SLT mitigates large foreign exchange loss, additional taxes


by Sanath Nanayakkare

Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) has been able to mitigate the effects of a large foreign exchange loss arising from the steep depreciation of the rupee and the additional taxes imposed on mobile operators as SLT Group revenue in 2015 rose by a modest 4.6%, while operating profit increased by18.9% over the previous year, the Annual Report 2015 issued by SLT stated.

The Report has been made on concepts, principles and guidance given in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines G4, International Integrated Reporting Framework and Smart Integrated Reporting Methodology TM, where applicable, it was stated.

Issuing a message to shareholders, Kumarasinghe Sirisena, SLT PLC chairman stated," Shareholders will be glad to note that despite the temporary setback, SLT will be declaring a first and final dividend for the year 2015 which is on par with the dividend declared in the previous year."

Group CEO Dileepa Wijesundare stated, "SLT and the Group posted revenue growths of 4.1% and 4.6% respectively over the previous year, while operating profits grew at 6.5% and 18.9% respectively. While these are commendable results achieved in a competitive environment, they did not translate into bottom line growths in terms of profitability, primarily due to the unprecedented 9% depreciation of the Sri Lanka rupee during the year which impacted on our foreign currency borrowings. The internally generated foreign currency inflows could not fully neutralize this."

Explaining the measures taken to manage risks, Wijesundare said, "We have taken a closer look at our risk management system. We have appointed a Group Treasury Committee and are reducing our dollar denominated borrowings. SLT has weathered many a storm in the past 150 years and more so as a pioneer and trailblazer in ICT in Sri Lanka. We face the future with confidence and commit ourselves to deliver the full benefits of broadband connectivity to all Sri Lankans, while continuing to deliver significant direct as well as indirect contributions to the Sri Lankan economy."

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