Debt Tool

June 10, 2008 (LBO) – The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) plans to get a credit rating that will enable it to borrow abroad to fund harbour expansion projects and better manage debt repayments, its chairman Saliya Wickramasuriya said. “Our debt portfolio needs to be managed properly. We may need to do some debt swapping. We will use it as a debt management tool.”

“We’ve finished our credit assessment by Fitch and we now want to ahead and get a credit rating,” he said.

Although the assessment was completed some months ago, the rating itself had been held back until the SLPA confirmed some of its development projects to be able to get a better idea of its financial position.

“We want to have the capability to borrow abroad,” Wickramasuriya said. “Now we have a fairly significant debt portfolio denominated in dollars and yen, of different tenures – short, medium and long term, and various maturities.”

The SLPA has a total debt of 1.5 billion dollars on the balance sheet, mainly loans taken to funds Colombo port’s expansion and modernisation over the years.

One of the main sources of funding was from Japan which funded the construction of the Jaya Container Terminal, Colombo’s main transhipment facility that ena