Building Debt

Construction work on the head office complex is expected to cost the bank around Rs. 4 bn.

rnrnThe securatised paper carrying a ten-year tenure, will be privately placed with institutional investors, a senior HNB official said.

rnrnSecuratisation is an asset backed debt instrument, where the future cash flow receivables of the assets are transferred to a Special Purpose Vehicle to be utilised to repay creditors.

rnrnThis is one of the most popular alternatives to raise medium to long-term capital for infrastructure development projects in developed countries.

rnrnHowever, in Sri Lanka, securatisation is yet to gain popularity among both investors and corporate borrowers. Most issues have come from leasing companies, which used the funds to raise short to medium-term funds.

rnrnHNB has so far invested Rs. 1.8 bn on the building project through its fully owned subsidiary, Sithma Developments.

rnrnIn addition to the securatisation issue, bank is also considering a preference share issue to raise the balance funds.

rnrnldblquote We are yet to decide on the preference share issue. But, the recent introduction of Debit and Withholding taxes has eroded the attractiveness of preference share investments to corporate investors
dblquote , HNB official said.

rnrnldblquote We are awaiting clear guidelines from the government authorities on the treatment of preference shares in the new tax regime. Currently, the situation is not clear
dblquote , he added.

rnrnThe main objective of the funding alternatives is to ensure that cost of funds for the building does not exceed 14 percent, officials said.

rnrnHNB also received a SL A credit rating from Fitch Ratings Lanka last Thursday, denoting low expectation of credit risk.

rnrnThe favourable rating is expected to boost the bank
quote s bargaining position considerably, when raising institutional funds.

rnrnFitch
quote s rating report on HNB has highlighted the strong core business and extensive market presence.

rnrnHowever, key shortcomings have been also identified in relatively low Return On Assets, lagging IT systems and maturity mismatches between assets and liabilities.

rn