Harry, Captains up stakes in John Keells Holdings (JKH)

November 8, 2018 (LBO) – Colombo Stock Exchange market bellwether John Keells Holdings (JKH) reported its quarterly results last night, which included an update of its top 20 shareholder list. Notable trends included foreign selling and local buying.

In particular, Harry Jayawardena controlled Melstacorp upped its stake from 3.5% of the company to a 4% holding. The Captains also upped their stake to 17.5% from 16.6%. The bulk of the Captain’s holding is in the accounts of S.E. Captain and Paints and General Industries Ltd. It is possible that Jayawardena and the Captains have additional smaller holdings in JKH titled in other names that don’t appear in the top 20 shareholders list.

As of September 30, 2018, The Captains and Jayawardena together own at least 21.5% of the total outstanding shares of the company. It is likely that these holdings increased in October as there was significant local buying and foreign selling during the month.

After spiking to Rs155/share, the stock price of JKH as come back down to Rs142 in todays trading as Sri Lanka’s constitutional crisis continues to drag. Net asset value of the share at the end of the September quarter stood at Rs151/share.

Some analysts have speculated that if foreigners continue selling shares, that JKH will become vulnerable to a hostile takeover.