• May 23, 2024

Beyond the smoke

Sri Lanka photo
Photo by Garret M. Clarke Photography

Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) has based its just-released annual report on the theme Beyond the Smoke to highlight its contribution to the national economy, according to a story in The Island.

CTC said in the report that it was the country’s only legal cigarette manufacturer and the second largest market capitalized company quoted on the Colombo Stock Exchange. It was the country’s largest individual tax payer, last year contributing Rs87.4 billion in excise taxes – seven percent of state revenues – to the national exchequer. And it supported 178,000 livelihoods through farming, manufacturing and retailing.

‘As an organization operating in a controversial industry, we understand the added responsibility placed on us to maintain the highest standards of corporate conduct and take pride in the sustainable and responsible way our operations are run,’ the report said.

“Given the health risks associated with our products, we understand that regulation is necessary although we urge the government to pursue balanced and evidenced based regulation which preserve the interests of adult consumers while ensuring the livelihoods of all those dependent on our industry, including over 20,000 persons involved in tobacco cultivation,” chairman Susantha Ratnayake was quoted as saying.

“Tobacco is a legal industry with an undeniable positive socio-economic impact and a major source of income to almost every government in the world.”

Despite all the challenges that had depressed CTC’s share price sharply during the year under review, Ratnayake said that the company had delivered yet another year of strong financial performance with earnings per share up by 18.1 percent to Rs67.05. Shareholders would be receiving a total return of Rs66.80 per share.

British American Tobacco Company with 83.14 percent of CTC is the dominant shareholder, but no Sri Lankans are among the Top 20 shareholders holding the balance.