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Index-heavy companies’ share prices down

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

CSE market activities were negative yesterday with the index heavy LOLC share prices plummeting by 18 percent. The reason  being that investors were slightly taken aback at LOLC quarterly results which did not prove exceptionally good. As a result, 87 negative points were contributed to the All Share Price Index yesterday, stock market analysts said.

Apart from LOLC, several index heavy companies’ share prices went down, including Vallibal One, whose shares dropped by 10 percent and it contributed 20 negative points. Browns Investments reported a 9 percent drop and it contributed 20 negative points, Expolanka witnessed a five percent drop, contributing 17 negative points.

Amid those developments, both indices moved downwards. The All Share Price Index went down by 326.36 points and S and P SL20 declined by 126.05 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 4.28 billion with three crossings. Those crossings were reported in Sampath Bank, where 500,000 shares crossed for Rs. 82.5 million; its shares traded at Rs. 165, Sanasa Development Bank 850,000 shares crossed for Rs. 51 million, its shares traded at Rs. 60 and Hemas Holdings 350,000 shares crossed for Rs. 30.8 million, its shares trading at Rs. 58.

In the retail market top five companies that contributed to the turnover were; LOLC Rs. 730 million (1.97 million shares traded), Dipped Products Rs. 383 million (6.1 million shares traded), Expolanka Rs. 304 million (6.5 million shares traded, JKH Rs. 280 million (1.78 million shares traded) and Vallibel One Rs. 273 million (4.3 million shares traded). During the day 117.4 million share volumes changed hands in 34809 transactions.

Samapth Bank announced a dividend, which was Rs. 8.25 per share. Due to uncertain market conditions Sampath Bank shares  depreciated yesterday.     In contrasting actions, state fund EPF sold down in Hayleys PLC, while Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Life Fund has upped its stake in the quarter ended December 31, 2020. Hayleys also saw 605 new shareholders in the quarter.

As per latest shareholding at Hayleys, EPF has moved down to fourth from third after selling 2.3 million shares. Its shareholding with 2.34 million shares amounted to 3.12 percent down from 5.04 percent  previously. SLIC Life Fund has increased its stake to 0.79 million shares or 1.06 percent  from 0.39 million shares or 0.5 percent.High net worth individual investor and former Director Nimal Perera figures in the Top 20 shareholders list with 0.5 million shares or 0.67 percent shares while J.B. Cocoshell Ltd. is also a new entrant with 0.37 million shares or 0.5 percent.  Hayleys’ public shareholding is 37 percent  held by 6,974 shareholders, up from 6,369 shareholders as at September 30, 2020.       

Sri Lanka rupee quoted wider around 195.00/197.50 levels to the US dollar in the spot market on Tuesday, while bond yields edged up on selling pressure, dealers said. The rupee last closed in on the one-week forward market at 196.50/197.00 levels on Monday. In the secondary market, bond yields gained on selling pressure but the market remained dull, dealers said.



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Business

SLT Group posts stable revenue growth amidst adverse socioeconomic environment in first half 2022

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-Showcases resilience in business model-

Sri Lanka Telecom Group (SLT Group), the National ICT Solutions Provider, posted stable growth for the first half of 2022, with revenues increasing by 6% to Rs 52.9 Bn and a 19.8% increase in profit before tax (PBT) at Rs. 7.2 Bn against the same period last year, showcasing resilience in its business model amidst complex socioeconomic challenges facing the country.

Demonstrating operational efficiency, SLT Group’s EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation) went up to Rs. 20.9 Bn for the first half of 2022, recording a growth of 7.8% compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. The EBITDA Margin stood at 39.7% for the period under review.

Building on the success of the previous quarter, the SLT Group was able to maintain a positive momentum for Q2 2022 recording gains of 4% in operating profit when compared to the previous quarter. The Group recorded a foreign exchange gain of Rs. 135 Mn during the quarter due to the prudent foreign exchange strategies of the Group. However, profit after tax (PAT) declined by 26.5% in Q2 compared to the previous quarter, mainly owing to the increase in income tax expenses during the period.

The SLT Group continued its strategic plan implemented at the beginning of the year, consolidating its performance throughout Q2 as well. However, during the period from April to June, the Group faced several business growth challenges including an unprecedented economic crisis, import restrictions, inflationary pressures etc. Furthermore, ongoing investments were affected; new projects were also impacted due to the increase of operational costs and the energy and fuel crisis resulted in operational challenges. Overcoming uncertainties, the Group with resilience made headway in strategic investments, undertaking appropriate management controls, in addition to managing the revenue portfolio in multiple segments.

The Operating Cash Flows of the Group grew to Rs. 23.5 Bn, up by 21.2% year-on-year. The Group recorded a favourable cash and cash equivalents position of Rs. 27 Bn as at the end of the reporting period. SLT Group’s contribution to the Government of Sri Lanka during the first half of 2022 amounted to Rs. 14 Bn. in direct and indirect taxes including levies and dividends.

SLT Group Chairman, Rohan Fernando said, “The period under review has been one of the most challenging periods that SLT-MOBITEL has faced in recent times exacerbated by a tough operating environment. However, due to the agility in our business model to deliver growth and a motivated team effort, we have been able to successfully generate positive results.”

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Chevron Lubricants, Aitken Spence and Lanka IOC drive share market; turnover exceeds Rs. 5 billion

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

The CSE gained over 1 per cent in mid-day trade yesterday pushed by Chevron Lubricants, Aitken Spence and Lanka IOC. The market remained extremely bullish yesterday too with mixed reactions in indices while the turnover exceeded the Rs 5 billion level. However, profit- takings were noted in certain blue-chip companies due to witnessing some down trend in certain companies, market analysts said.

Investors continue to focus on Lanka IOC stocks; which company dominated the country’s energy sector over the last two months. Consequently, its profitability also increased in leaps and bounds due to the heavy demand for fuel. Lanka IOC is to set up 50 filling stations and the approval has been granted by the Energy Ministry, which is also one of the reasons for the company’s share market to move up, stock market analysts said.

However, there was selling in most of the main counters of the CSE due to fears of unprecedented tax increases in the interim budget, a top market analyst said.

Further, Chevron Lubricants’ share prices also appreciated due to market speculation that the company is planning to enter the energy/fuel business with a Chinese company.

Amid those developments stock market indices reflected mixed reactions. The All- Share Price Index reached the 8500 points mark. It gained 77.03 points (0.91 per cent) to end at 8500 and S and P SL20 declined marginally by 9.49 points (0.34 per cent) to end the day at 2784.66.

Turnover stood at Rs 5.3 billion with four crossings. Those crossings were reported in Watawala Plantations, which crossed 4.6 million shares to the tune of Rs 403 million; its shares traded at Rs 87, Citizens Development Business Finance 1.1 million shares crossed for Rs 217 million, its shares traded at Rs 200, Commercial Bank 2.6 million shares crossed to the tune of Rs 145 million and its shares fetched Rs 54 and Hunas Falls 625,000 shares crossed to the tune of Rs 25 million; its shares traded at Rs 40.

In the retail market, top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Lanka IOC Rs 1.9 million (14 million shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 449 million (2.3 million shares traded), JKH Rs 252 million (2.1 million shares traded), LOLC Holdings Rs 135 million (226,000 shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 131 million (16.9 million shares traded), Chevron Lubricants Rs 130 million (one million shares traded) and LOLC Holdings Rs 88.5 million (9.8 million shares traded).

It is said that high net worth and institutional investor participation was noted in Melstacorp and Bairaha Farms. Mixed interest was observed in Lanka IOC, Expolanka Holdings and JKH, while retail interest was noted in Browns Investments, LOLC Finance and Agstar.

Energy sector was the top contributor to market turnover (due to Lanka IOC), while the sector index gained 15.15 per cent. Food, Beverage and Tobacco sector was the second highest contributor to the market turnover (due to Melstacorp).

Expolanka Holdings, JKH and LOLC Holdings were also included among the top turnover contributors. The share price of Expolanka Holdings lost Rs. 1.50 (0.73 per cent) to close at Rs. 203. The share price of JKH closed flat at Rs. 119.

Yesterday the Central Bank- announced US dollar buying rate was Rs 357.29 and its selling rate Rs 368.61.

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Unilever launches all new Surf Excel 2-in-1 laundry detergent with added fragrance of Comfort

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Standing as a testament to its commitment to innovation, to meet the changing needs of Sri Lankan consumers, Unilever Sri Lanka’s leading laundry detergent brand, Surf Excel, recently launched its latest 2-in-1 laundry detergent product, fused with the premium fragrance of Comfort Fabric Conditioner.

For the first time in Sri Lanka, consumers can experience Surf Excel’s all-inclusive superior stain removal with the premium fragrance of Comfort Fabric Conditioner, which gets rid of tough stains from deep within fabrics. Comfort’s premium floral fragrance will leave washed laundry smelling fresh and fragrant after every wash. The new formulation is also gentle on hands, making every handwash a pleasant experience.

Speaking on the launch, Sharmila Bandara, Marketing Director – Homecare and Nutrition, Unilever Sri Lanka said, “When children go out and play, they don’t just get their clothes dirty or stained, but experience life, observe, make friends, or learn to share. This helps them get stronger, develop well rounded personalities and brave the world outside.” She further added “For generations, Surf Excel has been taking care of tough stains for mothers around the country. Now, with the addition of the premium fragrance of Comfort, washing and wearing clothes will become a much more memorable experience for all.”

Surf Excel 2-in-1 with the added premium fragrance of Comfort Fabric Conditioner comes in a pink and blue pack and consumers may purchase the product in seven different sizes at retail outlets and supermarkets island wide.

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