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Friday, 9 March 2012






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Abans open modern eco-friendly warehouse facility in Seeduwa

Abans, a company that has always looked for unique and innovative ways to protect the environment and curb global warming, has accomplished a great milestone in the field of logistics, while at the same time achieving their goals of environmental protection. Abans Kadolkale Warehouse Facility is located in Seeduwa, three km from the Airport and 29 km from the Port of Colombo.

Seeduwa Mayor Lalantha Gunasekera and Abans Chairperson Aban Pestonjee opening the new warehouse. Abans Director Saroshi Dubash and Abans General Manager Ajith Jayasinghe look on.

Abans Kadolkale Warehouse Facility is designed to preserve one of the earth's most valuable natural resources - water. It is equipped with two large sumps capable of holding 150,000 litres of water in each. The roof of the warehouse complex is constructed so as to allow harvesting of the rain water without exposure to external contaminants.

The rain water is collected in the two large sumps, treated and filtered and is used for drinking and other purposes. It also has its own sewage treatment plant which is capable of filtering 20,000 litres every 12 hours. The treated waste water is used for non-potable purposes such as washing, flushing of toilets, watering of gardens and washing of vehicles.

The electrical material handling equipment installed at this complex have been specially chosen for their operational versatility as well as minimal power usage. With zero emission, these machines are environmental friendly and safe to operate with built-in safety measures to protect users, property and environment.

The high roof of the warehouse is of translucent sheets which permits natural light to enter the warehouse so that operations can be conducted till late in the evening without artificial lighting.

The new warehouse

Twenty six power ventilators with capacity of 2.4 m-cubes per second air changes per unit along with insulated material provided under the roof cover which is 50mm thick with density of 16kg/mcube glass wool supported by louvres and grilled windows to ensure a comfortable working environment.

Many auxiliary buildings support the workforce with every required facility which include an infirmary. Safe and healthy working environment was given the utmost priority during construction and also during actual operation. This multi-purpose warehousing complex has been built with the intention of being operationally cost effective as well as environmental friendly.

Abans Kadolkale Warehouse Facility was opened recently by Aban Pestonjee, Chairperson of Abans Group, jointly with the Mayor of Seeduwa Lalantha Gunasekara. It is one of the largest warehousing complexes under one roof, covering over 100,000 square feet of floor area with a storage volume of 2,500,000 cubic feet. It is the only logistical hub totally defined for stock distribution.

With the convenience of easy access to both air and sea ports, this warehousing facility is probably one of the most advanced and self-sustained logistical facilities in Sri Lanka. Measuring 26,24 feet (8m) at eve level and 39.04 feet (11.9m) at centre, with only one set of columns in the centre for maximum operational economization - it is indeed a truly custom-built logistics centre.This state-of-the-art warehouse has 20 docking facilities supported by 22 latest electrical material handling equipment. All loading bays are angled for optimal usage of available space and ensure easy access and maneuverability, especially for 40 ft. containers. The existence of two docking facilities per bay enables speedy cross-docking, should there be a need to do so.

The floor is raised to 4.26 feet (1.3m) to protect and enhance safety of stored items from floods and other consequences.

The Abans Group, consisting of over 30 independent companies, have in numerous ways contributed to environmental protection and preservation.Abans (Pvt) Ltd. is the strategic trading arm of the Abans Group, holding agencies for the world's best brands of electronics and electrical home appliances, sanitaryware and a range of other household products. Abans always ensure that the products marketed by them conform to high norms of quality and durability at affordable prices. Abans pay special emphasis to eco-friendly products that conserve earth's valuable resources and ensure that they do not cause any environmental pollution.

Abans Environmental Services (Pvt) Ltd, is another company in the Abans Group that has helped in preserving the environment. They are actively involved with the CMC in street cleaning operations and solid waste management.

Etisalat crowned with three prestigious GSMA Global Mobile Awards

At Mobile World Congress 2012:

Etisalat, a leading telecommunications company with operations in 17 markets across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, has won three of the sector's most prestigious international awards at Mobile World Congress, the global event held annually in Barcelona, Spain.

Etisalat received two GSMA Global Mobile Awards in the 'Best Mobile Health Innovation' and 'mWomen Best Mobile Product' categories for its mobile health innovation - Etisalat Mobile Baby that is helping to combat maternal mortality in developing countries.

Etisalat also won the 'Best Mobile Money Innovation' award for its Etisalat Commerce platform that is helping make financial services accessible to millions of people across the region.

Accepting the awards, Essa Al Haddad, chief commercial officer at the Etisalat Group, said: "Etisalat is committed to harnessing the power of mobile connectivity through innovation to develop products that change people's lives for the better and help to accelerate social and economic development. In the case of Etisalat Mobile Baby it can also save lives.

"Our focus on mHealth and mCommerce solutions has had an immediate impact in emerging markets where access to healthcare and banking services are limited. These accolades are further endorsement of our focus on delivering innovative technologies that have a transformative effect on people, communities and economies."

Etisalat's Mobile Baby programme delivers affordable primary healthcare solutions to even the most remote, rural regions of Africa. Mobile Baby is already delivering tangible results and is contributing to global efforts to achieve Millennium Development Goals which seek to reduce maternal mortality in childbirth and deliver universal access to reproductive health. Developed in partnership with Qualcomm, D-Tree International and Great Connection, Etisalat Mobile Baby is a complete mHealth ecosystem that brings together medical healthcare professionals, NGOs, pharmaceutical and insurance companies, and federal and state governments to deliver affordable healthcare for all powered by mobile connectivity.

In Tanzania where Etisalat first launched the service, there has been a substantial drop in baseline maternal mortality rates and a 30 percent increase in the in-medical facility delivery rate. During 2012 the Etisalat Mobile Baby service will be rolled out across its operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Ivory Coast, Benin, Togo, Niger, Central African Republic and Gabon.

The Etisalat Commerce initiative won the 'Best Mobile Money Innovation' for the transformational way in which it uses new electronic commerce technologies to empower businesses and individuals in emerging markets. One example of this is Etisalat's Near Field Communication (NFC) solution which allows payments to be made using specially enabled-mobile devices. The Etisalat Commerce platform was developed in partnership with MasterCard Worldwide and Oberthur Technologies.

Working with federal financial services authorities to meet local market regulatory requirements, the Etisalat Commerce platform can facilitate a wide range of financial transactions including salary payments, person to person domestic and International fund transfers, utility and merchant payments, on-line purchases, and bank transactions. Importantly, it provides a fast, safe and secure environment for the un-banked and under-banked communities.

Michael O'Hara, chief marketing officer, GSMA said: "The 2012 Global Mobile Awards continue to showcase the greatest, most creative and innovative products and services driving the mobile ecosystem today and into the future.

"With a record number of high calibre entries this year, it is a significant achievement for a company to be honoured with an award, but to win three is an outstanding achievement. The GSMA congratulates Etisalat and commends all those taking part for raising the benchmark of contributions to mobile communications across the entire industry," he said.

Ceylinco Insurance to change world of beauty pageants with Miss Ceylinco VIP

Ceylinco Insurance has embarked on a grand enterprise - Miss Ceylinco VIP 2012. This unique competition will enable the dazzling damsels, living in the outstations, to be a part of a truly mega event. With its Ceylinco Miss VIP beauty pageant, the company has created a show of unprecedented glamour and stature that seeks to attain a celebrated position of its own, among beauty pageants. The contest will be held islandwide and invite young women from the nine provinces to participate and set off on a dream journey of discovery.

"Ceylinco Miss VIP is indeed a unique beauty pageant" said Ajith Gunawardena, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Ceylinco Insurance - General, who spearheaded the concept of Ceylinco VIP On the Spot claim settlement." It will seek and reward the talented young women from the villages and enable them to embark on a voyage of personal development. The pageant will showcase their talents and give them an ideal platform to shine," he said.

Nine mini pageants will be held in each province, inviting young women from each area to participate, following which, two contestants will be selected from each province. The first mini pageant will be held in Kandy on March 29 and thereafter end of every month until November covering all nine provinces. The mega pageant will be held in Colombo as a dazzling showcase of style and elegance, at which Miss Ceylinco VIP 2012 will be crowned. The judges at each provincial mini pageant and the main pageant will be an eminent and an independent panel who will be able to evaluate every participant adequately. 'The unique aspect of Ceylinco Miss VIP is that we will go to the village to discover talent - we will not just ask them to come to Colombo to participate in a contest" said Gunawardena. "There are many young people out there who are extremely talented and with a little grooming, can compete at an international level in a beauty pageant. We at Ceylinco Insurance will empower them to live that dream," he said.

The mini pageants will be held in Kandy, Negombo, Ratnapura, Galle, Kurunegala, Ampara, Anuradhapura, Badulla and Vavuniya.

This is one of the few pageants to seek out talent from areas covering Jaffna, Vavuniya, Batticaloa and Ampara which have been recovering from the ravages of war. "It is a wonderful opportunity to be able to invite young women from these areas, along with those from other areas, to participate in a glamourous beauty pageant that will give them the opportunity of a lifetime," said Gunawardena.

The mini pageants, the mini titles of the mini pageants and the main pageant will have on offer valuable gifts ; the winners will receive jewellery worth over Rs 2 million, ten motorcycles, household furniture worth over Rs 1 million, over 25 air tickets, many gift vouchers to the value of over Rs 2 million and cash awards. Joining Ceylinco Insurance as partners for gifts in this dazzling pageant are many leading companies ; among them Hero Honda, Oman Air, JAT Holdings, Prime Lands, Asian Finance, Aminra Collections , Singer, Thilakawardena Textiles, Janet and Kent, most of whom are customers of Ceylinco Insurance. In addition to these, there are several sponsors of gifts at provincial level as well. As a gesture of goodwill, Ceylinco Insurance will donate funds to the Camilla School at Mattegoda, which houses and takes care of mentally challenged children.

"Uniqueness is something we celebrate at Ceylinco Insurance - Innovation forms the bedrock of our company, enabling us to keep abreast of changing customer perceptions and needs.

We hope to bring the same kind of uniqueness to Miss VIP 2012, giving it a very special status as a beauty pageant with a difference," Gunawardena further elaborated.

Ceylinco Insurance has always stayed on the edge of innovation with unique products and services that exceed customer expectations and reward customer loyalty.

Its VIP On the Spot claim settlement has received worldwide recognition and has been hailed as a unique breakthrough product in the insurance industry.

Building a beauty pageant that displays the outstanding success of the Ceylinco VIP On the Spot is an exceptional move for the company that maintains one of the largest sales and outlet networks in the country through which the company delivers its services to customers. " Ceylinco Miss VIP blends beauty and talent with a cutting edge delivery of a unique claim settlement - we are happy and proud to be able to extend it to all Sri Lankans for participation and empowerment," said Gunawardena.

LB launches savings account with boundless benefits

LB Finance PLC, recently launched the LB Finance Savings Account with 'benefits without boundaries', another addition to the company's portfolio promising the same. The new scheme offers customers an 8.66% interest rate per annum, regardless of their balance. A minimum cash balance is, therefore, not a requisite.

Niroshan Udage

"This is truly a no-holds-barred approach to saving and earning returns", said Executive Director Niroshan Udage, "It allows a secure saving of funds without the pressure of having to maintain a minimum balance. It's also comforting for savers that the high interest rate can be enjoyed regardless of your account balance," he said.

LB Finance also launched the Kids Savings Zone account for children and the Senior Savings Account for senior citizens. Both come with special benefits for the target group and look to finance them according to their specific needs. The financier is also setting a trend in the industry by liaising with Sampath Bank PLC to share the well-established banker's wide-spread ATM facilities at outlets across Sri Lanka.

The company has been experiencing success continuously, for the 9 months ending December 31, 2011, income rose by 45% to stand at Rs.5.596 billion propelled by its solid lending portfolio while Net Interest Income grew by 34% to Rs. 2.622 billion. LB Finance has consistently recorded massive increases in its profits over the years thanks to expedited growth and development; following this course, Profit After Tax grew by a staggering 81% year-on year to stand at Rs. 1.1 billion as at end-December 2011.

The LB Finance product range which is spearheaded by its trademark easy Leasing and Hire Purchase facilities contributed to a total asset base of Rs. 38 billion, including a total of Rs. 32 billion worth of lending. This signifies a 37.6% increase from the Rs. 28 billion recorded at the end of the previous financial year.

In addition to lending facilities, the company's primary mover and chief funding factor is their benefit-heavy fixed deposit schemes, deposit base grew rapidly from Rs. 19 billion to Rs. 24 billion over the nine month period. Net worth of LB Finance shares improved with the healthy financials recorded as Net Assets per Share grew exponentially from the Rs. 37.74 during the last financial year to Rs. 50.78 at end-December 2011.

LB Finance has a strong financial tradition of over 40 years and deploys a portfolio of financial solutions trusted widely by corporate, SME and household investor alike. "We have always maintained that our finest offering is our warm customer relations and the new products have specially verified that," Udage said. LB's product offering includes leasing, hire purchase, fixed deposits, microfinance, factoring, margin trading, inland money transfer and Islamic finance.The newly-launched LB Finance saving accounts will be available across the extensive LB Finance network islandwide, including the recently unveiled world-class Corporate Office on Dharmapala Mawatha, Colombo 3.


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