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Architect 2009 in March

The Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA) will hold Architect 2009 to mark its 27th annual sessions at the BMICH from March 3-8.


Architect
Jayantha Perera,
President, SLIA

It will start with the Council meeting of the south Asian Association for Regional Cooperation of Architects (SAARCH) on March 3 which will be attended by all presidents of the architect's institutes in the SAARC region.

Architect Jayantha Perera, President, SLIA will takeover the chairmanship of SAARCH.

This will be followed with the inauguration of Architect 2009 Trade Exhibition on March 4.

The keynote speaker for the ceremony will be Prof. Mohan Munasinghe who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize as the Vice Chair of the United Nations Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Architect Mubasha Hussein, Chairman of Architects Regional Council of Asia (ARCASIA) will attend the ceremony.

The trade exhibition is part of the SLIA's contribution towards the development of architecture as well as raising the standards of the construction industry in the country.

The objective of the event is to further facilitate improvements in the industry through the creation of awareness, having both prospective buyers and sellers under one roof.

It will open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. There will be over 400 stalls, catering to all housing needs, ranging from building material manufacturers and dealers, contractors, furniture and equipment manufacturers, a host of service providers as well as the construction industry.

The Architect 2009 national conference, under the theme 'Doing more with less,' will be held on March 5.

The keynote speaker at the event will be Architect Karan Grover, who is internationally renowned as the first architect who designed a Platinum rated green building outside the United States.

The rating is done by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the US Green Building Council.


Lankan wins award in Delhi

Chairperson Ramya Group of Companies, Ramya Weerakoon was awarded the LACAIXA , third IWEC Award at a ceremony held in New Delhi on February 5 and 6.

It was hosted by the FICCI Ladies Organization in New Delhi.


Ramya Weerakoon receiving the award in New Delhi

This was a significant occasion in India wherein they have honoured and felicitated 15 women entrepreneurs from USA, Europe, Africa and Asia.

IWEC is an initiative of the Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona within the President Valls program which proposes collaboration between the Chamber of Commerce of New York (Manhattan), Barcelona and FICCI Ladies Organization to create and encourage the new companies and business projects founded and led by women.

Ramya Weerakoon, who owns Tendywear (Pvt.) Ltd, manufacturers and exporters of high fashion ladies and children’s wear and Ramya Horticulture (Pvt.) Ltd, growers and exporters of ornamental plants and foliage received the award as the Woman Entrepreneur in the Asian Region. She is also the Chairperson of the Women’s chamber of Industry and Commerce, Sri Lanka.

Weerakoon is a well-known businesswoman in Sri Lanka, who started her career on a very small scale. Being the widow of a high ranking army officer who was assassinated during the insurgency of 1971 and being a mother of two daughters, she started her journey with manufacturing and exporting Batiks in 1973.

Today she is one of the best exporters in the apparel and horticulture sectors with a workforce of 2,500. Her determination drove her to achieve high goals in life.

Weerakoon had been awarded and honoured on many occasions. In 1997 she was selected the Best Woman Entrepreneur of the year. She has received awards locally and internationally.

As the recipient of this prestigious award, she said, “As I move on, my vision of constant change will keep me expanding and upgrading our businesses.

To sustain a business these improvements are vital.

Also I derive immense pleasure from providing more employment and improving the living standards of my employees, most of them women”, she said.

“I also gain absolute satisfaction and happiness by improving the quality of life of my staff.

There are also those who benefit indirectly from our business - rural folk whose lives are improved by the development of infrastructure in the areas surrounding our factories and sites.

Another important venture of mine is facilitating schoolchildren in rural areas by providing them with all their school needs.

These activities give me great fulfillment, as it is a realization of my ambition to contribute towards the socio-economic development of my country”.


Wins HR Leadership Award

Past President IPM Sri Lanka (Institute of Personnel Management) and APFHRM (Asia Pacific Federation of Human Resource Management) Janaka Kumarasinghe, received the HR Leadership Award at the Global HR Excellence Awards 2008-9 ceremony at the Taj Lands End Hotel, Mumbai, India last week.


Janaka Kumarasinghe receiving the award.

He has been recognised for promoting Human Resource Management (HRM) in Sri Lanka and internationally.

As the President of IPM Sri Lanka during 2002/3/4 he was instrumental in making IPM Sri Lanka the President of APFHRM and a Board Member of WFPMA (World Federation of Personnel Management Associations).

The Asia-Pacific HR Conference in Colombo, the Indo-Sri Lanka HR Professionals Exchange Program, the IPM Gold Medal, the HR Service Providers Exhibition, and the Young HRM Minds Awards were some of his concepts implemented through the IPM team to promote HRM. Also during his tenure as the President IPM he rebranded the Institute of Personnel Management Sri Lanka as IPM Sri Lanka and made the institution more known to Sri Lankans by these activities and organised a larger and diverse annual conference and took IPM study programs to the outstations.

At present he is an executive committee member of OPA Sri Lanka and the Secretary General of APFHRM.

A consultant in HRM, he is a Director of Kent Ridge (Pvt) Ltd and a visiting lecturer in HRM at the University of Colombo and Moratuwa and the Open University in their MBA/MSc programs.


Chilaw Plantations makes profits

The Chilaw Plantations Ltd (CPL) has made a profit of Rs153 million within six months after being taken over by the Government from Wayamba Plantations Pvt Ltd.

Director Plantations Strategic Enterprise Development (SEMA) Dr Sunil Jayasekera said that this is a remarkable achievement which proves that public enterprises also could be managed to be profitable given the policy framework and proper management. He hoped that the CPL would make a profit of Rs200 million this year.

This was revealed at a press conference organized by SEMA in Colombo. The CPL made only a profit of Rs400 million for 16 years under the WPPL but within a short period of time it has been able to settle the private management agent fees of Rs124 million plus bonus of Rs 12 million to workers last year.

The CPL which was set up under the Companies Act of 1982 was handed over to the WPPL under the privatization program in 1992 and it has been a profit making company with a high quality yielded lands of 11,555 acres on Puttlam, Chilaw, Gampaha and Colombo.

The company was able to settle all the bills in the first year itself while securing the jobs of all 950 workers giving better benefits. The profits were distributed only among the top management earlier and it was limited to a maximum of Rs40.000 by the new management.

The Ministry of Public Estate Management and Development with the Strategic Enterprise Development Agency has implemented a five-year development plan to increase profits and to introduce an incentive and reward scheme to its employees.


HNB water sanitation project to Jaffna

With the latest research highlighting bowel diseases as one of the most critical health issues in the country, HNB embarked on an ambitious safe drinking water and sanitation program, which was extended to include Araly in the Jaffna district.

The villages of Araly South in the Jaffna District, which house about 500 families, mostly farmers, had only one well, which was insufficient to meet their needs for fresh water. There was also the danger of intrusion of salt water to this source of fresh water due to over irrigation, a common problem in that part of the country.

With the assistance of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board another fresh water source was identified and HNB arranged to have this source deepened to a fair sized well connected to a water tank.

A water tank and a pump room were constructed and a pump was installed to serve the needs of these villages.

Through this project a farmer community of more than 500 families in three Grama Sevaka Divisions in Araly will now get safe drinking water.

The first water and sanitation project was initiated by HNB last year where the bank was instrumental in providing the people of Siruthopu, a village in Mannar to have access to a proper source of safe drinking water.

Today more than 75 families benefit from the well and tank that was built along with six taps in a central area of the village providing the much-needed solution to the dire water and sanitation problems faced by the people in the village.

This project was initiated with the guidance of Deputy General Manager, HR and Administration, J. R. P. M. Paiva, who is heading the CSR initiative of the bank to provide safe drinking water.

The Hatton National Bank plans to initiate similar projects in Anuradhapura, Puttalam, Vakarai and Kataragama in the near future.


Christina exploring new export markets

Christina Fine Gemstone Jewellery is looking at new export markets this year, in addition to their exports to USA, France, Italy, Germany, Australia, Singapore, and Japan.


Punsiri Wijepala

Managing Director, Christina Fine Gemstone Jewellery, Punsiri Wijepala said that there is a notable drop in sales due to the global recession. "Gem and Jewellery is a luxury and is one of the first to be dropped by a customer," he told Daily News business.

Christina is also celebrating the second anniversary of the company and to coincide with it will be launching bridal jewellery. "Christina has earned reputation for their superior handcraftsmanship and for calibrated sapphires and stone studded jewellery," he said.

"In Sri Lanka, we mainly target tourists and the up market clientele. In recent times, we see a strong demand from Sri Lankans and due to this feedback we have decided to launch a series of new products at affordable prices to the masses," he said.

The new products include rings, pendants, and earrings that are fast moving designs. Jewels are set with stones and diamonds in yellow gold (22k and 18k), white gold, Platinum and Silver.


A customer at the shop. Picture by Saliya Rupasinghe

"We are promoting exclusive bridal items for the upcoming June wedding seasonal period according the need and requirements of the customers. Most people in Sri Lanka are interested in yellow gold and there's a trend in youth that they like white gold and silver jewellery," he added.

Managing Director Wijepala is also a member of the International Colour Gem Association for 16 years. Christina has won 23 local and international awards for technology and quality which include New Millennium Geneva 2002 Switzerland, Sri Lankan Entrepreneur of 2002, Silver Award Sabaragamuwa Province Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka, National Bronze Sri Lankan Entrepreneur of 2002, National Chamber of Exports of Sri Lanka Award 1999 Gold Award and Best Displayed Stones, Second Runner-up, Ceylinco Exhibition and Convention.

There are three branches of Christina in Bambalapitiya, World Trade Centre and Horana.

Christina is an associated company of Wijaya Gems (Pvt) Ltd., which supplies colour stones to Christina Jewels.

Christina will also participate at the Bridal Fair 2009 at BMICH on March 28 and 29.


Zam Gems ventures in to Qatar

Zam Gems has opened their sixth international franchise outlet in Doha, Qatar intensifying their strong intentional presence.


Zam Gems Qatar show room

“This is our first venture into the Middle East and we intend to expand into other states as well. Our aim is to expand our international network, to have a chain of show rooms world wide and to make Zam Gems synonymous with fine jewellery,” said Ahsan Refai, Managing Director of Zam Gems.

“At present the Middle East nationals purchase diamonds and white gold jewellery, while the demand for beautiful and vivid coloured gem stones is constantly increasing. Zam Gems Qatar WLL has introduced a range of exquisite jewellery and top quality gemstones.

Among them are the rare Alexandrite, Sapphires and Star Sapphires, Rubies and Emeralds, as well as an exciting variety of the normally referred semi-precious gem stones the Aquamarine, Tourmaline, Amethyst and Citrine, Topaz, Peridot, Quartz, Zircon and several more. Most of the jewellery will be studded with diamonds to make it more attractive and to add value and sparkle” added Refai.

The potential in the Middle East is excellent, both from the locals as well as the expatriate community living in Doha. The jewellery is manufactured in Sri Lanka and exported to Doha, thus bringing in foreign exchange.

The show room is ideally located at the Landmark Mall that is an impressive Qatari castle, designed to meet the international standard. The show room is in a prime location, which also features many foreign chain stores and banks. More than a mere shopping mall, Landmark Mall is a leisure time destination, which also offers a wide variety of entertainment opportunities for the whole family.

Today Zam Gems has a total of thirteen outlets, seven in Sri Lanka and six franchise shops overseas in Japan, Malaysia, the Maldives and now in Qatar. The Head Office in Colombo and the main branch in Kandy are equipped with Gem Laboratories, Lapidaries and a jewellery-manufacturing factory. Refai attributes the company’s success to their emphasis on high quality and customer satisfaction.

“Strict quality control is always maintained. Every gemstone is examined in detail and graded by our experts before being approved for use in design and manufacture,” he says.

“We visit and participate in international gem and jewellery trade fairs in the U.S.A., Switzerland, Malaysia, Japan and Singapore, and our marketing team is kept up to date with the latest trends and market demands, which enables us to always design and produce items that are in vogue and currently in demand in various markets the world over,” he concluded.

Zam Gems Qatar WLL was declared open by Fuad M. Al Siddiq, Head of Project Investment Section, Ministry of Economy and Commerce in Doha.


Excellent growth at HNB Assurance

HNB Assurance PLC has reported a 25% growth in its turnover and a 33% growth in its profit after tax according to the financial results for the year ended December 31, 2008 released to the Colombo Stock Exchange.

The Company which is rapidly emerging as the fastest growing insurer in the country achieved a combined turnover of Rs. 1.84 billion during 2008.

General Insurance contributed a Gross Written Premium (GWP) of Rs. 924.7 million while Life Insurance contributed a GWP of Rs. 914.2 million. The growth rates achieved from general and life insurance stood at 31% and 19%.

While achieving a commendable rate of growth in its turnover, the Company also ensured that its profitability is also sustained by achieving a profit after tax of Rs. 164.5 million.

General Insurance business accounted for Rs. 64.5 million of this profit while Rs. 100 million originated from the Life Insurance business as a transfer of surplus.

The company has also allocated adequate funds to offer handsome bonus declarations to its life policyholders up to a maximum of Rs. 40 per Rs. 1,000 sum assured.

The company also declared a dividend of Rs. 1.25 per share to its shareholders, which is 25% higher than last year. Another noteworthy milestone achieved by HNB Assurance PLC in 2008 was the Life Fund crossing the one billion rupee mark to reach Rs. 1.36 billion at the year-end.

Commenting on the 2008 performance, HNB Assurance PLC Managing Director Manjula de Silva said that the company is pleased with the outstanding results achieved amidst a very challenging environment. He also expressed confidence that the company would be able to maintaining its excellent track record in spite of the even bigger challenges it may encounter in the year ahead.


Richard Pieris distributes school books

Richard Pieris Tyre Company, a subsidiary of the Arpico Group recently distributed books and other educational equipment to the children of Gangodawila Girls’ Home.

Children of the Company’s factory staff were also presented with books they required to start the new school year. The presentations were made by Director and General Manager of Richard Pieris Tyre Company, Pushpika Janadheera at the company premises in Nawinna.


A student of Gangodawila Girls’ school receiving her books from the Chief Guest.

Over 600 children were benefited from Arpidag’s CSR endeavour under the theme “Our helping hand to uplift learning.” This is the third year in succession that the Company has presented exercise books and other tools of learning that schoolchildren need.

Children at the Training School in Gangodawila, as well as children of employees at Richard Pieris Tyre Company and Arpidag International Company factories in Nawinna, Kurunegala, Weligama and Kandy were also among the recipients.

Richard Pieris Tyre Company pioneered tyre retreading in Sri Lanka and is the market leader marketing over 50,000 retreads a month and is the biggest tyre retreading company in South Asia.

Arpidag Rebuild Tyres designed and produced by the Company are renowned for maintaining high quality standards while being cost effective, which is the prime reason for the Company’s success.

The popular Arpico Rebuilds are considered value for money products that ensure milage. The Company imports and markets Birla Tyres from India. Arpico Tubes marketed by the company are also imported from India while Arpico flaps are produced locally.

The newest product from the Company is the locally produced superior quality Arpi Three Superstar three-wheeler tyres that have proved to be a boon to the nation where the public turn to three-wheelers, especially for urgent travel.

Over 800 guests, including parents attended the presentation. Janadheera said, “Our Company is committed to lending a helping hand to ensure the progress of the families of our own employees as well as our community.

Improving education uplifts not only the individual child concerned but the entire nation and helps to raise educational standards in our country.”

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