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SLT Group net profit up by 35%, revenue recorded at Rs. 67.2 bn. in first nine months 2020

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The broadband revenue of the Group surged significantly over the same period last year underpinned by the increase of FTTH (Fiber-to-the-Home) footprints across the country by the ongoing accelerated Fiber Expansion Program by SLT and the increase of mobile broadband services by Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd. PEOTV revenues too soared during the period under review. However, the Group experienced a de-growth in Voice revenues in both SLT and Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd.

The Group’s stringent cost management measures maintained the Group’s Operating Costs before Depreciation and Amortization at the same level compared to last year, pushing the EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization) margin up to 39.3% from 34.9%. The EBITDA increased to Rs. 26.4 Bn, up by 18.4% YoY. The Depreciation and Amortization of the Group increased by 9.8% YoY to Rs. 16.7 Bn. The Group recorded an impressive growth in Operating Profits of 37.0% YoY to Rs. 9.7 Bn mainly due to the elevated EBITDA of the period.

The Interest Expenses and Finance Costs rose to Rs. 2.1 Bn from Rs. 1.4 Bn YoY as a result of increased borrowings to finance the growing capital expenditure in order to align with the global technological trends and fulfilling the changing customer demands. FOREX losses of the Group mounted to Rs. 0.8 Bn from Rs. 58 Mn in the same period last year stemming from the depreciation of the Sri Lankan Rupee against USD, mainly due to the adverse impacts during the early stages of Covid-19 pandemic.

Group Profit Before Tax (PBT) recorded at Rs. 8.3 Bn, a 18.9% growth compared to the year before, while Profit After Tax (PAT) posted at Rs. 6.7 Bn, demonstrating a YoY increase of 35.4%. The PAT margin went up to 10.0% from 7.8% for the same period the year earlier.

During the first nine months of 2020, SLT Group paid out a total of Rs. 11.8 Bn as Direct and Indirect Taxes and Levies to the Government of Sri Lanka.

Rohan Fernando, the Group Chairman, commented, “Our performance in the first nine months is strong evidence of SLT Group’s ability to navigate during uncertain times. This performance is a testament to the vital role that our products play in our customers’ lives. Our goal is to make the SLT Group the number one in the telecommunication and digital market. In order to realize that goal we explore new local and international markets, join hands with new funding partners and utilize/ monetize the underutilized assets within the Group. We need to build and improve positive attitudes in the mindsets of our customers, employees and all other stakeholders to accomplish better than yesterday. The progress we have achieved in the first nine months will help us to gradually reduce the accumulated borrowing incurred on developing the National Fiberization program. This initiative which began in 2017 has placed the company on a strong platform to move further in the Digital world”.

Lalith Seneviratne, the Group Chief Executive Officer, remarked, “As a Group with widespread operations across the country in both fixed and mobile operating services, resourced with expertized human capital and physical capital, we strive to leverage the synergies within the Group and thereby to improve efficiency and lower the operational expenses. We have already made several initiatives on the same and we will continue to reap the benefits of Group collaborations over the years to come”.

Mr. Kiththi Perera, Chief Executive Officer of SLT stated, “SLT proudly launched ‘SLTGO’ the community WiFi network recently, in partnership with FON Wireless Limited, the world’s largest community WiFi network operator. This solution provides an opportunity to SLT customers to access internet anywhere from SLTGO WiFi hotspots in Sri Lanka and from 23 million WiFi hotspots all over the world. In addition, as a responsible corporate citizen, SLT is involved in many CSR activities including the ‘e-waste’ collection week in partnership with the Central Environmental Authority and the Department of Posts, and joined hands with Mobitel to transform discarded buses into libraries. We always believe delivering value to our customers, communities and all other stakeholders is the most promising way to build long term value”.

Mr. Priyantha Fernandez, Chief Operating Officer of SLT added, “We have successfully commenced the Phase 3 of accelerated Fiber Expansion Program to provide FTTH (Fiber-to-the-Home) connections across the country to provide an ultra-speed experience to our valued customers. We extended PEO TV GO services to our 4G LTE customers too to enjoy their favourite TV programs. I’m pleased to announce that our cloud based ‘SLT Storage’ facility reached one million files recently. Further, as the digital lifestyle partner of the country SLT entered into the mobile gaming arena with ‘SLT Kimaki’ in partnership with Arimac Lanka (Pvt) Ltd”.


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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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