Sri Lanka invites KSA to set up oil refinery

Updated 24 December 2015
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Sri Lanka invites KSA to set up oil refinery

RIYADH: Sri Lanka has invited Saudi Arabia to set up a petroleum refinery in the southern part of the island, the country’s Central Bank Gov. Arjuna Mahendran said here.
In addition to meeting the needs of Sri Lanka, he said such a refinery could tap markets in neighboring countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Mahendran, an economist and a top banker, who was leading a high-powered delegation to the Kingdom, comprising chairmen and CEOs of commercial and state banks in Colombo, ended his Saudi visit on Wednesday.
Mahendran held talks with Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) Gov. Fahad bin Abdullah Al-Mubarak on Tuesday.
He said that the proposed refinery could be set up in Hambantota, some 300 miles away from Colombo. Hambantota hosts a full-fledged sea port, which could export crude and refined oil to other countries.
He said that international players such as SABIC and Saudi Aramco could easily come into this project.
Mahendran also said that Saudi construction companies could participate in infrastructure developments in the island.
“We need more schools, hospitals, houses and elders’ homes,” he said .
To help expatriates working in the Kingdom, Mahendran said he was negotiating with the SAMA governor to enable Sri Lankans’ remittances from Saudi Arabia to reach their banks at home in 60 seconds. “SAMA has responded positively to consider opening the payment gateway to enable this services in a year or two,” he added.
Speaking about Sri Lanka, he said : “A new chapter has opened under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena, who maintains inter-ethnic and inter-religious harmony in the country.
Two rival parties have joined together in running the government and to work for rapid development.
The unity government gives political stability and builds confidence among foreign investors, he said,
The Board of Investments has introduced a package of incentives to viable ventures, he added.
He pointed out that around 550,000 Sri Lankans working in Saudi Arabia remit some SR10 billion annually.
According to Saudi officials, Sri Lankan was ranked as the third country in terms of outward remittances to home countries.
“Although, we have a tiny population here compared to other countries, law-abiding Sri Lankans send their monies through official channels,” Mahendran said.
This is appreciated by the host as well as their country of origin, he added.
Explaining the purpose of his visit, he said the government is interested in projecting its potential and explore new areas of cooperation with the Kingdom.
“We are exporting tea for some $800 million to the Kingdom. This could be improved and there are several other areas where the two countries could benefit from viable projects,” he added.
Representatives from leading banks such as Bank of Ceylon, People’s Bank, Commercial Bank, HNB, NDB, Amanah, Seylan Bank, Sampath Bank and Deutsche Bank AG accompanied the governor.


Boeing reports jump in 1Q profits, lifts 2018 forecast

Updated 25 April 2018
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Boeing reports jump in 1Q profits, lifts 2018 forecast

  • The aerospace giant reported that earnings surged 56.9 percent from the first three months of 2017
  • Boeing has often been seen as vulnerable to a trade war between Washington and Beijing

NEW YORK: Boeing profits jumped, and the company upgraded its earnings forecast for this year Wednesday amid a strong commercial aviation market and as executives expressed optimism the US and China will avoid a trade war.
The aerospace giant reported that earnings surged 56.9 percent from the first three months of 2017, rising to $2.5 billion. Revenues rose 6.5 percent to $23.4 billion.
The upbeat report sent the company’s share price higher, and reflects the health of the airline industry as flying becomes much more common in the Middle East, Asia and other developing regions.
A big player in China, Boeing has often been seen as vulnerable to a trade war between Washington and Beijing, a possibility that topped Wall Street’s list of worries earlier this month but has receded of late amid softer rhetoric between and the prospect of talks in coming days.
Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg said he was encouraged that the US planned to send a high-level trade team to Beijing. President Donald Trump confirmed Tuesday that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will travel to China soon.
“We know aerospace is very important to both countries and while some initial statements have been made about potential tariffs, none of those severe actions have been implemented,” Muilenburg said on a conference call with analysts and reporters.
“And we’re frankly encouraged by the continuing dialogue and we’ve heard from leadership in both countries that both are seeking to find negotiated positions that will be productive for both countries.”
Muilenburg said Boeing’s supply chain had not been significantly affected by tariffs on aluminum and other measures that have been implemented.
In the quarter ending March 31, Boeing notched higher commercial plane deliveries compared with the year-ago period. Planes with gains included the narrow-aisle 737 and the 787 “Dreamliner.”
The aerospace giant has been consulting with customers on launching a possible “middle market” plane that would fall between its narrow-body model, which carries up to 200 people, and its wide-body design, which typically flies around 300.
The company said it would raise production for the Boeing 767 plane to three a month from 2.5 due to strength in the cargo market as industrial demand picks up.
Earnings in Boeing’s defense division were lifted by strong weapons volume. The company won new business from Kuwait and said it was on track with the KC-46 tanker program, a US Air Force transport aircraft contract that has led to unexpected cost increases in prior quarters.
A report earlier this month by the US Government Accountability Office warned that deliveries of the first fully capable KC-46 tankers could slip to May 2019 from the current timetable of October 2018, citing a number of risks to the timeframe that need to be mitigated.
But Muilenburg said the company was making “steady progress” on the project and toward delivering the first 18 tankers this year.
Other key questions surrounding Boeing include the status of talks with Brazilian company Embraer on a potential collaboration that must be blessed by the government in Brasilia.
Boeing also could be impacted if President Donald Trump scotches the nuclear agreement between Iran and major governments that opened the door to commercial plane sales in the sanctions-constrained country.
Muilenburg said Boeing has delayed deliveries of 777 planes to Iran in line with the US government process and its targets for 2018 had not accounted for them.
“The plan that we outlined for your is not dependent on the Iranian orders,” he said. “If those orders do come to fruition, if we do ultimately deliver airplanes, those represent opportunities for us.”
Shares climbed 2.3 percent to $336.58 in midday trading, the biggest gainer in the Dow.