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NEWSLETTER Presidents word Sri Lanka Expo 2012 Next Events Member in the Picture: UTP J. Cortès.

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Presentation on theme: "NEWSLETTER Presidents word Sri Lanka Expo 2012 Next Events Member in the Picture: UTP J. Cortès."— Presentation transcript:

1 NEWSLETTER Presidents word Sri Lanka Expo 2012 Next Events Member in the Picture: UTP J. Cortès

2 PRESIDENTS WORD Dear All, As President of the BLSLBC, I am delighted and proud to announce you the first e-newsletter of the BLSLBC. This newsletter will appear four-monthly and will be one of the links between the BLSLBC and its members. The e-newsletter will contain economic and general highlights of Sri Lanka and the agenda with new events. We want to give a briefly overview of those items that may interest you as business partners of Sri Lanka. In each e-newsletter we will put a company, member of the BLSLBC, in the spotlights. We want the knowledge and experience in doing business with Sri Lanka to be shared with our members. In doing so, we want to play a formal and productive role in strengthening business ties with Sri Lanka at an historic moment of Sri Lanka's history and economic growth. The e-newsletter will be widely distributed through the contacts list of the BLSLBC, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Belgium, the H.Consulate of Sri Lanka in Belgium the H. Consulate of Belgium in Sri Lanka, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the BeneLux Business Council in Sri Lanka. Thanking you for your prompt attention I remain, Your sincerely, Wim Ceriez, President

3 BELGIUM BUSINESS DELEGATION TO SRI LANKA EXPO 2012 A 28- member business delegation from Belgium participated in Sri Lanka EXPO 2012 from 28 March till 31 March in Colombo. Different sectors were represented, such as: Tourism, Real Estate, Infrastructure, Textile, Garments, Tea, Cosmetics, Jewellery, Precious stones, Coco-products, Software, etc…. Programme Tuesday 27 th March Meeting of the Delegates at the Hilton Hotel. Briefing by Mr. R.D.S. Kumararatne, Minister ( Commercial & Economic Affairs ). Wednesday 28 th March: Ceremonial Inauguration of the Sri Lanka Expo 2012 by His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka at the BMICH. Visit to the Expo Reception at the Brewery of O hosted by the BelgoLux Sri Lanka Business Council, the Benelux Business Council and the Consulate of Belgium in Colombo. Cordial meeting with all the Delegates, Belgian investors established in Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan Businessmen, Representatives of the EDB and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. Fruitful discussions and business contacts in different sectors. Cultural Show followed by a dinner, hosted by Mr. Janaka Ratnayake, Chairman & Executive of the Sri Lanka Export Development Board.

4 BELGIUM BUSINESS DELEGATION TO SRI LANKA EXPO 2012 Thursday 29 th March: Meeting with the Honourable Basil Rajapaksa, M.P., Minister of Economic Development in the presence of the Honourable Rishad Bathiudeen, M.P., Minister of Industry & Commerce. Most interesting discussions between the Hon. Minister and the Delegates regarding different issues. Visit to the Expo Symposium Fashion show at the Expo Reception hosted by the European Chamber of Commerce at the Park Street Hotel, in the presence of Mr. Dominique Tanghe, Representative of the Consulate of Belgium, Mr. Jos De Clercq, First Secretary – Trade & Investments ( Flanders – FIT ). Cordial discussions between the Belgian Delegates, Belgian Entrepreneurs established in Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan Businessmen. Friday 30 th March: Meeting with the Honourable Rishad Bathiudeen, M.P., Minister of Industry and Commerce. Interesting discussions regarding trade and business opportunities in Sri Lanka. Meeting at the Hilton with Mrs. Vidyani Hettigoda, President of the Womens Chamber of Industry & Commerce, Mrs. Ranee Ratnayeke, President of the Benelux Business Council, Mrs. Renée Richard Vice-President Women Leaders in the World and several members of the Association. Fruitful discussions regarding the possibility of the Womens Chamber of Industry & Commerce to accede to the Women Leaders in the World.

5 BELGIUM BUSINESS DELEGATION TO SRI LANKA EXPO 2012 Visits to the Expo were followed by B2B meetings. EXPO 2012, showcasing high quality products, has been a successful event with the objectives of promoting trade, investment and tourism. The theme of the EXPO: Partnering with the Hub of Asia was really appropriate. On behalf of the Belgian Delegation I want to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to Mr. R.D.S. Kumararatne, Minister (Commercial & Economic Affairs ) for the perfect organization of the meetings and the visits to the Expo, and his invaluable help and assistance during our stay in Colombo. Monique De Decker-Deprez H. Consul for Sri Lanka Secretary of the BLSLBC


7 Next Events Mai 2012: Meeting and cultural event in Luxembourg with EIAS & The Business Council of Luxemburg 16/06/2012: General Assembly BLSLBC Restaurant: Au Vieux Saint Martin in Brussels October/ November 2012: Meeting / follow up Expo 2012

8 Members In the Picture: UTP J.Cortès United Tobacco Processing (UTP) sister company of J. Cortes, Belgiums leading cigar exporter is celebrating twenty five years of production in Sri Lanka, from their base at Katunayake, next to the countries international airport. UTP was one of the first big European investors from Europe to come to Sri Lanka. Initially drawn by the good communication links to Europe, the high levels of English, the excellent geographical location (half way between Indonesia where a lot of the tobacco comes from and Europe the largest cigar market) and the humidity that abounds in Sri Lanka which is perfect for the production of cigars. UTP is still a family company and is owned by the Vandermarlieres who are direct descendants of the founder Maurits, who started production in 1926 in Avelgem, with one cigar making machine. UTP is now producing 700,000 cigars a day in Sri Lanka and a big part of Emmanuel Blommes role as CEO after being appointed in 2009, has been to build up the workforce, from the 700 he inherited to the 1,300 and growing workers. We have started three round the clock shifts. I had a sign put up on our outlet on the main road so potential employees know about us. We are expanding all the time as our output increases and we are looking for a new larger Sri Lankan base, around the airport. Storage is a huge part of the cigar industry; conditions have to be just right, being at a humidity level between 55 & 65% and a temperature of around 16°C, otherwise the crop can be damaged by bugs. At any one time there is 20 to 30 million Euros worth of tobacco in our warehouse. said Blomme.

9 Members In the Picture: UTP J.Cortès Conditions within the factory for staff are very good, mirroring European levels. Headphones with music are provided and a singing competition is commencing: free meals are on offer in the canteen, with 24 hour medical support and councilors. The only thing that UTP cant provide is air conditioning on the factory floor, as the cool air affects the quality of the tobacco. For UTP its all about creating pride in the workplace: our USP is that we have the knowledge. The cigar industry requires people to know their jobs thoroughly and this only comes through experience. Once an employee signs up with us, we want them to stay long term as we have invested in their training, but more importantly they have started their learning curve and that is what takes the company forward, said Blomme UTP sell their cigars to more than 80 countries around the world under a variety of brand names in all segments of the market: J.Cortès for the high end smoker, Neos for the mass market and Amigos as an entry brand. A large part of the companys business though is overseeing the production of the binders and wrappers that cement cigars for other cigar makers. Our clients come to us because we have a proven track record over a large amount of years, said Blomme. Of the 950 million binders and wrappers we produced last year, half of them went in our clients cigars. Once again it all comes down to the knowledge our workforce has acquired, the very smooth logistics operation we have over here and the superb geographical location of Sri Lanka. Were happy to be part of the pearl of Asia and can only recommend to others to do so.

10 BLSLBC WEBSITE: E-MAIL: DAILY MANAGEMENT TEAM © Belgolux Sri Lanka Business Council vzw / ASbl

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