Playing a key role to present opportunities in Sri Lanka to investors at the recently concluded, three-day virtual Sri Lanka Investment Forum (SLIF), PwC Sri Lanka that has been at the forefront of guiding businesses as well as Government institutions in their growth strategies, shared deep insight on the overall investment landscape in Sri Lanka with participants and other speakers to tap potential to build traction around emerging investor opportunities.
They also presented opportunities for organisations to develop a sectoral view on policies and regulations in a bid to garner foreign investments, as well as network and engage with global investors and speakers across diverse industries.
PwC Sri Lanka Director – Mergers and Acquisitions Kavinda Weerakoon, noted that the investors had been looking beyond specific projects, with a focus on more broader development plans of a country. Therefore, “reforms to simplify processes for investment as well as a conducive business and legal environment proved to be key to improve destination appeal for foreign investors,” he said.
He added that there was strong interest shown by investors in the banking sector during the Forum. “Sri Lanka is facing another growth cycle in 2021 and beyond with a focus on local manufacturing and promoting exports whilst supported by a low interest rate environment. The banks have done well to minimise the impact of the pandemic to earnings. Banking sector valuations which are at a decade low coupled with the opportunity to service the growing middle class and SME segments were some of the most promising areas that the investors were seeking in growth markets like Sri Lanka,” noted Kavinda.
Based on the many one-on-one discussions with prospective investors during the three-day forum, PwC Sri Lanka Director – Deals Strategy Ruvini Fernando, shared her views on the considerable interest shown by investors in the infrastructure sector.
Explaining that meaningful investments in infrastructure is crucial to drive Sri Lanka’s development program, she said: “Investors felt that infrastructure was a very lucrative lower risk asset class to invest in and the interest in sustainable investments, especially renewables was very high. Investors emphasised the importance of consistent and stable Government policy, robust concession agreements and currency risk management options as important areas for consideration. They were very encouraged by the recently announced PPP projects namely the elevated highway project, as well as several others highlighted by different Government agencies at the Forum.”
PwC also commended the Government’s encouragement for private sector participation in its ambitious efforts towards driving the rapid development of the country’s. “The private sector will be well placed to complement the Government’s infrastructure drive by contributing its capital, skills, technology and human resources to accelerate the process. We look forward to contributing to Sri Lanka’s infrastructure drive by bringing in global best practices from our PwC network to the local infrastructure sector,” added PwC Sri Lanka COO and Advisory Leader Channa Manoharan.
Overall, the team at PwC highlighted that among key takeaways gathered from discussions, potential investors felt there was a need to develop a sectorial view on policies and regulations to attract foreign investors, as well as network and engage with global investors and speakers across diverse industries in a more structured way.
Backed by its global objective of aiding private and public organisations to build trust in society and solve important problems, PwC Sri Lanka operates from its principal office in Colombo and also its overseas operations in Male. With over 400 employees and 19 partners and directors in both locations, PwC acts as advisors to private sector enterprises and Government on Assurance, Finance Advisory, Tax Advisory mandates and Technology Advisory to solve the complex problems businesses face in today’s changing marketplace.