Held for the 17th consecutive year, the Business Today TOP TWENTY FIVE 2013-2014 Award Ceremony commended the best performing public quoted companies in Sri Lanka. The event was held under the patronage of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development as Chief Guest and, Mohan Pieris, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka as the Special Guest for the evening.
Event and media coordination was by Glenda Parthipan, Emphasis. This included the concept, entertainment and decor for the evening.
Udeshi Amarasinghe, BT Options
The video you witnessed a little while ago was done by the staff of BT Options and shows our open and laidback office environment. We work hard but play harder. The Mixed Martial Art (or MMA) rope sequence that you witnessed is part of our workout routine at BT Active. Sri Lanka is one of the fastest growing economies in Asia, where its upward growth journey is unstoppable, as the country transitions from middle income to upper middle income in 2020 and an advanced economy by 2035. This seems like a long time away but it is the strategies that we put in place today that will bear fruit in the future. While challenges will be there, it is how we face these challenges and achieve success that shows the strength of character. It is at this pivotal moment that we celebrate the Business Today TOP TWENTY-FIVE for the financial year 2013-2014.
We are honoured by the presence of Ven Galaboda Gnanissara thero, Chief Incumbent of Gangaramaya Temple, Ven Uduwe Dhammaloka thero, Venerable Viyapaththugama Revatha thero, Chief Incumbent of Siriwardenaramaya and Ven Kirinde Assaji thero. We are extremely proud to have Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development as our Chief Guest and Hon Chief Justice Mohan Pieris, as the Special Guest for the evening. We wish to thank you for being with us today. Mrs Ioma Rajapaksa and Mrs Priyanthi Pieris we are grateful for your presence as well.
In 2005, when we had the event, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, then Prime Minister, had just been elected by the Party as the Presidential candidate and he came for the event as Chief Guest after visiting the Matara Devale. We are very proud that this time too as we hold this event today, President Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected as the Party Presidential candidate yesterday.
Continuity, is vital for Sri Lanka. We are a stable country with peace, freedom and security, our economy is vibrant and is driving forward with energy. There is greater activity and movement in the Sri Lankan economy. A change at this point of time will hamper the continued progress of this country. Can anyone deny that they are not living a better life and are able to freely move about in this country? We have emerged from a 30 year-long conflict, stronger as a nation. What we were in 2005 is not who we are today. We are proud to be Sri Lankan. Within a nine-year period, His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa has achieved much, it is not only interms of what we can see but it also the upliftment of the quality of life. Business Today takes this moment to recognise His Excellency’s great contribution to this nation by eliminating terrorism, bring-ing stability and peace, economic development and instilling in all Sri Lankans that we are on par with the rest of the world and have the ability to compete globally.
Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa, our country’s Defence Secretary was pivotal for ending the conflict that had ruined the very fabric of our society. His confidence and determination as well as strategic planning and experience, ensured that the Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, CDF and Military Intelligence were able to perform their duty. With His Excellency’s leadership and strength our heroic Armed Forces were able to achieve the unachievable. We started believing again. We are always grateful to His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the three Armed Forces, Po-lice, CDF and Military Intelligence for the freedom they have given this country. His Excellency was able to forge ahead without heeding to any pressure from within the country and outside because he knew that his brother was doing what was needed for this country. That kind of relationship has never been seen before.
While Defence Secretary’s forte in ensuring the security of this country is well known, it is only a few years ago that we were introduced to his knowledge and expertise in urban planning and development. The trans-formation in Colombo alone is amazing. This has been well supported by the Mayor of Colombo, A J M Muzzamil. The city is clean and green, pedestrians have been given priority there is a lot of activity happening and this trans-formation is not only in Colombo, but also in other parts of the country. There is a call for drastic changes, but the question has to be asked whether Sri Lanka is ready for a change and is it necessary? Sri Lanka is a young nation of five years, if one really looks at it, because we were at war for 30 years. Our emergence from that rubble is similar to a phoenix rising from the ashes. This was possible because of the current political leadership. Should we not look at the bigger picture? His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa should continue for no other reason other than that he has proven that he is a leader, capable of making the right decisions that are needed for this country. He is a leader who understands the people. It is continuity that Sri Lanka needs.
At BT Options, 2014 has been a year of new ventures in a new building that we moved into, end of 2013. Contrary to perception, we do not own the building, the owner is Mr Kaleel who is in the audience, and we thank him for his support.
In January we published the first issue of Design magazine, which focuses on introducing high-end experiences where an alternate lifestyle of luxury and innovation is shown. In most instances the products are introduced for the first time where production has not even started glob-ally. For example we published an article on the Gi-bike, where production will start only in eight months. At a range of USD 5000-7000 the Gi-bike will also be availabe at BT Store when production begins.
We have received very good response for the magazine especially from overseas where many establishments for example Virgin, following our feature on Richard Branson’s private island – Necker Island– asked us to do a second article, which we did on Ulusuba in South Africa, it was the same with Four Seasons and Tour Odeon.
BT Active, is the first private corporate gym in the country. We have our very own fitness pro to train us. Staff are allowed to workout in the gym anytime during the day, BT Active is open from 7.30 in the morning to 8.00 in the evening all week long. Routines with MMA rope as was shown during the opening performance of the even-ing, TRX and kick boxing are just a few of the novel approaches that are adopted at BT Active. 15 of us will be participating in the Dubai marathon next year. We work hard, but play harder!
While we continue to be strong in the market with Explore Sri Lanka, Business Today, Target and Serendib–the inflight magazine of SriLankan Airlines, we took another step forward by being the first to introduce international titles to Sri Lanka. In August 2014, we introduced Financial Times in Business Today. We are the only publication in Sri Lanka to license Financial Times.
We introduced Domus Sri Lanka in October 2014, iCreate Sri Lanka in November and Time Out Sri Lanka will be out in the market in January 2015.
Domus, the international magazine renowned for it’s approach to architecture and design, founded in Italy in 1928 by architect Gio Ponti, has earned much repute throughout the world as ‘the international point of reference for architecture, design and urbanism’. The entire production of the Sri Lanka edition is done by us and we have ensured that the print quality is the same as the Italian. Domus Italy is very happy with the Sri Lanka edition and they wish that all their partners in other parts of the world are like us.
iCreate is a British publication and is the ultimate creative companion for all Mac, iPad and iPhone users, here too the entire production of the Sri Lanka edition is done by us.
Time Out is the world’s single largest dedicated events and what’s on platform with over 18 million global online users. Time Out is around the world from London to Moscow, Beijing to New York, Delhi, Dubai, LA and now Sri Lanka. Time Out will be available in print, web and app. Until 2016, Time Out would not consider Sri Lanka, but we were able to convince them to come here. It is the first time that they are doing a country because they usually do only cities, and Time Out Sri Lanka will cover all the districts. It will be the single largest platform in print, web and app on Sri Lanka.
We have also purchased property, including a 20 acre land in Whiskey Point, where 20 rooms and a swimming pool will be ready in March 2015 in time for the season in the East coast, and another property in Yodha Kandiya.
Emphasis, which is headed by the dynamic Managing Director Glenda Parthipan, is our sister company. The total concept and event coordination of the Business Today TOP TWENTY FIVE award ceremony were done entirely by Glenda Parthipan.
BT Store, now at two locations continues to focus on service and quality. Our success is attributed to the fact that we have been using Apple since 1988 in the production of all our publications.
At this moment we take the opportunity to thank those who have supported us through the years, Minister Basil Rajapaksa, for his untiring efforts and dedication, he is a hard worker and expects the same from those who work with him. He is a strategist that understands the requirements of this country.
Dr P B Jayasundera, for his continuous strength, it is through his stable guidance that Sri Lanka has achieved economic growth. It is apparent that Dr Jayasundera’s experience and indepth knowledge is invaluable for Sri Lanka.
We wish to thank Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa for his presence today. He is a man of his word, punctual and disciplined, instilling the same qualities in those who work with him. We are grateful to him for maintaining peace and a safe environment for the people of this country.
We would also like to mention the great work done by Hon Mohan Pieris, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, who has created a stable environment in the judiciary where greater focus has been given to capacity building, introducing new technology where all courts are being digitized, thereby making the entire legal system a people’s friendly entity. We are impressed by his modest and unassuming personality.
We wish to thank Senior DIG Anura Senenayake for his kindness for allowing us to use his songs from his recently released album, Mage Kirilli for the dance performances of the evening.
Mr Harry Jayawardene we thank you for supporting us throughout the years and for always making the time to hear our thoughts. We greatly appreciate it. We also extend our gratitude and appreciation to Mr Nimal Welgama. Mr Dhammika Perera, we appreciate your strength and support to us.
We would especially like to mention Mr Anselm Perera of Mlesna; we thank him for being with us since 1987 – the very beginning. And we appreciate his guidance and valued contribution.
The Business Today Awards has been held for 17 years continously, where it evolved from the TOP 10 to TOP TWENTY and TOP TWENTY FIVE. We wish to extend our gratitude to Mr Dinesh Weerakkody, who initiated the Business Today ranking and also to Mr Keith Bernard and Mr Shiron Gooneratne, for their contribution in making the Business Today top corporate ranking a success.
Mr Suren Rajakarier of KPMG, we extend our appreciation for your con-tribution to the Business Today TOP TWENTY FIVE.
We would like to thank Mr Nithi Murugesu, for his continous guidance.
Sajith, Chaminda and the team we thank you for your cooperation in making this event a success.
We apologize for any lapse in protocol.
We thank all of you for being here today in recognition of the Business Today TOP TWENTY FIVE.
We endorse this endeavors by Mr and Mrs Mathi Par-thipan, the compere mentioned. It is our task as clergy to bestow merit to those who have assisted this organisation. We all have a history and for 27 years this organisation especially in a small country such as ours has been able to take gradual steps that have taken the company forward and as such it is our responsibility to bless this company. The ability to be happy for another’s success is a virtue that is not prevalent in this country. When we talk about karma in any religion there is kalasampath and kalavipatti. When we live in the present we have to look at the past as well.
Everyone heard the compere speak of the past and as such we do not have to talk about it again. Mr and Mrs Mathi together with their staff presented to us about happiness. Lord Buddha preached ‘Santhutti Paraman Danan’ (happiness is the supreme wealth). Regardless of race, religion, caste, province and political party, for anyone in this world their greatest expectation is happiness. If there is no happiness then there is no growth or prosperity. In any endeavour the ability to live in happiness is the ultimate achievement. It is indeed amazing to see Mr and Mrs Mathi Parthipan and their staff committing to this endeavour with so much happiness.
In the past, when there was a war in this country, publications with such as these with moderate views were a dangerous thing. During that time how many people were killed and destroyed? Considering this past, the journey that the two of them have made together with their staff is indeed a difficult one. They have made this journey avoiding conflict with anyone, bearing many a burden, all the while bringing out the beauty, of every race, religion, culture, literature, and introducing us to the world. His efforts have been a success and these measures have provided a great strength to businesses. The publications that he is producing have amazed foreigners, the state sector and the private sector should be happy about that.
All those who are engaged in business ventures, this is a recognition or honour that you are receiving. When we offer blessings we say, Dukkappathacha Nikkudukkha, may all those who are suffering, be free from their misery; Bhayapaththacha Nibhaya, those who live in fear, may they over-come their fear; Sokappaththacha Nissoka, those who have anxiety and sorrow may they be free from anxiety and have peace of mind. Then this is not a political speech. For those who remember the past, if not for a leader such as him (President), we would still have suffering, fear and anxiety. We thank our President Mahinda Rajapaksa for bringing relief to the people of this country from suffering. We thank him for his efforts to protect us from fear, and for all the work he has done to make the people of this country happy. While voicing my appreciation, I request the entire business community to stay together to make the difficult journey that you have embarked so far even more successful. There are many disruptive actions and conspiracies taking place. As a business community you must work wisely and carefully to face these obstacles. We have to work together. If we forget this, great devastation will wreak havoc and spread like a forest fire again in this country. This is happening in numerous countries, advanced countries around the world. Dangerous terrorist elements are emerging.
I thank everyone who is involved in this great initiative. As the compere mentioned all the names I will not repeat, but endorse everything that was said. At this time when we can do something without fear and happiness, everyone should make honest efforts. With compassion and loving kindness may we all be able to be of service to the people of this country. I wish all of you a good future.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development is a man of his word. During the height of the conflict we worked very closely with him and saw first hand, his straightforward approach, attention to detail, his thinking and his love for the country. He was responsible for bringing all sections of the security community together so that we all worked as one. He is meticulous and always in touch with the happenings of the country. He has ensured that we remain free, and safe. Mr Rajapaksa, will never allow the country to fall pray to disharmony and terrorism again. That is why we need continuity in this country.
I thank Business Today for having invited me as the Chief Guest for this event, which recognises the Top 25 Companies in Sri Lanka for the last financial year. The recognition given to these companies is the result of the hard work and diligence of their directors, management, executives and staff in increasing shareholder value. At the outset, I extend my warm congratulations and best wishes to them for their outstanding performance and wish them every success for the future.
As Sri Lanka strives to become the Wonder of Asia, those in the corporate world have a special responsibility to help the nation achieve its economic potential. While the Government will do its best to maintain a conducive environment for development, it is the private sector that must take the bold steps needed for strong economic growth. Sri Lanka is presently enjoying its fifth year of peace, security and stability. It is of the utmost importance to make maximum use of the many opportunities that the current environment provides.
Sri Lanka is a far different country today from what it was not so long ago. When His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa was first elected to office in 2005, Sri Lanka had suffered from the terrorism of the LTTE for close to three decades.
Almost all the territory north of Vavuniya was controlled by the LTTE, and two-thirds of the East was under its dominance. People from all ethnicities, religions and walks of life throughout Sri Lanka underwent un-told suffering. Many leading politicians, officials and other public figures were ruthlessly assassinated. Economic targets were frequently attacked. Even key places of worship were not free from LTTE atrocities. Those in villages near LTTE dominated territory were always under threat of brutal attacks. Civilians in the rest of the country also lived in constant fear. Vehicle bombs, claymore mine attacks and suicide bombings claimed the lives of thou-sands, injured tens of thousands and deeply affected hundreds of thousands more.
Changing this situation by eradicating terror and fear from Sri Lanka was the first priority of the President when he was elected in 2005. Very few initially believed that terrorism could be defeated. Over the years, a lot of negativities had built up in Sri Lanka about this issue. All previous Presidents and prior governments representing different political parties had tried to end the terrorist conflict during their time in office. They tried military campaigns, peace talks, and even foreign intervention, but failed to achieve lasting peace despite each attempt. But the President’s confidence and his determination to bring peace and stability to Sri Lanka were un-changeable.
And so, despite the sheer immensity of the challenges ahead, whether on the battlefield, within the domestic environment or in the international arena, he achieved this objective within the first three and a half years of his time in office.
The defeat of the LTTE and the dawn of peace in May 2009 marked a watershed in this nation’s history. But even as the country looked towards building on its new found peace and recapturing the opportunities it had lost over the past thirty years, a new set of challenges faced Sri Lanka. Demining and resettling those displaced by the LTTE during the last stages of the conflict, rehabilitating the LTTE cadres who had surrendered or been captured, and rebuilding areas that had stagnated under LTTE dominance were the most immediate of these. Repealing restrictions on land and sea, disarming armed groups, reviving democratic processes and reestablishing elections in the North and East, and restoring normalcy in the country at large were also critical. Furthermore, steps had to be taken to ensure national reconciliation and create a platform conducive for rapid economic growth. Over the last five years, each of these post conflict challenges were overcome systematically.
Development of former LTTE controlled areas was a major focus of the Government in the first two years after the dawn of peace. Because of LTTE action and long neglect everything in these areas were in urgent need of repair and improvement.
These requirements were solved through expedited reconstruction programmes undertaken by Government agencies together with the military. Great improvements were made to infrastructure such as roads and railways, utilities such as electricity transmission, water supply and sanitation, and services such as healthcare, education, public trans-port and solid waste management.
Modernity finally returned to those areas that had been stagnant for so long.
With the exception of a few high level cadres who were identified for prosecution through the legal system, nearly 12,000 former LTTE cadres who had surrendered to the Armed Forces and nearly 5,000 LTTE cadres who were in Government detention and custody were rehabilitated, released and reintegrated to society within a short span of time. Interestingly, scientific studies carried out by two professors from the University of Maryland College Park in the USA has shown that the rehabilitation process has been exceptionally successful. They report that the vast majority of reintegrated rehabilitees no longer support even the concept of devolution, much less separatism.
Considerable attention has also been given to the livelihood development of the resettled and reintegrated persons, through provision of financial and other assistance for farmers, fishermen and entrepreneurs. Those seeking employment in various industries or in government service were also assisted to find jobs. Many young people, including a large number of rehabilitees, have joined the Civil De-fence Force and the military.
Restoring normalcy in the North and East required several other steps as well. The armed groups that had been operating in opposition to the LTTE during the conflict were quickly disarmed and encouraged to engage in other activities for the betterment of the people, including social and political work. Restrictions that used to be in place on movement, transport of goods, and fishing were systematically repealed.
High security zones as well as security barricades and checkpoints were dismantled. Lands that had used by the military and those forcibly taken over and used by the LTTE over the last twenty to thirty years were handed back to their rightful owners. Many new police stations were established and large numbers of Tamil speaking policemen were recruited, trained and appointed to work in them. The Armed Forces were completely withdrawn from law-and-order duties.
Most importantly, the democratic process was fully revived and elections were held at every level in the North and East shortly after the end of the war. Because of the President’s insistence on restoring the democratic rights of the people in former LTTE controlled areas as fast as possible, elections were held in the North and East soon after the conflict.
By 2013, the people in former LTTE controlled areas had been able to vote in a Presidential Election, a General Election, a Provincial Council election and in Local Government Elections. The fact that these elections were free and fair, and that political plurality and freedom of representation exists in the North and East is clear in the success that opposition parties such as the TNA have had in these elections.
As a result of all these efforts, citizens in former LTTE held areas became able to experience a quality of life similar to that enjoyed in the rest of the country not long after the end of the conflict. They have the empowerment, the resources and the opportunities they need to build better futures for themselves and their loved ones. This has set the stage for national reconciliation, unity, and lasting peace within a united and unitary Sri Lanka. The remaining challenge for the Government in the post conflict period was to further strengthen the platform it had created for rapid economic development. The centerpiece of the Government’s development strategy, identified by the President as a main focal point for his second term in office, is transforming Sri Lanka into a dynamic global hub. This strategy makes full use of the country’s position at the centre of the Indian Ocean, its educated and skilled workforce, and its hard-won peace and stability. It envisions Sri Lanka becoming a Naval, Aviation, Commercial, Energy and Knowledge Hub.
Investments were made in key infrastructure such as roads, railways, ports and airports; in electricity generation and transmission; in water supply, drainage and sewerage; and in city and town development. Much has also been done to improve other enablers of rapid development, including secondary, tertiary and vocational education, as well as facilities available for research and development. Low interest rates have been maintained to spur domestic investment, while inflation has been contained.
One of the most visible efforts of the Government in creating an environment supportive of growth has been the work done to improve the quality of life in urban areas through-out Sri Lanka. The creation of a people friendly living environment in the country at large will help Sri Lanka attract and retain the highly skilled professionals and knowledge workers required by a middle-income economy. These individuals expect a social and physical environment that is of a high standard. Such an environment is also extremely important from the perspective of attracting Foreign Direct Investment, and for the further development of local industries and businesses. That is why much of the work undertaken by the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development in recent years has been focused on uplifting the quality of Sri Lanka’s metropolitan areas. The objective has been to create a clean and green environment for people to live in and enjoy.
In Colombo, a lot of work has been done to address the many issues that the city faced due to its organic growth over the last few decades. The issue of frequent flooding is being addressed through the Metro Colombo Urban Development Project. The Beire Lake, the canal system and micro drainage channels throughout the city have been greatly improved. Water retention reservoirs have been created in Sri Jayawardenepura, Rampalawatte and Palawatte to collect and gradually discharge stormwater. The Weras Ganga project is being implemented to address flooding issues in the southern part of the greater Colombo area.
Capacity building of the key agencies responsible for flood control activities has also been undertaken. The large number of families who used to live in unsafe and unhygienic slums and shanties have been given the opportunity to enjoy a much higher quality of life through the creation of medium to high rise housing complexes throughout the city. By introducing the former underserved segments to a much better and more comfortable way of life, this initiative has provided them the environment they need to achieve social mobility.
At the same time, this initiative has also freed a lot of prime land in Colombo for commercial and other development. Together with the shifting of administrative buildings to Sri Jayawardenepura, this will assist the growth of Colombo into a world-class commercial hub.
The city has also been made much more pedestrian friendly through the creation of high-quality pavements alongside the main roads, the sur-faces of which have also been greatly improved. The one-way system has been extended, and studies are being conducted with a view to further ease traffic congestion in the city. The introduction of a mass transit system is also likely in the next few years.
Keeping the city environment clean has also received a lot of attention. The collection of garbage along city streets has been greatly improved, and a project to solve the garbage issue in the long term will commence very soon. Under this project, municipal solid waste from the greater Colombo area will be transported via rail to a large sanitary landfill in an abandoned quarry, where it will be safely and scientifically disposed of.
A great deal of work has also been done in the recent past to rejuvenate urban life. Many new public open spaces for people to exercise, socialise and relax in have been created. The quality of the waterways has also been improved, enabling more recreational activities to take place on and around the water bodies. Walls that had been erected in public places due to security concerns have been removed, opening up new vistas of greenery and beautiful architecture for people to see and enjoy.
New landmark leisure destinations such as the Dutch Hospital Precinct, the Colombo Racecourse and the Arcade Independence Square have been established by renovating and refurbishing previously neglected historic buildings. These sites are becoming increasingly popular amongst locals and tourists alike, and are contributing to the city’s new vibrancy.
IN COLOMBO, A LOT OF
WORK HAS BEEN
DONE TO ADDRESS
THE MANY ISSUESS
THAT THE CITY FACED
DUE TO ITS ORGANIC
GROWTH OVER THE
LAST ISSUES OF
IS BEING ADDRESSED
THROUGHT THE METRO
It should be noted that international investors and the local private sector alike have seized upon the many opportunities being created through all of these programmes. Over the next decade, the quality of Colombo’s real estate and its skyline will transform dramatically as world-class hotels, apartment complexes, office buildings and entertainment venues are set up here. These developments and other programmes of the Government will help transform Colombo into the dynamic centrepiece of a country that is fast achieving its aspiration to be the Wonder of Asia.
Apart from the metro Colombo region, the Government has also focused on uplifting the standard of other key cities. With the creation of its world class Harbour and the nearby Mattala International Airport, Hambantota has enormous potential to exploit its proximity to one of the busiest Sea Lanes of Communication in the world and become a regional industrial and logistics hub. Steps have also been taken to improve the quality of well-established cities such as Kandy and Galle.
Smaller cities such as Anuradhapura, Jaffna, Matara, Nuwara Eliya and Trincomalee are also being developed rapidly so that the quality of life of residents and visitors will also be greatly improved. Key cities are being linked through a highway network that has already drastically cut short travel times on a few important routes. All of these initiatives which are rapidly transforming Sri Lanka were undertaken and are being executed in a remarkably short span of time. Each of them was formulated in accordance with the far-sighted strategic vision of His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, guided by the Government and its officials, and are being achieved through the dedication and hard work of numerous state agencies and institutions. While there are admittedly still a few other areas in which improvements can and will be made, Government is very keen to work with the private sector and civil society to overcome any remaining impediments that may exist for the unfettered functioning of our democracy and for inclusive, sustainable and vibrant economic growth.
One of the natural consequences of increasing per capita income is that the expectations of people also rise. Reforms and ideals that could only be dreamt of in years past are now being demanded virtually instantly by some sections of our society. While this is perfectly understandable, we should not lose sight of the journey on which we have come, or of the destination that we have to reach. What Sri Lanka most requires at this juncture is for all of us to unite and make the most of our opportunities so that our collective future will be so much brighter. Continuity is the key to achieving this. We must not stray from the vibrant, transformative path we are on. Instead, we must all unite, as Sri Lankans, and continue this journey without pause so that this nation’s aspirations will be achieved.
Ronnie Peiris, Director
Susantha Ratnayake, Chairman with Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and Mohan Pieris, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
It is indeed my privilege and delight to say a few words on behalf of John Keells Holdings at this prestigious event, which has now become a special day in our annual calendar. The scale of granduer, pomp and pageantry as we have witnessed today is increasing year on year. We are thankful to Business Today, spearheaded by Mr and Mrs Parthipan.
We are humbled today to have been recognised by Business Today in its business rankings as the first among equals. We owe this completely to the committed employees and the support we have received from customers and the society, all of whom we serve with honesty and integrity, dedication and commitment.
Just to say a few words about John Keells Holdings, we have been in this country since 1870 operating non-stop for the past 140 years plus. We have been in Sri Lanka through thick or thin, in the good times, in the bad times. Since our listing in the Colombo Stock Exchange in 1986 we have attracted significant amounts of foreign institutional investment. This is our country, this is where we were born, this is where we will stay, we look forward to serving our country not only in the immediate future but in the long years to come. In this endeavour we are thankful to the giant strides that have been taken by the Government in infrastructure development and I think it will be remiss of me not to recognise the efforts as explained by our Chief Guest himself, in uplifting our various cities not in terms of its aesthetic upliftment but also in terms of livability. We thank you once more for creating that enabling environment. I probably will echo the sentiments of my corporate peers by stating that in business we only look forward to an enabling environment and predictability. Please give us that and we will give you the rest. Thank you very much for your patience and thank you very much Mr and Mrs Parthipan for this event.
Dharma Dheerasinghe, Chairman
Dharma Dheerasinghe, Chairman and Jegan Durairatnam, Managing Director/CEO with Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and Mohan Pieris, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
I’m honored to accept the award on behalf of Commercial Bank for winning the second place in the Business Today TOP TWENTY-FIVE. It is good to be the first, but number two is not at all bad. Being a bank, we are extremely happy to be selected as the second-best institution amongst all corporates in Sri Lanka. Commercial Bank is the largest private bank in Sri Lanka and the most awarded Bank both internationally and locally. The bank has had the privilege of being nominated as the Best Bank in the country by Global Finance Magazine, Best Trade Bank, by the Trade Finance Magazine and the strongest bank by Asian Banker and being included in the top 1,000 banks in the world for four consecutive years. And the bank also has being awarded many prestigious awards locally and has been in the Business Today TOP TWENTY FIVE ranking ever since its’ inception. Commercial Bank takes pride, in its’ dedication to maintain good governance, transparency and ethical business practices, which are of paramount importance for a financial institution. This dedication to good governance has enabled the bank to be selected by the public as the most honest business entity as well. Commercial bank has a versatile product offering that caters to all segments of the society and touches the lives of three and a half million customers helping to achieve their goals and aspirations in life.
Commercial Bank always strives to deliver its’ brand promise of creating a better future for Sri Lanka. Being the most profitable private bank in the country, Commercial Bank also identifies the need to serve the nation giving back to the society through the corporate social responsibility initiatives driven by a CSR trust established for the purpose. The success of the Bank is due to passion, commitment and hard work of our employees at all levels and also due to the unwavering loyalty of our customers, and all other stakeholders. I wish to thank all of them for their hard work, the trust, they have placed on us. I also take this opportunity to thank the Business Today magazine and its’ management for taking the initiatives to organize this ceremony and to congratulate all winners of their success.
Felicio Ferraz, Managing Director/CEO
Felicio Ferraz, Managing Director/CEO with Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of
Defence and Urban Development and Mohan Pieris, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
Thanks to Business Today for recognizing our business performance. It is extremely good when you get this recognition of your hard work. We have achieved good positions in the past ten years, and if you look back over the past three years with all the challenges that we have faced on top of volume decline for three years in a row to deliver solid and sustainable business performance, it is not easy. But thanks to our talented workforce we did it. To move from seventh to fourth and now third position in Business Today TOP TWENTY FIVE is simply great. Watch out Commercial Bank and John Keells we are getting there.
Talking about challenges I would like to take the opportunity to say that to work in this industry is not easy, you need to look to challenges as opportunities. You need to be resilient and extremely passionate. The next challenge to come to us is a pictorial health warning. A pack with an image on it, this comes to effect in January 2015. Retailers and distributors will have the whole month of January to exhaust the old stock. In summary, as of February 1, you will not be able to find the old pack in the market but only these with graphic health warnings. But this is not new for our industry, I have seen these happening in several countries. Canada was the first, Brazil–I am from Brazil—I saw this 12 years ago, Pakistan, Australia and so on. And if you take Australia as an example, the most drastic in the world, with blank packaging, where every pack looks the same. They implemented this in 2012, but guess what? In 2013 volumes went up. But not as we liked, it was down trading. Consumers had no reason to pay 17 dollars for a pack of product if the 10 dollar one looked exactly the same. The big threat that I see when you regulate a lot in the industry is that the consumers will down trade. And illicit trade of an inferior product will come into the market space. This is the biggest threat that I see in Sri Lanka.
Consumers downtrade not only to beedi that we have seen in the past four years. A threefold volume. Isn’t beedi the same as cigarettes? Is it not combustible tobacco? But why are they not regulated? There is no excise there. You will see illicit product coming to the market, I have seen that happening in Panama, where 2/3 of the market today is illicit. Everybody loses. Consumers get a product that no one knows who manufactured and the quality, how and where it was produced. Government loses because there is no revenue and the formal legal companies as well. So be careful, a world with no legal tobacco company, may not be what you expect.
Well let us stop talking about cigarettes. We are extremely happy to be a recognised as the third best performer of the year 2013-2014 for Business Today. Again, watch out Commercial Bank and John Keells. Chairman I am sure you will be happy as someone said you have the best of both worlds. And my final oral health warning as I did last year, it is not good for you to smoke, don’t smoke but if you do take the decision to smoke, then smoke one of our brands.
Chandima Gunawardena, Director
Chandima Gunawardena, Director with Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and Mohan Pieris, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
Let me at the outset itself thank the organizers of this event for the excellent effort displayed for putting together a well-choreographed meaningful event that has sustained itself for so many years. Bukit Darah group has been fortunate in being in the selected list for a long time. From the early days of this grandeur event and we are indeed proud that for the status that we have earned in being recognized over the years. Last year too I was privileged to speak a few words on behalf of the company and I recall that it was time that we got challenged as a matter of fact we have got challenged from other corporates to the hierarchy of winning positions. Yes, as it happened, we have lost one notch and Ceylon Tobacco I believe has got it, to put us into the fourth place. Being challenged is a vital ingredient to sharpen your capabilities to provide the much-needed competitive edge particularly in a challenging world such as this. Events like this remind us of the continuous need to be competitive to thrive to work hard to make a difference and remove ourselves from being complacent. A Sri Lankan company that has been listed as far back as 1916. Bukit Darah is a holding company of several operating subsidiaries in Sri Lanka and four other regional countries. Our management teams all of whom are Sri Lankans thrive for excellence in their own fields of expertise in highly competitive environments. Our cadres have displayed excellent results and as a Sri Lankan company we are proud of our achievements and quality of professionalism displayed by everyone of them, at all levels, at all locations throughout the countries that we operate. In this backdrop with humility I am privileged to participate in the award ceremony and receive recognition on behalf of all employees of the group, which will undoubtedly reflect the dedication and commitment of all employees and all of our stakeholders that have made possible to achieve, what we have achieved up to now, what we call, from a triple bottom line objective.
Triple bottom line objective is something that our group has always pressed hard, to look after the planet and the people. If you look after the planet and the people you will get your bottom line the way that you expect. Particularly if you want to survive in the long haul. These are the words that I would like to leave behind with the organizers to ponder when rating next year’s criteria to bring in something that you do not see in the annual report. The effort the companies put in to the planet and its people, before you reach your verdict in the years to come. As a concluding note I thank again the organisers for creating this excellent environment to judge the first 25 best companies in Sri Lanka and with these few words I would like to conclude and thank the distinguished audience for their patience.
Dr Ranee Jayamaha, Chairperson
Dr Ranee Jayamaha, Chairperson with Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and Mohan Pieris, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
HNB is delighted to have been featured in the Business TOP TWENTY FIVE list from the inception and retaining its rank among the big corporates. It is indeed a privilege to be here today. We thank Mr and Mrs Parthipan for organizing this glamourous event each year as this event encourages and motivates us to raise our performance to be ahead of others. As you are aware in terms of assets HNB has surpassed 550 billion rupees and serves our customers through a network of 250 customer centres making it one of the largest private banks in the country. Despite the challenges the bank has continued to grow its bottom line whilst reducing non-performing assets to 3.7 percent, which is well below the industry.
With significant growth expected in the country over the next few years, the alignment of HNB strategy to capture new opportunities, the bank is poised for growth on a safe and sound footing. Our focus today is to include rationalization activity improvement to pursuing organic growth options to complement the solid core businesses. HNB is committed to deliver consistent performance particularly through innovative digital channels, to complement our traditional brick and mortar presence. Innovation and creativity have helped to shape HNBs corporate strategy. Our bank is internationally rated and follow both local and international best practice. HNB’s high performance has been due to the support received from our depositors, borrowers, shareholders, investors, well-wishers, the board of directors and the managing director who is abroad at this moment and the staff. I take this opportunity to thank all of them for their unstinted support and help. The bank has moved faster ahead and while we remain committed and focused all the time. I accept this award very proudly on behalf of the 4,000 plus of our family members that have collectively made this possible.
Harry Jayawardena, Chairman
Harry Jayawardena, Chairman with Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and Mohan Pieris, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
Today we have seen that Mr and Mrs Parthipan have taken a different role according to the video and the images we have seen. He is acting as a boxer is indeed very frightening. Mrs Parthipan is acting as a model. This shows that it is all peace and harmony in the place that they work. My company has continuously won awards for the last so many years except on one occasion and I have participated in all these events. I have seen today one of the most wonderful performances, ambience, decoration and planning. This is nothing but Mrs Parthipan’s work. Every year she is going from different tone, different character to a different picture. We must thank and encourage them. He is the person and the organization that first started this campaign to recognize the private sector. When the first show was in operation some people made many critical comments, I must thank Podi Hamuduruwo for advising Mr Parthipan, and telling him not to be scared of this criticism and to go ahead. And every year since then continuously to do better.
I am thankful and humbled to receive this award for so many years because of our clientele and staff. If not for their support and cooperation we will not be here receiving this award. We may have to build an additional cupboard to keep all these awards continuously.
Ladies and gentlemen, Ceylon Tobacco remarked that there are illegal factories, illegal operations. This must be addressed. He was concerned and reminded also that it is more than that. I have seen in every nook and corner this industry thriving in a different way. We are meeting these challenges, we have not complained. We are going ahead with our work as few have confidence in their own work. The consumer for your clientele will be with you, whatever be the circumstances. It is a matter for the organization to prove your ability and to meet these challenges. In every field there are challenges.
Last year if you remember I mentioned that after the dawn of peace our march was little slow. Today, what we have seen on this screen is an entirely different story, which we are proud of. If not for the tiring efforts of the President and Secretary of Defence, this would not have been achieved. I must say that our growth that we have achieved is much faster than expected; not only the beautification of Colombo, even in the outstation, the industries that are coming up, the new businesses that are coming up and new developments that are coming today.
There is a place for the Sri Lanka passport. I can remember during the war, the Sri Lankan passport was looked at with suspicion and as third grade citizens. In some countries we are kept waiting till we are checked and then even though the visas are valid, we are asked to come forward. This was the treatment. Today everyone is looking at Sri Lanka, the businessmen, the banks, even other affluent countries dare eyeing Sri Lanka. Why? We have seen why on the screen. One thing I must tell you Mr Secretary that apart from doing everything, also there must be an equal level playing field. Once you have achieved this you have accomplished your task. This is very vital. Today’s selection of winners has been stamped by no other person than by the presence of the Chief Justice. That shows that his selection has been very fair and above board. All of us must be proud of that. Otherwise, I am sure the Chief Justice would not have participated in the ceremony, if it was a fraudulent act. Therefore, all the winners must be congratulated that you have won on your own right and your selection has been very fair.
I must again thank all of you for coming here so many times and the organizers of this may you go from greater strength to strength and the participation of the Secretary of Defence has given us the opportunity, the courage and strength that you too are recognizing the private sector. Private sector and public sector participation is a must. If the private sector and the public sector are equally accepted then all the local businessmen will come forward. There is more to develop, this is only a fraction of development. As you said there is enough land available in places. This is a beautiful island surrounded by the sea, there are many areas that one could dig into. The interest rates have come down, peace has dawned, banks are available, you have seen the number of banks in this competition, therefore I thank all of you for giving this opportunity to my company to be recognized.
Azwan Khan, Group Chief Operating Officer
Azwan Khan, Group Chief Operating Officer with Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and Mohan Pieris, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
Firstly, I would like to thank Mathi and the team from Business Today for recognizing our contributions, by honouring us as one of the 25 leading corporations in Sri Lanka.
As a corporation, Dialog, leads a very accountable approach not just with our shareholders, customers, staffs, but we are indeed to all 21 million Sri Lankans, and thats why as a company, we plowed back a quarter to a third of our revenues in terms of capital investments in the nation’s infrastructure.
As an industry overall, Dialog and including our friends in Sri Lanka Telecom have invested in bringing cutting edge technologies to Sri Lanka. We were the first in the region to bring in 3G technologies in 2005 and we were the first to develop 4G technologies back in 2012. We are very proud to have been able to play a role and continue to do so in terms of the development economically and from a society point of view of Sri Lanka.
From 1995 to 2005 our main focus in terms of our investments was laid on building high quality affordable voice networks to enable Sri Lankans to connect in an affordable manner across the nation and internationally. It is been scientifically proven that a ten percent increase in mobile penetration brings a 0.8 percent GDP growth. Today I am proud to state that Sri Lanka has over 100 percent mobile penetration. Our next path of investments is really investing in data networks. To take Sri Lankans, to be able to connect not just to fellow Sri Lankans by voice, but to connect them to the wealth of global knowledge via the internet. If voice ten percent penetration brought 0.8 percent GDP growth, on the Internet, ten percent increase in penetration brings 1.6 percent GDP growth.
So, going forward, what else does Dialog plan to do? we have connected and are connecting Sri Lankans to Sri Lankans by voice, we are connecting Sri Lankans to the internet, where do we go from here? So, our next way of growth, we see is connecting the Sri Lankan non humans. So, by that, what do I mean? I don’t mean to go and buy a prepaid connection for your pet, I would like it, if you did, my sales guy would really like it. But what we are really talking about is connecting devices. So, we are very excited about the idea of developing connected cities. Cities where devices talk to one another, devices in our homes talk to each another. Just imagine what this would enable. Traffic lights that automatically know and can detect what the vehicles are in the neighborhood, change colours to optimise traffic flows. Street lights that know whether cars, people are around, automatically dim or increase light to save electricity. Houses, which know what the demand is on the grid, and turn themselves on and off to optimize the load on the grid, depending on the time of day and load on the network. So, we are very excited about what the future builds, Dialog is committed to working with the Government and the Urban Development Authority to make such visionary technology a reality in Sri Lanka. Finally, what I would like to do is thank all of the stakeholders, I would like to thank the Government of Sri Lanka and also the regulator for the progressive policies that have brought explosive growth that we have seen in the past couple of years. I like to thank and accept this award on behalf of the employees of Dialog who work day and night to serve our customers and finally I like to thank our 10 million customers who have been with Dialog.
Nimal Welgama, Chairman
Nimal Welgama Chairman and Lalith De Silva, Group Chief Executive Officer with Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and Mohan Pieris, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
I am honored to be here before you t oday to humbly acknowledge our achievement, and I thank Business Today for affording me this opportunity. I think Mr Khan from Dialog spoke on behalf of Sri Lanka Telecom as well because we are in the same industry. Yet again Sri Lanka Telecom is placed amongst the prestigious Business Today TOP TWENTY FIVE companies not withstanding the growing challenges the telecom industry is facing. It is independent ranking such as this, gives credence to our performance as a business entity consistently being in Top 10 performers in Business Today ranking is a true accomplishment and we appreciate the valued contribution by Business Today to promote Sri Lanka business and to recognize outstanding corporate performances. Achieving this would not have been possible if not for the commitment and the passion of our team at Sri Lanka Telecom and its‘ subsidiaries who work around the clock day and night to lead Sri Lanka in the communications front. I must also thank His Excellency the President, who is the Minister of Finance which is a principal shareholder of this company, the board of directors and the stakeholders of Sri Lanka Telecom for their support and encouragement offered to me to lead Sri Lanka Telecom to success. Although the country is well placed with macroeconomic stability, it is a prime time, for the telecommunication industry both globally as well as at home. The telecommunication tariffs in Sri Lanka is one of the lowest in the world. Given that situation maintaining profitability consistently despite low tariff and smaller scale is a true achievement. May I also remind you that we have evolved from being a ministry entity to a Government corporation to a joint stock company, what it is today and it has not been an easy task to bring it forward like this with about 10,000 employees.
The Sri Lankan economy is becoming vibrant, as part of the corporate sector SLT is hopeful for the possibilities that lie ahead and has a major role to play in the economic property of our country, being a catalyst towards economic development of the other sectors as well. I’m proud to say that the telecom sector made a progressive decision with the longer term in mind and invested in latest advanced technology. We will continue to maintain our position and we can compare and compete with the best in the industry in the region around the world and these improvements will favor us and more importantly to you our corporate and retail customers. I sincerely acknowledge the contribution made by all telecom operators in the country who really make us think on our feet and share in good measure the responsibility of leading Sri Lanka’s ICT drive. In conclusion we will endeavor to challenge ourselves in our quest, for the better performances and we are ever conscious of our duty and responsibility to the larger society as much as to our shareholders. Our hope is that by our achievements, we have been successful in serving you and our valued customers as well. And I take this opportunity to thank you for inviting me here.
Prof Lakshman Watawale, Director
Dhananjay Srivastava and Saurav Mitra, Senior Vice Presidents with Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and Mohan Pieris, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
For Lanka IOC it’s a matter of great honour and proud privilege to be a part of the esteemed gathering today. Lanka IOC, as you could be aware was formed in 2002, as part of the broad strategy of the Government of Sri Lanka towards promoting market competition, in the importation and distribution of petroleum products thereby providing energy security and supply stability for Sri Lanka. In a short span of 12 years, with the active support of the Government and the people of Sri Lanka, the company has grown to a 81 billion rupee company in a highly competitive environment under challenging conditions. This is ample proof of the company’s economic prowess and inherent strength. Our buoyant performance has been encouraging for all stakeholders alike and we were able to create tangible value to our shareholders. The company’s prospects are promising, keeping in mind, the steps taken to expand the company, which is expected to increase the network by much as 25 percent within the next two years. In the retail sector the company has made tremendous progress by focusing on greener fuels, which are environment friendly and more compatible, with the requirements of the increasing segment of new generation vehicles.
Looking at the needs of the customers, and for making, fuelling a more enriching experience, the company has embarked on a major drive for refurbishing the existing retail outlets alongside developing new retail outlets in high potential and also unrepresented markets. With our commitment towards quality coupled with excellent after sales service, we could maintain our market share in other sectors, bitumen sector and also the lubricant sector. Lanka IOC as and will always will be committed to the nation of Sri Lanka. Our success is entwined with that of the nation and as a socially responsible corporate citizen of Sri Lanka, the empowerment of the Sri Lankan people is a top priority. We continue to do our utmost to empower the needy, the under privileged and the young. We wish to see Sri Lanka become a self-reliant, educated and healthy country. At this juncture, I extend my thanks to our valued shareholders, the Ministry of Petroleum Industries, the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Finance and Planning, the Ministry of Investment and Promotion, the Sri Lanka Customs, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, the Department of Inland Revenue, the Ministry of Transport and Highways, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, and all others who partnered with us and helped us grow in this financially. Of course, we could have never achieved this enviable status we enjoy today, had it not been, for the unstinted and invaluable support extended to us by the Government of Sri Lanka.
Dhammika Perera, Chairman of Hayleys, Sampath Bank and Valibel One
Dhammika Perera, Chairman with Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and Mohan Pieris, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
It gives me a great pleasure to be here again at these awards as a recipient and representative of the Sri Lanka industrial and business community. The Business Today Top TWENTY-FIVE continues to reflect the strong hold of group of companies, that are all established in the country. They have enhanced opportunities available and grown every year to new heights. In the years ahead we need to see new entrants as reflection of the growing maturity of our business landscape. It is the opportunity for economic activity resurgence in Sri Lanka. Sampath Bank for which I accept this award today continues to be a catalyst of economic prosperity throughout Sri Lanka. Hayleys and Vallibel One placed 11th and 19th on TOP TWENTY-FIVE list have continued to excel impacting diverse areas and progressing economic development in Sri Lanka. Finally, my congratulations to all the winners tonight, who collectively represent the present and the future of Sri Lanka.
Christopher Joshua, Managing Director
Christopher Joshua, Managing Director with Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and Mohan Pieris, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
On behalf of Access Engineering, I wish to thank Business Today for recognizing us to be ranked at number 20, in Business Today TOP TWENTY-FIVE 2013-2014. As a first generation, owned and managed Sri Lanka business entity, we are honored and at the same time, humbled to receive this award in the company of some of the biggest national and multi-national corporates. This recognition demonstrates the potential and ability of Sri Lankan entrepreneurship considering our business being a green field enterprise, with a corporate life field of just 13 years and just over three years as a listed entity. We thank all our stakeholders, for their confidence and trust placed in us. On this happy occasion, we wish to thank His Excellency, the President, for giving leadership to our heroic Armed Forces, for eliminating terrorism, and bringing durable peace to our beloved motherland. I am sure all of us will agree that, if not for this sustainable peace we enjoy now, these types of award ceremonies will be of no relevance. Therefore, as a Sri Lankan business enterprise, we would like to convey our gratitude to them. The multi sector development projects carried out island-wide by both the private and state sector provide the opportunity for our valuable human resources to display their competence and skills in value engineering whilst realizing the full potential of their knowledge. As a responsible corporate citizen, the only way to repay and honor our fellow Sri Lankans, who sacrificed their lives, to bring about lasting peace, is by dedicating ourselves, to contribute to our country’s vision of being a peaceful and prosperous nation.
Malinga Arsakularatne, Chief Financial Officer
Malinga Arsakularatne, Chief Financial Officer with Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and Mohan Pieris, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
As Hemas Holdings, we are delighted that we are back on the Business Today TOP TWENTY-FIVE list, it’s been a while since we were here last time. Whilst the last financial year was a very good performance, we also crossed many important milestones. We acquired an important FMCG company, which helped us to expand our presence in the wellness space. We also opened our third hospital and we also embarked on new hotel projects.
But the operating environment was not easy during the last year. Despite these challenges, the Hemas team performed remarkably well to post a strong growth, our customers kept coming back to us and our shareholders remained confident in our business. I am privileged to accept this award on behalf of the 4,000 odd Hemas employees, whose mission is to enrich the lives of all the people they come into contact with.
Nihal Jayamanne, Chairman with Gotabaya Rajapaksa,
Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and Mohan Pieris, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
Praveen Gnanam, representing the company
Praveen Gnanam with Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban evelopment and Mohan Pieris, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
As timing would have it our first-choice representative, as some may already know our Chairman Mr Edgar Gunatunga passed away this morning. Our board of directors who wish to be present are at his funeral right now, saying our last good byes to a man of unwavering principles and vision. It is impossible for me to organically transition from a statement of heartfelt sorrow and loss to one that evokes hope and continuity. Alas that is my task today.
I like to start by thanking the Business Today team for your kind recognition of our efforts at Tokyo Cement. It is truly a great honor. At Tokyo Cement we take our Sri Lankan citizenship seriously; from education programmes that empower generations, to reforestation of mangroves along vulnerable coastlines from rehabilitating coral reefs, to recycled concrete implementing environmental safeguards far beyond that is expected of us; from improving occupational opportunities through our construction training academy, enhancing the quality of skilled labour in our workforce. From collaborating with construction bodies, enhancing the national quality standard, and pioneering carbon neutral energy generation through bio enhanced power.
I would like to quickly run through a quick list of engagements, activities and accomplishments that Tokyo Cement has taken on this year. Early this year we introduced several revolutionary products to the market. The most game changing being Tokyo Super lite, this cellular light weight technology is a building material that is a third of the weight of traditional concrete, twice the strength. The ramifications of such a technology is optimal for our current booming high rise culture. In April, Tokyo Power activated its second energy project, five megawatt dendra power plant in Mahiyangana that generates supplementary income for 20,000 farmers whilst switching on the lights for over 30,000 homes. And this week we break ground in one of our largest expansions yet. And an additional one million metric tonnes of cement manufacturing capacity for the rapidly growing demands of sky rocketing construction industry. We recognise our role as a manufacturer of the most used ingredient in development comes with great responsibility, which is why we have maintained the most stringent quality standards to become a beacon of consistency in a dynamically shifting environment. Continuously evolving our process to facilitate progress. We hope that these multifaceted revolutionary ventures will inspire you as much as they inspire us.
R Renganathan, Managing Director/CEO, Ceylinco Life and A R Gunawardena, Managing Director / CEO, Ceylinco Insurance with
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and Mohan Pieris, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
Chief Guest, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and Special Guest, Mohan Pieris, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka with Susantha Ratnayake, Chairman of John Keells Holdings, Dharma Dheerasinghe, Chairman of Commercial Bank of Ceylon, Jegan Durairatnam, Managing Director / CEO of Commercial Bank of Ceylon, Felicio Ferraz, CEO of Ceylon Tobacco Company, Chandima Gunawardena, Director of Bukit Darah, Ranee Jayamaha, Chairperson of Hatton National Bank, Harry Jayawardena, Chairman of Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka and Aitken Spence, Azwan Khan, Group Chief Operating Officer of Dialog Axiata, Nimal Welgama, Chairman of Sri Lanka Telecom, Lalith De Silva, Group Chief Executive Officer of Sri Lanka Telecom, Dhananjay Srivastava and Saurav Mitra, Senior Vice Presidents of Lanka IOC, J M S Brito, Deputy Chairman of Aitken Spence, Mohan Pandithage, Chairman/CEO of Hayleys, Dhammika Perera, Chairman of Sampath Bank and Vallibel One, Jagdish Singla, Vice Presidentof Nestlé Lanka, Wasantha Kumara, Director of People’s Leasing & Finance Company, Sanjeewa Bandaranaike of People’s Leasing & Finance Company, Eranjith Wijenaike, Managing Director of Central Finance, Arjun Fernando, Chief Executive Officer of DFCC Bank,Susan Bandara of LOLC, Sunil Wijesighe, Chairman of National Development Bank, Christopher Joshua, Managing Director of Access Engineering, Dr Kishu Gomes, Managing Director / CEO of Chevron Lubricants Lanka, Malinga Arsakularatne, Chief Financial Officer of Hemas Holdings, Nihal Jayamanne, Chairman of Seylan Bank, Praveen Gnanam of Tokyo Cement, R Renganathan, Managing Director / CEO, Ceylinco Life and A R Gunawardena, Managing Director / CEO, Ceylinco Insurance
Entrance to the Ballroom, transformed to a glamorous setting
Waiting to welcome the distinguished guests
Arrival of Chief Justice Mohan Pieris and Priyanthi Pieris
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban
Development being welcomed by Mathi K Parthipan, Chairman / Managing
Ioma Rajapaksa being welcomed by Glenda Parthipan
Chief Guest for the evening, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development being accompanied to the ballroom
Unveiling of the Business Today TOP TWENTY FIVE Awards
Blessing dance performed to the song Sathara Maha Gangawe
MMA Rope sequence by Mohomed Fahim,
Fitness Pro at BT Active
Patriotic dance to the song Mano Dahamin
Gen Jagath Jayasuriya, Chief of Defence Staff, Anoma Laphir, Priyanthi Pieris, Special Guest Mohan Pieris, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, Chief Guest Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, Ioma Rajapaksa, Glenda Parthipan, Mathi K Parthipan, Chairman / Managing Director – BT Options, Ven Galaboda Gnanissara Thero, Chief Incumbent of Gangaramaya Temple, Ven Viyapaththugama Revatha Thero, Chief Incumbent of Siriwardenaramaya, Ven Uduwe Dhammaloka Thero and Ven Kirinde Assaji Thero
Ioma Rajapaksa, Glenda Parthipan, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and
Urban Development, Mohan Pieris, Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, Priyanthi Pieris and Mathi K Parthipan
Glenda and Mathi K Parthipan
Staff of BT Options with Chief Guest Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and Special Guest Mohan Pieris,
Chief Justice of Sri Lanka