Wednesday, 18 December 2013 00:00
Watawala Plantations head plantation sector for the 6th consecutive year
Sunshine Holdings and its subsidiary Watawala Plantations PLC won two prominent awards at the 49th Annual Report Awards Competition, organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, for their outstanding performance in financial reporting in the last financial year.
Sunshine Holdings won the ‘Bronze’ award under the category for holding companies having five subsidiaries and less, while Watawala Plantations PLC won the Gold award in the plantations sector.
Watawala Plantations also set a fresh record this year, by winning the same award for the 6th consecutive year. The theme of this year’s award ceremony was ‘One Destination – Towards Integrated Financial Reporting’, and was organised with the primary aim of rewarding excellence in annual reporting in terms of disclosure, transparency and good governance.
“The secret of our success was great attention to detail,” says Sunshine Holdings Group Chief Financial Officer Lalit Vithanage. “When making our annual report we had our own standards in terms of disclosure and good governance etc and I believe they went hand in hand with the standards set by the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
“We wanted to make sure that even a lay person who has no in-depth knowledge of business can understand our annual report and that formula, I think, has worked,” Vithanage said.
This is just one aspect of the company’s success in financial reporting. The CFO says the company’s CSR projects, its contributions to the country’s economy, the value systems it has created in important aspects of their business such as taxes etc, have collectively contributed to the achievement.
Prior to the award ceremony, the Institute of Chartered Accountants specifically said that it considered ‘Sustainability’ as an important factor in assessing the success of a company. “Our annual report gives comprehensive details about our bio gas projects and cut-downs on the use of fossil fuels which speak volumes of the company’s approach towards sustainability,” the CFO explained.
Speaking of Watawala Plantations, its CFO Lalith Cooray said the company was actually competing with itself over the past six years. Lalith Cooray, who joined Watawala Plantations in 2006, was instrumental in setting the record of winning the ‘Gold’ award for the sixth consecutive year.
“As I joined the company I studied all our previous annual reports and mapped out all the important areas that we needed to address. Then, we implemented the solutions. Over the past six years, our annual reports contained a wide range of details from Chairman’s and Managing Director’s message to corporate good governance, risk assessment, financial analysis, Human Resource Management and compliance with taxation,” Cooray said.
As he pointed out, Watawala Plantation’s massive contribution to the country’s economy is an important parameter to assess the company’s success in creating values – which played a key role in winning the company the Gold award for the sixth consecutive time.
“As we took over nearly 17 years ago, Watawala had 157 million of negative reserves. Today our positive reserves stand at 3.3 billion! We, as a plantation company, employ 12,450 people. Our export revenue stands at $ 1.5 million. Moreover, our contribution to the entire agriculture sector of the country is 0.02%. These statistics, disclosed in our annual report, are testimony to the value we have created in the country’s economy,” he explained.
The CFO also stated that the company is strongly focused on maintaining the same standards in the future. As much as the company celebrates its success in financial reporting, the CFO says it is also important to ensure the “continuous growth” which will give the company an edge over its competitors.