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Wed, 01 October 2014 00:51:34
Sri Lanka Ceylease on upgrade track: Fitch
07 Jan, 2013 15:59:25
Jan 07, 2013 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's Ceylease Ltd rated 'BB+(lka)' has been put on positive rating watch pending a merger with MCSL Financial Services Limited, which is rated a notch higher at 'BBB(lka)'.
"Fitch will upgrade CL's rating to align with MFSL's rating upon the conclusion of the merger," the rating agency said in a statement.

"This is based on Fitch's expectations that Bank of Ceylon (BOC; 'AA+(lka)'/Stable), parent to both MFSL and Ceylease, will maintain a dominant effective shareholding in and continue to provide support to the merged entity."

State-run Bank of Ceylon own 86 percent of MFSL and 55 percent of Ceylease. Phoenix group owns 37.5 percent and Prime Lands (Pvt) Ltd, 17.5 percent of Ceylease.

The full statement is reproduced below:

Fitch Puts Ceylease on Watch Positive; Affirms MCSL Financial Services on Merger

Fitch Ratings-Colombo/Seoul/Singapore-07 January 2013: Fitch Ratings Lanka has placed Ceylease Ltd's (CL) National Long-Term Rating of 'BB+(lka)' on Rating Watch Positive (RWP) and has affirmed MCSL Financial Services Limited's (MFSL) National Long-Term Rating at 'BBB(lka)' with a Stable Outlook. This follows the announcement of the proposed merger between the two entities.

Fitch will upgrade CL's rating to align with MFSL's rating upon the conclusion of the merger. This is based on Fitch's expectations that Bank of Ceylon (BOC; 'AA+(lka)'/Stable), parent to both MFSL and Ceylease, will maintain a dominant effective shareholding in and continue to provide support to the merged entity.

The affirmation of MFSL's rating reflects Fitch's view that support from its parent BOC will remain unchanged, despite a change to its shareholding in MFSL after the merger.

BOC has an effective shareholding of 86%, in MFSL and is represented on the Board. CL's current shareholders are BOC with a 55% stake, Phoenix Group with 27.5% and Prime Lands (Pvt) Ltd with 17.5%.

MFSL's rating may be affected by developments leading to a change in the likelihood of support from BOC, including a significant change in BOC's effective shareholding and board control.

The merger is subject to obtaining the necessary regulatory and statutory approvals.

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