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Sunday January 29th, 2023

COVID-19 vaccine: When must Sri Lanka act?

ECONOMYNEXT – With 165 deaths and 8,812 active cases reported at the time of writing, Sri Lanka has yet to announce a concrete plan to acquire a COVID-19 vaccine. Public health experts, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, and other commentators have made various pronouncements on the pressing need to secure a vaccine best suited for Sri Lanka’s people and her ailing economy. Others, however, including experts, advise against rushing into importing a vaccine, suggesting instead that the government concentrate its efforts on containing the spread of the virus for the time being. The calls for a decision either way have become louder in the wake of the establishment’s ill-advised, alarmingly anti-science endorsement of an untested indigenous miracle cure.

State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control Sudarshini Fernandopulle told EconomyNext on Friday (18) that it is still early days. Sri Lanka’s health authorities, she said, have focused their attention on the different vaccines developed by international pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies but, in the absence of sufficient data, a decision has yet to be made.

“It is too soon to tell which vaccines would be the best for our country and would be compatible with our citizens,” she said.

The state minister said the government has been in talks with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to ensure that 20 percent of the population will receive a COVID-19 vaccine for free through the COVAX initiative once the WHO has approved a vaccine.

COVAX, a global initiative spearheaded by Gavi, an international vaccine alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), aims to equitably cover 20 percent of a signatory nation’s vaccine needs, irrespective of income level. Some 190 countries have signed up for the programme, including wealthy nations such as the UK and Canada.

The WHO said in a statement on Friday (18) that COVAX had arrangements in place to access nearly two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

“For the vast majority of these deals, COVAX has guaranteed access to a portion of the first wave of production, followed by volume scales as further supply becomes available. The arrangements announced today will enable all participating economies to have access to doses in the first half of 2021, with first deliveries anticipated to begin in the first quarter of 2021 – contingent upon regulatory approvals and countries’ readiness for delivery,” the statement said.

Sri Lanka’s readiness for delivery is unclear, at best.  State Minister Fernandopulle said the country’s infrastructure shortcomings such as cold chain issues also present practical difficulties with regard to storing a vaccine, particularly the Pfizer-BionTech which must be stored at -70 degrees Celsius.

“Transporting that vaccine at that temperature is not very practical in Sri Lanka,” she said

Pointing to a lack of clarity in the effectiveness of the vaccines currently being rolled out in the UK and elsewhere, Fernandopulle said more information was needed. For instance, both the Pfizer-BionTech and Moderna vaccines are said to be 95% effective. However, as pointed out by the Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Forum of Sri Lanka (VIDFSL), these are preliminary phase three results that have yet to be peer-reviewed.

The state minister noted that the duration of  immunity to the novel coronavirus following vaccination is also unclear.

“We’re not told how many times we have to get it. For example, we know the polio vaccine is for a lifetime. With this, we don’t know,” she said.

According to Fernandopulle, in the event a vaccine eventually arrives in the island, high risk groups and frontline workers as well as members of the armed forces and police will be given priority.

The minister gave an assurance that Sri Lanka will import a vaccine that is deemed best suited for the country, though she did not commit to a timeline. The Sunday Times reported quoting a government official today that Sri Lanka is in talks with the World Bank to secure a Rs 10 billion loan to purchase a vaccine.

“We are still studying this. We will bring in the best and the safest vaccine for patients and citizens in the country as soon as possible. Financially we are under no stress. Funds will be given by the World Bank. The president, too, provides his fullest support,” she added.

Meanwhile, Executive Director and fellow of the Institute for Health Policy (IHP) Dr Ravindra Rannan-Eliya said Sri Lanka ought to take its time in working out a strategy for vaccinating the country against COVID-19.

“I don’t think we should rush. We don’t have thousands dying right now. Only two vaccines are approved by some countries, and we don’t have critical data even for those, in particular their ability to stop transmission,” he said.

Speaking to EconomyNext on Friday (18), Dr Rannan-Eliya said the countries who urgently need vaccines today are those with rampant COVID-19 spread and thousands dying.

“We are not in that category, unless the government has decided it has changed the national strategy of aiming at elimination, without telling us. It may have since ministers are now saying we should live with the virus. if you have eliminated the virus, you don’t need vaccines urgently, unless people need to travel abroad,” he said.

According to Dr Rannan-Eliya, to prevent transmission, Sri Lanka needs to vaccinate 90% of the population, an endeavour that is not economically viable at present, to say the least.

“This could easily cost 1% of GDP, and the protection might only last one to two years. We can’t blame the government alone, since our limited fiscal capacity stems from decades of cutting taxes. We’ve chosen to reduce tax collection (10% of GDP) below the average in Sub-Saharan Africa (18% of GDP). Business people will understand that choices have consequences. One of those is that we can’t afford to buy vaccines for everyone with our own money,” he said.

Though COVAX will give Sri Lanka 20% for free, the WHO has yet to approve a vaccine, a process that will take several months. Dr Rannan-Eliya is looking at a timeline between 2021 to 2022.

While it is unclear at present when exactly the WHO will approve a vaccine, The National Geographic reported earlier this month that COVAX’s bargaining power was at risk. The programme’s funding depends on donations from its signatories, the magazine said, which have been slow to arrive.

“Meanwhile, some 9.8 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines are already reserved as of November 30, and more than half are dedicated to well-off countries through pre-purchase agreements. Assuming the vaccines prove effective, the United States has already secured enough doses to vaccinate its population twice over. For the UK, it’s thrice. And if it fulfills its orders, Canada could offer five doses to all of its 38 million citizens with some left over,” the NatGeo report said.

Dr Rannan-Eliya believes it is possible to eliminate the virus in Sri Lanka through tight border control and through rigorous testing, among other measures.

“This is a fraction of the cost of vaccinating everyone in the next 12 to 18 months. Plus, vaccinating everyone will not eliminate the virus anyway, since the initial vaccines are probably not good enough to do that.

“Our best option is to eliminate the virus using proven methods, maintain secure borders through 2021 and then pick the best and most affordable vaccine options in about six months time when more vaccines will be available and prices have started to drop. It would probably be prudent to raise taxes/reduce debt to pay for coverage for all in say 2022 or 2023,” he said.

In the meantime, Dr Rannan-Eliya said, vaccines will be needed for people leaving the country. If it is for personal reasons, he said, the cost should be borne by the traveller, but for other travels, the state will have to find the funds.

“Maybe a charge on incoming tourists might be an option since they will increase the cost for us of keeping the virus at low levels as we “live with the virus”, which [seems to be] the new policy?” he said.

Dr Rannan-Eliya reiterated that Sri Lanka ought not to rush.

“Pfizer would cost us USD 20 x 2 doses x 20 million people = USD 800 million. This does not include other deployment costs, indemnifying Pfizer for side effects and paying compensation ourselves since Pfizer will not. Even that will not remove the need for other measures, since transmission and deaths will still occur if we open borders,” he said.  (Colombo/Dec19/2020)

Comments (4)

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  1. Ruchira says:

    Beg to differ with Dr. RR. Being able to stop the disease is a good enough reason to have the vaccine. Imagine if you are in a high risk group (or even if you are not) and you get Covid19 and die of it or hospitalize with severe complications that require intensive care, while a vaccine that could have prevented all that is available for a mere 20 dollars in Singapore but not in Sri Lanka because our National policy didn’t think it was the cost effective thing to do! I am sure what he means is that the govt should not invest in vaccination this early but it could be made available for a price in the private sector for any individual who wants it regardless of they are going to travel or not. Otherwise it’s a ridiculous policy. I am sure we can do better than this and actually come up with a strategy based on several criteria like affordability and risk profile. Especially considering that there’s no guarantee that we would or even could succeed in eliminating the virus as he suggests.

  2. Ruchira says:

    This news that is about 2 weeks old claims that Pfizer’s vaccine could prevent transmission of the virus as well as stop the disease. Not sure if the claim has been since then proven or not. Nevertheless posting here as it is relevant to subject matter.

    https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/uk-news/pfizers-covid-vaccine-could-stop-19659049?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=sharebar

  3. Ruchira says:

    To vaccinate or not is not the question; where as to vaccinate with which (vaccine) is!

    Sri Lanka according to media reports have ordered 18 million Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccines following the donation of 0.5 million of them by the Indian government. However elsewhere in the world, in Switzerland and several other European Union countries like Germany, Italy and France this vaccine has been rejected, on the grounds that its efficiency is still not sufficiently proven especially in the elderly age group to authorize its use! This is while in Switzerland and in many other countries of the western hemisphere, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are already approved and being rolled out.

    Read more here:
    https://amp.ft.com/content/a6a6d64c-a337-4af4-9525-d194571c7887?__twitter_impression=true&s=04

    Sri Lanka’s decision to import Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine seems like a decision based on economics rather than health and perhaps influenced by other geopolitical pressures too; not necessarily because it is the best vaccine available out there. There’s no talk of getting down any of the other two major vaccines – Pfizer and Moderna, both of which, if my memory is right have efficiency levels of 90% or above. I think it’s 94.5% for the Pfizer vaccine compared to 80% upper limit (I believe) of Oxford AZ vaccine. In addition mRNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna it seems are not only less affected by the new variants of the virus that everyone is concerned of but also could be produced faster, according to recent comment on twitter by Dr. Rannan-Eliya.

    Excuses of sorts are given indirectly for not importing any of these vaccines. One of the main reasons being that we could not afford the Pfizer vaccine. Another is that the cold storage requirements for this vaccine makes it unsuitable or less suitable for a tropical country like ours! Both these are not necessarily good or valid points in my opinion.

    If i am right Pfizer has a ready made cold storage units in which these vaccines could be stored and transported. You only have to buy those units along with the vaccine. Considering that the temperature requirements in any case are not the room temperature, to me it looks like that it does not matter whether you are a tropical country or a temperate country as long as you have a way of maintaining the cold chain. It’s time the officials tell us what the exact requirements are that makes it unsuitable for a country like Sri Lanka!

    In addition with regards to the price, according to what I read, in the UK to give two jabs of Pfizer vaccine costs, including the cost of cold storage device, only 30 GBP compared to 4 or 5 GBP for Oxford AZ! Now convert those numbers in to Sri Lankan rupees and see what the cost for an individual is and whether you as an individual could not afford it!

    If the government is unable to buy the Pfizer vaccine en masse to be freely distributed and vaccinate people, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t allow the private sector to import it and make it available for those who could afford it and are willing to pay for it! This will not only provide a choice to people who wants to get vaccinated, to be made with specialist consultation and opinion, with regards to what the best vaccine for them, on an individual basis. It will also reduce the burden resting on the government of vaccinating the population, at least to some degree!

    I wonder why no one, professionals and politicians alike, is talking about it! Nor are any of the journos! At least I didn’t see any.

    It is disappointing performance by the administration when you are deprived of the best that money could buy, in this case for a very reasonable price, especially when it could be a life and death situation for some!

    Why aren’t the people not demanding the best for them from the government? Why are the experts silent? Why isn’t their a critical appraisal comparing the different vaccines and their suitability for the country and different demographic and risk groups, available in the local public domain for people to be aware and educate themselves as to what could be the best vaccine for them, in consultation with their doctors!?

    Why? Why? Why? – is the biggest question!

  4. Ruchira Kitsiri says:

    13.02.2021 – My 4th comment here on this news item.

    Scientists at the University of Sri Jayawardenapura has confirmed that the UK Covid19 variant has been found from multiple locations within Sri Lanka. (1)

    Another important variant is the South African (SA) one. It is said that 90% of South African Covid19 infections are due to this variant. It has also been found that Oxford AZ vaccine is only 10% effective against this variant, in light of which South Africa has suspended it’s programme immunization with Oxford AZ! (2)

    While the UK variant has already spread across many countries of the world, bow according to latest news in Sri Lanka too, it will be only a matter of time before the SA variant does the same and arrive in Sri Lanka.

    In the light of these develooments are we still going to immunize 9 million plus Sri Lankans with Oxford AZ vaccine frim the Serum Institute?

    (1) https://www.newsfirst.lk/2021/02/12/uk-covid-strain-found-in-sri-lanka-dr-chandima-jeewandara/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

    (2) https://www-aljazeera-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2021/2/7/south-africa-suspends-astrazeneca-vaccine-rollout

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Comments (4)

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  1. Ruchira says:

    Beg to differ with Dr. RR. Being able to stop the disease is a good enough reason to have the vaccine. Imagine if you are in a high risk group (or even if you are not) and you get Covid19 and die of it or hospitalize with severe complications that require intensive care, while a vaccine that could have prevented all that is available for a mere 20 dollars in Singapore but not in Sri Lanka because our National policy didn’t think it was the cost effective thing to do! I am sure what he means is that the govt should not invest in vaccination this early but it could be made available for a price in the private sector for any individual who wants it regardless of they are going to travel or not. Otherwise it’s a ridiculous policy. I am sure we can do better than this and actually come up with a strategy based on several criteria like affordability and risk profile. Especially considering that there’s no guarantee that we would or even could succeed in eliminating the virus as he suggests.

  2. Ruchira says:

    This news that is about 2 weeks old claims that Pfizer’s vaccine could prevent transmission of the virus as well as stop the disease. Not sure if the claim has been since then proven or not. Nevertheless posting here as it is relevant to subject matter.

    https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/uk-news/pfizers-covid-vaccine-could-stop-19659049?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=sharebar

  3. Ruchira says:

    To vaccinate or not is not the question; where as to vaccinate with which (vaccine) is!

    Sri Lanka according to media reports have ordered 18 million Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccines following the donation of 0.5 million of them by the Indian government. However elsewhere in the world, in Switzerland and several other European Union countries like Germany, Italy and France this vaccine has been rejected, on the grounds that its efficiency is still not sufficiently proven especially in the elderly age group to authorize its use! This is while in Switzerland and in many other countries of the western hemisphere, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are already approved and being rolled out.

    Read more here:
    https://amp.ft.com/content/a6a6d64c-a337-4af4-9525-d194571c7887?__twitter_impression=true&s=04

    Sri Lanka’s decision to import Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine seems like a decision based on economics rather than health and perhaps influenced by other geopolitical pressures too; not necessarily because it is the best vaccine available out there. There’s no talk of getting down any of the other two major vaccines – Pfizer and Moderna, both of which, if my memory is right have efficiency levels of 90% or above. I think it’s 94.5% for the Pfizer vaccine compared to 80% upper limit (I believe) of Oxford AZ vaccine. In addition mRNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna it seems are not only less affected by the new variants of the virus that everyone is concerned of but also could be produced faster, according to recent comment on twitter by Dr. Rannan-Eliya.

    Excuses of sorts are given indirectly for not importing any of these vaccines. One of the main reasons being that we could not afford the Pfizer vaccine. Another is that the cold storage requirements for this vaccine makes it unsuitable or less suitable for a tropical country like ours! Both these are not necessarily good or valid points in my opinion.

    If i am right Pfizer has a ready made cold storage units in which these vaccines could be stored and transported. You only have to buy those units along with the vaccine. Considering that the temperature requirements in any case are not the room temperature, to me it looks like that it does not matter whether you are a tropical country or a temperate country as long as you have a way of maintaining the cold chain. It’s time the officials tell us what the exact requirements are that makes it unsuitable for a country like Sri Lanka!

    In addition with regards to the price, according to what I read, in the UK to give two jabs of Pfizer vaccine costs, including the cost of cold storage device, only 30 GBP compared to 4 or 5 GBP for Oxford AZ! Now convert those numbers in to Sri Lankan rupees and see what the cost for an individual is and whether you as an individual could not afford it!

    If the government is unable to buy the Pfizer vaccine en masse to be freely distributed and vaccinate people, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t allow the private sector to import it and make it available for those who could afford it and are willing to pay for it! This will not only provide a choice to people who wants to get vaccinated, to be made with specialist consultation and opinion, with regards to what the best vaccine for them, on an individual basis. It will also reduce the burden resting on the government of vaccinating the population, at least to some degree!

    I wonder why no one, professionals and politicians alike, is talking about it! Nor are any of the journos! At least I didn’t see any.

    It is disappointing performance by the administration when you are deprived of the best that money could buy, in this case for a very reasonable price, especially when it could be a life and death situation for some!

    Why aren’t the people not demanding the best for them from the government? Why are the experts silent? Why isn’t their a critical appraisal comparing the different vaccines and their suitability for the country and different demographic and risk groups, available in the local public domain for people to be aware and educate themselves as to what could be the best vaccine for them, in consultation with their doctors!?

    Why? Why? Why? – is the biggest question!

  4. Ruchira Kitsiri says:

    13.02.2021 – My 4th comment here on this news item.

    Scientists at the University of Sri Jayawardenapura has confirmed that the UK Covid19 variant has been found from multiple locations within Sri Lanka. (1)

    Another important variant is the South African (SA) one. It is said that 90% of South African Covid19 infections are due to this variant. It has also been found that Oxford AZ vaccine is only 10% effective against this variant, in light of which South Africa has suspended it’s programme immunization with Oxford AZ! (2)

    While the UK variant has already spread across many countries of the world, bow according to latest news in Sri Lanka too, it will be only a matter of time before the SA variant does the same and arrive in Sri Lanka.

    In the light of these develooments are we still going to immunize 9 million plus Sri Lankans with Oxford AZ vaccine frim the Serum Institute?

    (1) https://www.newsfirst.lk/2021/02/12/uk-covid-strain-found-in-sri-lanka-dr-chandima-jeewandara/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

    (2) https://www-aljazeera-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2021/2/7/south-africa-suspends-astrazeneca-vaccine-rollout

Sri Lanka operators seek higher renewable tariffs, amid exchange rate expectations

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s renewable companies say they need tariff of 40 to 45 rupees a unit to sell power to the Ceylon Electricity Board and the agency owes them tens of billions of rupees for power sold in the past.

The association has strong exchange rate expectations based on the country’s dual anchor conflicting monetary regimes involving flexible inflation targeting with a reserve collecting target.

“In the coming year of course because of the rupee devaluation, I think the solar energy sector might require tariffs closer to RS 40 or RS 45, hydropower will also require tariffs on that scale,” Prabath Wickremasinghe President of the Small hydropower Developers Association told reporters.

“I think right now what they pay us is averaging around RS 15 to RS 20.”

Some of the earlier plants are paid only 9 rupees a unit, he said. The association there is potential to develop around 200 Mega Watts of mini hydros, 700 to 1000MW of ground mounted soar and about 1,000 rooftop solar.

In addition to the rupee collapse, global renewable energy costs are also up, in the wake of higher oil prices in the recent past and energy disruption in Europe.

The US Fed and the ECB have tightened monetary policy and global energy and food commodity price are now easing.

However in a few years the 40 to 45 rupee tariffs will look cheap, Wickremesinghe pointed out, given the country’s monetary policy involving steep depreciation.

From 2012 to 2015 the rupee collapsed from 113 to 131 to the US dollar. From 2015 to 2019 the rupee collapsed from 131 to 182 under flexible inflation targeting cum exchange rate as the first line of defence where the currency is deprecated instead of hiking rates and halting liquidity injections.

From 2020 to 2022 the rupee collapsed from 182 to 360 under output gap targeting (over stimulus) and exchange rate as the first line of defence.

“The tariffs are paid in rupees,” Wickremasinghe said. With the rupee continuing to devalue in other 5 years 40 rupees will look like 20 rupees.”

Sri Lanka has the worst central bank in South Asia after Pakistan. Both central banks started with the rupee at 4.70 to the US dollars, derived from the Reserve Bank of India, which was set up as a private bank like the Bank of England.

India started to run into forex shortages after the RBI was nationalized and interventionist economic bureaucrats started to run the agency. Sri Lanka’s and Pakistan’s central bank were run on discretionary principles by economic bureaucrats from the beginning.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka was set up with a peg with gold acting as the final restraint on economic bureaucrats, but it started to depreciated steeply from 1980 as the restraint was taken away.

Now under so-called ‘exchange rate as the first line of defence’ whenever the currency comes under pressure due to inflationary policy (liquidity injections to target an artificially low policy rate or Treasuries yields) the currency is depreciated instead of allowing rates to normalize.

Eventually rates also shoot up, as attempts are made to stabilize the currency which collapses from ‘first line of defence’ triggering downgrades along the way.

After the currency collapse, the Ceylon Electricity Board, finances are shattered and it is unable to pay renewable operators.

Unlike the petroleum, which has to stop delivery as it runs out of power, renewable operators continue to deliver as their domestic value added is higher.

However they also have expenses including salaries of staff to pay.

The CEB which is also running higher losses after the central bank printed money and triggered a currency collapse, has not settled renewable producers.

“In the meantime, we have financial issues with the investors and CEB owns more than 45 million rupees in the industry,” Warna Dahanayaka, Secretary of Mini Hydro Association, said at the conference.

“We can’t sustain because we can’t pay the salaries and we can’t sustain also because of the bank loans. Therefore, we are requesting the government to take the appropriate action for this matter.”

Sri Lanka and Pakistan have identical issues in the power sector including large losses, circular debt, subsidies due to depreciating currencies.

In Sri Lanka there is strong support from the economists outside government for inflationary policy and monetary instability.

The country’s exporters, expatriate workers, users of unofficial gross settlement systems, budget deficits and interbank forex dealers in previous crises have been blamed for monetary instability rather than the unworkable impossible trinity regime involving conflicting domestic (inflation target) and external targets (foreign reserves).

The country has no doctrinal foundation in sound money and there is both fear of floating and hard peg phobia among opinion leaders on both sides of the spectrum regardless of whether they are state or private sector like any Latin American country, critics say.

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Sri Lanka top chamber less pessimistic on 2023 GDP contraction

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s top business chamber said it was expecting an economic contraction of up to 2 percent in 2023, which is much lower than projected by international agencies.

“The forecast of 2023 is quite negative in terms of the international forecasters,” Shiran Fernando Chief Economist of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce told a business forum in Colombo.

“Our view is that there will be some level of contraction, may be zero to two percent. But I think as the year progresses in particular the second half, we will see consumption picking up.”

The World Bank is projecting a 4.2 percent contraction in 2023.

In 2022 Sri Lanka’s economy is expected to contract around 8 to 9 percent with gross domestic product shrinking 7.1 percent up to September.

Most businesses have seen a consumption hit, but not as much as indicated, Fernando said.

“Consumption is not falling as much as GDP in sense and we are seeing much more resilient consumer,” he said.

Sri Lanka’s economy usually starts to recover around 15 to 20 months after each currency crisis triggered by the island’s soft-pegged central bank in its oft repeated action of mis-targeting rates through aggressive open market operation or rejecting real bids at Treasuries auctions. (Colombo/Jan28/2023)

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Acuity Knowledge Partners with Sri Lanka office to be bought by Permira

ECONOMYNEXT – Permira, an investment fund with operations in Europe, US and Asia is buying a majority stake in Acuity Knowledge Partners, which has a 500 seat center in Sri Lanka for a undisclosed sum.

Equistone Partners Europe, from which Permira is buying the stake will remain a minority investor, the statement said.

In 2019, Equistone backed a management buyout of Acuity from Moody’s Corporation.

Acuity Knowledge Partners says it serves a global client base of over 500 financial services firms, including banks, asset managers, advisory firms, private equity houses and consultants.

“Despite the current challenges for the financial services sector, we have experienced continued growth and a strong demand for our solutions and services,” Robert King, CEO of Acuity Knowledge Partners, said.

“Given the significant demand within the financial services sector for value-added research and analytics, and the need for operational efficiency, with Permira’s deep experience in tech-enabled services and its global network, I am confident the business will continue to flourish.”

London headquartered Acuity has offices in the UK, USA, India, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, China and Dubai, UAE.

Equistone was advised on the transaction by Rothschild & Co and DC Advisory, and Latham & Watkins acted as legal counsel. Robert W. Baird Limited served as financial advisers to Permira, and Clifford Chance is acting as legal counsel.

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