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Standard Chartered Sri Lanka finances MAS group to make Covid-19 face masks for US

PROTECTION BATTLE: Staff at Sri Lanka’s MAS Intimate producing PPE for export.

ECONOMYNEXT – Standard Chartered Sri Lanka said it had provided an 11 million US dollar credit from a concessionary Covid-19 facility for Colombo-based MAS Intimates to produce masks for the US in the fight against Coronavirus.

Standard Chartered had committed a billion US dollars to finance companies providing goods and services to help fight Covid-19 globally. Manufacturers, distributors, pharmaceutical firms, healthcare providers, firms that make ventilators, masks and sanitisers and other consumable can get the finances.

Firms that want to switch to products urgently needed to fight the pandemic are also included.

“Our global COVID-19 financing commitment enables us to extend preferential rates for manufacturers in need of financing in the form of working capital, loans, or import/export finance, to support business continuity and to fulfil orders and get their products to market,” Tamani Dias, Head, Commercial Banking at Standard Chartered Sri Lanka said.

“At a time when Sri Lankan exports are experiencing a steep decline, we believe our partnerships with manufacturers, such as MAS Intimates, will enable them to ramp up production and improve performance for the industry,ultimately boosting the national economy.”

Sri Lanka’s apparel firm had been badly hit by lockdowns in the West. But many firms are turning to making masks and other material.

Initially Sri Lanka’s National Medical Regulatory Authority, a price control agency started on a model proposed by a the late Senake Bibile, a well-known Marxist, banned the export of masks and put price controls, disrupting production and worsening shortages.

MAS group is a producer of lingerie and other apparel based in Sri Lanka with operations in several other locations.

“MAS Intimates has distinguished itself through its agility and ability to innovate,” Rajiv Dharmendra, CEO of MAS Intimates (Pvt) Ltd said.

“Despite the circumstances, we rose to the occasion and switched gears to focus on producing PPE to contribute to the national fight against COVID-19.

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“The apparel industry is heavily affected by the pandemic and the recovery will be slow. The loan extension from Standard Chartered, which has always been a supportive partner, comes at a crucial time for our business as we work towards that recovery.”

Bingumal Thewarathanthri, CEO of Standard Chartered Sri Lanka said the financing would help MAS Intimates in their fight against Covid-19. (Colombo/June07/2020)