2018’s first ‘Invest Sri Lanka’ Forum opens in Singapore today

Year 2018’s first-ever ‘Invest Sri Lanka’ Forum will kick off in Singapore today, with the country making a fresh effort to woo greater interest from international fund managers and businesses based in the city state.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will keynote the Forum, for which over 400 fund managers and investors have registered to attend. Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry S. Eswaran is also expected to address the Forum.

The Colombo Stock Exchange, the main organiser of the event to be held at the Four Seasons Hotel, said the number of registrations was the highest in the ‘Invest Sri Lanka’ Forum series.

“This reflects the growing interest to listen to the emerging Sri Lanka story and the resultant opportunities. The recent signing of the Free Trade Agreement between Sri Lanka and Singapore has given added impetus,” CSE Chairman Ray Abeywardena, who is Singapore, told Daily FT.

He also said that the number of companies participating at 17 was a record as well.

They are John Keells Holdings Plc, Commercial Bank Plc, HNB Plc, Hayleys Plc, Hemas Holdings Plc, Sampath Bank Plc, DFCC Plc, NDB Plc, Access Engineering Plc, Tokyo Cement Lanka Plc, Seylan Bank Plc, Lion Brewery Plc, LAUGFS Gas Plc, Singer Sri Lanka Plc, Softlogic Holdings Plc, Sunshine Holdings Plc and Walkers CML.

Today’s Forum will feature an impressive line-up of international and Lankan experts as speakers and panellists.

They include the Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Singapore Nimal Weeraratne, CSE Chairman Ray Abeywardena, CEO Rajeeva Bandaranaike, SEC Director General Vajira Wijegunawardane, Aberdeen Standard Investments Managing Director Hugh Young, CGEC Port City Colombo Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Liang Thow Ming, Kuok (Singapore) Ltd. Chairman Kuok Khoon Ean, DBS Group Research MD and Chief Economist Taimur Baig, Softlogic Holdings Head of Investments Niloo Jayatilake and Singapore-Sri Lanka Business Association President Angelo Perera.

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka-Singapore Business Association are the co-organisers of the event. The Singapore Business Federation is the Strategic Partner.

The Forum is part of CSE’s overseas roadshows which have triggered robust foreign portfolio investments to the Colombo stock market to date. Apart from Singapore, the other cities where previous events have been held include London, New York, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Sydney, Dubai, Switzerland and Mumbai.

As of last week net foreign inflow to the CSE so far in 2018 was over Rs. 6 billion though in recent days the market has seen a bit of foreign selling.

In 2017 there was record foreign buying of Rs. 112 billion and net buying of Rs. 17.65 billion in the secondary market and a record total of Rs. 40.1 billion when inflow of Rs. 22.46 billion is factored in the primary market. The previous highest total net foreign inflow was Rs. 21.7 billion in 2014.

CSE Chairman Abeywardena said Sri Lankan equities remain attractive for foreign investors hence continued interest as a frontier market.

A host of organisations are supporting today’s Forum as well. The Platinum sponsors are DBS Bank Singapore, Capital Alliance Ltd., Wilmar Holdings and B.P. de Silva Holdings, Singapore. The Gold sponsors are CT CLSA, Acuity, Asia Securities and Ceylon Guardian and the Bronze sponsor is Swellings Group.

The promotional partners are the Sri Lanka High Commission in Singapore, the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce, the Singapore Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka.