Financial Times

Business Briefs

Chevron Lanka sales down
Chevron Lubricants Lanka (LLUB) posted its highest ever profit in the 1st quarter 2008-09 but revenues fell as inflation, reduced vehicle imports and high taxes saw consumers cutting on lubricants use, the company said.

The company posted a record high net profit of Rs.348 million in 1st quarter 2008-09, up 45 percent from the previous quarter but revenues eased marginally to Rs.2,290 million due to declining volumes.
The company, releasing its quarterly results, said this was the highest ever quarterly profit.
Although inflation has risen significantly in the last 18 months, Chevron Lanka said it has been able to effectively control its costs and thereby grow profitability in a challenging environment.

HNB profits soar
Hatton National Bank (HNB) recorded a first quarter profit of Rs.741 million, sharply up 115.5% from the same 2007 period which showed a net of Rs.344 million, a Colombo broker said this week.

In a report, C.T. Smith Stockbrokers said HNB in first quarter 2008-09 reported robust growth in both Net-Interest Income and Non-Interest Income while foreign exchange income was up 16.2% year-on-year to Rs.285 million.

HNB's provision for bad and doubtful debts and loans written off fell 59% to Rs.177 million with the decline being attributed mainly due to general provisions falling 51% to Rs. 92 million.

Singer sells Commercial Leasing stake to LOLC
Singer Sri Lanka sold its 30 percent stake in Commercial Leasing Co (CLC) to the LOLC Group which took a majority shareholding in the company last month, brokers said.

In a statement on Thursday, Singer said it accepted the mandatory offer by LOLC for the sale of the 30 percent holding valued at Rs 495.8 million. Upto then, LOLC owned 67 percent, Singer Sri Lanka 30 percent while the balance three percent was held by the public.

Last month LOLC acquired the CLC shares held by Chemanex Ltd (36.68 percent) and Commercial Bank (30 percent).

Malaysian firm owns near 45% in SLT
Malaysia’s Global Telecommunication Holdings (GTH) owns 44.97 percent of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), brokers said.

During the mandatory offer period by GTH to acquire the remaining shares of SLT (as per CSE rules), GTH purchased 5.22 percent of the total shares of the company in the stock market in addition to its initial purchase of 35.19 percent of total share capital.

Last week, the company said it purchased 82.4 million shares accounting for 4.57 percent of SLT under the mandatory offer which expired June 2.

With the Treasury holding the majority stake of 49.5 percent, now there’s only 5.53 percent. Maxis are the GTH representatives on the SLT board of directors and are jointly running the Sri Lankan entity.

New LPG prices on July 1
New domestic and industrial gas prices – either up or down from current rates – will be effective from July 1, the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) said this week.

Shell now sells a Rs 1,729 (per 12.5 kg) cylinder and Laugfs at Rs 1,721. A senior CAA official told The Sunday Times FT that a decision on whether to increase or decrease local gas prices will be made by the Authority at the end of the month (tomorrow) and the new prices will take effect on July 1.

There was market speculation on Wednesday that prices might rise and that a price revision would be made by the CAA that evening. Under the current pricing formula, the gas suppliers (Laugfs and Shell) provide their costs, etc and the CAA decides on the ‘correct’ pricing.

More company info from Colombo bourse
The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) has decided to publish all the quarterly and half-yearly statements of listed companies on its website, making such information available to more sections of the public- instead of a few now.

Currently these reports are sent only to shareholders of these companies. The CSE said, in a notice posted on its website, that this move would provide investors with speedy access to information on financial statements of listed companies.

Public comments called for in draft on Corporate Governance for Finance Cos.
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has invited public scrutiny and comment on the proposed draft on corporate governance for Registered Finance Companies (RFCs).

“As the general public has deposited funds with RFCs, they have a very strong incentive to ensure that such companies are operated in an efficient, secure and sustainable manner. The Central Bank, therefore, strongly urges the general public, shareholders, managers and directors of RFCs, other interested parties to provide comments, views and suggestions on the exposure draft,” the Bank said in a statement.

The final date for receiving comments, views and suggestions is August 15, the Bank said adding that, “a.revised draft will be made available after considering the comments, views and suggestions.”


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