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Nation Lanka Finance records impressive growth in 2018/19 FY outperforming industry expectations

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Thursday, 11 July 2019 00:04

Nation Lanka Finance PLC has recorded an impressive performance for the 2018/19 financial year, attributed to an increase in the lending portfolio and the operating income driven by management strategy changes.

Despite several macroeconomic and regulatory setbacks, the company’s growth came on the back of far sighted and timely management strategies to shift its focus to asset backed lending products, streamlining and efficiency improvement of all key processes through technology and thanks to a series of human resource strengthening across the branch network.

The Company reported a Rs. 167 million profit in the current year recovering from a negative Rs. 51 million in 2017/2018 FY, according to the Company’s Annual Report released last week.

“Despite challenges, Nation Lanka Finance has maintained a positive sentiment and recorded a reasonable year of performance,” said Victor Ramanan, Chairman (Non-Executive) of Nation Lanka Finance PLC releasing its 2018/2019 annual report at the recent press briefing on the Company’s annual report release. 

Ramanan who has been serving the NLF Board since 2011, he is a versatile marketer with 31 years of experience working in UK, Kuwait, Dubai, Bahrain, Germany, France, USA, Sri Lanka and has 18 years of experience in IT, HR and Business Development in the oil and gas, logistics and real estate sectors across the globe. He currently holds the positions of Deputy Chairman at Nawaloka College of Higher Studies Ltd. and Millennium Housing Developers PLC, and serves as a Director at Nawaloka Hospitals PLC.

Ramanan added that during the 2018/19 financial year, the management of Nation Lanka Finance PLC’s main objective has been to align itself with the Central Bank directives and regulatory guidelines, whilst ensuring business continuity and growth to safeguard stakeholder interest.

“We are proud to have achieved our objectives and managed to strengthen our business within many strategic areas that would drive the company to greater achievements in the coming years,” Ramanan said.

The lending portfolio of the company was the biggest contributor to its growth, with leasing and hire purchase leading the increased revenue board. In 2018/2019 FY leasing grew by 175%, from Rs. 569 million last year to Rs. 2.3 billion in the year under review. Hire purchases grew by 68%, from Rs. 113 million last year to Rs. 190 million in the current year. The company also benefited from the net interest income of Rs. 1.2 billion rupees in 2018/19 FY.

The Company’s Patron and outgoing Chairman Deshamanya Jayantha Dharmadasa added that during the last seven years, Nation Lanka Finance PLC has faced many challenges including macroeconomic, political uncertainties, industry competition and internal impediments and yet came out strong and positive. 

Dharmadasa retired in keeping with CBSL guidelines of retirement, upon reaching the ceiling age of serving as Chairman in a finance company.

During the financial year that ended, the company also managed to tackle Ceylinco Towers and First Lanka Treasuries that posed some difficulties in divestment due to inherited complexities. 

While First Lanka Treasuries was disposed of, Ceylinco Towers was rebranded under a new Board with the intention of offering specialised products in specific sectors that are lucrative.

“The year was particularly challenging where political uncertainties, exchange rate fluctuations and implementation of SLFRS based provisions as well as market instabilities that affected the overall finance sector performance throughout most of the year and in the final quarter of the year regulatory pressures affected the Company’s overall performance,” said Nation Lanka Finance CEO Jayantha Perera.

“It was a tough year. But being able to anticipate the macroeconomic and market challenges, the Management was able to adapt and introduce policies and strategies that steered the risks away from the company. The Company strategy was to provide shareholder returns, curtail overheads and move more into asset backed lending in order to mitigate the impact of the downturn in the economy,” Perera further said.

In 2018/19 many finance companies faced financial hurdles with some closing business due to heavy pressures from regulators and macroeconomic uncertainties which led to investor confidence issues combined with premature uplifting of deposits.

Last year, Nation Lanka Finance was awarded the ‘Fastest Growing Leasing Company in Sri Lanka – 2018’ award and the ‘Most innovative Leasing Product (Nation OD) in Sri Lanka – 2018’ awarded by Global Banking and Finance Review.

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