Sri Lankan economy to see strong growth from 2011

Nov 10, 2010 12:00 AM

Sri Lanka's post-war economy is poised to sustain double-digit growth from 2011 onwards, as the island rebuilds its conflict-hit areas and adds new infrastructure to the rest of the country, stockbroker's Heraymila Securities Limited recently said. Heraymila Securities, a unit of Dubai-based Heraymila Investments which launched today in Colombo, has come up with a model for post-war economies, which suggests an average yearly-growth of 6 % that could go up to 12 %.

The International Monetary Fund now recognizes Sri Lanka as a middle-income emerging market and tips this year's economic expansion to double to seven percent from 3.5 % reported in 2009. IMF forecasts is just under the Central Bank of Sri Lanka's expectation of around 7.2 % growth this year, based on higher economic contribution from the war-hit north and eastern areas.
“Our bottom-up analysis of the war-affected regions of Sri Lanka, suggests the economy may be 13 % larger, without accounting for additional multiplier benefits,” said Heraymila Securities Consultant Economist, Shamubeel Eaqub, addressing media personnel at the company’s launch press conference today.

Heraymila, which was the first international stockbroker to invest in Sri Lanka weeks after the near four-decade long war ended, predicts the Indian Ocean island's economic growth can accelerate by 1 to 2 % over the next decade. A burst of growth for Sri Lanka will initially come from investment in infrastructure, construction and other business activities, according to Heraymila's economic forecast model.

The long term benefits will emerge from sustained growth in household income and spending; higher export earnings; better economic infrastructure and sustained peace.
“Post war recoveries of countries that had protracted wars are usually impressive, and Sri Lanka is easily poised to sustain double-digit growth from 2011 onwards,” said Shamubeel Eaqub. Heraymila Investments currently manages over $ 260 mm as one of the many investment vehicles of Abdulaziz Al Mashal which has investments in private and public companies throughout the world. Some of the key investment areas include banks, real estate and private equity. A leasing arm, Heraymila Leasing, is engaged in aircraft leasing for European commercial airlines. In 2005, Abdulaziz Al Mashal made his first foray in Sri Lanka, acquiring a 10 % stake in Commercial Bank of Sri Lanka for $ 25 mm. The maiden investment still remains in his portfolio and together with Heraymila Investments have since added strategic stakes in John Keells Holdings and Nations Trust Bank.

“We came to Sri Lanka at the height of the war and have gradually expanded our presence, which shows we are a committed long-term investor,” said Vinod Krishnan, Managing Director Heraymila Investments and Heraymila Securities.  With the Colombo Stock Exchange growing in excess of 130 % since the war ended, Heraymila sees a niche for innovative wealth management products and a relationship-oriented client-broker approach to portfolio management. Mr. Krishnan said Heraymila plans to offer investment banking and capital market services, leveraging on the group's market intelligence and distribution reach in 33 countries. It will also be a platform for Sri Lankan companies to tap global capital markets.

However, investment advice to clients will be backed by solid professional research. “Dependable customer service through a handpicked team of qualified investment advisors and strong ethics will be the cornerstone of our business practice, said Mr. Ravi Abeysuriya, Chief Executive Officer of Heraymila Securities Limited.

Heraymila hope to make a transformational change to the capital markets in Sri Lanka by introducing an array of innovative wealth management, investment banking and capital markets products similar to developed markets and be the “wealth catalysts” to the Nation.
Mr. Abeysuriya brings over two decades of financial sector experience to Heraymila Securities, having being part of the senior management team at a cross section of top local companies, including a stint as Country Head to launch Sri Lanka's first global rating agency, Fitch Ratings Lanka. He said wealth creation is not limited to picking stocks in a booming market, but guiding clients to weather the storm even in the downturn.

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