Lease Rate

Nov 19, 2007 (LBO) – Fitch Ratings Lanka said Friday it has confirmed the ‘BB+(lka)’ National Long-term rating of Seylan Merchant Leasing Limited (SML). The Outlook on the rating is Stable. “SML’s rating reflects its modest financial profile, short operating history and limited revenue diversity,” Fitch Ratings said.

“The rating also factors in the implied support assumed to be available from ultimate parent Seylan Bank PLC (Seylan Bank, ‘A-(lka)’ (A minus(lka))/ Negative).”

In February 2007, SML was licensed to operate as a registered finance company (RFC), allowing it to raise fixed and savings deposits from the general public.

Deposits grew rapidly and accounted for 31 percent of SML’s funding at the end of the first half of 2007. Funding from borrowings in the form of promissory notes decreased to 25 percent from 67 percent of the funding at the end of the 2006 financial year.

SML’s gross non performing loans(NPL) to gross loans ratio increased to 15.4 percent at the end of the first half of 2007 from 9.6 percent in 2006 (2005: 5.7 percent), but Fitch says it is broadly similar to similar sized peers.

NPLs are defined by Fitch as advances in arrears for over 3