Foreign Interest

April 20, 2009 (LBO) – A number of prospective buyers interested in Sri Lanka’s Seylan Bank have tied up with foreign partners to bid for a 33 percent stake in the bank, Central Bank governor Nivard Cabraal said.

Ceylinco chief Lalith Kotelawala, who is now in remand over the collapse of his Golden Key Credit Card company initially wanted to sell his stake to repay depositors.

But multiple court injunctions have now blocked assets owned by Ceylinco firms and its directors being sold without court approval.

On Friday Seylan’s voting shares closed at 35.25 rupees, down 75 cents. Its non-voting shares closed unchanged at 6.00 rupees. The Central Bank said six parties have responded to a call for expressions of interest for a one-third stake in Seylan Bank which will be injected into the bank through fresh shares to boost its capital.

“Several of them have come with foreign financial institutions as partners,” Governor Cabraal said.

Listed Sampath Bank has said in a stock exchange disclosure that it had submitted a bid.

Cabraal said a committee will evaluate expressions of interest and qualified investors would be invited to bid for Seylan.

They would be notified by April 24, gi