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Colombo, Sri Lanka, June 30, 2008—
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will team up with JayKay Marketing Services to help strengthen the company’s sustainable sourcing initiatives program in Sri Lanka’s agriculture and food sectors. This will help JayKay, which is partly owned by IFC investment client John Keells, achieve its objectives to offer customers high-quality products at reasonable prices and to improve job stability and skill development for local growers and producers.
IFC will initially carry out a diagnostic study, laying the foundation for future work with JayKay, which owns and operates 42 modern supermarkets under the brand name Keells Super. As part of the sustainable sourcing program, these food and grocery retail outlets will help secure reliable sources of high-quality produce from local farms and set up collection centers in agricultural areas.
Jit Gunaratne, President of John Keells Holdings’ Consumer Foods and Retail Group, said, “We have been working with farmers across Sri Lanka in sourcing vegetables, rice, and other products. IFC’s support will help us improve the productivity of our farmer groups and streamline the post-harvest handling and supply chain. This is going to add value to our business and help us make the model replicable.”
Gilles Galludec, IFC Country Manager for Maldives and Sri Lanka, said, “IFC is keen to partner with JayKay in this initiative. We will analyze supply chain operations from both the farmers and from JayKay’s perspectives. This study will help identify critical gaps and allow us to make appropriate recommendations. Effective intervention will support the company’s ultimate goal to reach more farming communities and make a stronger impact in rural areas.”
IFC advisory support to the John Keells Holdings Group is aimed at helping the company provide a sustainable source of income and increase the quality of life, skills, and social development of growers and producers in rural areas. Once IFC’s recommendations have been implemented, the project will work with rural small and medium enterprises to help them access market opportunities.
In February 2008, IFC extended a corporate investment facility to support John Keells’ expansion in Sri Lanka and other countries in the region. IFC’s standby loan of $75 million to John Keells was its largest investment to date in Sri Lanka’s manufacturing and services sectors.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that people should have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through syndications and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more information, visit
IFC has committed more than $200 million for 26 projects in Sri Lanka since 1970. IFC’s current portfolio is over $150 million in equity, debt, and guarantees, with investments in private infrastructure exceeding $60 million. In 2007, IFC committed more than $20 million in new investments, including over $10 million to local financial institutions through the IFC Global Trade Finance Program. With donor funding from the Netherlands and Norway, IFC also provides advisory services to help create a business enabling environment and support value addition to firms through capacity building programs, training, and research.
About John Keells Holdings
JayKay Marketing Services is a subsidiary of Ceylon Cold Stores, which is itself a subsidiary of John Keells Holdings PLC with business interests in transportation, ports, hospitality services, consumer foods and retail, property development and management, financial services and information technology related services. JKH is Sri Lanka’s largest conglomerate listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange. Since its modest beginnings as a produce and exchange broker in the early 1870s, JKH has been known to realign and reinvent itself constantly while pursuing growth in various sectors. Today, the company is considered a benchmark of the local economy. JKH is also committed to sustainable development and greater social responsibility. It is rated SL AAA (Sri) by Fitch Ratings Lanka Ltd. For more information, visit
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