LOLC Group bullish on regenerating the N&E – opens 3 new branches in North - 29 May 2012

Steeped in rich history of 32 years, LOLC’s strategic vision and agility has enabled its Companies to leverage growth opportunities evolving in the national landscape. With primary business interests in the Financial Services sector, the LOLC Group – one of the leading Blue Chip Companies of Sri Lanka – has increasingly shown strong balance sheet and profit growth over the past few years.

With over 60% of its revenues coming from financial services alone, LOLC Group is poised to successfully ride the development wave sweeping across the nation. Its strategic business sense has enabled the Company to move forward in its vision to uplift the country’s Micro & SME sectors, with special focus in developing the regional economies.

In this context, the LOLC Group has actively focused its attention on developing the post war, Northern and Eastern landscapes. Speaking, Mr. Kapila Jayawardena, Group Managing Director/CEO of the LOLC Group said, “In the present post war context, one of the priority efforts at national level was the development of Northern and Eastern provinces. Many praiseworthy efforts to develop domestic banking and non-banking activities, transport and communication, tourism, livestock and agri business, fisheries, infrastructural upgrade, have taken place in these regions, which in previous years took much of the brunt of the ravaging war. Now, the North and East are on a fast tracked developmental phase towards inclusive growth.”

Explaining the importance of private sector involvement in the national development process, Mr. Jayawardena was of the view that the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has provided far sighted and favorable policy direction, enabling them to increase their organic business growth in the regions, thereby, increasingly promoting private sector participation in national development initiatives.

“The country’s road map for development is clear. Especially in the North and East context, we have seen accelerated infrastructural and business development initiatives carried out by both the Banking and the non-banking sectors. Extensive efforts had been made to provide diverse financial solutions to the people of these provinces. Moreover, by providing financial accessibility to micro segments of this region, we have been able to uplift the entrepreneurial activities of the North and East. We have seen greater integrated efforts by both the private and public sectors, working in unison, to see the country’s regional landscape developed. This has provided much needed boost to fast track the country’s development plan as a whole. ”

Creating linkages between national level development initiatives and the core businesses of the LOLC Group, Mr. Jayawardena expressed the following; “In this backdrop of rapid national development, we at LOLC, with our group synergies within and amongst our Companies – namely, Lanka ORIX Finance PLC, LOLC Micro Credit Ltd., LOLC Factors Ltd, Commercial and Finance Ltd., Commercial Factors Ltd., Al-Falaah Islamic Financial Services Unit, and LOLC Insurance Company Ltd., - have paid close attention to partnering with local and foreign agencies to develop regional economies.

To serve the rural markets we have fast expanded our footprint, which has now reached a total of 185 locations as at 31st of March 2012. Out of this, we have established 39 main branches, post office service centres, Islamic financial services units, factoring outlets in the North and East, which amounts to over 20% of our total reach. In addition, we have opened 3 more Lanka ORIX Finance branches last week in Nelliady, Chunnakam and Chavakachcheri.”

“Through our expanding branch network we have provided innovative financial products and services best suited to customers of these newly emerged economies. For instance, earlier this year, we introduced an innovative working capital product named Gold Cheque Financing, where we looked at providing working capital loans against gold items, providing a feasible option for entrepreneurs who lack property or vehicles as collateral. Similarly, Lanka ORIX Finance has entered into a partnership with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for poverty alleviation and to improve the economic status of rural communities. In addition, focusing on our customers from the Islamic communities in the Eastern Province, we have reintroduced our Shari’ah compliant children’s savings account – Al-Falaah Junior – with many attractive benefits especially for children of Islamic families.” He explained.

Adding further, Mr. Jayawardena said “In expanding our products and services portfolio, we have made necessary arrangements to provide the best of our services for our customers; going that extra mile to understand their specific financial requirements and catering to it.”

The LOLC Group recorded Rs. 9.3Bn PBT for the nine months ended December last year with excellent growth of 30% compared with the previous year. The resultant PAT recorded a 31% growth over the last year at Rs. 7.9Bn. “Future trends are promising, where we will continue to maintain sustainable business growth for the long term. We expect to see similar results in the fourth quarter in the FY ending March 31st 2012.” The Group Managing Director reiterated.

In conclusion, Mr. Jayawardena expressed his confidence that Sri Lanka, in its heightened development phase, is poised to reap long term prospects for developing the regional economies, especially those in the war torn areas. “Economic development efforts together with social and community development are two vital factors which will take this development discourse further. By providing the required infrastructural and technical knowledge and support for the people of the regions to find solutions for their specific requirements, we are building greater partnerships and dialogues between people of the communities and private/public agencies to help take the country forward.” He concluded.

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