From left: CSE CEO Rajeeva Bandaranaike, CSE Director Dilshan Wirasekera, CSE Director Dumith Fernando, CSE Chairman Ray Abeywardena, Commercial Bank Chairman Dharma Dheerasinghe, Commercial Bank Deputy Chairman Preethi Jayawardena, Commercial Bank Managing Director S. Renganathan and Commercial Bank Chief Operating Officer Sanath Manatunge
By Charumini de Silva
Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc rang the opening bell to commence trading at the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) yesterday to celebrate its 100th anniversary.
Commercial Bank Chairman Dharma Dheerasinghe
CSE CEO Rajeeva Bandaranaike
The event was part of a series of initiatives conducted by the bank to celebrate this significant milestone.
Special market opening ceremonies are organised by the CSE as a platform for listed companies to celebrate corporate milestones and as a call to action for causes and developments that are significant to Sri Lanka’s business community, economy and society at large.
Chairman Dharma Dheerasinghe, Deputy Chairman Preethi Jayawardena, Managing Director S. Renganathan, Chief Operating Officer Sanath Manatunge and the senior management of Commercial Bank were present at the event. The CSE was represented by Chairman Ray Abeywardena, Directors Dimuth Fernando and Dilshan Wirasekera, CEO Rajeeva Bandaranaike and the senior management of the Exchange.
Commercial Bank Plc Chairman Dharma Dheerasinghe said a country could become visible to the world depending on many indicators, and the performance of its stock market was prominent among these.
“A steady and positive stock market performance will draw in good quality investors, which is a key requirement for the development of the country,” he added.
Dheerasinghe said the stock market is much more than a place for brokers to buy and sell shares of companies, which is the common belief among the public and even within some in the business community.
“The stock exchange plays a far more pivotal role in allowing businesses access to capital and providing the opportunity for companies to enhance their visibility and public image,” he stressed.
He pointed out that being listed on the CSE has over the years contributed tremendously to its business apart from providing access to capital.
“The market exposure received through being listed on the CSE has not only brought us potential investors and new customers, but has also contributed in raising our brand equity and public image through positive publicity. Being listed on the CSE and being a consistent performer there has cemented our position as the largest private bank in Sri Lanka,” he said.
Dheerasinghe also noted that Commercial Bank had benefitted from capital raising tools such as debentures, IPOs and rights issues which have allowed it access to capital while maintaining reasonable control in its operational avenues. Employee share issues have also enabled it to reward employees and attract top talent.
Furthermore, as an organisation which is very concerned about good governance and transparency in all its operations, Dheerasinghe said the bank felt that the CSE was playing a very important role as a financial regulator for transparency amongst its listed companies.
CSE Chief Executive Officer Rajeeva Bandaranaike congratulated the bank for celebrating its centenary year and commended the progress made by the bank since its inception in 1920.
He noted that the bank had added to the value proposition of the stock market since listing in 1970 and has utilised the stock market effectively to fuel its growth through infusion of additional equity and debt capital and to be amongst the top five listed companies in terms of market capitalisation.
“Commercial Bank has continued to support the exchange with initiatives to promote and present the Sri Lankan capital market among local and foreign investors. I wish to take this opportunity to thank the leadership of the organisation for the support extended to the CSE,” Bandaranaike added.
Pix by Lasantha Kumara