Browns Hotels and Resorts Limited (BHRL) increased its shareholding in Eden Hotel Lanka PLC (EDEN) significantly last week following the conclusion of a mandatory offer. BRHL purchased 13.11 percent of the shares or 13.85 million shares in EDEN for a consideration of Rs.20 per share during the mandatory offer period, increasing BRHL’s total shareholding in EDEN to 86.32 percent. The mandatory offer was triggered during a rights issue, when BRHL acted in concert with its subsidiary Palm Garden Hotels PLC (PALM) to acquire a majority ownership.
PALM had owned 46.21 percent of the shares in EDEN prior to the rights issue, which saw one new share being offered for one existing share at Rs.20 per share to repay the existing debt. PALM purchased 24.40 million shares during the rights issue to stop the dilution of its shareholding, while BRHL purchased 28.33 million shares or 26.83 percent of the shareholding, increasing its direct ownership to 26.96 percent. For the nine months ended December 31, 2015, EDEN posted a net loss of Rs.255.80 million, improving from a net loss of Rs.276.80 million year-on-year (YoY), showing some signs of recovery.
The losses have been attributed to refurbishments and the acquisition of a new resort. The booming informal sector may also be pressuring revenue growth. BHRL may have taken into consideration the December 2016 extended deadline on the rules of minimum public float as a requirement for continued listing, when it increased its ownership in Eden through the rights issue and offered to buy the remaining 28.33 million shares.
However, since BHRL only owns 86.32 percent of the shares at the conclusion of the mandatory offer, it has not moved past the 10 percent minimum public float requirement for a company listed on the secondary board.