Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 29 June 2014





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

At third Swiss-Sri Lanka Business Forum in Zurich:

Financial houses keen on investing in Sri Lanka

The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Germany in collaboration with the Swiss Asian Chamber of Commerce, Switzerland successfully concluded the third Swiss Sri Lanka Business and Investment Forum 2014 June 12 at the Zurich Yacht Club in Zurich, Switzerland.

Dr. Robert Chanson, Chairman/Biomass Group, Zurich is flanked by Governor, Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Ajith Nivard Cabraal and Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Switzerland and Germany, Sarath Kongahage.

A cross section of delegates

After 30 years of terrorism in Sri Lanka, the Swiss based industrialists and financial houses present at the forum have shown an increasing interest in Sri Lanka's investment and business opportunities. Because of the conducive environment after the end of terrorism in the country, Sri Lanka has become the most popular destination focus for their businesses among all other emerging economies of the world.

In harnessing the increasing interest on Sri Lanka's businesses, the Embassy has initiated the annual business event for the sharing of bilateral business and investment opportunities of both Sri Lanka and Switzerland from the year 2012 on the interest for Swiss investors and industrialists. The first and the second Swiss Sri Lanka Business forums were held in the year 2012 and 2013 on the themes of "Sri Lanka: A Land of thousand and one Opportunities" and "Foreign Direct Investment: Needs, Possibilities and Strategies" respectively. The third Forum was meant to be an ongoing business oriented dialogue, to address the needs of as well as possibilities and strategies for increased foreign direct investment from Europe to Sri Lanka.

Due to the overwhelming interest and the outcome of the previously held forums on Sri Lankan businesses among the Swiss businessmen, the third Forum was focused on Sri Lanka's investment climate, country specific risks and the exchange rate stability.

The keynote speaker, the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, outlining Sri Lanka's monetary policy, spoke on Sri Lanka's investment climate and the country specific risks and exchange rate stability, for which it seeks to attract foreign investment, and explained how most of the key economic figures like inflation, external debt and growth have improved over the last 5 years. He pointed towards the policies and support mechanisms with the goal to make life easy for foreign capital investment such as the absence of limitations and complications to repatriate profits. He referred to the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka designed to be a 'one-stop-shop' for all needs of industries and investors seeking to engage themselves in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan monetary authorities represented in the forum, the interactive discussion and the networking session with the Governor were Dr. W.M. Hemachandra, Assistant Governor, Dr. (Ms.) Roshan Perera, Deputy Director/Economic Research, and Dr. P.K.G. Harischandra, Deputy Director/Economic Research of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

Apart from the presentations on Sri Lanka, the Development Financial Institution of the Swiss Government (SIFEM) and WM Partners Vermögensverwaltungs AG Zurich made presentations on investment strategies of global investors and their engagement in South Asia, particularly Sri Lanka, in their perspectives. Thomas Germann, Manager of WM Partners, explained that their interesting focus of the fund and true performance driver are investments in the subsidiaries of multinationals listed on the local stock exchanges such as Colombo Stock Exchange and other key frontier markets. Jan-Henrik Kuhlmann of SIFEM acknowledged the remarkable economic progress Sri Lanka has made in the past years.

Dr. Robert Chanson, Chairman/Biomass Group, Zurich shared his story of his successful investment in the renewable energy sector wide across the country in Sri Lanka.

The panel discussion was held with interactive Q & A raised from the presentations and on the present investment & business climate in Sri Lanka. Mark Dangel, Sri Lanka Chapter President of the Swiss Asian Chamber of Commerce, chaired the forum and moderated the panel discussion. Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Switzerland and Germany, Sarath Kongahage made his opening address, welcoming the platform to increase an exclusively business-focused dialogue to foster more cooperation between the two countries.

He emphasized the five-hubs-development policy of the Mahinda Chinthana and explained that Sri Lanka has become the gateway for all roads leading to emerging Asian opportunities for European investors.

Dr. Urs Lustenberger, the President of the Swiss Asian Chamber of Commerce, delivered the welcome address of the event and stressed the increasing awareness of the members of Swiss Asian Chamber on Sri Lankan opportunities.

Another important event of the forum was the formation of a private equity fund to invest in Sri Lanka. Vajira Kulatileka, CEO/NDB Capital Holdings PLC, Sri Lanka, held the presentation to the Swiss investors on the need of this new asset class and elaborated on the growing opportunities and strengths of this private equity. Sri Lanka needed an estimated 80 - 90 Billion USD in form of equity and debt over the coming 10 years in order to finance and produce the anticipated growth rates of over 8% p.a., he said. Altogether 41 Swiss participants from financial houses, capital and wealth management companies, chambers of Commerce, legal consultants, investment advisers and leading banks attended the event. The forum led to several-follow on meetings on Sri Lankan opportunities. During his visit to Zürich, the Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, too had two closed-door meetings with the Governor of the Swiss Central Bank, Dr. Thomas J. Jordan, and Walter Kielholz, Chairman / Zurich Reinsurance Company and former President / Credit Suisse Group, Switzerland. Finally, the Swiss Asian Chamber appreciated the excellent collaboration provided by the Embassy of Sri Lanka (Trade) in Germany for materializing this successful event and concluded with the assurance to assist in the positioning of Sri Lanka Businesses internationally at the World Economic Forum in Asia and Davos eventually.


Donate Now |
LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lank
Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL)

| News | Editorial | Finance | Features | Political | Security | Sports | Spectrum | Montage | Impact | World | Obituaries | Junior | Youth |


Produced by Lake House Copyright © 2014 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

Comments and suggestions to : Web Editor