Business Today


Business Today Top 30
2017 - 2018

Business Today recognized for the 21st year, the best performing TOP 30 corporates thus reflecting the steady growth of the corporate sector amidst global challenges and a changing Sri Lankan environment during the financial year 2017-2018. Further, acknowledging the contribution made by visionary individuals to the economy, Business Today presented Special Recognition to four eminent individuals this year.

Special Recognition

The Business Today TOP 30, 2017-2018 and Business Today Special Recognition Award Ceremony was held under the patronage of Chief Guest, President Maithripala Sirisena.

The event was also graced by Venerable Galboda Gnanissara Thero, Chief Incumbent of the Gangaramaya Temple and Nimal Siripala De Silva, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation.


In ever changing world, Business Today has remained steadfast in its positive outlook on the country. The Business Today top corporate ranking was started in 1997, while we have journeyed a long way from the beginning, our fundamentals have remained the same. We are honoured and proud to have His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, President of Sri Lanka as our Chief Guest today. As a statesman, he reflects the qualities and charisma of a strong leader. His political journey spans 51 years, where the experiences gained during this period has shaped him to be who is today.

Udeshi Amarasinghe, BT Options

Having interviewed President Maithripala Sirisena in 2014, then Minister, and having interviewed him as President in September 2018, it is apparent that he values the simplicity of life, culture and respect for all beings. He has a very calm approach and takes keen personal interest. The President has the qualities of patience, determination and courage. 

The Chief Guest of the Business Today Awards has been the Head of State or Government. With the presence of the His Excellency, we have continued that tradition. 

Our pioneering magazine Explore Sri Lanka is over 30 years. Having started in 1987, it is the only complimentary monthly magazine in the world to survive this long. Explore Sri Lanka has with great determination and passion promoted the country to the world even during difficult times, always ensuring that the positive of the country was highlighted. Many clients who have been with us since our inception, who are in the audience today will remember the manner in which we worked, and formed and maintained our relationships. That approach has not changed over the years and continues to date.

We always work with everyone. If you look at this event too, we invite everyone regardless of their position, in politics, public sector or private sector. Whether they have been in high and influential positions, and no longer are or vice versa, does not matter to us. We will continue to show them the same respect. Business Today was the first magazine in the world to introduce syndication with Harvard Business Review. We also have exclusive syndication with Financial Times. We have a longstanding and transparent relationship. 

Business Today was listed in the book “Competitive Intelligence” as a source of competitive intelligence information in the global environment, along with the CIA, FBI, the Economist, the Wall Street Journal as well as the European Business Review to name but a few. We are honoured to have been mentioned in this book and be accepted among the global leaders in this sphere.

Business Today top corporate ranking was started 21 years ago and was conceptualized by Dinesh Weerakkody. It is the first recognition of its kind for public listed companies in Sri Lanka. Later, Keith Bernard and Shiron Gooneratne also became part of the process. We continued every year amidst challenges. Although they are no Although they are no longer a part of the process due to their commitments in public listed companies, we acknowledge their contribution from the inception of the awards. And, we continue to seek their advice and assistance. We also thank Suren Rajakarier of KPMG Sri Lanka, for his continuous participation in the process. 

Many companies that are in the Business Today TOP 30 are not advertisers. Companies cannot apply or pay to be selected. The ranking is purely based on their published financial in-formation and social considerations. We have been publishing Serendib, the inflight magazine of SriLankan Airlines since March 2010 as a monthly publication. This was a result of our struggle to bring the production and printing to Sri Lanka since the 1980s. President Ranasinghe Premadasa was able to only bring the printing to Sri Lanka in the 1990s. However, following his demise this too returned overseas. It was the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was able to ensure that the production and printing of the entire magazine was brought to Sri Lanka in 2010. We completely changed the magazine, previously Serendib focused greatly on another country, but we ensured that the magazine featured Sri Lanka and its frequency was changed to a monthly publication. 

Furthermore, we introduced Sinhala and Tamil articles to the magazine. The local languages were included on the cover as well. We have been making a monthly payment to the Airline since we started the production and printing of the magazine, we do not receive any payment, airline tickets or freight from SriLankan. Even in recent times, it was with great perseverance that we were able to ensure that the production and printing of the magazine remained in Sri Lanka. Our two international titles are Domus Sri Lanka and Time Out Sri Lanka. Domus Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan edition of the inter-national architectural publication that was founded by Gio Ponti in Italy in 1928. Domus Sri Lanka is our first international title. We are a member of the Time Out global network. Time Out was established in 1968 by Tony Elliot. Usually Time Out is city based, but Time Out Sri Lanka is about an entire country not a city. This was a first for Time Out. Time Out is a multi-media platform and is present in 315 cities in 58 countries.

We have been using Apple since 1988, started reselling in the 1990s and opened BT Store in the early 2000s. We were the first authorised Apple reseller and service provider in Sri Lanka. The late Sir Arthur C Clarke was awarded the Robert A Heinlein Award for outstanding published work in science fact or fiction inspiring the human exploration of space. However, since he was unable to attend, the Heinlein Society contacted Apple USA to find a reliable company in Sri Lanka to set up a direct conference link. BT Options was the only company able to establish the link using Apple technology and the 90-minute live presentation was a great success. Appreciating our efforts, the President and the Chairman of the Heinlein Society, David Silver wrote a letter of commendation to Apple CEO Steve Jobs and the Board of Directors, which said, “Our particular compliments and commendations to one and only, very excellent and resourceful partner in Sri Lanka – BT Options.” After 2009, many big players including two telecom companies have entered the Apple market. However, we have survived in the market. BT Active is our fully-equipped private gym. With cybex machines, we have a full-time fitness pro at BT Active providing personal training. Arugambay was ranked at number eight in the Lonely Planet Best of Asia list. It is an achievement in an area where there are no large hotel operators. Arugambay, today has become a buzz word and a must visit destination in Sri Lanka. Yet, not so long ago this coastal town in the southeast of the country was considered seasonal and famed only for surfing. It was due to our great efforts and continuous exposure provided through our publications that Arugambay has become a destination to visit throughout the year. Our properties, Paper Moon Kudils in Whisky Point, in partnership with P Partheepan and, Arugambay Roccos in partnership with A M Naleem continue to do well, drawing guests throughout the year. A M Naleem has been in the tourism sector for over 30 years. 

Arugambay is a unique location in the south-east of Sri Lanka. It is a place that provides wonderful experiences to guests because today’s traveller is looking for that. We opened our latest property Arugambay PodBay in September this year. The names at ArugamBay PodBay were inspired by the famous quote ‘Open the Pod Bay doors HAL’ from the sci-fi movie ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, which is based on the book by Sir Arthur C Clarke and the breakthrough Apple invention, the iPod by Steve Jobs. ArugamBay PodBay is a creation of BT Options partnered with Don Jayasuriya. BT Options, completely transformed the property under a new concept. We thank Mr Don Jayasuriya for having confidence in us. Great challenges were faced during construction time, which delayed the progress. However, with a positive attitude and determination all obstacles were overcome and ArugamBay PodBay was opened for guests. At Paper Moon Kudils, Arugambay Roccos and Arugambay PodBay all staff are from the area and they work tirelessly to ensure that guests have a wonderful experience. 

We would now like to thank those who have supported us since 1987. Our appreciation to all our clients who have advertised in our publications and continue to have confidence in us. Our revenue is only through advertising sales in our publications and we do not offer contra agreements to any client. Those who advertise with us know that we always ensure a good response and value for money. Ven Galboda Gnanissara Thero, Chief Incumbent of Gangaramaya Temple, we thank you for your unwavering support and guidance through-out the years. Thank you for your presence here with us today. Ven Uduwe Dhammaloka Thero, we appreciate your support to us over the years.Ven Diyapattugama Revatha Thero we appreciate your continuous support since the 1990s, which has been one of the reasons of the success of the company. Ven Kirinde Assaji Thero, we thank you for your encouragement, problem solving efforts and long standing support to us. We thank Mr Harry Jayawardena for his continuous support and confidence in us even before we started Business Today. He has come for the event every year and has always shown his concern for us. We thank Mr Manilal Fernando for his support and encouragement. We thank Mr Nithi Murugesu for his guid-ance and advice. We thank Mr Sudath Perera and Mr Premnath Dolawatte for their support. Mr Charles De Silva and Mr A S Kaleel, for giving their properties to us and for their continuous support.We thank Mr Thusitha Wijayasena for his concern and continuous support. We have known Mr Chandra Mohotti for many years, we thank him for his support. Concept, design and song selection for the event was by Glenda Parthipan. Event coordination was assisted by BT Options team. We congratulate the Business Today TOP 30 2017-2018 for their excellent performance and the individuals receiving Special Recognition for their confidence in the country. We thank everyone for being present here today and making this event a success.


Chief Incumbent of the Gangarayama Temple

Podi Hamuduruwo has always stood firm on his beliefs, and is very vocal and ensures that the best is done for the country. He has ensured that Gangaramaya as a temple is always with the people staying true to its beginnings. Podi Hamuduruwo has always been with us, keeping us strong, encouraging us in our journey. He has been with us in good times and bad, a pillar of strength.

Members of the Clergy, Ministers, Parliamentarians and honoured guests, Mathi Parthipan first embarked on this journey alone, and then journeyed together with his wife – they always work together as one. This event is the result of their combined efforts. 

Today, I firstly extend an invitation to him. Our country has an illustrious history, and in the past those who engaged in business were those connected to the trade of gold, silver, pearls and gems. They travelled the world visiting many countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Africa and Australia, and made the name of Sri Lanka famous. The pearls, gems and crowns that Kings, Ministers and individuals of power and wealth in the world adorned were made in Sri Lanka. Nedun timber, which is native to Sri Lanka, is now used across the world. One of Her Majesty’s (Queen of England) rooms was furnished with furniture manufactured from Nedun timber by Don Carolis, a Sri Lankan company. I touched on this because, there are a handful of individuals who have supported Mathi as he has strived to uplift and support the corporate sector. I won’t mention their names. These awards started with TOP 10 and have now expanded. He has worked shoulder-to-shoulder with the leaders of the corporate world, and he has worked without obtaining personal favours, without creating conflict or receiving criticism on this noble journey. Nothing further needs to be said about Mathi. That is why I extend this invitation to him.

In Sri Lanka, the Gangaramaya Temple is an extraordinary place. During the times of the British colonisation in Sri Lanka, a book named ‘Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon’ was written in 1907. Some corporates may have seen it; some may have not. I believe it might be available on the internet. Today, this book is probably valued at over 500,000 rupees, and moreover, it is quite rare to even find a copy of this book. Together with Mathi, I took the initiative to reprint the book once again. Since the 1800s, Gangaramaya Temple has had a well-established printing press, using a printer donated by a Scottish gentleman named Pollock. Books such as the Pansiyapanas Jathaka Potha with over 1,700 pages had been printed by Gangaramaya. It is a temple that has been dedicated towards language, literature and business, as well as working towards the advancement and the success of the country.  

The Supreme Enlightened Buddha preached the Atti Sukhaya, which advises on how to live successfully without debt. Today, the country has inherited debt. While there is discourse on these liabilities, many have obtained loans and wasted the funds. I remember, in 2005 when Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mahinda Rajapaksa (then Parliamentarians) put forth their candidacy for the Presidential Election, I placed a paid advertisement in the newspapers with the symbols of all religions; and this philosophy was presented along with this company for the benefit of all ethnicities, religions and citizens. This was because we must all work together. The Buddha preached Vishwasa Paramagnathi, meaning trust and relationship. This is not connected to any ethnicity, religion, caste, nationality, politics, creed or colour. If everyone remembered this teaching, there would be no argument or conflict in the country. Today, we face issues because we have forgotten the teachings of the Buddha and the religious leaders of Hinduism, Christianity and Islam, and thus we face our own destruction. We must remember that everyone has their own ethnicity, a religious belief they have inherited and a global vision, and each person must work towards this vision. I have always loved Mathi, because he journeys forward while working unitedly with his entire team. He has received acclaim for recognising the talented individuals of the country, designers and corporates without soliciting favour or facing any accusations. It is a difficult feat to achieve. Therefore, we are grateful to the companies and close friends who have supported and assisted him in this journey. 

Today, I am also pleased about another aspect. Hunupitiya is a historic village. Following the foreign colonisation of Sri Lanka, it was Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thero who stood up for all ethnicities and religions with utmost neutrality. Hunupitiya was the village in which the eminent J R Jayewardene grew up. D R Wijewardena, a strong and eminent person who supported the Independence Movement, lived in Hunupitiya. Indra Kumara Silva who has supported us, similar to his late father and mother before him, also lives and trades in Hunipitiya. He too is being honoured today by this company. As a Thero in the area in which he resides, I am very pleased about the recognition and respect he is receiving today. Moreover, there has been no other corporate who has contributed to the illumination of the country’s prospects such as Mr Harry Jayawardena; he has done so in silence. He too has greatly supported Mathi. Although he has received support from the corporate sector, he has worked towards his objectives without expecting anything. At this juncture where he brings great renown to the country, I request him to consider doing something that would benefit the generations hailing from the country’s ancestors. This will definitely be a strength to the future generations of the country. 

I do not expect to lengthen my speech any further. Today, I remind everyone gathered here of times where we faced hardship due to invasions from the Portuguese, Dutch and British, the periods of adversity where we could not leave our homes and the times when we could not sleep in our homes with a peace of mind. We should not forget those despondent times. The powerful and the truth-seekers must with generosity move ahead by setting a good example. While conserving the environment, they must uphold the country’s culture, literature and language, and uphold the customs of their respective religions and communities. Some attempt to erase our country’s history and there was even dis-course on removing history from the school syllabi. However, the Europeans who were in a similar stance before have now turned back. From the Germans to all Europeans have started to pay greater attention to the nutrition provided to their children. I have witnessed this with my own eyes. Therefore, everyone must work together while bringing up children the right way, treating other children as their own and by treating all residents of this country as members of one family and friends. With a spirit of magnanimity, invest your wealth in the betterment of the country. 

It is sad to note that in Sri Lanka, many sell their assets to move overseas. However, in India, regardless of the challenges, they bring back their wealth and assets in foreign lands back to their country. As a result, India has been elevated to its current position. We can all remember China’s position in the past. We must be pleased of how far they have moved ahead as a country. Moreover, remember the past stature of Japan, then the manner in which the country fell and how they re-emerged. While once the Japanese slept with unlocked doors, today they scurry in search of greater security because they had not anticipated certain challenges and obstacles. 

Therefore, citizens of Sri Lanka must work with consideration for all residents, including all animals, and plants. Do business while working towards the benefit of the country with benevolence. We need to ensure that Sri Lankans can sleep with peace of mind in the country. Do not work with the option of fleeing to another country in mind. We must protect our country and work in unity towards the safety of all her people regardless of ethnic or religious differences. We are losing our discipline and collected nature; in fact, we have already lost these good qualities. I pray that while building your companies, you will also consider redeveloping these qualities. While giving our blessings to Mathi, his wife and the team and all those who have supported them and all companies, we wish them well.

“Jayantho bodhiya mule sakkyanan nandiwaddano evan thuyihan jayo hothu jayassu jayamangalam.”

Business Today Top 30
2017 - 2018

Speeches by the first Ten corporates and the new entrant to the Business Today TOP 30 ranking

Number 1- John Keells Holdings

Krishan Balendra, Deputy Chairman
John Keells Holdings

Venerable clergy, ladies and gentlemen, good evening. It is a privilege and an honour to be ranked in the Business Today awards. I would like to thank Mathi Parthipan and the team for recognising us in these awards. The Business Today awards has become a prestigious event in the annual corporate calendar. 

I would also like to congratulate the Business Today team on their achievements over the years in becoming one of the leading, if not the leading business magazine in the country. I would also like to thank all our stakeholders, the customers across our different businesses and in particular our team. As we always say our biggest asset is our people. I would like to thank our team for their dedication and commitment over the years. I would like to congratulate all the award winners today. Well done on your achievements. I look forward to catching up with all of you later in the evening.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen and have a good evening.

Number 2- Hatton National Bank

Dilshan Rodrigo, COO 
Hatton National Bank

Venerable Members of the clergy, Honourable Ministers and Members of Parliament, ladies and gentlemen.
I am extremely honoured and humbled to receive this award as the number one rated bank by Business Today. Thank you Glenda and Mathi for organising this event and raising the bar every year. HNB’s recognition today is the result of the execution of a bold and unconventional strategy we developed five years back, we called ‘Vision 2020’. Today its re-branded ‘Project Everest’. This entailed making our branches more customer-centric, moving operations and block offices to the centre and driving digital banking. Both, in terms of how we work and relate to our customers. This journey continues, building momentum each month as we progressively transform to serve you better. Big corporates like us have a massive role to play in supporting SME and micro-finance, which is the life blood of this economy. What is unfortunate is that during uncertainty and economic down- turns, the likes of what we are experiencing at the moment, small enterprises lose out and go out of business. 

My message today is that all of us have a role to play in protecting, nurturing and growing small businesses. This must be done not through hand-outs, welfare benefits or tax exemptions, but through a conducive environment that promotes creativity, risk taking, innovation and entrepreneurship. Improving financial literacy, connecting small businesses to large corporates like yourself, international supply chains, linking farmers to super markets, artisans to retailers and encouraging our craftsmen to venture out globally, using e-commerce sites, are some of these opportunities we can collaborate. We have overcome massive challenges to get here and I wish to thank our five thousand Hatton National Bank family spread across the country, our 20 thousand shareholders – local and overseas, our three million loyal customers and my leadership, and I speak also on behalf of my Managing Director, who is not here today, for all the hard work. Most importantly for believing and supporting our change journey. Every time we are challenged, we only dream bigger and that is why we are here. I would like to specially thank our Board of Directors, led by our dynamic Chairman Dinesh Weerakkody for all the guidance and support. Last but not least, let me congratulate all of you present here. Most if not all of you, bank with us and we hope we have played some part in your success as your partner in progress. I look forward to catching up with you later in the day. Thank you

Number 3- Commercial Bank of Ceylon

Dharma Dheerasinghe, Chairman 
Commercial Bank of Ceylon

Good evening, Venerable Maha Sanga, Members of Reverent clergy, Honourable Ministers, Members of Parliament, distinguished guests. 

I am extremely privileged to accept this award on behalf of Commercial Bank, ranked third in Business Today’s TOP 30 public listed corporates in Sri Lanka. As the largest private bank and the most profitable bank in Sri Lanka, we are proud of our contribution in shaping the economy of Sri Lanka and assisting our people to realise their dreams. We are immensely proud of our contribution to the nation as the biggest financial service provider to the SME sector, the backbone of our economy. Helping millions of Sri Lankans to realise their potential through a versatile product offering. Funding infrastructure development and adapting sustainable and ethical business practices. We at Commercial Bank, are focused on long term sustainability that create value for the organisation and its stakeholders with a passion to create convenience through technology. We believe that this approach has made us resilient and stable and has brought us a plethora of international and local awards, making us the most awarded bank in Sri Lanka. I take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to our customers and other stakeholders who are the pillars of our success. Awards and accolades such as these would not have been possible without your unwavering support. I also wish to thank the Board, the management and all staff members of the bank for their hard work and commitment. I wish to thank Mathi and Glenda of Business Today for organising this award ceremony and wish their organisation all the very best in all their future endeavors.

Thank you very much. Have a good evening.

Number 4- Lanka Orix Leasing Company

Kapila Jayawardena,
Group Managing Director/CEO Lanka Orix Leasing Company

Venerable clergy, Honourable Ministers, corporate leaders, distinguished guests.
First of all, I would like to thank the team of Business Today because LOLC broke into the Top 20 about five years ago and within the last five years, we have been graduating up the scale and this time we have been ranked number four. We are very proud of that. We would like to express our gratitude to the team. Across five countries, the success of, or the transformation of LOLC has been continuous diversification within Sri Lanka and outside in the region. Right now we have operations in five countries, over two million customers, 15 thousand staff members who have worked very hard for us to get to this position today. I would like to thank my team, the customers and all the other stakeholders, including, the Board of Directors, the CEOs of all my subsidiary companies who have helped us to get to this position. Thank you again team Business Today and for all of you who are here.
Have a pleasant evening. Thank you. 

Number 5- Sampath Bank

Nanda Fernando,
Managing Director Sampath Bank

The venerable clergy, ladies and gentlemen.
It is with a sense of humble pride that I learnt that we have been able to reach a quantum leap in the BT Awards rankings from seventh to fifth place this year. This remarkable achievement is a result of the revolutionary tech- enabled transformation that we are engaged in currently. From our humble beginnings three decades ago, from the introduction of an ATM network in 1987, to the introduction of the digital apps such as the iGift through the block chain technology and the slipless banking that we have introduced, we are committed to provide greater convenience to our fellow Sri Lankans at a cheaper, better and a faster way. This transformation we are doing is a part of the far-sighted vision of the bank, aiming at what banking will be in the next decade. I must take this opportunity to thank our loyal customers, the corporates, the retailers and the Sri Lankan community from all parts of Sri Lanka, who have been with us over the last three decades. I will be failing in my duties if I do not thank our shareholders who have been providing us with the required capital whenever we have wanted, and the Chairman, and the Board of Directors for their guidance. 

Finally, our team, Sampath is the engine behind the strength of our bank. We relatively have a young team who is really dedicated, committed to the task and I would dedicate this award to our team Sampath for their commitment over the last several years. Finally, from the commencement of our bank, I must thank the clergy who have been always providing us with the required blessings and also the BT team for their recognition. While we continue our pledge to enhance the lifestyles of our fellow Sri Lankans, we will continue to be providing better banking services and I must say the best of Sampath Bank is yet to come. Thank you very much.

Number 6- Dialog Axiata

Supun Weerasinghe,
Group CEO Dialog Axiata

Garuthara Sangarathnayen Awasarai, Honourable Ministers, Glenda and Mathi Parthipan, corporate leaders, distinguished invitees, ladies and gentlemen. 

It is indeed a great honour and a privilege to accept this award once again. Firstly, a big thank you to the Business Today team for recognising us, our work across the years. This award would not have been possible if not for over 13 million Sri Lankans, most of you, for placing your trust, confidence on Dialog, and for welcoming our brand to your homes and to everyday life. I like to thank the Sri Lankan corporates for placing your confidence and trust on our services to drive your businesses forward. We always to strive to deliver the future today and we always strive to invest on cate this award to our team Sampath for their commitment over the last several years. Finally, from the commencement of our bank, I must thank the clergy who have been always providing us with the required blessings and also the BT team for their recognition. While we continue our pledge to enhance the lifestyles of our fellow Sri Lankans, we will continue to be providing better banking services and I must say the best of Sampath Bank is yet to come. 

Thank you very much.

Number 7- Ceylinco Insurance

Ajith Gunwardena,
Managing Director/CEO  Ceylinco Insurance

Venerable Theros, Honourable Ministers, Members of Parliament, distinguished invitees.
I consider this a great pleasure to address this esteemed gathering on behalf of my fellow Directors and staff. Firstly, I would like to express my sincere thanks to our loyal customers, who placed their trust and confidence in our company. And also, helping us right along to get to this position. Similarly, I would like to thank each member of our staff for their commitment, dedication and courage to help and pay all our claims to our customers at lighting speed and making them delighted. I will not take much of your time, but I would like to thank Glenda and Mathi for organising this event very successfully year after year and we look for- ward to this event in our annual calendar. 

I wish them great success, thank you. 

Number 8- Melstacorp

Harry Jayawardena,
Chairman Melstacorp 

“Mr Harry Jayawardena has supported us even before we started Business Today. Modest and inspirational, Mr Jayawardena has attended the Business TOP corporate award ceremony every year thus encouraging us in our endeavour. We wish to thank Mr Jayawardena.” 

Venerable Theros, Honourable Ministers, ex-Parliamentarians, my colleagues and friends,
Melstacorp is a new entity in the TOP 30, it is the holding company of our total portfolio. DCSL was only an alcohol company, the Board of Directors from time to time, embarked on a vision of diversification. We have gone into plantations, insurance, telecommunications, shipping, hotels and much more. Therefore, it was necessary to control this conglomerate to the holding company to make matters much easier, which has received the highest rating within a short time. This is because of our devoted employees and the hard work done by them. We are a young company, which is around three years old, that now controls a large portfolio, in the stock exchange and land inside and outside Sri Lanka. This has given us a lot of muscle to go forward from strength to strength. 

Having said that, my company paid 65 billion rupees last year as taxes. I am sorry to say that this could be doubled provided that a few government departments act correctly. Governments come and Governments go but the issue has not been addressed. We are always running with our begging bowl to various countries to get foreign aid. We should not in my opinion, all that is here, we do not know how to collect it. That is the challenge, it is not a big issue. You do not need to pass exams. You do not need to have extra machines. You only need discipline, honesty and integrity. With these things put together, I can say that my company will next year pay two times more than the illicit market, to the regular market. These things can be done. Unfortunately, the decision makers, people who matters turn a Nelsonian eye, why? For various reasons. 

I hope and pray that the government will address these issues quite correctly and relief to be granted to the people who are struggling for life. Unfortunately, we have little or no time, to address these issues. All are interested in buying or finding some projects coming into, there are good projects. Of course we need foreign investment and entre- preneurship, having harnessed the local first. Be a partner, a joint venture partner for these projects. Instead of paying 100% to these organisations. Since there a lot of speakers here I do not want to take much more time with these matters. I congratulate all these winners, I congratulate Mathi and his team, over the years, year after year for extending the coverage to make this event a success. 

This is a global event, when you go abroad they always talk about this event. And indeed our Venerable Thero Podi Hamuduruwo, you have been an inspiration to all of us. Every year you have been present, every year your sermon has been an inspiration to all of us, except on a few occassions when you were not able to be here, and we always thank you for your advice. Today, telling us that we must not forget the history, that is correct. If we forget the history and only look forward, nothing happens; if you know the history you will be more careful and disciplined. 

Thank you Venerable Thero for enlightening this wonderful audience this evening. And I thank everyone who is present here and giving specially my support and cooperation to staff and our customers.
Thank you. 

Number 9- Central Finance Company

Arjuna Gunaratne,
Director Central Finance Company 

Members of the Clergy, Honourable Ministers and Members of Parliament.
It is with pride that we accept this award, and we are very thankful to Business Today for selecting us and appreciating our performance. It gives a lot of motivation for corporates to enhance their performance. Central Finance 

Company started its operations in the Central Province as a small operation, and over the last 60 years, has established itself as a more sustainable corporate where our values and systems have enabled us to rise to our current position. To get to this position over the years, we have had the direction and path set out. Achieving our business goals, not just for financial performance but more with value and ethics, has enabled us to grow with customers and all our stakeholders to our present state. 

Our company is primarily engaged in financial services, where we have diversified not only as an NBFI (Non-Banking Financial Institution), but by also extending our activities by partnering with the banking arena as well. Besides that, we have also extended our activities to manufacturing, power generation and other service generation activities. 

Our Managing Director was unable to make it today, therefore he wanted me to pass on his regrets. 

We would like to thank our Directors, corporate management and our staff for working as a team, to get us to where we are today on a sustainable basis. I would also like to thank our customers and all our stakeholders for partnering with us on this journey all these years. Whilst thanking Business Today, I hope all of you will enjoy this evening.
Thank you.

Number 10- Vallibel One

Yogadinusha Baskaran,
CEO Vallibel One 

Good Evening. Venerable Theros, Honourable Ministers, Members of Parliament, distinguished guests, fellow winners, ladies and gentleman. 

I am honoured to accept this prestigious award on behalf of Vallibel One, and Chairman/Managing Director, Mr Dhammika Perera, who was unable to attend today. I would like to extend my warm appreciation to Business Today for this recognition. Vallibel One is humbled to be bestowed the honour of being selected as one of Business Today’s TOP 30 corporates. I am proud to state that our ranking has improved by eight positions, from rank 18 last year to ten this year, attesting to our continued efforts to achieve corporate excellence. Vallibel One was incorporated in 2013, and within a short period of eight years has grown into a diversified conglomerate operating 46 subsidiaries across seven indus- try sectors including tile and sanitary, finance, plantation, consumer and leisure, among others. This growth has been achieved both organically and through acquisitions driven by a decisive leadership and transformative business ideas. The Group currently holds a leading market position in several of its businesses, and achieved an asset growth of 17 per cent to reach 206 billion rupees in assets in the last financial year. Despite the difficult operating conditions, the Group generated a pre-tax profit of 10.6 billion rupees, an increase of 28 per cent compared to the previous year. We provide employment to over 13,700 individuals islandwide and continue to support their career and personal growth through attractive remuneration, opportunities for progression, and skills development. We also support over 700 suppliers across the value chain, the majority of whom are SME suppliers. As an organisation with substantial interest in manufacturing, we are cognisant of the environmental impacts of our operation and have continued to drive process innovation to reduce our environmental footprint. Our Group is very optimistic about the future, and continues to invest in thriving sectors of the economy. These investments, along with ongoing efforts to enhance productivity and drive process efficiencies through innovation, have positioned us for a strong earnings growth in the future as well. 

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chairman and the Board of Directors of Vallibel One for their vision and guidance. My sincere appreciation also goes to the Boards of Directors and CEOs of our subsidiary companies, along with their employees, our valuable customers and all our valuable stakeholders who have partnered with us on this exciting journey.

Thank you and have a good evening.

Number 30- Sunshine Holdings

Entered the Business Today TOP 30 for the first time at number 30

Vish Govindasamy,
Group Managing Director Sunshine Holdings

Venerable members of the clergy, Honourable Ministers, Members of Parliament. Good Evening.
Today, I stand before you filled with pride when Sunshine Holdings is being recognised as one of Business Today’s TOP 30 companies. Sunshine celebrated 50 years of responsible entrepreneurship last year and it has been heartening to look back and see how far we have come as a conglomerate, from our humble beginnings. Although our beginnings, 50 years ago, was in healthcare, we have now risen to be the number two private healthcare distributor in the nation. We have since diversified into agribusiness through the ac- quisition of the plantation company, Watawala Plantation in the 1990s. Then, we added on the value added consumer goods with our famous tea brands Zesta, Watawala Tea and Ran Kahata with our well-known pharmacy chain Healthguard. As a responsible entrepreneur, we make sure that our healthcare products reach 2,500 pharmacies islandwide. Our surgical products are used in every surgery that is performed in the country. There are about 2.5 billion cups of tea consumed every year that keeps our brand promise of freshness and quality. We cater to approximately 4,000 loyal customers a day at our Healthguard outlets across Colombo, and continue to strive to raise the bar in terms of customer expectations in the health, beauty and wellness sphere. 

Sunshine Holdings now gives rise to an economic value of 21 billion rupees, as of the last financial year; and generated one billion rupees in taxes to the Government of Sri Lanka. We supply 6.6 megawatts of power to the National Grid through our mini hydro projects. We are the largest palm oil producer in the country, producing over 11 million kilos of crude palm oil each year. With our recent partnership and foreign direct investment from Singapore, we commenced a state-of-the-art dairy farm with 1,600 cows in Lonach Estate. This dairy farm not only changed an economically unviable tea estate into a productive place, but, within two years of commencement, we now produce over 20,000 litres of fresh milk. Milk produced at our farm Watawala Dairy is recognised for its superior quality and is purchased by leading dairy brands. 

Our businesses have faced many challenges in the last few years such as price controls affecting our healthcare business; unpredictable weather patterns alternating between drought and flooding impacting our agribusiness; and the declining consumer sentiment impacting the entire consumer market. Whatever the challenges maybe, at Sunshine, we continue to perform and even outperform the market. We believe it is the spirit of responsible entrepreneurship that leads us there. We look forward to working with you, our respected peers and stakeholders, to keep the flag flying for many more generations to come. 

For the past two years, our tea brand Watawala Tea has received the SLIM Nielsen People’s Choice Award for being the best hot beverage in the country. For Sunshine, what we achieve has always come second to how we achieve it. This year, we were recognised as one of the ten most admired companies of Sri Lanka, by the International Chamber of Commerce and CIMA from elevation of over 180 companies both listed and unlisted. I would like to now take this opportunity to thank the organisers of Business Today for their awards 2017-2018 and congratulate all the awardees who are honoured, and stand amongst us.
Thank you. Good Evening. 

Business Today Special Recognition

The stability of the corporate sector, especially public listed companies, relies on the investments made by their shareholders. Individuals have indicated their confidence in the economy of the country by consistently investing, in most instances, their own funds to enable stability and growth. There are those who have sought investment for projects and struggling companies to ensure that they remain viable so that the stability and confidence remains in the economy. Creating a Sri Lankan brand and taking it global and expanding further is not an easy task, especially when it is done by an individual. 

It is admirable and encouraging to witness the resilient and dynamic Sri Lankan spirit. Such individuals never seek the limelight, but work tirelessly with great determination to do their best for the country. It is such individuals that we have selected for the Business Today Special Recognition; Sohli Captain, Indra Kumara Silva, Alexis Lovell and Damitha Ramanayake. 

These eminent individuals are recognised by the Business Today Award Ceremony.

Sohli Captain

A gentleman businessman and philanthropist, he has consistently invested in the Sri Lankan economy. Never seeking the limelight, Sohli Captain and his companies are the largest shareholders of John Keells Holdings and Chemical Industries Colombo (CIC). 

Venerable clergy, ladies and gentlemen, I really have nothing to say about myself except to thank  Glenda and Mathi for having bestowed on me this honour, which I humbly accept. Thank you 

Sohli Captain addressing the audience

President Maithripala Sirisena presenting the award to Sohli Captain

Indra Kumara Silva

Renowned for his business acumen, Indra Kumara Silva, Chairman, Indra Traders, is recognised for providing stability and confidence to the Sri Lankan economy. He is a founding major shareholder of Sampath Bank and also holds significant shares in Commercial Bank. He has entered into two joint ventures with John Keells Holdings.

President Maithripala Sirisena presenting the award to Indra Kumara Silva

Indra Kumara Silva’s journey

Beginning in 1974, following in his father’s footsteps, Indra Silva was one of the pioneers in the Automotive sector in Sri Lanka; Indra Traders was also the first com- pany to introduce a complete solution to consumers in acquiring and maintaining vehicles, through Indra Finance and Indra Motor Spares. The company he started 44 years ago remains to this day one of the largest importers of vehicles in the country, with 16 branches spread through- out the Island. 

Not being content with the success of his own company, Indra Silva began his foray into the stock market in 1987 with Sampath Bank, where he was one of the founding investors, he has since grown his stake at Sampath up to the legally allowable limit for an individual and also holds a sizeable share in Commercial Bank. These investments combined make Indra Silva one of the most pre-eminent investors in Sri Lanka’s banking sector. 

Continuing his theme of diversification from his core business, Indra Silva has started to develop his long standing land bank and to this effect has entered into two joint ventures with John Keells Holdings, the country’s largest corporate entity. Introducing the concept of smart living, Tri Zen will be Sri Lanka’s largest apartment development, with 891 apart- ments located in the heart of Colombo. The second such JV between JKH and Indra Traders will be Cinnamon Red in Kandy, a 210 roomed hotel, which will introduce the concept of lean luxury to the hill capital. 

Apart from his accomplishments in the world of business, Indra Silva is a philanthropist of the highest calibre. His con- tribution kickstarted the project to build a new 10 storied cancer ward complex in Kandy, which will ease the plight of countless victims of this illness in the central province. This is one of the many projects that he has undertaken through his companies CSR endeavours to uplift the lives of the citizens of Sri Lanka. 

Patience, passion and determination has served Indra Silva well in his endeavors. Indra Silva has always ensured that he only invests in ethical and compassionate businesses, where social responsibility is maintained. A modest individual, he has an aura of quiet self-assurance that draws confidence. Throughout his career, he has strengthened the corporate sector of Sri Lanka.

Alexis Lovell

Alexis Lovell, Group Chairman, Ben Holdings and Chairman of UB Finance and National Asset Management has contributed to the Sri Lankan economy with much-needed investment and leadership. 

President Maithripala Sirisena presenting the award to Alexis Lovell

Distinguished Guests, Organisers of the Business Today TOP 30, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am deeply honoured to receive this award today in special recognition for contribution to the country. Many of you may not know, I come from a simple background from the North of Sri Lanka. As a kid I would ask my mother as to how to buy a bank and how to build the biggest tower in Sri Lanka and if I could use the carpenter next door. That was the starting point. 

Sri Lanka is never the epicentre of investment often resisted by competition from regional, global and internal challenges. To be on top needs boundless energy, focus and global relationships. 

There are few people I must acknowledge in this crowd who helped me to establish in Sri Lanka. One person is Mr Ajita de Zoysa. I met him at the Dubai Airport and that began my journey in Sri Lanka. My sisters who are here, my brother, my three children and my staff who have made it all possible. 

My interest has never wavered regardless of challenges I face. Once again thank you. I would like to leave a simple thought that continue to inspire me when I look at new investments. 

Has the time come? And there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. Thank you 

Damitha Ramanayake

Damitha Ramanayake is the Founder and Group Chairman of DAMRO. He has created a Sri Lankan brand that is unique and has also entered the global market. He never seeks the limelight and stays after from the public eye. The achievements of Damro reflect his vision, determination and hard work.

President Maithripala Sirisena presenting the award to Lahiru Ramanayake, who accepted the award on behalf of his father Damitha Ramanayake

His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, President of Sri Lanka was the Chief Guest on this occasion. His political journey spans 51 years. He has a very calm approach and takes keen personal interest. As a statesman, he reflects the qualities and charisma of a strong leader.

Business Today TOP 30


President Maithripala Sirisena presenting the award to Krishan Balendra, Deputy Chairman


Dinesh Weerakkody, Chairman and Dilshan Rodrigo, COO accepting the award


Dharma Dheerasinghe, Chairman and S Renganathan, Managing Director/CEO
accepting the award


Kapila Jayawardena, Group Managing Director/CEO accepting the award


Nanda Fernando, Managing Director accepting the award


Supun Weerasinghe, Group CEO accepting the award


Ajith Gunawardena, Managing Director/CEO, Patrick Alwis, Director and
Thushara Ranasinghe, Director accepting the award


Harry Jayawardena, Chairman accepting the award


Arjuna Gunaratne, Director accepting the award


Yogadinusha Bhaskaran, CEO accepting the award


Nimal Siripala de Silva, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation presenting
the award to Ravi Dias, Chairman and Kapila Ariyaratne, CEO


R M Fernando, Director accepting the award


Sabry Ibrahim, CEO/General Manager accepting the award


Lakshman Silva, CEO accepting the award


Sanjay Niles, Executive Director accepting the award


P G Kumarasinghe Sirisena, Chairman, K A Kiththi Perera, Acting Chief Executive Officer and Chief Commercial Officer and M B P Fernandez, Acting Chief Operating Officer and Chief Technology Officer accepting the award


Chandima Gunawardena, Director accepting the award


Ananda Atukorala, Chairman and Dimantha Seneviratne, CEO accepting the award


Shivani Hegde, Managing Director accepting the award


Dr Lakith Peiris, Managing Director accepting the award


Shiron Gooneratne, Group Chief Financial Officer accepting the award


Sarath Ganegoda, Executive Director accepting the award


Renuka Fernando, CEO accepting the award


Patrick McCloud, Managing Director/CEO accepting the award


Sumal Perera, Chairman accepting the award


Dr Harsha Cabral, Chairman accepting the award


K J C Perera, Chairman and Rajiv Casie Chitty, Chief Operating Officer accepting the award


Pubudu De Silva, Deputy CEO Operations and HR and Rodney Arland, Deputy CEO Marketing and Supply Chain accepting the award



Vish Govindasamy, Group Managing Director accepting the award

President Maithripala Sirisena with the recipients of the Business Today TOP 30 2017–2018 and recipients of the Special Recognition Award

Business Today Top 30 2017-2018

Arrival of President Maithripala Sirisena accompanied by Mathi and Glenda Parthipan

Ven Kirinde Assaji Thero, Ven Galboda Gnanissara Thero, Chief Incumbent
of the Gangaramaya Temple with Mathi and Glenda Parthipan

President Maithripala Sirisena with Mathi and Glenda Parthipan

(L–R): Ven Kirinde Assaji Thero, Nimal Siripala de Silva, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, President Maithripala Sirisena, Mathi and Glenda Parthipan and Ven Galboda Gnanissara Thero, Chief Incumbent of the Gangaramaya Temple

Udaya Gammanpila, MP, Arjuna Ranatunga, MP and John Amaratunga, MP

Glenda and Mathi K Parthipan, Chairman/Managing Director, BT Options

Gayantha Karunathilaka, MP with Mathi and Glenda Parthipan

Dance performance by the Budhawatte dance troupe to the song Buddanu Bawena

The blessing dance performed by the BT Team

BT staff reciting the Jayamangala Gatha

BT staff performing to the song Kanda Suridune

BT staff performing to ‘Best Day of My Life’

Mathi and Glenda Parthipan with A M Naleem, N Mohammed and A M Yakoob

Team Paper Moon Kudils, Arugambay Roccos, Arugambay PodBay and Peanut Farm

Team BT Options