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Sunday October 1st, 2023

Sri Lanka Nestlé unit June profits fall amid weaker sales

ECONOMYNEXT – Net profits at food and beverage multinational Nestlé Lanka Plc, fell 48.9 percent from a year earlier to 375.8 million rupees in the June quarter, amid a slowdown in revenue, the firm said in its interim financial report.
Earnings per share for the June quarter was 6.99 rupees. The firm’s share closed trading on Thursday at 1,340 rupees, 10 cents higher. Earnings per share for the six months to June were 17.66 rupees.
Revenue fell 6.5 per cent from a year earlier to 8.4 billion rupees in the June quarter from a year earlier and cost of sales contracted 2.4 percent to 5.7 billion rupees, leading to gross profits declining 13.9 percent to 2.8 billion rupees.
Sri Lanka’s consumer sentiment soured in the June quarter amid the Easter Sunday attacks, following a constitutional crisis in the December quarter. Most firms selling fast moving consumer goods are reporting lower profitability in the June quarter.
Nestlé’s finance costs grew 28.8 percent to 90 million rupees due to borrowings for capital expenditure and the firm stopping the capitalization of borrowing costs after it finished building a new coconut milk processing plant. 
Long-term borrowings remained flat at 2 billion rupees as at end June from the start of the financial year in January, while short-term borrowings grew to 2.2 billion rupees from 1.5 billion rupees. (Colombo/Aug09/2019)

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Sri Lanka National Christian Council opposes Online Safety Bill

ECONOMYNEXT – The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) in a statement on the Online Safety Bill, said that the existing legal regime is adequate to deal with instances of harmful speech, making it unjustifiable to enact such “stringent laws”.

The Council called upon the government to withdraw the bill immediately.

The body expressed “deep concern” over the proposed bill, detailing its potential to curtail freedom of speech and how, according to the Council, the piece of legislature is inconsistent with the principles of democracy.

“The bill proposes the establishment of an entity named the Online Safety Commission without provisions to guarantee its independence and impartiality,” the statement said.

Chapter 3 imposes restrictions on online communication of certain statements, many of which are vague and overbroad, leaving room for executive control and the curtailing of legitimate criticism and dissent that are basic features of democracy, the statement said.

“The laws granting wide discretion to the executive and its investigative agencies with expansive reach have been misused in the past.”

The Council said that the bill was not drafted with the process of public consultation and discussion, which might have ensured the bill would be less draconian in nature.

“The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka calls upon the government to withdraw this anti-human rights and anti-democratic bill immediately.” (Colombo/Sep30/2023)

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Sri Lanka to implement new vehicle revenue licence issuing system

ECONOMYNEXT – A new system of issuing vehicle licences called eRL 2.0 is to be implemented in 5 provinces, excluding the Western Province, from 3 October onwards.

The new system is to be implemented beginning in the North West, South, North Central, Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces, respectively. The existing vehicle licence issuing system eRL 1.0 will continue to be used in the Western Province.

The issuing of revenue licences islandwide at Department of Motor Traffic head offices and regional branches will be temporarily halted on October 2.

The facility of obtaining vehicle permits online will also be temporarily halted on 6 October till midnight.

The Sri Lanka Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) and the Provincial Motor Traffic Departments are working to modernize the current vehicle revenue license issuance system.

The implementation of the new eRL 2.0 system is expected to be an important step in the digitalisation of Sri Lanka. (Colombo/Sep30/2023)

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Sri Lankan Airlines flights cancelled as aircraft grounded

ECONOMYNEXT – State-run SriLankan Airlines has apologized to passengers who were stranded as multiple aircraft were grounded at the same time.

The airline said it has strict procedures which requires aircraft to be grounded when technical issues are discovered.

“Unfortunately, in this case we suffered a number of groundings at the same time,” the airline said.

“We apologize for the disruption and inconvenience caused and assure all our loyal customers that we are working diligently to minimize such occurrences moving forward.”

The airline said it was booking passengers on other airlines while some have been accommodated at hotels. (Colombo/Sept30/2023)

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