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LB Finance acquires 65 per cent stake in loss-incurring Multi Finance for Rs. 400 million

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

Industry giant LB Finance PLC recently acquired a 65 per cent stake in loss- incurring Multi Finance PLC at Rs. 400 million, market analysts said.

It bought 41.11 million shares or a 64.62 per cent stake, with 28.78 million shares being bought at Rs. 9.70 each and 12.32 million shares being purchased at Rs. 9.80 each. Multi Finance’s net asset value per share is Rs. 7.12.

LB Finance will make a mandatory offer under the SEC’s Takeovers and Mergers Code. Multi Finance has a public float of 35 per cent with 904 shareholders.

The acquisition is part of the Central Bank facilitated consolidation within the Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFIs) sector, market sources said.

The transaction was structured and executed by Acuity Stockbrokers.

Multi Finance as at December 31, 2021 held assets worth Rs. 773.2 million, while liabilities were Rs. 320 million. It was carrying an accumulated loss of Rs. 462 million.

Amid those developments, stock market activities yesterday were slightly positive with the Sri Lankan government inking a deal with the State Bank of India to get a one billion US dollar credit line for food and medicine, while President Gotabaya Rajapaka’s recent address to the nation too gave some impetus to stock market investors, brokers said.

However, the absence of debt sustainable mechanisms and the shortage of essential items along with the acute financial crisis will aggravate issues in the future, stock market analysts said.

Both indices moved upwards. The All- Share Price Index went up by 153 points and S and P SL20 rose by 64.05 points. Turnover stood at Rs 1.4 billion sans a single crossing.

In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Expolanka Holdings Rs 323 million (1.25 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 188 million (17.4 million shares traded), LOLC Finance Rs 96.3 million (5.7 million shares traded), Dialog Rs 79.6 million (6.9 million shares traded), LOLC Holdings Rs 68.8 million (86000 shares traded), Hayleys PLc Rs 62.4 million (628,000 shares traded) and Commercial Bank Rs 59.7 million (769,000 shares traded). During the day 72 million share volumes changed hands in 18000 transactions.

Hayleys PLC is gearing to raise Rs.5.0 billion in debt through a debenture issue, but it isn’t immediately clear what the exact purposes are, although the Group has a sizable debt pile, some of which may need to be refinanced, market sources said.

Hayleys, one of the most diversified conglomerates in the country, did extremely well for the financial year ended March 2021 and for the nine months ended December 2021 as its subsidiaries generated elevated performances, particularly those that generated export earnings, resulting in higher dividend incomes to the holding company.

Sri Lanka’s rupee was quoted around 270/290 to the US dollar yesterday, market participants said, while bond markets were inactive ahead of the weekend.

Though there were bids, offers were not firm, dealers said. A narrow quote for small volumes was 275/285 to the US dollar.



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Business

Dialog Smart Home Enables Seamless Home Automation via Range of Intuitive Solutions 

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Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, introduced a range of convenient and integrated solutions via ‘Dialog Smart Home’ to enable intelligent automation and intuitive control of homes.

The newly introduced range of future-fit smart home solutions by Dialog Smart Home ranges from Home Automation, Home Security & Surveillance and Home Connectivity, and are designed to enable any home to work as one harmonious system where all elements work in tandem together to create a truly intelligent home.

The Home Automation solutions offer homeowners seamless and convenient control of their electronic appliances through their smartphones anytime, anywhere. With the Smart Touch Wall Switches, Smart Power Strips and Smart Fan Controllers, homeowners can take control of existing light bulbs, table fans, rice cookers, chargers, ceiling fans and more appliances. Additionally, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered TeDi Alexa Solution enables users to control connected smart devices including TVs, air conditioners, home security systems and more through voice commands.

Home Security & Surveillance solutions transform basic cameras into high-powered CCTV solutions. Baby and house monitoring smart cameras can be placed inside homes to keep a 360-degree eye on children and pets. The Indoor Security Camera has the ability to sound a siren and notify users if a stranger enters their home. Dialog Smart Home has also partnered with Singer to offer customers world-renowned Dahua CCTV solutions.

The Home Connectivity solutions offers consumers Wi-Fi extenders to facilitate uninterrupted internet connectivity across the house to fit the homeowner’s lifestyle and requirements.

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CBSL implements extraordinary measures to support banking sector

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The Central Bank of Sri Lanka, considering the prevailing macroeconomic conditions and its impact on the banking sector, has decided to implement the following regulatory measures to support the banking sector to facilitate effective financial intermediation and the flow of credit to the economy, whilst ensuring the soundness of the banking sector.

• Sri Lankan banking sector maintains a Capital Conservation Buffer (CCB) of 2.5% to ensure that banks have an additional layer of usable capital that can be drawn down during stress times. An industry wide flexibility is granted for banks to drawdown the CCB (up to 2.5%), if needed, subject to restrictions on distribution to shareholders/ repatriation of profits and submission of a capital augmentation plan to rebuild CCB during a period up to three years.

• The current deadline for licensed banks to meet the enhanced minimum capital requirement (31.12.2022) is extended up to 31.12.2023. Licensed banks which are unable to meet the minimum capital requirement by 31.12.2022, need to submit their capital augmentation plan, including plans to consolidate or merge with suitable financial institutions, by 31.12.2022 and these licensed banks too shall refrain from distribution of dividends/ repatriation of profits until the minimum capital requirement is met.

• Licensed banks are encouraged to move to approaches such as The Standardised Approach (TSA) or alternative TSA for computation of risk weighted assets for operational risk for the purposes of computing the Capital Adequacy Ratio, subject to supervisory review.

• Licensed banks are given the flexibility to stagger the unrealised mark to market loss on Government Securities denominated in LKR on account of the recent interest rate hike for Capital Adequacy purposes until Q2 of 2024, subject to conditions.

• Licensed banks are granted flexibility on the treatment for Other Comprehensive Income (OCI) for Capital Adequacy purpose in line with the International Standards.

• The deadline for licensed banks to submit the document on Internal Capital Adequacy Assessment Process (ICAAP) for 2022, to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka is extended by one month, until 30.06.2022.

• As a short-term measure to support licensed banks to adjust their liquidity profiles, licensed banks are provided with the flexibility to operate maintaining the Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) and Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) not lower than 90% up to 30.09.2022. Furthermore, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, on 06 May 2022 decided to restrict certain discretionary payments of licensed banks, such as declaring cash dividends and repatriation of profits, until the financial statements for the year 2022 are audited by its External Auditor, engaging in share buy backs, increasing management allowances and payments to the Board of Directors until 31 December 2022 with a view to strengthening the liquidity and capital positions of licensed banks under these exceptional circumstances.

The above measures were introduced with the aim of providing the licensed banks with more flexibility and opportunities to operate in these challenging conditions and support economic recovery, while taking measures to improve their safety and soundness. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka will periodically review the implementation of these policy measures and expects licensed banks to avail these measures in the best interest of the customers and the economy at large, while supporting the banking sector to remain resilient.

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CEAT official tyre supplier for locally assembled Tata Ace HT 

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CEAT Kelani Holdings has been appointed as the official tyre supplier for Tata Ace HT series compact trucks which are assembled in Sri Lanka by DIMO in collaboration with India’s largest automobile manufacturer TATA Motors.

 CEAT RHINO PLUS TL tyres in the size of 155R12 8PR, manufactured at the CEAT Kelani plant in Kelaniya are used for the TATA Ace HT series vehicles, popularly known in Sri Lanka as “DIMO Batta” under this project. The locally manufactured CEAT RHINO PLUS TL tyre features a zig zag pattern on its circumference and ribs with lateral notches that contribute towards uniformity and better wear and tear on local roads.

 Commenting on this latest OEM agreement of the company, CEAT Kelani Holdings Managing Director Mr. Ravi Dadlani said: “As a brand that has been at the forefront of local value addition in Sri Lanka, CEAT is excited to contribute further to the process through its association with this assembly operation. This is particularly relevant in the prevailing situation in the domestic market. We are able to provide high-quality tyres engineered for local conditions at competitive prices and ensure uninterrupted supply, while at the same time helping to conserve foreign exchange.”

In January this year, CEAT was appointed as an OEM for a range of heavy-duty trucks, tippers and light commercial vehicles assembled in Sri Lanka by Lanka Ashok Leyland PLC (LAL), a joint venture company of Ashok Leyland India. In November 2021 the brand was chosen as the OEM for Bolero City Pik-up vehicles assembled in Sri Lanka by Mahindra & Mahindra India in collaboration with Ideal Motors.

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