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CSE changes tick size applicable to equity securities; LOLC drives bourse



By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

The CSE Board of Directors decided to change the tick size applicable to equity securities traded on the Automated Trading System (ATS). The necessary rule changes have been carried out by the CSE to facilitate this change with the approval of the Securities & Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC).

The change to the tick size will be in effect from the opening of trading today. To facilitate this change, the CSE was to cancel all pending orders at the ATS at end of trading on January 7. Additionally, the open auction call on January 8 has been extended from 10.15 am. to 11.00 am. to provide adequate time for orders to be placed on the system.

Amid those developments the stock market was driven by the LOLC Group, which contributed 65 points to the All Share Price Index. It is said that both indices showed mixed reactions. All Share Price Index went up by 64.67 points and S and P SL20 declined by 6.84 points. The turnover stood at Rs. 9.14 billion with five crossings. Those crossings were reported in BPPL Holdings, which crossed 80.5 million shares to the tune of Rs. 1.29 billion and its share traded at Rs 16, JKH 1.69 million shares crossed for Rs 250.3 million, its shares trading at Rs. 148.50. Hemas Holdings 500,000 shares crossed for Rs. 47.5 million with its shares trading at Rs. 95, Sierra Cables five million shares crossed for Rs. 32.3 million; its shares trading at Rs. 6.50 and Commercial Bank 300,000 shares crossed for Rs. 24.9 million with its shares trading at Rs. 83.

In the retail market top five contributing companies to the trading were, Browns Investments Rs. 4.07 billion (1.612 million shares traded), LOLC Rs. 454.3 million (three million shares traded), Expolanka Rs. 390 million (12.6 million shares traded), Vallibel One Rs. 204 million (six million shares traded), and Hemas Holdings Rs. 147.5 million (1.55 million shares traded). During the day1.04 billion share volumes changed hands in 43490 transactions.

When one takes stock of the situation in the CSE, one would  find that the market was driven by LOLC Group, especially Browns Investments, whose shares moved up by Rs. 1.10 or 19 percent. Its shares started trading at Rs. 5.70 and at the end of the day it moved up to Rs. 6.80. Browns Investments contributed 36 points to the All Share Price Index. LOLC contributed 12 points to the All Share Price Index. Its shares moved up by Rs. 11.30 or 7.7 percent. Its shares started trading at Rs. 146.70 and at the end of the day it shot up to Rs. 158.

LOLC Finance contributed 8 points to the All Share Price Index. Its shares moved up by 19 percent or 70 cents. LOLC Finance shares started trading at Rs. 3.70 and at the end of the day it moved to Rs. 4.40 and Brown and Company contributed 8 points to the All Share Price Index. Its shares appreciated by 15 percent or Rs. 17.70. Its shares started trading at Rs. 120.60 and at the end of the day it moved to Rs. 138.50.

The benchmark All Share Price Index (ASPI) crossed 7000 points level yesterday for the first time since November 24 2015 closing the trading day on 7,036.76 points, the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) said in a statement.  

 Sri Lanka rupee closed flat at 185.10/184.90 in the spot next market against the US dollar yesterday, while bond yields eased slightly on buying pressure and the Rs. 40 billion  weekly bills auction was fully subscribed.

Rupee closed at 191.25/192.00 to the US dollar on the previous day.

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Softlogic Life’s FY22 results grows to LKR 23 Bn GWP amidst tough macroeconomic challenges



Softlogic Life recorded a superior full year performance in a crisis-affected business landscape, posting Gross Written Premium (GWP) of Rs. 23,083 million for the year ended 31 December 2022 with an increase in top-line growth of 15% compared to the corresponding period of last year. The Company has stood firmly with its policyholders in the face of the tough macroeconomic conditions, paying claims of Rs 8,264 million for the period.

During the period in review, Softlogic Life’s market share is at 16.87%, in comparison to 16.08% as of 31 December 2021. The market share increase continues to rank Softlogic Life as the second-largest in the life insurance market, overtaking much older players to establish strong growth momentum. Compared to the estimated Industry GWP growth, which was 9.6% during 2022, Softlogic Life recorded GWP growth of 15%.

The company reported a 10-year Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 28% of GWP, while the industry 10-year GWP CAGR growth was at 14%. Softlogic Life also notes that its contribution to increasing insurance penetration in the country has increased during the period in review with 133,872 policies issued, insuring more than 1.5 million Sri Lankan lives.

Profit after tax (PAT) for the period in review rose to Rs. 2,683 million, an increase of 27% YoY. Profit before tax (PBT) grew by 36% compared to last year at growth of Rs. 1,065 million. The company’s operating expense ratio remained at 22% irrespective of the inflation hike during 2022 as a result of prudent and efficient expense management initiatives adopted. Furthermore, Softlogic Life maintained a healthy Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) of 287%, well above the regulatory CAR requirement of 120%.

The company recorded impressive Return on Equity of 25% and Earning per share of LKR 7.15 after providing one off provision for impairment. Recurring Earning per share for the year 2022 increased to LKR 12.85 from LKR 5.61 per share.

Commenting on the financial performance of the Company, Ashok Pathirage, Chairman of Softlogic Life Insurance PLC, stated, “Despite numerous challenges in a tough business landscape, we have performed well to maintain our position as the second-largest life insurance company in Sri Lanka, growing our market share further to 16.87% by the end of 2022. These accomplishments were facilitated by the strategies we deployed and the strong execution of those strategies that have enabled the Company to sustain momentum in spite of the prevailing macro challenges.”

Since its inception, Softlogic Life has been striving to improve the quality of life of Sri Lankans through relevant disruptive innovations and digitalization. Industry-first innovations such as one-day automated claims settlement, hospitalization claim settlement, 100% digitalized sales platform, automatic policy issuance and mobile based micro products has helped the company to deliver a superior customer experience, which has been instrumental in enhancing its competitive position.

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Foreign investors bullish and local counterparts bearish at CSE; year-to-date net foreign inflows hit Rs. 2 billion



By Hiran H. Senewiratne

Foreigners remained bullish on Sri Lanka’s listed equities as year-to-date net foreign inflows crossed the Rs. 2 billion mark, while local investors appeared bearish at the CSE yesterday.

JKH was the major driver for foreign inflows to reach more than Rs two billion, without any specific reason, since last week, market analysts said. However, shares fell in mid-day trade over the need for further positivity on the International Monetary Fund loan being secured, an analyst said.

Both indices moved downwards. The ASPI fell by 125.28 points, while the most liquid S&P SL20 fell 43.82 points. Turnover stood at Rs 2.2 billion with four crossings. Those crossings reported in Lanka Tiles, which crossed 1.2 million shares to the tune of Rs 54 million, its shares traded at Rs 45, JKH 300,000 shares crossed for Rs 43.65 million, its shares traded at Rs 145.50, HNB 468,000 shares crossed to the tune of Rs 43.3 million, its shares traded at Rs. 92.50 and Chevron Lubricants 200,000 shares crossed for Rs 24.1 million, its shares fetched Rs 107.

In the retail market, seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, JKH Rs 721 million (4.9 million shares traded), Aitken Spence Rs 302 million (two million shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 126 million (664,000 shares traded), Softlogic Capital PLC Rs 91 million (5.6 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 82.1 million (13.5 million shares traded), Softlogic Life Insurance Rs 63.3 million (512,000 shares traded) and Tokyo Cement (Non- Voting) Rs 49.1 million (1.45 million shares traded). During the day 56.2 million share volumes changed hands in 14000 transactions.

“The overall market was pulled down because the market ran on banking shares in the past sessions, but news on domestic debt restructuring moved the market into the red yesterday, an analyst said.

Any domestic debt restructuring will be part of a negotiation process with creditors, which will take place after a program with the International Monetary Fund is in place, Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe said.

First, financial assurances from bi-lateral creditors have to be received to qualify for the IMF program.

It is said high net worth and institutional investor participation was noted in Expolanka Holdings, JKH and Sampath Bank. Mixed interest was observed in Aitken Spence, Sri Lanka Telecom and Lanka IOC, while retail interest was noted in Browns Investments, LOLC Finance and Ex-Pack Corrugated Cartons.

It said the Capital Goods sector was the top contributor to the market turnover (due to JKH and Aitken Spence), while the sector index gained 0.19 per cent. The share price of JKH gained 75 cents to reach Rs. 145.50. The share price of Aitken Spence closed flat at Rs. 150.

The Transportation sector was the second highest contributor to the market turnover (due to Expolanka Holdings), while the sector index increased by 1.02 per cent. The share price of Expolanka Holdings increased by Rs. 2 to Rs. 194.

Yesterday, the Central Bank announced the US dollar buying rate as Rs 359.99 and selling rate as Rs 370.18.

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Japanese State Minister of Foreign Affairs visits Port of Colombo



SLPA Chairman Keith D. Bernard presents a token of appreciation to Japanese State Minister of Foreign Affairs - TAKEI Shunsuke. SLPA vice chairman - Gayan Algewattege, SLPA managing director - Susatha Abeysiriwardena and harbour master capt. Nirmal Silva were present.

Japanese State Minister of Foreign Affairs TAKEI Shunsuke visited the Port of Colombo to learn about the ongoing developments in the Port of Colombo. The visit took place on 03rd February 2023. During the visit the Japanese State Minister of Foreign Affairs also met with the Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) – Keith D. Bernard and other higher officials at the main control tower of the Port.

The Chairman of SLPA explained to the Japanese state minister of foreign affairs of the progress of the developments of the East Container Terminal (ECT), the West Container Terminal and the North Port Development Project. The SLPA Chairman thanked the Japanese Government and the people of Japan for the invaluable support extended by them for development of Port sector in Sri Lanka, particularly towards the Jaya Container Terminal and the developments at the Port of Trincomalee.

The high level Japanese delegation at the Port of Colombo also comprised MIZUKOSHI Hideaki – Japanese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, TUTSUMI Tarou – Director, Southwest Asian Division, ANDO Toshiaki – Executive Assistant to the state minister of foreign affairs, TOKITA Yuji – director, second country assistance planning department, IWASE Kichiro – assistant to minister /director-general Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Department, MATSUYAMA Miina – third secretary, Embassy of Japan in India, KATSUKI Kotaro – Minister Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka and OZAKI Takeshi, first secretary – Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka.

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