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ASPI hits record high for fourth consecutive day

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

The CSE was on a high yesterday with both indices gaining by over 10 per cent and turnover hitting a healthy record due to strategic deals and an active retail market. The All- Share Price Index of the CSE surged 92.49 points to close at a record all- time high of 13.169.40 for the fourth consecutive day, stock market analysts said.

The stock market was positive throughout, driven by LOLC Group counters and other such blue-chip counters. One reason for the market to move up was the Central Bank decision to grant permission for Commercial Leasing and Finance and Sinhaputhra Finance to merge according to a consolidation plan. Under this proposed merger, Sinhaputhra Finance shareholders having 10000 shares of the company, will obtain 7803 shares in Commercial Leasing and Finance.

Further, LOLC Holdings has rolled out a major business consolidation master plan where they strengthen the financial sector entities. Under this plan one of its subsidiaries, LOLC Finance, will merge with Commercial Leasing and Finance. With this merger Commercial Leasing and Finance will exit the business, analysts said.

Amid those developments LOLC Holding companies’ share prices appreciated in the stock market. During the day Lanka IOC stocks also appreciated with the announcing of the possible joint venture with Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. The new joint venture would be Trinco Petroleum Terminals Ltd and it is expected to get Cabinet approval this week.

Accordingly, both indices moved upwards. The All -Share Price Index went up by 92.5 points and S and P SL20 rose by 46.9 points, which also reached the 4500 level. Turnover stood at Rs 9.4 billion with three crossings. Those crossings were reported in LBL Energy Fund, which crossed six million shares to the tune of Rs 66 million and its shares traded at Rs 11, Windforce 1.3 million shares crossed for Rs 24.7 million, its shares trading at Rs 19 and Browns Investments 49000 shares crossed for Rs 20 million, its shares fetching Rs 402.

In the retail market seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, LOLC Finance Rs 1.2 billion (40.7 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 966 million (51.8 million shares traded), Sunshine Holdings Rs 683 million (10.5 million shares traded), Hayleys Rs 446 million (3.1 million shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 384 million (985,000 shares traded), Royal Ceramic Rs 380 million (4.8 million shares traded) and LOLC Holdings Rs 363 million (253,000 shares traded). During the day 418 million share volumes changed hands in 67000 transactions.

On the previous day, Browns Investments’ acquisitions of Sierra Cables (Rs. 1,792 million – consisting of 29.50 per cent of an outstanding number of shares) and Agstar PLC (Rs. 1,123 million – consisting of 43.75 per cent of Voting shares and 66.66 per cent of non- Voting shares) pushed turnover to reach a four-month high at Rs. 15,561 million. However, that momentum continued yesterday as well.

Due to that Agstar and Sierra Cables share prices appreciated. Agstar share price appreciated by 45 per cent or Rs 3.60. Its share price shot up to Rs 11.40 from Rs 8. Sierra Cables share price appreciated by 40 per cent or Rs 10.90. Its share price appreciated to Rs 16 from Rs 11.50. Further, Softlogic Holdings share price appreciated by 28 per cent or Rs 10.90. Its share price appreciated to Rs 48.80 from Rs 39.10.

It is said that high net worth and institutional investor participation was noted in JKH, Teejay Lanka and Softlogic Capital. Mixed interest was observed in Expolanka Holdings, Lanka Orix Finance and LOLC Holdings, while retail interest was noted in Sierra Cables, Agstar and Browns Investments.

Yesterday, the US dollar was quoted at Rs 202.06, which was the Central Bank controlled price to prevent price escalations of the essential imports. This artificial suppression of the dollar as against the rupee created some negative impact to the economy, sources said.



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CSE Director Board appoints new chairman

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The Chairman of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) Dumith Fernando who has served in this role since July 01, 2020, has informed the Board of his intention to retire by rotation on June 23, 2022 at the conclusion of his current term as a Director. Subsequently, at its regular monthly board meeting held on May 19th, 2022, the Board of the CSE has elected Director Dilshan Wirasekara to succeed Fernando as Chairman with effect from June 24th, 2022. Wirasekara is currently Director and Chief Executive Officer of First Capital Holdings PLC.According to the Articles of Association of the CSE, it’s Chair is chosen from among the five Directors elected by the members of the CSE. The appointment of Wirasekara is in line with the CSE’s normal board succession practice.

The outgoing Chairman Fernando said that “We are very pleased with the advancement of the CSE in the last 2 years. The market has set records across capital raising, trading volumes and participation alongside significant wealth creation for investors. The CSE is also financially stronger than it has ever been, and I am pleased to hand over my role following the institution’s highest-ever profitability and capital reserves position. Credit for this is due to my fellow board members, management and staff as well as all those stakeholders who collaborated with us including our regulator the Securities & Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka and the stock broking and investor communities.”

Commenting on the appointment of his successor, he further stated “I have had the pleasure of serving as a Director with Dilshan for five years where he has been a critical and energetic member of the board. The board and I have full confidence that he will continue to work with all stakeholders to build on our recent efforts to transform into a modern-day multi-product exchange. I look forward to supporting Dilshan over the next few weeks to ensure a smooth transition.”Wirasekara thanked both the outgoing chairman for his leadership of the CSE over the last 2 years and the CSE Board for the confidence placed in him. He further stated, “I hope to continue the good progress at the CSE and look forward to working with the Board and the CSE team together with the regulator and the industry to advance our ambitious capital market development plans.”

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SLIM Research Bureau embarks on a mission to promote fair trade in Sri Lanka

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As corporates and consumers globally are shifting towards best practices such as sustainability, inclusivity, and most importantly, equality to all, “fairness” has become a significant part of how business and buyer decisions are made.With this in mind, SLIM Research Bureau, the research arm associated with the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM), recently signed an agreement with Fairtrade NAPP at SLIM Home, in aspiration of promoting fair trade and consumption of fairly traded products in the local market of Sri Lanka.Through this collaboration, SLIM Research Bureau and Fairtrade intends to launch a project – named “SRI-PROM” funded by AICS, the Italian Agency for Development Co-operation, and supported by Fairtrade Italy – that aims to contribute to the social and economic strengthening of rural areas in Sri Lanka, through the development of much more profitable eco-sustainable supply chains for small farmers.

Commenting on the partnership, SLIM President Mr. Nuwan Gamage stated: “SLIM is thrilled to enter into this milestone partnership with Fairtrade NAPP to instil globally accepted best practices within the corporate circle that help achieve fair, equitable trade relationships. The project will be the first step in inviting businesses across industries to become a trailblazer that sets an example both in Sri Lanka and around the world. We look forward to expand these efforts further in the days to come.”The modern concept of fair trade refers to the ethical and sustainable sourcing of products, where workers and farmers at the foundational level of supply and value chains are treated fairly. This, in turn, offers consumers a powerful opportunity to reduce poverty through their purchases.

Fairtrade International Programme Consultant for Sri Lanka, Standards Committee Chair, and Oversight Committee Asia-Pacific Representative Mrs. Iresha Sanjeewanie noted: “Fairtrade takes a 360-degree approach to address a number of different issues and developmental challenges faced by small-scale producers and workers. Though Fairtrade Standards are a glum eye-opener into the implications of unfair trade, in a broader sense, it advocates reform-oriented research and pushes to raise the bar in trade.”

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Bank of Ceylon sponsors Annual Sand Paving Ceremony at Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Temple Anuradhapura

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Invoking the blessings of the sacred “Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi” situated in the historic city of Anuradhapura, on the country and on all its citizens, for peace, harmony and prosperity, the Bank of Ceylon conducted its annual ceremony of strewing fresh sand which is known as “weli Athirime Pinkama” in “Uda Maluwa” recently.

The ceremony took place with the participation of the Bank’s General Manager K.E.D. Sumanasiri, DGM Corporate and Offshore Banking Priyal Silva, DGM Human Resource Dhamma Wijeyawardhene, DGM Branch operations and Development Banking Nilantha Meneripitiyage, AGM North Central Province Mahinda Bandara, AGM Marketing Aruna Hettiarachchi, AGM North Western Mrs.Ruchindra Perera and other staff members. The event was organized by the Bank’s Assistant General Manager North Central Province (NCP) G.K.G. Mahinda Bandara and staff members of the NCP province with the guidance of the Atamasthanadipathi of Anuradhapura, the Most Venerable Dr. Pallegama Siriniwasa Thero.

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