Major shareholders not ready to dilute ownership in plantation firms, says Carson Cumberbatch

7 May 2019 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Carson Cumberbatch group has indicated that the major shareholders of its four plantation companies have no intention of diluting their ownership to comply with the minimum public float rules of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE).


The Carson Cumberbatch group oil palm plantations – Good Hope PLC, Indo-Malay PLC, Selinsing PLC and Shalimar (Malay) PLC – were transferred to the CSE’s Watch List on July 2, 2018, due to the non-compliance of the minimum public holding rule.


According to the Listing Rules, such companies are given 20 months to return to compliance but continuous non-compliance will result in trading of the securities of such companies being suspended. 


That 20 months’ period for these plantation companies is set to lapse on February 28, 2020. 


The requirement stipulates the minimum public holding percentage from 0 to 20 percent, which was also determined based on a float-adjusted market capitalization ranging from Rs.10 billion down to less than Rs.2.5 billion, with the two determinants going in the opposite direction in Rs.2.5 billion intervals in the market cap. 


A voluntary offer was made in 2011 to the minority shareholders with the objective consolidating the oil palm plantation business of the Carson Cumberbatch group.Since the voluntary offer did not result in the acquisition of the entire minority shareholding, the company continued to remain listed, said Carson Cumberbatch Group Chairman Harry Selvanathan in his annual review to the shareholders. 


“Taking into consideration that a voluntary offer had been made and also considering that there is no requirement for additional capital infusion to the company and resultantly, there being no plans for issuing of new shares nor a dilution by the majority shareholder and as previously communicated to shareholders through market disclosures and annual reports, the company would not be in compliance with the said requirements and we would report on the proposed course of action in consultation with the regulator,” Selvanathan said. 


The performance of the oil palm plantation business segment of the Carson Cumberbatch group has been hampered by the El-Nino effect and the continuous decline in global commodity prices. The operations of the companies solely consist of equity investments made in PT Agro Indomas, Indonesia, through Shalimar Developments Sdn. Bhd.


The Indonesian investment, PT Agro Indomas is managed through the group’s fully-owned management arm in Indonesia. PT Agro Indomas consists of 26,981 hectares of plantation with processing facilities of 225 MT/hr.

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