A solid company with a lot of uncertainties

CIC is an interesting company to watch. While it’s currently trading at an attractive discount (TTM PE of 4.8 and 5.7 for its non-voting and voting shares respectively as per last quarter earnings), too many uncertainties remain on its future and sustainability of earnings. Most significant being the Government’s blanket ban on chemical fertiliser which directly impacts its Crop Solutions segment (34% of revenue; 42% of net profit), and has a cascading effect on its Agri Produce segment (9% revenues; segment is loss making).

While CIC remains optimistic in its ability to meet the demand for organic fertiliser (the company…


It’s your most powerful tool for finding work in a post-pandemic world

Among the devastation COVID-19 leaves in its wake, the impact to daily livelihoods in the form of mass unemployment cannot be overstated. Jobs have been lost in the millions around the world for people employed across a myriad industries ranging from hospitality and manufacturing to retail and financial services. Applicants who typically competed with tens of other candidates for available job vacancies are now finding themselves competing with hundreds, if not thousands more — many with the same requisite skills and experience, chasing after limited openings. …


Failed by its government, Sri Lankans must care for each other

There are few things more depressing than watching the news these days. The scale and intensity of human suffering is unlike anything we have seen in recent times. The unfathomable economic fallout from a seemingly endless pandemic, combined with rains and floods that have left many hungry as well as homeless; the lost livelihoods of farmers victim to an ill-timed synthetic fertiliser ban, and fishermen reeling from polluted waters, seem especially dire against the backdrop of an inept government which has all but demonstrated a stunning inability or unwillingness to fix any one of these problems on behalf of its…


The Sri Lankan government’s ban on synthetic fertiliser is a noble endeavor, but timing is everything

Earlier this year, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced a blanket ban on the use of chemical (or more appropriately synthetic) fertiliser for farming in Sri Lanka. If implemented properly (and there are many reasons to suggest it might not be), not only would the President have fulfilled a key campaign promise from his election manifesto Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour (“Building up a community of citizens who are healthy and productive with the habit of consuming food with no contamination with harmful chemicals”), he would also have made Sri Lanka the first country on earth to implement 100% organic farming.

As…


Image Source: Sri Lanka Ports Authority

This week saw one of the worst environmental disasters of recent memory with the fire on board the Singaporean-owned X-Press Pearl cargo vessel off the coast of Sri Lanka’s Colombo Harbour. And while we brace for a possible leak from the fuel tanks of the now charred and sinking wreckage to spill as much as 350 metric tons of oil into the Indian ocean, the devastating damage already caused by its cargo of hazardous and noxious substances, and toxic plastic pellets, to both marine life and livelihoods of fishermen and others who rely on these waters for subsistence, cannot be…


Meaningful change doesn’t come from bashing elected leaders.

Countries develop through generations. Nearly every Sri Lankan politician since independence have failed our country and led us down a dark precipice into our current predicament. But our collective response should not be a widespread vilification of our politicians; most of whom are simply staying true to their own beliefs and value systems which favour self-enrichment, power-hunger, and greed for Sri Lanka’s material riches, above a genuine desire to improve the lives of its citizens. …


For one, they don’t really “analyse” anything …

I never met an analyst report I couldn’t ignore. Most aren’t worth the paper they are printed on with many simply regurgitating numbers off financial statements with a laundry list of industrial and economic talking points fitted neatly into a formatted template. There is very little actual “analysis” involved and next to no understanding of emerging business practices and evolving market dynamics (digital disruption, asset-light models etc..). …


It’s not about all the praying either …

“All the deeds of people are for them; except Fasting which is for Me, and I will give its reward”

- God (according to Muhammed)

Why does God command otherwise healthy and sane people to refrain from eating or drinking for the better part of their day, for a month? Not for health reasons or we’ll be doing it year-round. And despite what we sometimes tell our kids, It’s not really to get a feel for the poor either; for people who are actually hungry, are already deprived of most other things we still take for granted in Ramadan. Is…


(Answer: Yes)

Let’s say you have a million bucks you don’t immediately need. What do you do with it? Keep it in your savings and make 2% per annum — that’s 2 full tanks of petrol per year! What about fixed deposits? 6 full tanks? 8 at best? For a whole year!? No thanks. If you’re thinking of buying dollars or any other forex, I will explain in a later article “why”, but just know it’s not the best idea as an investment, and in the current context, not a very easy one to execute either.

Crypto is hot right now. Bitcoin…


(Part 1: Get ’em young)

Ever wonder what gave the United States, and much of Western Europe its financial and intellectual firepower (not to mention the added nicety of being among the “happiest” nations on earth?). And why such a reality seems out of reach for us Sri Lankans? It might seem like a complicated mixture of archaic systems and centuries-old unwritten laws keep things the way they are, but in reality, it boils down to just one thing; what we do with our children.

The way to develop a country is by making its youngest citizens examples for the country you wish to create…

Afthab Salie

I am a writer, business-owner, investor, and most importantly, a husband, and daddy to my little girl and boy who give me boundless joy!

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