The Admiration Stakes

The 15th annual edition of the Most Respected ranks the nation’s most admired corporations

The second quarter of the year got off to a dismal start in the wake of the Easter Sunday bombings, the violence that followed and a sense of apprehension that cast a pall over business activity in Sri Lanka.

Not surprisingly, the LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI) took a beating at the time, dropping to its lowest level since July 2008 in May.

As for the World Bank’s 2019 Doing Business rankings, Sri Lanka has risen by 11 notches from the previous year to assume 100th position. Progress has been made in areas such as dealing with construction permits, online systems for paying taxes, registering property and enforcing contracts, the World Bank states.

This year’s Most Respected special edition adopts a revised methodology for ranking entities whereby Nielsen’s exclusive survey for LMD to gauge peer perceptions employed a weighted ranking system. The aim is to ensure a fairer discrimination of the nominated entities compared to the Olympic Ranking System that came into play in 2015.

For a record 14th year, John Keells Holdings (JKH) is perceived as being the Most Respected entity in Sri Lanka thanks to garnering the highest number of votes (1,561). It is followed by Hayleys, MAS Holdings, Commercial Bank of Ceylon (ComBank) and Dialog Axiata.

Hayleys secures the No. 2 position while MAS drops a place to third and ComBank maintains fourth place. Meanwhile, Dialog retains fifth place in the 2019 rankings.

Rounding off the top 10, Aitken Spence moves up by one spot to sixth, Unilever Sri Lanka falls to No. 7, Sampath Bank improves by one place to eighth, Hemas Holdings breaks into the top 10 by virtue of having climbed seven places from the preceding year and Brandix Lanka is down two notches to 10th.

The 10 most admired businesses include four of the largest diversified corporates, two private sector banks, the two largest apparel manufacturers in this country, a multinational consumer goods company and arguably the largest telecommunications service provider in Sri Lanka.

In terms of the 10 attribute rankings, JKH leads in seven categories (financial performance, management profile, honesty, dynamism, corporate culture, CSR and vision) while MAS is numero uno for quality consciousness. Dialog assumes leadership for innovation with Sampath Bank being perceived as the most nation-minded.

– Zulfath Saheed


SCOPE OF SURVEY Commissioned and conceptualised by LMD, and conducted by Nielsen, the survey was designed to rank the ‘Most Respected’ entities in Sri Lanka based on the perceptions of respondents – and to evaluate why they’re perceived as such.

The survey covered a sample of 800 respondents (managers and above) from listed companies, the LMD 100 (2017/18) and Brands Annual 2018. Telephone interviews were conducted during February and March 2019. This was deemed to be the most effective method given the busy work schedules of survey participants.

A brief questionnaire was administered to capture the required information and respondents weren’t permitted to nominate the entities they represent.

CHANGES IN 2019 While the methodology, sample composition and questionnaire are the same as in the previous year, the method of ranking entities has been revised in 2019 to ensure a better discrimination of the nominated entities.

Therefore, the former method where the rankings were derived on the basis of the Olympic Ranking System (Rank 1 – Gold; Rank 2 – Silver; Rank 3 – Bronze) has been replaced by a weighted ranking system whereby the first mention is assigned a weight of five, the second a weight of three and the third a weight of one.

The final rankings are based on the sum of weighted scores of the entities.

– The Nielsen Company (Sri Lanka)