The Colombo indices were stuck in the groove this week as opposed to the free falls earlier,but a few strategic moves were made. A major investment was businessman Harry Jayewardena entry through Melstacorp, a Distilleries subsidiary, into the sugar busness by securing a 47% stake in Pelwatte Sugar Industries purchasing 32 million shares at Rs. 27.50 each. The share price of Distilleries however has not got disturbed.
This purchase will mean easier access to ethanol which is used in the production of alcohol and an additional presence in the dairy industry in which Jayawardene has wide interests through Lanka Milk Foods (Lakspray). Ariyaseela Wickremanayake seems to be in favour of this development, anticipating that Mr Jayewardena will use his skills for the betterment of the company.
Earlier in the week Perpetual Capital forked out Rs.1.5 billion for a 9% stake in Central Finance. Analysts believe that a share split in Central Finance is very likely. The Subasinghe group has been successful in gradually building up its hold in Ceylinco Insurance to 26%. Guardian Capital Partners which created headlines when it traded above Rs10,000 just before its rights issue, commenced trading ex rights on March 23 but it experienced added interest the next day when over 1.3 million shares were transacted between Rs 280 and 339.
Another interesting trade was that of Colombo Pharmacy when on Friday over 26,000 shares were transacted with a peak level of Rs.3,790. Sierra Cables, Richard Peiris, Laugfs Gas and Pirarmal Glass evoked good demand. The depression in the bourse in the month of March has put the procession of IPOs on the back burner. Only Free Lanka Capital made its offer as scheduled. Union Bank will commence trading on March 29. Everyone is keenly awaiting its starting price especially because of the current status of the market!
Price bands were imposed on Pelwatte Sugar and Guardian Capital Partners from March April 7 both days inclusive. The band was lifted on Lankem Developments on Friday.
Dankotuwa Porcelain PLC: Messrs R..N. Asirwatham and S.Sitendra Senaratne were appointed to the board.
Asia Capital PLC: S.A. Abeyesinhe, current Chief Operating Officer, was appointed as acting Chief Executive Officer from March 23.
The All Share Price Index ended 55.33 or 0.07% higher at 7240.27 while the Milanka at 6838.02 was 0.02% or 146.42 higher. Weekly turnover was Rs 12 billion, up from Rs7 billion last week.
(Elton, our regular columnist on the stockmarket, could be reached at email@example.com)