Ondaatjie family controlled Mercantile Investments and Finance PLC (MIF) yesterday divested its entire holdings in Sri Lanka’s largest private lender, Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC, in a Rs.1.43
As at March 31, 2017, MIF held 10, 795, 366 Commercial Bank shares, which amounted to 1.28 percent of the issued shares of the bank. The Colombo bourse yesterday saw the exact quantity held by MIF being traded by way of a crossing. The shares were sold at Rs.133 a share.
Unconfirmed market sources said the buyer of the shares was high net worth investor Indra Silva. Silva, this April, sold 3.5 percent stake in Commercial Bank in a Rs.4.3 billion deal. The buyers of the shares were foreign investors.
Analysts said the major reason behind Silva to divest shares was to reinvest in the 1 for 10 rights issue announced by the bank at Rs.113.60 per share to raise Rs.10.1 billion. However, he wanted about Rs.950 million to subscribe to his full quota of rights. As at March 31, 2017, Silva as the largest individual shareholder, held 9.89 percent stake or 83.7 million shares in Commercial Bank.
Shares fall; floods weigh on
REUTERS: Sri Lankan shares fell for a third straight session yesterday, posting their lowest close in more than three weeks, as floods and landslides that killed over 190 people weighed on sentiment. The extent of the damage due to the floods is yet to be assessed, with the country’s main agricultural exports - tea and rubber - hit by the worst torrential rains in 14 years.
Authorities also warned yesterday of more rains and landslides as a cyclone formed in the Bay of Bengal.
“Short-term disruptions in rubber tapping and distribution difficulties with tea could lead to dwindling production. However, it is too early to comment since the actual extent of economic damage is not known,” Danushka Samarasinghe, Chief Operating Officer at Softlogic Stockbrokers, told Reuters. “Retail trade would get affected,” he said, adding that demand for FMCG would rise on humanitarian support for flood and landslide victims while the construction sector is also likely to see higher activities in the coming period. Inflation could rise in the short term, especially due to crop damages and distribution difficulties with regard to fresh food produce and staple food items, he added. “The impact on the insurance sector could be too early to ascertain, though based on news reports it may not be as damaging as last year,” Samarasinghe said. The Colombo stock index ended 0.36 percent weaker at 6,655.25, its lowest close since May 5. It fell 0.47 percent last week, recording its first weekly fall in nine.
Turnover was Rs.1.72 billion ($11.28 million) yesterday, more than this year’s daily average of Rs.904.3 million. Commercial Bank of Ceylon, the country’s top lender, edged up 0.1 percent and accounted for over 84 percent of the day’s turnover. Foreign investors bought shares worth Rs.2.27 million on a net basis, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to Rs.19.46 billion worth of equities. Dialog Axiata Plc fell 1.7 percent, Lanka ORIX Leasing Co Plc dropped 2.3 percent, Hatton National Bank Plc slipped 0.8 percent and Hemas Holdings Plc closed 0.8 percent lower.