Opening of SMB Leasing Negombo Branch (from left): LAL Head of Marketing A. Paraneetharan, Chief Guest Umesh Gautam and SMBL CEO Sumedha Fernando
SMB Leasing marked a new chapter in its remarkable turnaround story inaugurating another branch in Negombo. The opening ceremony lead by Deputy Chairman Umesh Gautam and CEO Sumedha Fernando marks another milestone for the financial institution which recently moved into a new head office and was able to declare its first dividend to shareholders since going public.
Commenting on the occasion and speaking to media Deputy Chairman Umesh Gautam highlighted with great pride the firm’s journey to get to this point. “This branch opening is symbolic of the great strides this company has made. This journey began in 2010, when the institution faced significant burdens through high NPLs and low capital adequacies, a negative asset value, and mismanagement stemming from ties to the Ceylinco group. Uncertainty over the future of the company was high and the challenge before us was daunting and required a collective effort from all stakeholders.
“Thanks to the diligence and leadership of the management team, the hard work and commitment of all the employees, the vision and direction of the board and the support from the loyal customers the company was able to methodically and patiently address the key hurdles, right the wrongs, and steer the company into steadier waters.
“Since 2012, the company has been able to grow its income and net asset value every year organically and conservatively. Over these years, the company has hit a series of milestones that have focused on operational improvements and resetting the firm’s image as a foundation for growth. For the first time, we were able to declare a dividend to our shareholders for 2015 and a few months ago we moved the head office to a larger and prestigious space in Colombo 03 commensurate to our progress as a company.”
Gautam who is also CEO of Lanka Ashok Leyland states, “We feel that it is now the time to look outwards and grow SMB Leasing’s geographical footprint. It has always been in the pipeline but we believe the time is right to leverage SMB Leasing’s unique identity to a wider market. This branch opening is another step in the next phase of the SMB leasing story. We will capitalise on our long standing partnership with Lanka Ashok Leyland by earmarking several locations for branch expansion alongside or in close proximity to Lanka Ashok Leyland outlets. With so much to look forward to, I would like to extend our thanks to all our customers who have placed their faith and rewarded us thus far and give us the determination to carry forward on this journey.”