12th August 2001
Editorial/Opinion| Plus| Sports|
By Hiran Senewiratne and Diana MathewsLike many of Sri Lanka's pioneering industries, Weerodara – the Colombo stationer – started off the streets of the capital with its founder Dhanapala Ranaweera armed with a bag, peddling his wares.
Ranaweera's beginnings were small. He started life as a compositor at Y. Don Edwin Printers at Dam Street and while working there, had a small stationery buying and selling business in Colombo and Kandy.
During that period, he visited his family residing in Koggala in the Galle district once a week. During World War II, the Ranaweera family was forced to leave their home and they moved to Mihiripanne, close to Galle.
After working for many years in the press, Ranaweera established Weerodara Stationery (Pvt) Ltd in 1948 at a small shop in Pettah where the manufacturing of paper stationery was handled by five employees.
In the 1960's, he shifted to Nugegoda's Chapel Lane. The Ranaweera family moved from Mihiripanne to a small house they had purchased at Nugegoda. Ranaweera imported second hand machinery from Germany and installed it in a little hut at the back of their house and began production.
His success was further enhanced when his sons, Rohitha and Rohana, came into the business in the late 1980's. The two brothers modernised the factory by purchasing new machinery. They visited printing machinery exhibitions in UK and Germany in 1993 and 1995 and at these exhibitions they were able to purchase new machines.
Weerodara is now a familiar brand name among school children as well as offices and is currently the market leader in paper stationery in Sri Lanka.
"December is the season for exercise books," says Rohitha Ranaweera, Joint Managing Director of Weerodara. "Our production levels are lower than the demand for our products," he said. The range of products currently in the market is exercise books, note pads, autograph pads and notebooks.
"Quality control is very important because we have to maintain the high quality standard of our products," he said. Raw materials are imported from Indonesia and India. Since 99 percent of the raw materials are imported the net price of the products are quite high, he added.
"There are different qualities of products - high, middle and the low quality - for which the prices also vary," he said. This price range is aimed at catering to different segments of the community.
Up to the early 1990's, local paper was used in the production process, but until recently the company has begun to use imported paper mainly due to the poor quality and a shortage of local paper. None of the four paper factories including the ones at Valachchenai, Weerawila and Embilipitiya, is fully operative now.
"Currently we are operating with 100 employees on two shifts. The company is in operation for 24 hours," he said. Productivity has improved with employees motivated, through benefits and incentives, to produce more.
An employee would receive books at 50 percent of the wholesale price when it is the school season while also receiving a bonus twice a year.
"There is a lack of government support for this industry," says Rohana
Ranaweera, also Joint Managing Director. "There is a duty of 40 percent
for the import of machinery," he added, noting that if taxes are reduced
and government assistance is provided they could improve their business
and cut selling prices.
"While Mobitel is committed to offering its customers the most advanced mobile communication technology, we also believe in going beyond mere customer service and achieving total customer care. Because ultimately, the customer should value Mobitel for the extent of service that it offers," said Jumar Preena, Marketing Communications Manager of Mobitel.
In keeping with this philosophy, Mobitel has started implementing a
coverage expansion programme that will turbo-charge existing coverage areas.
This means that soon, Mobitel users will experience even greater clarity
and accessibility than before when using their valued Mobitel service,
the statement said.
According to a newsletter of the European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka, the study examines Sri Lanka's environment and the do's and dont's of investing in Sri Lanka.
It singles out three priority sectors - clothing and textiles, IT software and light engineering (mechanical and electronic) - for an in-depth focus on business opportunities emerging in these sectors.
The study, fully funded by the European Commission is available on request from the Asia-Invest Secretariat, the newsletter said.
The study is aimed at EU companies that are interested or are likely
to be interested in investing in Sri Lanka and want to know more about
This is the first time ever an insurance company has been awarded this certification for life insurance, the company said in a press release adding that for a firm established in 1994 - a relatively new company in this field - it is a great achievement.
This international certification is awarded to those companies that
satisfy the highest standards stipulated by the International Standards
Organisation based in the UK. The company was assessed on its quality management
system in relation to life, disability, pension and related medical insurance
services. This means that the systems at Janashakthi perform with utmost
efficiency complying with the highest of international standards. Janashakthi's
strengths such as customer orientation, innovation and speedy service all
contribute to 'quality management', the statement said.
Mr. De Livera was the Managing Director of a Sri Lankan Group of Companies prior to migrating to Canada in 1989 and for over a decade heads NATE Canada, an organization promoting Canadian Technology, Investment and International Trade in developing countries a press release said.
Since 1999, when NATE decided to promote investment in the areas of Electrical Power Generating Transmitting and Distribution including designing and building Mini Hydro Systems, the Knowledge Industry, Health Care and Phamaceuticals, affordable Housing and Building Materials and Systems, and in the environmental front including Waste Conversion, Water Treatment, Pollution Control and Recyling.
NATE team of experts
Mr. De Livera's team of experts include Bernie Marzalik, the former President of CIBA Vision Canada, Margaret Vokes, the former area director for Asia Pacific & South Asia, Ontario International Corporation which is an Ontario government organization and Ed Kroeker, an environmental expert and the former Chairman/CEO of a NASDAQ quoted Canadian company specializing in waste conversion and providing cutting edge solutions to the industrial sector.
SAARC market highly potential
Mr. De Livera believes that firstly, this is an opportunity to give in return what he received from his motherland and secondly as he believes that sooner than later things would get better in Sri Lanka and that the opportunities in South Asia for North American companies will continue to expand and multiply.
He feels that Sri Lanka being placed in a strategic position in the SAARC region with a population of over a billion would stand to benefit most. The best example is how Canada benefited from the free trade agreement between Canada and the USA comparing the massive market in India with that of the USA and Sri Lanka to Canada.
NATE provides a ground up service by firstly matching the right parties after conducting a due diligence study and thereafter conducting a comprehensive viability study to place all the facts and findings on the table for the Sri Lankan and the Canadian companies to carefully study the facts and take educated decisions to determine if the project is viable.
Should both parties agree to proceed and take the project to the next level NATE will put in place the best possible financing package and a definitive plan of action to implement the project within an agreed time frame.
NATE also represents Canadian manufacturers and exporters who utilize
the services of NATE to export their product of service to overseas markets.
Similarly, established companies in developing countries exporting or wanting
to export to Canada in particular and the Americas in general are represented
If something untoward were to happen to the father, the child in whose name the Plan has been taken, will be paid a lump sum immediately for his or her regular day-to-day upkeep. The benefits do not end there since when the child reaches 18 years, more funds will be paid to be used for higher education or to start life.
Explaning the unique features further, a Company spokesman said that
in the event of the father's death, the total life cover benefit will be
paid immediately so that the mother will be able to spend on the child's
needs. Thereafter, the Company will maintain the policy by paying the relevant
premium and when the child reaches 18, the second fund will be paid to
The product, which is streets ahead of the competition, comes with a combination of distinctive attributes. A lighter texture of the biscuit to give a greater mouth feel and enhanced taste of the cream and the biscuit are superlative.
Even the packaging follows global standards. It comes in a double laminated alufoil wrapper, which has been proven to be the most suitable around the world and is far superior in retaining freshness. The packaging method used, heat sealed pillow packaging is also the most advanced in the world and it is the only method, which ensures 100% air tightness a company release said.
Even the Master Carton follow global standards and it clearly illustrates
Munchee's determination to provide total quality as per global standards.
In order to enable mass market consumers to enjoy this superior product
it has been introduced at the market price instead of a price premium due
to the prevailing economic conditions in the country.
The picture shows Mrs. Shanthi Gooneratne, Deputy General Manager - Credit & Operations, Sampath Bank and Mrs. R.M.L. Jayasekera, Principal - Visakha Vidyalaya watched by Mrs. Damayithri Abeysekera, an old Visakhian and Senior Executive Secretary, Sampath Bank at the launch of the project.
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