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NDB summons EGM to get shareholders approval to raise Rs. 11 bn. zero cost equity



The National Development Bank PLC (NDB) has summoned a virtual extraordinary General Meeting on April 9 to get shareholder approval for a rights issued and a private placement of shares to the Norwegian Development Fund for Developing Countries fully owned by the Government of Norway to raise over Rs. 11.1 billion zero cost equity capital for the bank.

Existing shareholders of NDB will get their rights shares at Rs. 75 per share while the Norwegian fund will pay Rs. 82.50 – both less than half the bank’s net asset value per share of Rs. 192.49.

The rights issue/private placement will see the bank issuing approx. 106.78 million new shares by way of rights and up to approx. 37.67 million shares through the private placement in the proportion of 28 new shares for every 61 already held (rights) at Rs. 75 a share. Unsubscribed shares will be aggregated and allotted to shareholders seeking additional shares at the same 75-rupee price on what the bank’s directors regard to be a “reasonable basis” depending on availability and subject to shareholding restrictions placed by the Banking Act.

Shares remaining unsubscribed will be initially allotted to Norfund up to 9.99% of bank’s equity and thereafter, if available, to others including legal entities seeking unsubscribed shares, NDB said last week in a circular to shareholders. This will be subject to Banking Act restrictions.

It said that the maximum number of shares Norfund can subscribe for will not trigger the SEC’s mandatory offer requirement under its Takeovers and Mergers Code. This requires any person/entity acquiring up to 30% of any listed company to offer other shareholders the highest price paid for the share in the preceding 12-month period.

Norfund which currently hold a stake in Soflogic Life Insurance as its only investment here

is looking for further potential investments in Sri Lanka, NDB said. This fund which has committed investments worth over 2.88 million USD up to the end of 2019 prioritizes investments in clean energy, financial institutions, green infrastructure and scalable enterprises aligned with UN sustainable development goals, has invested in 163 projects in 29 core strategy countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

If it succeeds in achieving its objective of investing in a 9.99% stake in NDB, it will be the second largest shareholder in the bank behind the EPF which holds 10%. Other big shareholders include the Bank of Ceylon (8.36%) Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) general fund (6.39%), SLIC life fund (4.37%) and Dr. Sena Yaddehige (4.37%).

Softlogic Insurance, ETF and Perpetual Treasuries, Richard Pieris, HNB and Phoenix ventures are the other biggest private shareholders while individually, Messers. Ashok Pathirage and Merril J. Fernando are also in the Top 20 list of shareholders of NDB.

In the event Norfund is unable to to secure any shares under the rights issue, a maximum of 37.67 million ordinary shares will be allotted to it at the Rs. 82.50 price raising over Rs. 3.1 billion zero cost equity for NDB.

“The private placement will only take place in the event Norfund is unable to get the 9.99% stake under the rights issue,” NDB said.

The funds raised will be used to further strengthen NDB’s equity base and improve its capital adequacy ratios in line with Central Bank guidelines, NDB said

Two years ago an NDB rights issue (at a much higher price than this) was heavily under-subscribed in the context of the bank’s share trading in the secondary market at prices substantially below the rights price. Given the structuring of the present offer, analysts do not expect an under-subscription of this issue.

The NDB share closed on Thursday at Rs. 80, trading between Rs. 79-80 for a small quantity of 28,343 shares transacted in 66 trades. Friday’s close was also Rs. 80 with 30,060 shares transacted between Rs. 79.20 – 80 in 47 trades.

The rights may be traded on the CSE and brokers expect them to command a price.



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Cabinet approves rationalization of VAT exemptions and abolition of SVAT System




The Cabinet of Ministers granted concurrence to the resolution forwarded by the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies to remove most of the releases from Value Added Tax (VAT), further retaining releases that ease the pressure on low – income families to secure the fundamental sectors of the economy as well as the releases for sectors such as education, health and agriculture, as well as to revise the provisions applicable for the Value Added Tax (VAT) act so that the Simplified Value Added Tax (SVAT) methodology can be canceled with effect from 01.01.2024 by introducing a more formal methodology for repaying the Value Added Tax (VAT) and to instruct the Legal Draftsman to prepare a draft bill for the purpose.

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Venora Lanka Power Panels to set up assembly plant in Australia



Sagara Gunawardene

By Hiran H.Senewiratne

Sri Lanka- based, export- oriented manufacturer, Venora Lanka Power Panels (Pvt) Ltd, with a state of the art electric panel factory at the Export Processing Zone, Biyagama, will set up an assembly plant in Australia.

“Once we set up the electric panel assembly plant in Australia, we will export all our panels from Sri Lanka and that plant will do 30 percent value addition to the product to supply that market, the company’s chairman/ Managing Director, engineer Sagara Gunawardena told The Island Financial Review.

Gunawardena said that the company is a value- addition assembly plant and he would be investing AUS $ 2 million for the project to be set up in Melbourne and hire 100 engineers and other professionals. He explained that the venture has enormous potential.

Venora Lanka provides power panels to mega projects in Sri Lanka and exports to Bangladesh, Maldives, Kenya, Ethiopia, Seychelles and Myanmar. Panel assembling is strictly in compliance with IEC 61439 standards, it was explained.

Gunawardena added: ‘I firmly believe that, being a truly customer focused organization, every employee and every process in the organization has to be aligned behind delighting customers. Therefore, at a time when the country is facing a major dollar crisis, my company would be aiming at bringing dollars into the country, while providing employment for local professionals, especially engineers.

‘At Venora Lanka we do not try to change customers’ mindsets. Instead, we take time to understand what they really want and focus our brand on delivering that. Venora is values- driven first and cost- driven second – creating a unique brand proposition.

‘Since the US dollar rate has come down, it is our concern that importers and suppliers do not change their prices, which is really affecting the manufacturing sector.

Company sources added: ‘The company has several wings of operation, such as local and overseas projects, switch board assembling, telecommunication infrastructure installations, earthing, lighting and surge protection, incorporating world renowned brands.

‘Venora Lanka Power Panels is the first Sri Lankan company to receive the licence, in accordance with the UK Trade Mark Act 1994, to use the trade mark “Best Enterprise”. It won a global award at the event, ‘Golden Awards for Quality and Business Prestige’, held in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2015.

‘Within a short span of time, with the perfect blend of progressive thinking and expertise, Venora Group has expanded to consist of, Venora International Projects, Venora Telecom, Venora Industrial Solutions and Venora Lanka Power Panels (BOI approved). Further, Venora has established its overseas presence through Venora Engineering Kenya and Venora Engineering Myanmar.’

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Share market moves into positive territory; indices up



By Hiran H. Senewiratne

CSE trading got off to a positive note yesterday but during the last session of the day the momentum slowed. However, the market is now moving towards positive territory following the Central Bank announcement of a downward trend in interest rates, market analysts said.

Amid those developments the market witnesses improvements in both indices and in the turnover.

The All- Share Price Index up by 12.8 points and S and P SL 20 rose by 6.97 points. Turnover stood at Rs 710 million with one crossing. The crossing was reported in JKH which crossed 430,000 shares to the tune of Rs 60.2 million; its shares traded at Rs 140.

In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; JKH Rs 212 million (1.5 million shares traded), Access Engineering Rs 44.7 million ( three million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 34.5 million (264,000 shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 28.6 million (5.3 million shares traded), LOLC Finance Rs 23.8 million (4.7 million shares traded), Capital Alliance Rs 22.9 million (615,000 shares traded) and First Capital Holdings Rs 19.2 million (574,000 shares traded). During the day the 31.4 million shares volumes changed hands in 9000 transactions.

Yesterday, the Central Bank’s US dollar buying rate was Rs 285.16 and the selling rate Rs 298.85.

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