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Sri Lanka’s John Keells Holdings gets US$175mn from IFC

ECONOMYNEXT – Washington-based International Finance Corporation said it will invest 175 million US dollars in Sri Lanka’s based John Keells Holdings to help it expand retail and hotels businesses including in the Maldives.

“I believe partnering with an internationally reputed financial institution such as IFC, particularly at this juncture of time, is a vote of confidence for JKH and the country, at large,” Krishan Balendra, Chairman of John Keells Holdings said in a statement.

“Sri Lanka’s growth prospects in the medium to long-term remain positive and we are confident that, as always, we have the strength and resolve to keep moving forward with our investment pipeline despite the current period of unprecedented challenges where the outlook is now more positive.”

The credit will be the largest ever in Sri Lanka by the IFC.

The funds will go to expand JKH’s supermarket chain in Sri Lanka and hotels refurbishment in the country and also in the Maldives.

JKH plans to open about 100 new supermarkets in Sri Lanka over the next three to five years, with a focus on less developed areas.

This will benefit small and medium enterprise as well as farmers who will become a part of the supply chains of new stores.

“IFC support will enable JKH…to continue to invest, and ultimately create more jobs and work for small and medium sized businesses, despite the challenging economic headwinds and uncertainty over COVID-19,” Amena Arif, IFC Country Manager for Sri Lanka and the Maldives said.

“It will also send a strong and positive message to the investor community that capital investments in Sri Lanka and Maldives are viable at this challenging time and are important to help the economies and the community to build resilience for the future.”

JKH hotels in Maldives will be comply with IFC’s ‘EDGE Buildings’ green standard.

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Before the Coronavirus pandemic, tourism was Maldives top forex earner, accounting for three quarters of the nation’s gross domestic product. In Sri Lanka tourism was the third largest source of foreign exchange. (Colombo/June23/2020)