Morison PLC, the largest oral solid dosage pharmaceutical manufacturer in Sri Lanka and a subsidiary of Hemas Holdings PLC, ceremonially opened their new state-of-the-art manufacturing plant and research & development facility in the presence of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday.
Several Cabinet ministers and dignitaries also graced the event as special guests, including Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi; State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals, Prof. Channa Jayasumana; State Minister of Skills Development, Vocational Education, Research and Innovation Minister Dr. Seetha Arambepola and Secretary to Minister of Trade Dr. Sunil Navaratne. Located within the Sri Lanka Nano Technology Park in Pitipana, Homagama this is the second manufacturing facility of Morison PLC. The factory is ready to commence validation batches and is expected to start commercial production early next year, supporting the government’s aim to manufacture essential medicines locally.
Morison is committed to increase access of high quality, affordable medicines to all Sri Lankans and enables it with the new plant, with a capacity to supply over 20% of Sri Lanka’s tablet needs. A pioneer in the local manufacture of pharmaceuticals, Morison’s new facility with an investment of USD 18.5 million reaches a major milestone in Sri Lanka, being the first European Union-Good Manufacturing Practice (EU-GMP) compliant oral solid dosage manufacturing plant in Sri Lanka.
Speaking at the ceremony, Murtaza Esufally, Managing Director, Morison PLC said, “The launch of the new state-of the-art manufacturing facility marks a new era for Morison PLC, continuing our 80-year long mission to offer the highest quality products at affordable prices. This investment is supported through the guaranteed buy-back agreements that will help us to build economies of scale and be more competitive in global markets. Continued government support will enable us create a stronger footprint in exports and begin contract manufacture partnerships with global pharma companies, helping Sri Lanka earn valuable foreign exchange as we look to the future.”
GMP compliance requires that medicines are of consistent high quality and are appropriate for their intended use. EU GMP is an essential requirement to be a credible pharmaceutical manufacturer and exporter to global, regulated markets.
“We at Morison continue to look forward to delivering the highest quality products by partnering with global pharmaceutical leaders, with whom Hemas is privileged to have strong, legacy relationships. We will explore this new phase of growth in conformance with global protocols and regulations, through the formulation of new products and the development of opportunities in new markets”, Esufally continued. “Our partnership with SLINTEC will advance our strides in formulation research through the deployment of nano and advanced technology” he added.
Morison produces 75 different formulations of medicine and intends to grow that portfolio in the coming years to address Sri Lanka’s growing medicinal needs, especially in the sphere of non-communicable diseases. Its new plant has an annual production capacity of 5 billion tablets and 10 million bottles of medicine working at peak capacity on double shift, and aims to improve employment opportunities with the creation of 250 skilled jobs. The strength of the factory lies not only in its manufacturing capabilities. It also lies in its ability to create more skilled jobs and uplift the Homagama community through exposure of pharmaceutical sciences to the schools in the area and by working with higher educational institutions for internships and joint research.
The new plant is designed for minimum human intervention to prevent human error and includes cutting edge equipment such as the fully automated liquid manufacturing and packing lines, fully-fledged chemical and microbiology labs, separate air handling units to control environment conditions and is a also equipped with Enterprise Resource Planning software. The plant also has the first zero liquid discharge waste water systems in the country.
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Unlimited music streaming platform in Sri Lanka
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
Sri Lanka using ‘sovereign power’ over economy: CB Governor
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.
CSE on the rebound; indices close positive
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.