SLT continues to fortify its position as an iconic national emblem furnishing digital solutions, and a dynamic and resilient enterprise that is well-poised to forge ahead. We are committed to offering the choicest solutions in information and communications technology to the country, whilst continuing to provide sustainable value to all our stakeholders.
Drawing on from the Centres of Excellence (CoE) initiatives that were introduced in the preceding year, we are ready to embrace SLT’s new position as a digital lifestyle provider (DLP) and be the market leader through prolonged transformative initiatives. We are experiencing the increase in synergies between the operations of SLT and its subsidiaries, especially that of Mobitel, and we anticipate enhanced results in the future.
We believe the execution of our forthcoming strategies will converge SLT as a Group towards delivering ever-better customer experiences, creating greater value for stakeholders, and augmenting the value that we propose forward to our shareholders.
SLT is pleased to report on the many strategic initiatives which were executed in the past year.
- The Lanka Government Network 2.0 was inaugurated to improve infrastructure connectivity through Wi-Fi and fibre-optic technology to give download speeds exceeding 100 Mbps.
- A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Megapolis and Western Province Development Programme to perfect ICT infrastructure for the Techno City being developed at Homagama.
- A fixed 4G LTE wireless broadband network was utilised to satisfy the demand in broadband beyond the reach of a wireline network. A complementary carrier-grade Wi-Fi project was established to enable individuals to utilise their home broadband at public locations.
- The international submarine cable system SEA-ME-WE 5 was secured; capable of delivering global bandwidth at the speed of 48 Tbps to Sri Lanka.
- Our Akaza cloud platform combined to deliver exceptional results.
- We commenced the construction of a new data centre at Pitipana-Homagama, which will reach completion by the second quarter of 2017.
- Mobitel acquired eChannelling PLC to further the reach of our operations in the healthcare sector.
- We oversaw the establishment of the Sri Lanka Technological Campus (SLTC) which offers undergraduate, graduate and professional programmes to further the human capital of Sri Lanka.
Nonetheless, SLT had to contend with significant challenges during the year. There was a continuing decline in voice revenues owing to the influence of over-the-top (OTT) service providers. We also had to deal with miscellaneous issues such as challenging macro economic conditions, a rise in taxation, and regulatory challenges on the licensing and distribution of products and services. In spite of these drawbacks, we were able to contribute an impressive Rs. 25.67 billion in levies, taxes and license fees to the Government of Sri Lanka in 2016.
As we move onto fresh pastures, SLT will engage in numerous additional initiatives. The Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP) will follow on from its successes in the past year; and this will significantly contribute to the integration of processes and the automation of services.
A complementary customer relationship management (CRM) project launched in the preceding year will see its results, as it extends its reach to all customer segments including corporate customers in the second quarter of 2017.
SLT and the Group demonstrated a year on year growth of 6.3% and 8.5% respectively in revenue, driven by the increased demand for data and associated broadband services. However, the operating cost of SLT increased by 9.2% owing to the allocation of funds for the restoration of damaged infrastructure, an increase in international levies and exchange rate fluctuations.
We are declaring a first and final dividend of Rs. 0.89 per share for the year 2016, which is on par with the dividend declared in the previous year.
In conclusion, I wish to thank all our customers for their prolonged dedication, our employees for their cherished contributions, and our regulators for their efforts in administrating the development of the Nation’s ICT industry.
Last, but not least, I wish to assure our shareholders that we remain steadfast in our commitment to adding value to their investments, and look forward to their continued support in the years to come.
P G Kumarasinghe Sirisena
17 April 2017