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.
BT Options reaffirmed its support to President Mahinda Rajapaksa
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, bringing 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 unachieveable. We started believing again. We are always grateful to His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the three Armed Forces, Police, 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 transformation 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 transformation is not only in Colombo, but also in other parts of the country.
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. 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 globally. 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 evening, 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 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 contribution 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 apologise for any lapse in protocol.
We thank all of you for being here today in recognition of the Business Today TOP TWENTY FIVE.