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Leading companies clinch top awards at the coveted Annual Report Awards Golden Jubilee

One of Sri Lanka's leading conglomerate, John Keells Holdings PLC won the coveted ‘Cyril Gardiner Memorial Trophy’ Gold Award for Overall Excellence in Annual Financial Reporting at the grand finale of the 50th Annual Report Awards Competition organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka. The silver award was won by People’s Leasing & Finance PLC while Sampath Bank PLC bagged the bronze award.

Held on Tuesday, 09th December 2014, under the patronage of Hon. Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development, who graced the event as the Chief Guest on behalf of His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the event which celebrated its golden jubilee saw an overwhelming participation of 1000 guests, comprising of the country’s corporate glitterati including company Chairmen, CEOs, Directors, CFOs, and high-level government officials.

A total of 130 organisations including leading blue chip companies, conglomerates to small time community groups competed for the coveted awards this year which promotes transparency, accountability and corporate governance.

The Integrated Reporting Gold Award was bagged by Diesel & Motor Engineering PLC, while the silver and bronze awards went to Citizens Development Business Finance PLC and Mercantile Investment & Finance PLC respectively.

John Keells Holdings PLC won the Management Commentary Gold Award, while the silver award was won by Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC and the bronze by Union Assurance PLC.

The Corporate Governance Disclosure Gold Award was shared by Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC and Hatton National Bank PLC, while HNB Assurance PLC and Union Assurance PLC won the silver and bronze awards respectively.

People’s Leasing & Finance PLC won the Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting Gold Award, while John Keells Holdings PLC bagged the silver award. The bronze award in the category was jointly won by Diesel & Motor Engineering PLC and Hatton National Bank PLC.

Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Mr. Ajith Nivard Cabraal speaking at the event emphasized that the competition has been an important stepping stone which has raised the bar of financial reporting in Sri Lanka, in line with global standards. “The competition has encouraged companies to do better each year, and strive for excellence, which are important facets,” he said.

Mr. Cabraal, who was also the Chair of the Final Panel of Judges noted that Sri Lanka has come a long way since independence. But in 66 years we have progressed tremendously, today we have 17 universities and more than 9000 schools and more than 1000 schools that teach English and IT at the highest levels, and we have a steady stream of students who gain admission to universities, tertiary education providers and for vocational training.

“Sri Lanka has undergone a tremendous change, and over the last five years we have seen that change accelerated, and today we can proudly show off our country to the rest of the world,” he said.

Mr. Cabraal noted that as Sri Lanka has now progressed into a new era, it was important to keep abreast of changing times and trends. “We have moved into a new era, and our reporting standards and quality of our professions including the accounting profession need to keep abreast of the new developments in order to raise the standards of our country,” he added.

President of CA Sri Lanka, Mr. Arjuna Herath said that the half a century long competition which has been acknowledged as one of Sri Lanka’s most celebrated corporate award events has set an exceptional benchmark in promoting transparency and accountability among organisations in the country, thereby helping strengthen the nation’s financial landscape.

“There is no doubt that the competition has increased in stature and significance over the years and the growing number of participants each year for this prestigious competition is testament to the competition’s significance. This year, in comparison to previous years, the competition received its highest number of applications, which means more and more organisations understands the importance of elements of transparency and accountability,” he said.

Mr. Herath also noted that he was certain that the 50th golden jubilee anniversary will pave way for the beginning of a new journey towards renewed corporate reporting excellence which will provide an impetus to growth and development of Sri Lanka’s economy.

Chairman of the Annual Report Awards Committee, Mr. Tishan Subasinghe underlining the judging process, noted that selecting the winners were no easy task and evaluations were conducted at three separate stages, where the reports were initially evaluated by a technical marking, followed by the shortlisted reports being subjected to an industry expert panel review and subsequently in the final stage the reports were evaluated by a final panel of judges chaired by Central Bank Governor Mr. Ajith Nivard Cabraal.

Mr. Subasinghe noted that an annual report is not merely about the numbers of a corporate but was instead the story behind the numbers and the journey towards its destination.

“The Annual Report Awards Competition has been instrumental in shaping the quality of annual reporting of corporates to the highest standards, taking financial reporting to a whole new level in Sri Lanka,” he added.