Board incurs mid-year loss
Sri Lanka's Cricket Board, known as one of the most cash-rich
companies in the island, made a loss in the first half of this year
as its income fell drastically compared with the same period last
provisional figures subject to audit, the Board of Control for Cricket
in Sri Lanka (BCCSL) incurred a pre-tax loss of Rs. 48 million in
the six months ended June 30 compared with a profit of almost Rs.
250 million in the first half of 2001.
of the board, which released its accounts to the public for the
first time last week, fell sharply to Rs. 71 million from Rs. 340
million in the same period last year.
chairman of the interim committee of the BCCSL, told The Sunday
Times Business that the board decided to release the accounts for
the first time in its history for the sake of transparency. "We
want to be transparent and accountable."
He said the
second half 2002 accounts - which would be for calendar 2002 - would
contain the audited version.
said losses were incurred since there was only one home series with
Bangladesh visiting last month. "Revenues are generally made
from a home series," he said adding that the situation would
be better next year with England, India and New Zealand touring
the accounts, the board had spent Rs. 415 million on the controversial
Dambulla international cricket stadium in the period under review,
shown as capital work-in-progress in its balance sheet. It had Rs.
206 million in fixed deposits and spent Rs. 48 million on administrative
expenses in the first half of this year.
also showed that the board was able to improve its debt recovery
- monies owed to the board - bringing it down to Rs. 116 million
from Rs. 618 million earlier.
also chairman of the Singer group, said Sri Lanka would receive
$ 6.5 million as team fees for next year's World Cup in South Africa
while another $ 625,000 will come in as team fees for next month's
ICC tournament in Colombo.
The BCCSL chief
said the board was a non-profit organisation and ploughed back whatever
it earned in revenues. Currently it is in the process of selecting
a group of 60 young players across the country including Mannar
and Jaffna and grooming them for the future.
scouts have been going through selections and have come up with
a squad," he said adding the first training camp for this squad
would be held on August 28 at Dambulla.
The BCCSL has
been mired in controversy in the past with three interim committees
being appointed by the government to handle board affairs in the
past three years.
sector seeks clay deposits
Ceramics manufacturers are seeking changes in the laws governing
the use of paddy lands to secure access to deposits of clay required
for the long-term survival of the industry.
They want the
government to suspend certain provisions in the Agrarian Development
Act to strike a balance between agrarian development and industry
mining, said Sunil Wijesinha, chairman of the Ceramics Industry
a comprehensive land use policy and mapping of clay deposits,"
he said in an interview.
have found that some of the best kaolin deposits are under housing
schemes, which means the industry cannot access them."
Under the Agrarian
Development Act paddy lands are not supposed to be used for mining,
not even land that is no longer viable for paddy cultivation.
manufacturers who had bought land for mining have found that they
cannot exploit the clay deposits because of these legal restrictions
which the industry now wants removed, Wijesinha said.
This was one
of the recommendations of the task force made to the Ministry of
Enterprise Development, Industrial Policy and Investment Promotion
industry consists of three major export-led segments - tableware,
ornamentalware and ceramic tiles.
changes are required to ensure the industry has enough supplies
of clay in the future.
The task force
also recommended that the industry gets into the manufacture of
more profitable advanced applications in the long term.
look at making new products because it may not be possible for us
to survive with traditional ceramic products," Wijesinha said.
"Ceramics is widely used in automobile components, bio-ceramics
(medical appliances inserted into the body), and components for
the electronics industry.
can develop the technical competence to handle advanced ceramic
applications, it can be very profitable."
was trying to develop links with American universities which have
acquired technical skills in the ceramics field, he said.
The task force
also recommended the creation of centres of "technical excellence"
that would provide improved technical support services to industry.
also have a system where industry can pay for university research,"
As part of
its strategic thrust to expand market share, the industry wants
to penetrate and establish a foothold in the Indian market where
changing lifestyles are likely to increase demand for high quality
fashion utilities such as ceramic tableware.
It is targeting
the high-end of the tableware market now catered to partly by imports.
would be to go under our brand name to create some brand preference,"
Wijesinha said. "It will not be easy."
industry also wants the government to remove the one- percent levy
on imports at the port and airport on gold and platinum pigment.
previously exempt from duty.
tableware industry the cost of gold and platinum account for the
highest cost of raw material - over 50 percent," said Wijesinha.
"So another one percent on that would amount to a huge cost
at a time we're struggling for survival."
export more than 80 percent of their output and are vulnerable to
increases in costs and pressure from buyers to reduce prices. The
depreciation of the rupee helps to offset some of these costs increases.
has come down because of the global recession while supply has gone
up because China has started big manufacturing plants, creating
a huge mismatch between demand and supply," said Wijesinha.
"So today there's a huge surplus of tableware and we're under
pressure to cut prices."
even find it difficult to compete in the small domestic market,
which is flooded by cheap, lower quality Chinese products, and have
called for anti-dumping laws.
worry" for the industry is the very high cost of energy - as
high as 30-40 percent of the cost of production, said Wijesinha.
The main fuel used in kilns is gas.
of energy have gone up by huge amounts over the past two years,"
were under pressure from buyers who want lower prices because international
energy costs were coming down.
The task force
recommended a transparent energy pricing mechanism reflecting true
world market prices.
in energy prices would "severely affect" the ceramics
industry, Wijesinha said.
prices rise on peace talks breakthrough
The stock market rose sharply last week mainly on the news
about the breakthrough in the peace process and good financial results
announced by some of the blue chips.
The dates being
set for talks between the government and the LTTE to start in mid-September
in Thailand has brought about some certainty to the peace process,
bourse also got a boost by the selective buying by Raj Rajaratnam,
a Sri Lankan-born fund manager based in the United States, whose
purchases, especially of blue chips, has generated much interest
in the market.
picked up a sizeable stake in the Commercial Bank on Wednesday helping
to boost turnover and raise the entire market.
The All Share
price index broke through the 700-point level to close at 703.5
on Friday while the Milanka index closed at 1229.1.
reacted positively to the news on the peace talks," said Dushyanth
Wijayasingha, head of research at Asia Capital.
were enticed by the lower prices on the bourse, he said.
that were "slightly ahead of expectations" also helped
boost prices, he said.
should continue," he added. "The economy and the corporate
sector are now in a recovery phase. Growth should begin to accelerate
towards the latter part of the year."
head of research at John Keells Stock Brokers said there was more
interest shown by foreign investors because of the positive feedback
on the peace process.
there were problems of cohabitation between President Chandrika
Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, which caused
stock prices to fall the previous week, appear to have gone away,
are signs that both parties could reach a mutual understanding,"
He also said
it was a positive sign that expatriate Sri Lankans were coming back
into the market.
of HNB Stock Brokers said the market should pick up again once peace
talks start in Thailand next month.
of the ban on the LTTE before the talks should also help boost the
market," he added.
trade fair draws crowds
Thousands of visitors thronged the eastern city of Trincomalee
on Friday amidst tight security as a five-day industrial exhibition
got underway at the town's esplanade.
drawing some 300 local and foreign exhibitors and opened by Prime
Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, is seen as an effort by the Industries
Ministry and the Board of Investment to drum up foreign investment
The Sunday Times correspondent in Trincomalee, reported that the
town was gaily decorated with green and national flags, and buntings
while all hotels and guesthouses were full.
never had such a crowd before," he said.
Dekma" exhibition runs till August 20. Residents said while
there was an overwhelmingly security presence because of the prime
minister, ministers and other important dignitaries being in the
city, there were no security barriers and people were allowed to
walk freely without being questioned.
Asia Capital probe ends
The Securities and Exchange (SEC) has terminated its investigation
into trading in shares of blue chip conglomerate Richard Peiris
and Company and of Asia Capital.
The stock exchange
watchdog last week wrote to the two companies saying that its investigations
had not revealed that any parties "acting in concert"
had triggered the mandatory provisions of the Takeovers and Mergers
was triggered after what was seen as a hostile take-over bid of
the highly diversified blue chip conglomerate Richard Pieris and
Co. and Asia Capital by Dr. Sena Yaddehige.
the Sri Lankan born, UK-based engineer who made waves recently by
buying into the two firms. He was recently appointed as joint deputy
chairman of Richard Pieris and Company.
the annual report of Richard Pieris and Company, dated March 31,
2002, Yaddehige is the biggest shareholder with 27.1 percent. But
there was speculation in the market that his stake was actually
higher than the 30 percent threshold at which take-over attempts
must be announced to the market because of subsequent buying and
also through his sizeable stake in Asia Capital.
and Asia Capital have complicated cross-holdings in each other.
Richard Pieris and Company saying he wants to modernise and expand
the company and add further value to the group's manufacturing and
The RPC group,
known for its Arpico brand of rubber products, achieved a turnover,
including that of its associates, of Rs. 10.2 billion, crossing
the Rs. 10 billion mark for the first time this year.
is also a big player in the plantations sector producing about 15
million kg of tea and 10 million kg of rubber each year.
It also has
a stake in Dipped Products Ltd, the joint venture with the Hayleys
conglomerate, that is among the top five industrial and household
rubber glove manufacturers in the world.