Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Abu Dhabi's Etisalat to invest $163 million in S.Lanka

Abu Dhabi's Etisalat on Tuesday said it was investing 163 million dollars to expand its telecoms network in Sri Lanka's war-hit north and upgrade broadband services in urban areas.
Etisalat, also known as Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, acquired Sri Lanka's pioneering mobile operator Tigo last year for 207 million dollars as it saw growth opportunities in the South Asian country.
"We are investing 18.5 billion rupees (163 million dollars) to expand base stations with special emphasis on the north and east," Etisalat's Sri Lanka Chief Executive, Dumind Ratnayake told reporters.
The island's war-torn north and east have emerged as a lucrative hunting ground for business opportunities, after government forces crushed the Tamil Tiger rebels and ended 37 years of ethnic bloodshed last May.
Ratnayake said the network expansion would add 480 new base stations, taking the total to 1,580. Etisalat currently has nearly three million Sri Lankan customers, he said.
Besides Etisalat, the island's 15-million-user mobile market is mainly shared between Malaysia's Dialog Axiata, Mobitel Lanka, Hong Kong's Hutchison Whampoa and India's Bharti Airtel.
Sri Lanka telecom watchdog last week fixed a floor price of two Sri Lankan rupees (0.2 US cents) per minute for outgoing calls on mobile networks, after two years of stiff competition plunged the industry into massive losses.
The regulator said mobile phone operators reported a combined loss of 23 billion rupees (200 million dollars) in 2009, for the first time since cellular phones were introduced to Sri Lanka in 1989.
Ref: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iQcozR0TrSka6bfa6WLHJ4zCaq1A


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Wednesday, 14 July 2010

LSE sales boosted by Sri Lankan deal

London Stock Exchange posted a small increase in first-quarter revenue on Wednesday, after its acquisition of a Sri Lankan technology company last October offset a drop in fees from UK share trading.

The number came as the LSE launched a new post-trade market data service, offering real-time post-trade market data from both the London Stock Exchange and Borsa Italiana cash markets.
The move comes as there is pressure on exchanges and trading platforms to streamline the way they show and sell market data at a time of fragmented markets across Europe. Earlier this month the Federation of European Securities Exchanges, of which the LSE is not a member, pledged to separate the provision of pre- and post-trade data “at a reasonable cost” by year-end.

The LSE said it was planning on the assumption that market conditions would remain mixed after trading activity was low key in April and June but strong amid volatility in May.

The exchange – which faces fresh competition from NYSE Euronext’s decision to set up a UK-based platform to attract international company listings – said sales in the April to June period were £158.2m, 1 per cent higher than the same period in 2009.

Turnover from its UK cash equities business was down 14 per cent year on year at £24.4m, partly reflecting a reduction in charges. Sales from its broader capital markets business were down 6 per cent at £74.2m.

However, sales from the LSE’s technology services division almost doubled year on year to £12.7m. The increase was driven by the acquisition of Sri Lanka’s Millennium IT, as part of an overhaul of its trading technology.

Xavier Rolet, LSE chief executive, said good progress was being made in preparation for this autumn’s roll-out of Millennium’s trading system.

He said he was encouraged by the growth in trading on Turquoise, a platform in which the LSE took a majority stake through a deal announced last December.

The LSE said Turqouise’s UK market share had risen from 4.3 per cent in April to an average of 5.4 per cent in June.

Shares in the LSE gained 1.4 per cent to 613p in early morning trading on Wednesday.

Ref: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b19e38fa-8f16-11df-a4de-00144feab49a.html

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Saturday, 3 July 2010

Sri Lanka’s golden beaches a major tourist attraction

For the real sun seeker, the ultimate holiday destination this summer is the island paradise of Sri Lanka. An increasing number of tourists from the Middle East region are travelling to Sri Lanka in search of an exotic location with plenty of sun and clean, unspoilt & uncrowded beaches.

Destination Sri Lanka reported a major influx of Arab travellers as Middle East Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka surged 50 per cent in January, 2010 compared to the same period last year, according to statistics compiled by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and announced by the Middle East office of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Board (SLTPB).

For the sun-sea-and-sand enthusiast, Sri Lanka offers unbeatable value. Due to its location along the equatorial zone it has a tropical climate which varies with the regions and the seasons. Summer temperatures range between 24 to 26 degrees Celsius and sunny, blue skies are virtually guaranteed. The island nation offers several public beaches as well as five-star beach hotels and resorts.

“A full range of water sports can be enjoyed in Sri Lanka, including swimming, sailing, windsurfing, scuba diving, water-skiing and deep sea fishing. Equipment for all sports can be hired and professional instruction is available throughout the coastal areas,” said Heba Al Ghais Al Mansoori, Middle East Director of SLTPB based in Dubai.

Divers in Sri Lanka are treated to some of the most spectacular reefs in the world as also large schools of a variety of colourful fish. The islands coastlines have dozens of famous ship wrecks dating back centuries and also coral reefs, under sea caves & rock formations all around the island.

When even the most avid sun-bather needs a break from the beach, Sri Lanka offers a variety of options to unwind. Comfortable tours of the city are also possible with air-conditioned coaches and multi-lingual guides introducing you to the island’s unique culture.

All of the above attractions are combined with the highest standards of luxury and comfort and service with a smile. There are more than five thousand rooms available in graded establishments along the southern coast offering a wide range of options for high spenders as well as budget travellers.

A visit to Sri Lanka would hardly be complete without sampling the wild natural beauty of the country including the scenic waterfalls, spice and tea plantations, bird and wildlife reserves, tropical jungle excursions and the luxurious yet eco-friendly accommodation.

Ref: http://www1.albawaba.com/en/news/sri-lanka%E2%80%99s-golden-beaches-major-tourist-attraction-1

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