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Imtiaz Buhardeen increases stake in Sierra Cables to 20 per cent



By Hiran H.Senewiratne

High net worth individual investor Imtiaz Buhardeen on Friday increased his collective stake in Sierra Cables PLC to 20 per cent

Imtiaz’s stakes are via Carlines Holdings Ltd. and Almas Organization Ltd. As at September, the collective stake was 17.5 per cent and since then he has been collecting select quantities to go up to the 20% mark. He said the stake was increased in value, given the upside he sees in the market segments served by Sierra Cables, CSE sources said.

On Friday, Sierra Cables saw 1.73 million shares traded between a high of Rs. 14 and a low of Rs. 13.50 before closing at Rs. 13.80, down by 20 cents. During the week 14.4 million of Sierra shares changed hands via 1,589 trades for Rs. 197 million. An intra-week high of Rs. 14.50 was achieved though it was below the 52-week record of Rs. 14.80.

Sierra Holdings Ltd. owns a 58 per cent stake in Sierra Cables, public float of which is 27.46 per cent; held by 21,388 shareholders as at September 30.

Amid those developments, at the beginning the CSE indicated some negative performance. Later showed some marginal increase and buying interest was witnessed in blue chip companies. Therefore, the All-Share Price Index increased by two per cent. Index heavy Commercial Leasing and Finance share price declined by 19 percent or Rs 7.70. Its shares started trading at Rs 47.70 and at the end of the day they dropped to Rs 32.50, thus dragging the All- Share Price Index by 110 negative points.

However, Expolanka Holdings and Browns Investments have shown acute price escalations. Expolanka shares gained by five percent or Rs 14.74. Its share price shot up to Rs 295 from Rs 280.25, contributing 64 points to the All- Share Price Index and Brown and Company shares shot up to Rs 315 from Rs 281. Its share price appreciated by 10 percent or Rs 28.25, thus contributing positive points to the All- Share Price Index.

Both indices moved upwards. The All- Share Price Index went up by 46.09 points and S and P SL20 rose by 81.8 points. Turnover stood at Rs 6.7 billion sans any crossings. In the retail market, top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Commercial Leasing and Finance Rs 2.6 billion (80 million shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 983 million (3.4 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 598 million (40.7 million shares traded), Brown and Company Rs 371 million (1.2 million shares traded), Vallibel One Rs 184 million (2.4 million shares traded), Royal Ceramic Rs 146 million (2.1 million shares traded) and LOLC Holdings Rs 145 million (147,000 shares traded). During the day 252 million share volumes changed hands in 39000 transactions.

Yesterday, the US dollar was quoted at Rs 202.26, which was the Central Bank controlled price, to prevent escalations of essential imported items and inflation in the country.

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Seven factors of concern at upcoming Monetary Policy Review



by Sanath Nanayakkare

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) is scheduled to announce its latest monetary policy review on 20th January 2022, with all eyes on dwindling foreign reserves and foreign currency exchange in the country.

In this context, First Capital Research has named 7 factors of concern that could be taken into account at the upcoming monetary policy review. They are as follows.

* Foreign Reserves USD 3.1 billion – Dec 2021

* Inflation CCPI 12.1% – Dec 2021

* GDP Growth -1.5% – 3Q2021

* Private Credit LKR 60.5 billion – Nov 2021

* 03M T-Bill rate 8.38% as at 12.01.22

Liquidity and CBSL Holdings LKR -364.0 billion and LKR 1.42 trillion

Balance of Trade (BOT) and Balance of Payment (BOP) USD -6.5 billion and USD -3.3 billion for Jan-Oct 21

First Capital Research’s Policy Rate Forecast – Jan 2022-Apr 2022 notes that they believe the CBSL may highly consider tightening the monetary policy rates in this policy review but given the concerns over economic growth, there is a probability of 40% for CBSL to maintain its policy stance at current levels.

“With high frequent indicators improving in line with expectations, we have eliminated any probability of a rate cut. We expect a continued increase in probability for a rate hike in order to prevent overheating of the economy amidst the given fiscal and monetary stimulus,” they said.

As per First Capital’s view, CBSL either can choose to hike policy rates by 50bps or 100bps or hold policy rates steady, while a rate cut is off the table due to the high debt repayment and the high domestic borrowing requirement.

First Capital believes that there is a 60% probability for a rate hike due to the remedial actions required in achieving external stability.

However, there is also a 40% probability to maintain the policy rates at its current level in order to further improve the high frequency indicators.30%, they noted.

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Sri Lanka’s dash brand enters international markets



Multichemi International Ltd, which manufactures and distributes a wide range of products under dash, one of Sri Lanka’s leading detergent and household care brands, has begun exporting its products to several international markets in Asia and Oceania, with plans also to enter Africa. The dash brand includes a wide range of products in car care, household care, home fragrances and laundry care sectors. Multichemi International Ltd, which has been awarded ISO 9001:2015 certification, is a Sri Lankan pioneer in environment-friendly cleaning products, having launched the country’s first biodegradable, safe cleaning products over 28 years ago.

Amila Wijesinghe, General Manager of the Company said,”Having conquered the domestic market, we are now ready to capture the international market. We are confident that our products which are of high quality will receive a good demand overseas as well. The feedback we have received so far from our overseas customers is extremely encouraging. We are dedicated to taking our products to the international market, to bring in foreign currency to the country and help uplift the economy”,

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Janaka Abeysinghe appointed SLT CEO



Sri Lanka Telecom PLC has announced the appointment of Janaka Abeysinghe as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with effect from February 1, 2022.

The incumbent CEO Kiththi Perera will be overseas on leave for a period of two years to pursue higher studies, according to a stock market filing by the company.

Abeysinghe joined SLT in 1991. In his present role, he leads the enterprise and wholesale business of SLT that provides integrated voice and data solutions to enterprises, government institutions, domestic telco operators and global wholesale carriers.

In his career at SLT spanning 29 years, he has held a number of senior positions, including general manager Enterprise and International Sales and has extensive experience in the areas of Enterprise Digital Services, Enterprise Communications Solutions, Data Communications, Business Development, Domestic and International Switching Operations and Global Wholesale Voice & Data Business.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Kansas, USA and a BSc degree in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering with a First Class Honours from the University of Moratuwa.

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