Commercial Bank comes out with Bangladesh’s maiden bond paper

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Commercial Bank of Ceylon is taking Bangladesh’s nascent capital markets up another step by issuing the country’s first debenture issue shortly. Commercial Bank of Ceylon is taking Bangladesh’s nascent capital markets up another step by issuing the country’s first debenture issue shortly. The 500 mn taka (US$ 7.7 mn) bond issue is likely to carry a rating by Crisil rating agency of Bangladesh.

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank has given its blessings, and Commercial Bank is now waiting for clearance from Bangladesh authorities.

“Bangladesh corporate debt markets are still at a very early stage, and our issue will be the first,” says Ranjith Samaranayake, Commercial Bank’s DGM (Finance & Planning).

The issue is likely to be listed on a Bangladesh bourse and Samaranayake says the funds will go towards medium term lending like housing.

Sri Lanka’s most profitable commercial bank, put up US$ 20.5 mn to buy the Bangladesh operations of Credit Agricole Indosuez Bank in 2003.

The two branch unit was considered one of the better run banks in the country with a finger on the corporate banking business.

Samaranayake says the bank is also looking at regional markets like India to grow its business. A tie up with an Indian bank, by way of a joint venture or an acquisition is likely to materialise this year.

Stockbrokers LOLC Securities forecasts Commercial Bank’s net profits to surge 22 percent to Rs. 1,862 mn this year. “We further expect the Bank to improve on this growth momentum to report a 25 percent year on growth in Net Profits for the FY 2005 to reach Rs. 2,334 mn.”

-LBO Newsdesk: LBOEmail@vanguardlanka.com