tools the Central Bank has introduced is in respect of repatriation of export proceeds into Sri Lanka and conversion of such proceeds into Sri Lankan rupees in order to strengthen the foreign exchange situation of the country,” he said.

The Governor made these remarks while delivering the keynote speech at a webinar organised by the Veemansa Initiative led by its Managing Director Luxman Siriwardene – the former Executive Director of Pathfinder Foundation.

The webinar revolved round the topic ‘External debt situation in Sri Lanka: Are we heading for a resolution or crisis?’

Professor Sirimal Abeyratne, Prof. Sumanasiri Liyanage, Dr. Nishan de Mel and Dr. Ravi Liyanage were the other speakers on the panel.

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CSE on the rebound; indices close positive

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

CSE produced signs of a rebound yesterday with both indices closing positive, though turnover remained low. Central Bank Governor W.D Lakshman’s recent statement on managing foreign reserves gave some boost to the market yesterday, stock market analysts said.

 The index experienced a zigzag movement within the early hours of trading; thereafter, it recorded a slight up-trend as it reached its intraday high of 7,439. Later, the market witnessed a down-trend at mid-day, followed by a sideways movement and closed at 7,372, gaining 43 points during the month of February, market sources said. 

It is said the banking sector dominated turnover with a contribution of considerable  parcel trades in Sampath Bank, Commercial Bank  and HNB.

Further, the Commercial Bank’s impressive quarterly results during the recent turbulent period also built investor  confidence. Commercial Bank was able to register a18 percent net interest income when other banks were reporting a decline. Its share price increased by Rs. 3 or 3.5 percent. On the previous day, its shares started trading at Rs. 85 and at the end of the day they moved up to Rs. 88. Due to the positive growth results, the bank announced a Rs. 4.40 dividend per share, plus a Rs. 2 script divergent for every share.

Further,  Sampath Bank shares also appreciated in both crossing and retail. In crossings its shares appreciated by Rs. 1.At the end of the day they moved up to Rs. 154.50. In the retail market, its shares moved up by Rs. 2 or 1.3 percent. Previously, its shares fetched Rs. 154 and at the end of yesterday they moved up to Rs. 156.  

Amid those developments, both indices moved upwards. The All Share Price Index went up by 104.48 points and S and P SL20 rose by 67.78 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 3 billion with four crossings. Those crossings were reported in Sampath Bank, where 3.9 million shares crossed for Rs. 602.2 million, its share price being Rs. 154.50, HNB 375,000 shares crossed for Rs. 39.4 million, its shares traded at Rs. 105, Pan Asia Power 9.5 million shares crossed for Rs. 33.2 million, its shares traded at Rs. 3.50 and Access Engineering 1.2 million shares crossed for Rs. 28.2 million; its shares traded at Rs. 24.

In the retail market top five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Expolanka Rs. 450 million (10 million shares traded), JKH Rs. 205 million (1.3 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs. 199 million (34.9 million shares traded), Sampath Bank Rs. 191 million (1.2 million shares traded) and Dipped Products Rs. 137.7 million (2.8 million shares traded). During the day 101 million share volumes changed hands in 18046 transactions. 

During the day, Expolanka, the biggest contributor to the turnover, saw its share price appreciating by Rs. 6.20 or 15 percent. Its share price quoted on the previous day was Rs. 41 and at the end of trading yesterday it moved up to Rs. 47.

Sri Lanka’s rupee quoted wider at 193.50/195.50 levels to the US dollar in the spot next market on Thursday while bond yields remained unchanged, dealers said. The rupee last closed in the spot market at 194.50/195.00 to the dollar on Wednesday.

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