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Nov 6, 2010 3:13:35 PM - thesundayleader.lk

Mahen Dayananda, a well known businessman and former Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chairman has been appointed a Trustee of the Joseph Fraser Memorial Nursing Home Trust.
The other Trustees are L.C.R. de C. Wijetunge, G.C.B. Wijeyesinghe, R.S. Tissanayagam, C.F. Fuhrer, V. Manilal Fernando, Trevine S.A. Fernandopulle, Rosemary Samarasinghe and Thomas F. Daetwyler.
JKH PAT Up 409%
John Keells Holding Group (JKH) in the first quarter ended September 30,2010 saw profits attributable to shareholders grow by 409% year on year (YoY) to Rs. 2.93 billion.
The Group in the first half ended September 30,2010 saw profits attributable to shareholders grow by 221% YoY to Rs. 3.94 billion.
In the review periods, turnovers grew by 24% and 26% to Rs. 13.97 billion and Rs. 26.89 billion respectively. (Source: JKH)

Rates Slashed
Commercial Bank of Ceylon announced an immediate reduction in the interest rate applicable on credit cards issued by the Bank.
“The interest rate on outstanding balances on our Gold, Silver and Electronic cards has been reduced from 35% to 22% per annum or 1.83% per month with effect from this month (November 1),” a Commercial Bank spokesman said.
“This reduction is in line with the trend of reducing lending rates, and is even less than the 24% rate requested by the Central Bank,” he said.
In The Black
Piramal Glass Ceylon PlC in the first half  ended September 30, 2010 made a Rs. 210.2 million net profit, as opposed to a Rs. 118 million loss made in the corresponding period the previous year.
Total revenue in the period under review grew by 8% year on year to Rs. 1.9 billion.
Govt. Debt Increase 13%
Total outstanding Government debt increased by Rs. 499.3 billion (12.6%) to Rs. 4,464 billion as at end July 2010, year on year (YoY). This comprised a domestic component of Rs. 2,578.6 billion, a YoY increase of Rs. 119.5 billion (4.9%) and a foreign debt component of Rs. 1,885.4 billion, a Rs. 379.7 billion (25.2%) YoY increase.
Meanwhile the month on month (MoM) increase in Government debt was Rs. 116.5 billion (2.7%). This comprised a Rs. 34.4 billion (1.4%) increase in domestic debt and a Rs. 82.1 billion (4.6%) increase in foreign debt, MoM.
Tea Prices Down 6%
Tea prices in the Colombo Auctions continued with their downward spiral, declining by 5.5% year on year (YoY) to US$ 3.27 per kilo in August, its second consecutive decline, the decline in July being 3.9%YoY to US$ 3.02 per kg.  However production in the first eight months of the year increased by 21.2% YoY to 221.3 million kilos.
Meanwhile coconut production in the first eight months of the year declined by 16% YoY to 1,734 million nuts while rubber production in the same period increased by 9.1% YoY to 98.1 million kg.
Meanwhile crude oil import prices increased by 11.5% YoY to US$ 76.10 a barrel (C&F) in August.
In the same period wheat import prices decreased by 3.1% YoY to US$ 241.40 per metric ton (PMT) C&F and white sugar prices by 22.4% to US$ 473.9 PMT C&F. Rice import prices declined by 16.4% YoY to US$ 658.40 PMT C&F in the review period.

Credit Creeps Up
Outstanding credit card balance increased month on month (MoM) by Rs. 1,151 million (4%) to Rs. 29,986 million in August. However in the same period the total number of active credit cards in circulation dropped by 5,407 (0.7%) to 824,309.
When compared with end December 2009 figures, outstanding credit card balance in the review period declined by Rs. 1,389 million (4.4%) and the total number of active credit cards even steeper, by 16,200 (1.9%).
Earnings Up 69%
Tourism earnings in the first nine months of the year increased by 68.8% year on year (YoY) to US$ 391.8 million. In the same period, tourist arrivals increased by 44% YoY to 445,228. (Source: Central Bank)
Zero Tariff Edge
A good cloves crop from December has seen big volumes of exports taking place during the December to January/February period. While total exports last year was 1,331 Metric Tons (MTs), exports in the first two months of this year alone was nearly three times that quantity at 3,073 MTs.
A quantity of 3,630 MTs may have been shipped during the period December-February, with most of the quantities going to India where Sri Lanka enjoys a zero tariff as against a 28-30% tariff on cloves entering from Africa and Indonesia.
As last year’s crop was extremely poor, exports from Sri Lanka had dropped considerably that year.  (The Voice of Spices)