Bank Bid

April 15, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Sampath Bank said it has submitted an Expression of Interest to the Central Bank to buy a stake in Seylan Bank, part of the troubled Ceylinco group. The Sampath Bank announcement was in a stock exchange filing that gave no other details.

The bank was responding to an invitation by the central bank advertised last month calling for proposals from investors to invest 5.7 billion rupees (about 50 million US dollars) to take a 33 percent stake in Seylan Bank.

The deadline for the proposals ended Wednesday.

Central bank officials would only say they had received proposals from prospective investors but they declined to identify any.

Investors will be notified of the outcome of their applications by April 24 and selected investors are expected to make formal bids by May 7.

The central bank said it will take a final decision by May 20 and the investor is expected to inject fresh capital within two weeks of being chosen.

The bank invited Expressions of interest from local or foreign parties interested in becoming a “strategic partner” of Seylan Bank, the island’s fifth largest commercial bank in terms of assets with a seven per