Financial Times

JKH share-buy back implies ‘not the end of the world’
By Duruthu Edirimuni Chandrasekera

On the heels of Associated Electrical Company (AEC) announcing a share buy-back on Wednesday, the under-fire John Keells Holdings (JKH) followed suit the following day with a similar announcement, sending strong signals to the stock market implying that it’s not the 'end' of the world for them.

The company's Thursday announcement to the stock exchange said JKH directors have decided to re-purchase 25.5 million of its ordinary shares at Rs. 90 each on a pro rata basis of one share for every 25 shares held, all of which totals a maximum Rs 2.29 billion to be paid from company funds. Some stock analysts said the retiring of shares by the company is their way of saying JKH has 'too much money.’

"The company is paying for the buy-back and JKH has money for this. In fact they are sending a signal to the market saying it is not the end of the world," a stock analyst said.

JKH refused to comment further on the matter. “The statement is self explanatory,” a senior official told The Sunday Times FT. The statement said the directors believe the share price as currently prevailing presents an opportunity for the company to re-purchase its share.

Another analyst said that this share repurchase announcement, is also saying that in the directors' opinion, the share price decrease the company has seen during the past few months is unjustifiable. "This is why they are sending a signal to shareholders and investors saying JKH will buy the shares of the company as it is the best investment option in the market (at present) for them," he said.
The statement also said that the directors of JKH who are shareholders will not be accepting the offer.

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