While the tussle within Hatton National Bank PLC (HNB) continues with regard to issuing 10 percent of its shares to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the development lender said it is continuing to evaluate other banking sector investment opportunities in Sri Lanka.
“While we cannot comment on the ongoing negotiations, we continue to look for opportunities to support the banking sector in Sri Lanka and elsewhere where ADB can provide significant value addition,” ADB said in an e-mail in response to a query as to why ADB is pursuing an investment opportunity in HNB despite the hurdles.
ADB said that it was not willing to comment on why it was continuing to hold on to a chance at investing in HNB despite continuous resistance from a major HNB shareholder.
Business tycoon Harry Jayawardena, who holds 17.85 percent of HNB shares and 10 percent voting rights through the Stassen group, has gone to courts against the HNB board’s decision to issue 10 percent of the bank’s shares to ADB.
The Stassen group last October obtained an interim order, which effectively barred the share issue going ahead and last week it managed to thwart the attempts towards vacating the interim order.
ADB said that it has a long track record of funding financial institutions across Asia through long-term debt and equity, providing technical assistance and helping increase access to finance for underserved segments.
“ADB maintains a strong interest in supporting the private sector in Sri Lanka and partners with financial institutions where ADB can provide value, thereby promoting economic growth, supporting job creation, and improving access to finance.” (CW)