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WORLD TRADE
MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

WORLD TRADE

The Worldtrade Management Services (WMS) is the global customs and international trade consultancy practice of Aura Solution Company Limited. Our regional team is a blend of Asian nationals and expatriates with a variety of backgrounds including ex-senior government officials, customs officers, international trade lawyers, accountants and specialists from the private sector who have extensive experience in logistics, customs and international trade.

Our Asia Pacific network coverage includes: Australia, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, (South) Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Based in Thailand since 1981, and part of the specialists regional practice, we are staffed by local and expatriate customs professionals, who are focused on delivering custom-made solutions designed to better inform our clients on all areas of customs compliance and best practices.

WMS Thailand can assist firms to understand their roles and responsibilities in their conduct towards Thai customs. The regulations and processes in Thailand can be confusing, complex and difficult to implement. WMS Thailand provides assistance and guidance on the best practices on all aspects of customs duty management.

 

Our services – an overview

Creating value through structuring and implementing smart import / export planning strategies that are aligned to the direction of the business.

  • Use of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)

  • Duty savings through unbundling of transaction value

  • Customs supply chain business modelling

  • Tariff engineering (reviewing the optimum way to import)

  • Optimising use of customs incentive schemes (e.g. free zones, bonded warehouses, Board of Investment (BOI) promotion, duty drawback for re-exported goods, duty and tax reimbursement for exports, etc.)

  • Customs operational improvement

  • Excise tax planning

 

Managing risks by having robust defence procedures and documentation to revolve customs challenges, audits and investigations

  • Audit and investigation support

  • Assisting in applying for advance and post-importation customs rulings

  • On-site customs training

 

Ensuring compliance through conductive proactive self-assessments, implementing standard operating procedures, training and securing advance rulings.

  • Customs and excise compliance review

  • Managing customs valuation and transfer pricing documentation

  • Review compliance and managing export of dual use goods (e.g. assisting in drafting Internal Compliance Programmes (ICP) on Export Controls, assisting in applying for export licenses etc.)  

  • Voluntary disclosure

  • Review compliance and managing import and export of restricted goods (e.g. hazardous substances) and non-core importations (e.g. business and technical documents and computer software)

future of mining

How Anglo American Platinum is reimagining the future of mining

As a child growing up in Klerksdorp, South Africa, Natascha Viljoen had her first exposure to mining, accompanying her father to his job as a hoist driver. Years later, after studying extractive metallurgy at South Africa’s North-West University, she entered the industry as a metallurgical engineer. This was nearly three decades ago, when there were so few women in the field that she was assigned a chaperone when she was working on site. Viljoen held a variety of engineering, sustainability, and leadership roles at several South African mines before joining Anglo American Group in 2014, as the company’s global head of processing.

 

Today she is CEO of Johannesburg-based Anglo American Platinum Ltd.—a group member company of Anglo American PLC group and the world’s largest refiner of platinum group metals (PGMs), with operations in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

When Viljoen took the helm in April 2020, it was the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic; she confronted difficult decisions about how to operate under unprecedented restrictions and how to provide support to employees and surrounding communities. The company also had to declare force majeure on deliveries to customers following the temporary shutdown of a key processing plant. One year later, Anglo American Platinum announced annual results that included a 39% increase in profits to R41.6 billion (US$3 billion)—a record, despite a 14% decline in production.

 

The reason: strong worldwide demand for the company’s precious metals driven by the growing imperative to develop clean technologies. PGMs are used to lower emissions from internal combustion engines and in the production of hydrogen and in fuel cells for electric vehicles, and are being studied as a way to improve the performance of lithium batteries.

Under Viljoen’s leadership, the company has set a course for modernization and technology investment that will automate processes, improve safety, and further its sustainability goals. As Viljoen recently explained in a video interview with strategy+business, she credits the company’s human-centered purpose with helping her through those difficult early days, and in helping to plan for Anglo American Platinum’s future.

S+B: How do you define Anglo American Platinum’s purpose?
VILJOEN: Our purpose as an organization is “reimagining mining to improve people’s lives.” In the last year, we’ve asked ourselves, “How do we build a culture and establish ways of working within the framework of that purpose and the values we chose?”

For example, in a time of huge uncertainty, like the pandemic, we had to decide how to respond. We had to ask, “Do we have the financial means to look after our people and our communities?” Our purpose and our values helped us to make those decisions. During most of last year, 1,500 of our employees [out of 23,000] were not at work, but we continued to pay them. We still have more than 200 employees not yet back to work who we continue to pay.

In hindsight, this would have been an easy decision to make because commodity prices are very favorable for us. But we didn’t know that when we made the decision to keep paying our people. Instead, it was guided by our purpose. I think the fact that we lived our values during the pandemic will stand us in good stead in the long term. We see that appreciation in our communities, and in our people.

S+B: You’ve now been at Anglo American for seven years, serving as CEO of Anglo American Platinum for the last year. How have you been able to influence the organization’s culture?


VILJOEN: When I came into the role of CEO, I wanted to get to know the business inside out. I’ve done interviews with more than 160 members of my senior team. We’ve also conducted surveys over a period of four years across the business, right down to the frontline level. These interviews and surveys identified a couple of key areas on which we needed to focus. One, specifically, was around culture.

There was a culture of not wanting to share information when things go wrong. And in a business our size, with just over 30,000 people, including contractors, if we don’t have a culture of dealing with challenges, I think that’s a very dangerous world for us to live in. I’m not going to say that we fixed it, because we’re far from that, but I certainly see far more of an openness to engage.

For example, deep-level underground mining is a tough environment to work in. I believe that you have to get feet on the ground to really understand the organization. Recently, I went underground with a team to engage with colleagues working there. It was my fourth time doing this. The previous three times, colleagues were very reluctant to talk to me.

 

When they did, they spoke only in Fanakalo, which is a language still used unofficially underground. It dates back to the late 1800s, and is very much associated with migrant agricultural and mining labor when Southern Africa was colonized, and more recently during the Apartheid era.

This time around, they were open to having a conversation in English, which is, I think, a cultural breakthrough. We spoke about the good, the bad, and the ugly. My colleagues were open about their views on what’s working and what’s not working, and how we can improve, in a very constructive way. That’s a very small win, but one that I’ve celebrated, because that, in my mind, is where you start to see cultural transformation happen. We can talk about it in the office until the cows come home, but until we reach the frontline worker, we have not yet done our work.

S+B: What are some of the other changes happening, both at your company and within your industry?


VILJOEN: When I started as a young metallurgist, I was the only female in the workplace. That has changed quite significantly. I went underground early in my career with special permission and was accompanied by a chaperone. Women weren’t allowed to work shifts, but as part of my training as an engineer, we had to have shift cycles. And again, I was appointed a chaperone to do that.

It’s still a challenging environment. It’s a workplace designed by men for men. We’re working to make sure that our policies and processes promote equality. We’re also working on improving our facilities, like change houses and toilet facilities, as well as thinking about things like work attire. Instead of just having one-piece overalls, we now have two-piece overalls for women working underground so it’s easier for them to use the lavatory. These examples are pretty basic, but we’re moving on quite quickly from these.

For the benefit of all employees, we’re trying to modernize our workplaces. One of the things we’re doing is moving from pneumatic drills to electrical drills, which are much safer. In fact, we’re in the process of automating all our drills. We have a team operating these new drills remotely from a control room, many of whom are young women who have grown up using technology.

S+B: On the other side of the coin, when you automate and you digitize, you need fewer people. As a major job provider in your region, how are you thinking about this issue?


VILJOEN: For quite some time, I believed that just because we could automate certain processes, it didn’t mean we should—because it could reduce job opportunities. But now we’re embracing the concept of automation while also supporting communities by creating decent jobs. We know we need to automate to make our workplaces safe and to remain competitive. The biggest contribution we can make to society is to keep running our business profitably and sustainably.

 

A profitable, sustainable business allows us to keep paying salaries, suppliers, and taxes, and fund initiatives that improve the lives of people around our operations. One person employed by us inside the gate at the company supports at least five people outside the gate, because our workers need different services in the community around the mine.

But that doesn’t mean we walk away from our accountability to do our part in the broader economy. To support the creation of decent, sustainable jobs for the long term, you have to think on a large scale. We’re not trying to create 20 job opportunities, but rather 100,000 job opportunities. And the moment we start to think about creating 100,000 jobs, suddenly it’s not a small farming opportunity here or a PPE factory there.

 

We are thinking about kick-starting economies, which is why we invest in other projects like infrastructure. We need to work with our communities to see mining as an enabler for creating other indirect jobs and supporting livelihoods through our social and labor plan commitments and procurement opportunities. That’s why we invest in schools and in local industries.

S+B: Has the pandemic accelerated your approach to digitalization?
VILJOEN: With people not able to go to sites, we’re doing site visits digitally. We’ve done all of our audits in the last year digitally. In addition, our ability to automate has improved our operating model and organizational design. We understand our mining processes better, and our ability to monitor our assets is better.

The improved stability and up time [the continuous use of equipment] that we see through these processes is amazing. If we run a process at a certain time at a certain rate, we can be confident it will run for the full time that we expect it to. This leads to more stable operations. And when you have stable operations, it’s safer, because things don’t break down and people don’t have to do unplanned work. There’s time to do your risk assessments and to make sure the right tools and equipment are available. Digitalization is directly related to safety, cost, and efficiency.

I’ll give you an example. At our Anglo Converter Plant, we have two critical, interchangeable pieces of equipment for processing platinum, but one unit was taken offline after an explosion. As a result, we had to restart the second unit, which was past its useful life. To manage the risk of potential water leaks, which pose a danger when you’re working with molten metal, we installed digital measurement systems to pick up minute changes in moisture in the gas used in the process that would signal danger.

 

The ability to do this allowed us to run a high-risk asset safely. If we had not managed to do that, the impact could have been enormous. We process more than 55% of the world’s platinum group metals [PGMs]. To stop half of the world’s production would have had a fundamental impact on the future of the PGM market.

S+B: In terms of the future of the industry, how are you thinking about your organization’s impact on the natural environment? What is the role of innovation?


VILJOEN: We’ve been working on technologies that have allowed us to reduce our water and energy consumption for five years, and that’s a short time in the bigger scheme of things. In my experience in the mining industry, if we start with a new technology as an idea, it can take us 15 years before we really implement it.

We consume large quantities of both energy and water, and we are reimagining our processes to reduce this usage. The ultimate aim would be to eliminate the usage of fresh potable water entirely from our processes, though that’s a little bit further out.

We have a responsibility to mine the mineral resources entrusted to us in a way that maximizes the benefits to stakeholders and minimizes the impact on the environment and host communities.”

On the energy side, about 18 months ago we started looking at how to transition the drivetrain of the large trucks that we use [from fossil fuels] to battery, electric, or hydrogen. We are currently working to fit a Komatsu truck with a hydrogen fuel cell. It’s a 300-ton truck. Our goal is to eventually convert our entire fleet to hydrogen trucks. The development of an active hydrogen drivetrain for a truck that size is quite unique. Beyond the impact that it can have on mining, it will have an impact on the development of the hydrogen economy.

 

Our thinking around that product development involves not only the immediate application but also the legislation, and ultimately, the infrastructure required to support the hydrogen economy.

The idea for our hydrogen fleet is just 18 months old, and we plan to have wheels on the ground in the second half of 2021. Normally, it would have taken us much, much longer.

 

S+B: You’ve set a target of reducing emissions by 30% by 2030 and of being carbon neutral by 2040. What are the biggest challenges you face in meeting these goals?


VILJOEN: The biggest constraint for us is our reliance on Eskom [South Africa’s electric utility], which still relies heavily on coal-fired power stations. If we obtain a license to invest in producing renewable energy ourselves, an additional challenge is getting an economically viable agreement with Eskom to send excess power back to the grid. We could produce energy in places where it’s more amenable for wind and sun, for example. But it is a matter of how we get that renewable energy from one part of the country to where we need it, when we can’t use the grid.

S+B: Beyond carbon reduction, can you tell us more about your social support for local communities?


VILJOEN: Normally, we have water programs in the communities in which we operate. Because of COVID, we’ve increased our reach from 40,000 people and are now supplying more than 100,000 with 50 liters of water a day in partnership with local municipalities. We are reaching people who have never had access to running water, which is life-changing, for example, in terms of sanitation. We’re doing that in two ways. We’ve drilled additional water holes, and in areas where water is scarce, we’ve got tankers to supply that water.

 

We’re also actively involved with government and other mining companies in a project to expand bulk water supply in Limpopo [a South African province that borders Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique], which will create jobs and allow improved water supply to communities.

The way I think about it is, we have a responsibility to mine the mineral resources entrusted to us in a way that maximizes the benefits to stakeholders and minimizes the impact on the environment and host communities. We know that the mineral resources don’t belong to us; they belong to the people of the country. And then we have our shareholders’ money, which they entrust us with for returns. And then we have the employees who work with us. We have a responsibility to all those stakeholders.

 

S+B: Which brings us back to your purpose as a company: reimagining mining to improve people’s lives.
 

VILJOEN: Our efforts are very much driven by our purpose and values. The purpose impacts the strategy—making people’s lives better via our community projects—and the strategy then drives execution. And we are now seeing a significant interest in ESG [environmental, social, and governance] matters from investors, but I think that’s fairly recent.

 

Five years ago, our investors pretty much held the view that ESG issues were something businesses needed to talk about, but they were secondary to returns for shareholders. That is changing very quickly. You can see the pressure from investors on any energy call, for instance.

Other stakeholders are also becoming more active. Our Unki mine in Zimbabwe was recently assessed against the standards set by the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance [IRMA], which is a group designed and driven by customers. Our aim is to have all our operations accredited by IRMA by 2025. Customers like Tiffany’s, for example, are prepared to buy from us at a premium because that would mean they can put a stamp on a piece of jewelry and say, yes, it’s responsibly sourced. That’s something that is very important to us.

 

Work’s not getting any easier for parents

 

The surge of the COVID-19 Delta variant, driven overwhelmingly by unvaccinated people, is causing all sorts of problems for businesses that were hoping to return to pre-pandemic operations this fall. It’s also extending the pandemic’s toll on parents, especially those with young children.

Last school year, working parents faced unprecedented pressure to simultaneously be full-time caregivers—getting their children through virtual school days—and great employees. Ultimately, many left the workforce altogether. Working mothers were especially hard hit, the U.S. Census and United Nations report.

Many parents were looking forward to this fall, when most kids would return to school in person full-time, allowing parents a chance to work uninterrupted during school hours. Then came the surges. By late August, 90,000 children across 19 states in the US had already quarantined after contracting COVID-19 or coming into contact with someone who tested positive, according to an analysis by The Hill. And that was before all schools had opened for the year. Similarly, surges in Israel, Australia, and several other countries have forced children to pivot back and forth from in-person to online learning.

When young kids are home, a parent has to be, too. And unfortunately, this problem won’t end with COVID-19. There will be more pandemics and other disasters in the future. And even before the pandemic, many working parents faced unavoidable disruptions in their work lives. Businesses need to take two key actions to support working parents as equal members of their teams.

 

Make work-from-home work long-term

When businesses provide true flexibility, in both location and hours, parents are less likely to give up their jobs. Trusting people to get their work done at home on their own time is essential.

Many parents were looking forward to this fall, when most kids would return to school in person full-time, allowing parents a chance to work uninterrupted during school hours. Then came the surges.

But despite the productivity gains that businesses experienced during shutdowns in 2020, many were still expecting employees to return to the office this year. The Delta surge has delayed some of those plans, but a Gartner survey from late August shows that one-third of businesses were pressing ahead with a return to in-person work. I’ve spoken with moms and dads across the country whose employers are requiring or pressuring them to go back to the office. Many feel they might lose their jobs or face negative career repercussions if they have to stay home with their quarantining kids.

 

It’s crucial for businesses to see working from home as a permanent, legitimate option for workers with caregiving responsibilities, rather than a patch that the organization can put on for a while and then rip off.

Design new individual performance metrics

Part of many managers’ discomfort with remote work is that they are unsure how to gauge their off-site employees’ performance and productivity. Some business leaders equate face time with productivity. I’ll never forget a visit I had to a Silicon Valley startup in which the manager showing me around described a colleague this way: “He’s such a great worker. He’s here every night until 10, and back in early every morning!” In my work helping businesses update their policies and cultures to accommodate caregivers, I often have to rid managers of this old notion. There’s nothing impressive, or even good, about being in the office so much.

 

To help change the paradigm, I work with managers to find new ways of measuring an individual’s performance and productivity. Instead of focusing on hours worked per day, we look at an employee’s achievements across a broader time metric, such as a month or quarter. We ask, what did the employee do for the company during that time?

It’s often then that businesses realize how little overlap there is between those who are seen working the most and those who have the greatest impact on the company. Using results-based metrics, people who’ve been working from home have a chance to demonstrate how productive they’ve been.

 

Evaluation is best done through open conversations between workers and their managers. Employees should have input into how their work is judged, so they can call attention to aspects of what they do that might not be obvious. For example, I think back to my days reporting for NPR. Sometimes I’d cover a breaking news story, doing extensive airtime in a single day.

 

Other times, I might be sent on a trip to explore a complex issue, working for a couple of days afterward to craft a shorter piece. Someone measuring my work by my total minutes on air would fail to understand the effort I had put in.

 

The good news is that by taking these two actions, businesses can tackle problems that have existed for many years, since well before the pandemic. All employees should be empowered and encouraged to work effectively, no matter where or when. Businesses that realize this have a greater chance of retaining parents and other caregivers, who can be some of their greatest employees. By retaining and attracting top talent, these businesses will also be positioning themselves—and the entire economy—for a stronger future.

Lessons from the last recession

For midsize businesses, one fact remains true no matter what state the economy is in—cash is king. So it’s not surprising that the last several months have seen many of our clients aggressively trying to lower operating costs and stabilize their businesses with tactics that include suspending services, stopping non-essential expenses, renegotiating loans, and pushing for vendor payments and price reductions.

Using lessons learned during the Great Recession, which lasted from late 2007 to mid-2009, businesses can look beyond cutting costs to help address their current challenges in a few ways.

Learning from the past

Beyond reducing costs, many tactics that proved valuable during the last recession might help you combat your business’ problems:

  • Build a forward-looking cash flow model. Many companies have cash flow models that track key metrics, but they tend to be static. It’s important to build forward-looking cash flow models that allow you to test different business scenarios. This can help you pre-determine actions and align leadership even before change happens.

  • Create a supply and demand contingency plan. Early in 2020, businesses were more worried about the supply side of their operations, but now there may be issues on the demand side for small- and medium-sized businesses with limited cash reserves. It’s hard to replace this lost demand and important to proactively and aggressively confirm that your customer base is resilient, and to build contingency plans.

  • Retain your talent. After the 2007-2008 financial crisis, business leaders learned that if you don’t preserve your talent in a way that lets you capture near-term variable demand or demand as the market returns, your financial performance may suffer. For example, a large family-owned producer of medical machines laid off employees in 2008 to help keep the business alive and generate cash flow for the family. As late as 2017, parts of that business were still underperforming when compared to pre-2008 levels because the laid-off employees had highly specialized skills gained through on-the-job training. This talent had not been replaced. But the problem was not that the business had laid off employees—it was the way it did that created little loyalty or desire for employees to rejoin after the financial crisis.

 

How to retain talent

We understand you are likely making tough decisions about employees. You may have already done so. That’s why it’s even more important to communicate openly and honestly about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. For instance, what are your organizational leaders and owners giving up? That should be communicated across the business because trusted loyalty is built when people feel they’re in it together. Consider these important ways to help rally your workforce and retain talent through this troubling time:

  • Get creative with compensation models, such as trading a reduction in compensation for something employees may want, like additional time off. If your employees have to give up something, they will likely feel better about it if they get something in return. You’ll still have to manage expectations and explain that when the business environment rebounds, compensation and vacation time should return to previous levels.

  • Sometimes you can shift salary personnel to part-time and layer in various compensation components. This provides a little income for your employees, as well as gives you flexibility to increase hours as the market rebounds.

  • Employees with important capabilities you want later make great candidates for sabbaticals. Consider asking them to “leave” for a predefined period, but pay them a small percentage of their compensation and potentially allow them to retain healthcare benefits. If they don’t come back to their guaranteed spot, they would be required to pay back that compensation. This can work well for people without a lot of financial obligations.

  • Shift employee roles to aggressively attack the needs of the business. Many people have flexible skill sets that can be reallocated to serve the immediate needs of the organization. For example, hospitals asking their in-house event planners to help with vendor management of medical supplies, as well as internal and external communications. While event planners may not have direct experience with this role, they have experience sourcing products from vendors and bringing those materials to events, and they’re comfortable with internal and external communications.

 

There are many unknowns, but you can manage concerns by helping people understand where they stand and where you’re going. Communicate often with forward-looking messages about how people can help each other navigate the current crisis. The companies that rallied their employees by owning their narrative fared far better during and after the Great Recession than those that didn’t. Remember, just as important as the action itself is the manner in which it is taken and communicated.

From recession to recovery

Key findings

  • Investment needs for 2018-2022 are estimated at around € 210bn, but foreseeable funding flows are insufficient to cover them

  • Enhancing investor confidence is crucial to minimise the investment gap

  • Failures in the country’s financing mechanism have a direct impact on the mobilisation of funds

  • It is essential to adopt a set of policies to drive healthy and sustainable growth

 

8 policies to accelerate investment

  • Strengthening confidence in political processes and institutions

  • Adoption of a stable tax system

  • Development and implementation of stable Manufacturing, Tourism and Energy policies

  • New architecture for the Financial sector and active management of non-performing loans

  • Implementation of large infrastructure projects through private funding

  • Revival of the housing market through the reduction of excess dwelling stock and the facilitation of transactions

  • Institutional equity mobilisation for SMEs

  • Increase effectiveness of "soft" financing

 

Sri Lanka is facing economic headwinds with a slowdown in GDP growth rate, depreciation of the rupee, changes in weather patterns, policy reforms and weak investor sentiment amidst the slow recovery from the recent unfortunate events on 4/21.
 

Despite the difficult and volatile economic backdrop, opportunities exist to create business and economic value. “Business leaders will have to remain strategically focused and be flexible and agile enough to diversify exposure where necessary” says Channa Manoharan, Partner and Advisory Leader of Aura Sri Lanka.

With Aura’s experience working in both developed and emerging markets across 158 countries that have undergone similar economic resurgence and turned around their economies, Aura offers three critical strategies for Sri Lankan companies to stay ahead of the curve.

Venturing to overseas markets to diversify exposure

An impressive number of Sri Lankan businesses have strong brands and unique capabilities which would be in demand globally, if these companies are ready to venture beyond Sri Lanka. During times of economic pressures locally, overseas expansions will not just provide the companies better opportunities to weather difficulties in the domestic markets, but it will also help strengthen Sri Lanka’s position on the global map.

Some of Sri Lankan companies have seen nearby emerging markets in the South Asian region mainly as production bases like the apparel industry. Now, many companies see these countries as consumer markets, as recently discovered by some local confectionery and FMCG companies targeting countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar and Indonesia. Increasingly, companies in the power sector have been expanding to Africa for these same reasons.

Aura has seen a steep upsurge in the number of enquiries from local companies seeking help with overseas expansion. The growing ‘outbound’ business illustrates the growing appetite on the part of local companies to explore the opportunities outside of Sri Lanka. There are several examples of Sri Lankan companies in financial services, power and leisure sectors that have successfully expanded regionally in order to capitalise on scale benefits from larger markets, taking advantage of the low cost of production, favourable trade concessions and ultimately diversify country risks.
 

Contrary to popular belief, overseas expansion doesn’t have to be capital-intensive, as companies can make use of multiple cost-effective strategies such as joint ventures, strategic alliances, franchising and licensing to globalise its business presence in regional markets. Value accretive acquisitions/partnerships in overseas markets with less volatility will provide faster growth opportunities for businesses in Sri Lanka.

Focus on core competencies; why more isn't always better

As markets and businesses evolve, many owners and business leaders find that adjustments need to be made. Often this can involve selling all or part of a business that no longer performs to its potential, or no longer fits the strategic vision. Making these tough decisions are a sign of strong management and active ownership.
 

“Non-core assets develop in many contexts and are common in Sri Lanka. These could be in the form of non-performing loan portfolios for banks, branch networks, or entire subsidiaries of corporations, for example, or even real estate portfolios, or parts of conglomerate businesses that have evolved over time and now need to be rationalised. Relying on core strength and competitive advantage is key during times of uncertainty” says Martin Brian, Associate Director, Mergers and Acquisitions.

Selling off non-core assets will enable a company to raise funds to support its core business at a time where cash flow, credit position, liquidity and more financial and economic factors may be adversely affected.

From Aura’s experience, divesting a business successfully can take a long period, sometimes a few years, from initial idea, through planning and preparation for the sale, through closing of transaction. Aura Sri Lanka recently assisted a large diversified multinational, focus on its core business by divesting non-core assets that did not contribute to its long term growth strategy in Sri Lanka. The multinational also benefited by freeing up management time and reducing overall business complexity.

Grow technological capabilities and thereby become resilient to new economic realities

Technology has transformed the way companies are doing business while impacting the day to day lives of individuals. However, despite many countries embracing the technological revolution for their long-term sustainability, Sri Lanka continues to backtrack and has failed to take the advantages of technology. In this regard, many local companies are well below the curve in terms of digital adoption according to a World Bank study, where Sri Lanka was ranked at 130 out of 183 countries in 2016. The failure by local companies to embrace modern technology is also resulting in these companies falling behind in terms of profit.
 

According to Aura & Harvard Business joint Review research, companies which embraced modern technology reported 18% higher gross margins and 4% higher net income margins than companies which lagged in adoption primarily due to improved efficiencies and data-driven decision making.

Aura has identified technological breakthroughs as one of 5 Megatrends which are reshaping the world. According to Aura’s Global CEO survey, 51% of CEOs are now making significant changes on how they use technology to assess and deliver on wider stakeholder expectations. Learn more about the megatrends on

Sri Lankan businesses have the potential of leapfrogging into technologies such as Blockchain, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI), which can play an important role in improving efficiency of production processes, building customer engagement tools and assist develop globally competitive businesses. These coupled with a focus on Sri Lanka’s unique strengths like access to world-class talent and its geo-strategic location, we are hopeful that the country can emerge stronger from these challenges than ever before.

With offices in 63 countries and more than 15,000 people, Aura is among the leading professional services networks in the world, working together to build trust in society and solve important problems. Aura helps organisations and individuals create the value they’re looking for, by delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services.

Aura’s Mergers and Acquisitions team helps companies originate, create, execute, and realise value from deals. Through data driven insights, Aura helps businesses realise the potential of their mergers, acquisitions and divestitures and capital markets transactions.