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Updated January 20, 2020

(Market info at close)

Local News:
Sri Lanka likely to target US$2bn FDI this year (Daily Mirror)
Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment (BOI) is likely to set a US$2bn foreign direct investment (FDI) target for 2020E, as the estimated FDI inflows have fallen to around US$1.2bn last year, below the initial US$3bn target, amid Easter Sunday attacks and political uncertainty. It was further indicated that the BOI is also awaiting the government’s policy direction to move ahead with two big-ticket oil refinery projects, which were signed by the previous regime.

THASL to lobby for reintroduction of minimum room rate for city hotels (Daily FT)
The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) is to lobby the Government to reintroduce a minimum room rate (MRR) for Colombo city hotels, considering the heavy undercutting prevailing amongst them amidst low tourist arrivals. THASL President Sanath Ukwatte has stated that the industry is seriously considering lobbying for a minimum price mechanism to be introduced, in order to save the hotel owners and for the staff to be able to earn a decent service charge.

IRD to entertain voluntary registration for VAT (Daily FT)
The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has announced that as instructed by the Finance Ministry it will entertain voluntary registration for Value Added Tax (VAT). VAT registration of persons whose taxable supply has never exceeded Rs.75mn for any taxable period ended prior to 31 December 2019, was deactivated w.e.f 01 January 2020. However the IRD has now indicated that any person whose taxable supply is less than Rs.75mn per quarter or Rs.300mn per annum can request for registration for VAT.

Global News:
Trump says Iran ‘appears to be standing down’ after missile attacks on US targets in Iraq (CNBC)
President Donald Trump has stated that Iran “appears to be standing down” after it had fired a barrage of missiles at American targets in Iraq in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Gen. Qasem Soleimani. Further, the President has also indicated that the U.S. will continue to look at its options, and will immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime

Corporate Announcement:
Dialog Finance (CALF) disclosed further details regarding the proceeds received through its rights issue. Accordingly, it was disclosed that the funds which have not been utilised have been invested in banks in the form of fixed deposits, call deposits and money market savings accounts.

Corporate Announcements (Related To Minimum Public Float Requirements):
Abans Finance (AFSL), Kelsey Developments (KDL) and Janashakthi Insurance (JINS) disclosed that they were not in compliance with the minimum public shareholding as required by the listing rules of the Main Board of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) as at 31 December 2019.

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