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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

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SLPA mulls bond issue to raise development funds

The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) is still repaying its loans that were taken ten years ago and this is severely affecting their bottomline, SLPA Chairman Dr. Priyath Wickrama said.

Speaking to Daily News Business in Hambantota he said the SLPA made a Rs 4,350 million profit last year but due to the heavy repayments this did not reflect positively on the institution. He said that in addition, they are also facing an ‘exchange’ loss due to currency fluctuations. The loan was obtained in Yen.

The administrative building of the Ruhunu Magampura Port that is being constructed at the moment. Picture by Sumanachandra Ariyawansa

The Chairman said that due to this they have decided to do future borrowings only in US dollars.

He said they are looking at going for a bond issue to raise funds for future developments in the SLPA.

Commenting on the last few years of operations he said they have introduced a voluntary retirement scheme and adopted several other meaningful steps in a bid to curtail expenditure.

The revenue of the Port which was at Rs 25 billion in 2008 increased to 32 billion in 2009. “Within a period of ten years we have increased revenue by Rs 10 billion,” he disclosed.

Commenting on the Ruhunu Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port he said that it would generate a revenue of over US $ one billion and generate over 2,000 employment opportunities within 24 months. He said that for the first time in Sri Lanka the Hambantota harbour will export sugar and cement to the Asian market with two Pakistan and Indian companies doing value addition in Sri Lanka.

“In addition one of the world’s biggest petrochemical plan’s will open next year at the Port,” he said.

He said that with their concept of a Free Port they opened out Hambantota to the world market and was very happy with the response they are getting. “This Port will prove to be a viable venture in three years,” he said.

Meanwhile the tallest building in the Southern Province the administrative building will open in August next year bringing all operations of the Port under one roof.

This 15-storey building complex will facilitate the administrative and engineering divisions of the Hambantota Port. Overlooking the Hambantota coastline, the building is situated inside the port premises, within 500 metres from the docks.

Tanya and Suren Wickramasinghe are the architects of the project.

 

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