Germany’s second largest bank closely studying Sri Lanka

Tuesday, 24 September 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Two German banks, four chambers and a healthcare firm inquiring Sri Lanka at CHOGM biz kick-off
  • Diplomatic Council, SIEMENS, HBC-Consulting and Eurec also in the league
Three German banks and four business chambers were among the top tier German businesses eagerly inquiring about opportunities in Sri Lanka. Commerzbank AG, the German bank of global reach, is currently exploring and studying Sri Lanka’s banking sector as well as the country’s development projects. “Commerzbank AG is Germany’s second largest bank and they have informed that they are conducting close studies of Sri Lanka’s banking sector as well as the country’s development,” said Sri Lanka Consul General in Frankfurt Pradip Jayawardene. “This development came to light during the forthcoming Commonwealth Business Forum kick-off summit in Frankfurt held on 6 September,” added an upbeat Jayawardene on 23 September speaking by phone from Frankfurt. The successful Commonwealth Business Forum kick-off event of 6 September at the Frankfurt Hilton focused on the forthcoming Commonwealth Business Forum in Colombo and was a result of several months of the efforts of Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Germany Sarath Kongahage, Frankfurt’s Sri Lanka Consul General Pradip Jayawardene, and Sri Lanka’s First Secretary (Commercial) in Frankfurt G.L Gnanatheva. It was attended by top tier German businesses including private sector firms such as Siemens, Eurex Frankfurt AG, business collectives such as DAW, chambers, academia, think tanks and even a state Ministry. First Secretary (Commercial) Gnanatheva led the event’s proceedings. Germany is the second largest European investors in Sri Lanka with over 170 approved projects. Many of the German enterprises that operate in Sri Lanka are global leaders in their field of specialization-including KRAMSKI GmbH, and BASF GmbH. German investments in Sri Lanka are protected by the bilateral Investment Protection Guarantee Agreement. According to the Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka, exports to Germany have increased by 15% since 2007, rising to $ 771.69 in 2012. Apparel and clothing accessories have been Lanka’s main export item to Germany contributing to more than 35%. The other major export items are solid tyres, tea, gloves, rubber tyres, natural rubber, and accessories of leather etc. Among the participants of the 6 September forum in Frankfurt, were reps from the top tier of German businesses such as DZ Bank AG (interested in exporting hi-tech machinery to SL), Commerzbank AG (second largest after Deutsche bank, looking for banking opportunities in Sri Lanka and studying Sri Lanka with a view of entering), Deutsche Bank-Hamburg (Deutsche Bank already has a Sri Lankan operation), Eurex Frankfurt AG (Europe’s largest derivatives market), the Frankfurt Stock Exchange holding firm), Swiss Asian Chamber of Commerce, ChemnitzI Chamber of Commerce and Industry, CAP Deutschland GmbH, OAV – German Asia-Pacific Business Association (a biz collective), Deutsch-Asiatischer Wirtschaftskreis e.V. (DAW-a biz collective), Diplomatic Council e.V. (a think tank), SIEMENS, HBC-Consulting, Eurec Technology, Global Healthcare Forum, VERWALTUNGSBÜRO BEKER (a real estate firm), Cismat GmbH, Andreas Wiegand International Investors and Consultants, University of Tier and the German Ministry of Technology and Development (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie). “This event, organised by the Sri Lanka Mission in Frankfurt on 6 September, was a business crowd-puller,” said a satisfied Consul General Jayawardene, and added: “Most of the participants from the business organisations present were responsible for their regional operations and issues. “Several German banks, three Chambers and a think tank were among the attendees at the Forum. Some of the participants have already registered for the Commonwealth business Forum 2013 to be held in Colombo November this year. A few others are considering their participation favourably. “No less than 48 German institutions have attended the Preparatory Summit for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Business Forum 2013, held in Frankfurt. There were many investment inquiries related to banking as well as power and energy sectors of Sri Lanka. “However, some of them, especially industry sector players, expressed their concerns over return on their cost of capital due to Sri Lanka’s exchange rate (increasing dollar value) and certain tariffs. Commerzbank AG is Germany’s second largest bank and they have informed that they are conducting close studies of Sri Lanka’s banking sector as well as the country’s development.” “Across most of the countries of the 2.2 billion commonwealth market and business, is almost the same rules of origin” said Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Germany Sarath Kongahage, addressing the Forum. “The added advantage is that you can forecast the same system of laws in the Commonwealth and this commonality is your first opportunity. Only the captains of Commonwealth’s business destiny. If you can continue to focus on the Commonwealth as a single trade bloc over the long term and work on it, you stand to reap strong benefits. The future of world trade and politics are based on the business potentials that countries offer. Together, let’s explore these opportunities,” Ambassador Kongahage added.