Business Times

Activity levels high in CSE this week

By Duruthu Edirimuni Chandrasekera

The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) increased its website bandwidth capacity to 150 mega bites (MB) per second on Thursday, to meet the increasing website hit demand, amidst witnessing a host of activity this week.

“We initially increased the CSE website bandwidth last year November to 10 MB from 1.5 MB earlier. For the last one month alone there was an increase of more than 300% in hits, according to reports from e-futures, our Internet service providers which is why it had to be increased again,” Tushara Jayaratne, Manager Business Development CSE said. He said that there were some 20 million hits within last week.

Analysts said that it is a timely move as the hits on the CSE site are ever increasing due to the high activity levels.

This was boosted by large deals of Commercial Bank (CB) and Janashakthi Insurance. A Janashakthi source told the Business Times that the company may even consider applying to enter the main board at CSE from their current Diri Savi board, now that Janashakthi’s free float is much higher. Brokers said that the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) bought some of these shares along with some high networth traders when Janashakthi owners, the Schaffter family reduced their stake to below 80%.

Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) on Monday sold down 2% of their Distilleries stake in keeping with the government’s Mathata Thitha (halting consumption of alcohol). SLIC sources said that they will be ‘gradually selling their stake in Distilleries’. Some time ago Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, Managing Director SLIC told the Business Times that the government policy is ‘full stop’ to alcoholism (Mathata Thitha) and that SLIC will only be considering DCSL as an ordinary investment.

Tuesday saw the World Bank’s private sector investment arm, International Finance Corporation sell 2% in CB in two large negotiated deals with Aberdeen Fund picking it up, thereby upping its total stake in CB to over 5%. Vallibal, whose recent public offer at Rs.22 a share was heavily oversubscribed, began trading on Tuesday, with 4.3 million shares changing hands.

Wednesday saw the All Share hit an all time record high of 4,260.11 points during mid-day boosted by James Finlays Ltd in the UK increasing its shareholding in its Sri Lankan subsidiary Finlays Colombo PLC by 1.64% to 85.82%.

British American Technologies (BAT) purchased 11.62% of E-Channeling with brokers saying that London Stock Exchange (LSE) owned Millennium IT gradually sold their 20% stake in this firm to BAT. Wednesday saw Nawaloka Hospitals selling 13 million out of the 40 million it had in Galadari Hotels.

“This is about 23% of their holding in the hotel and the Galadari Brothers, who are majority owners of the hotel may have acquired some quantity,” one broker said. Thursday also saw Environmental Resources Investment purchasing 21.48% of Ceylon Leather Products. Interest in the Nawaloka Hospitals continued on Thursday with about 18 million shares trading hands. Several corporates, including plantation and tile firms released exceptionally good results during this week.

Analysts said that bargain hunters would start establishing positions now in anticipation of the good results expected in corporates.

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