Sri Lanka Commercial Bank promotes dollar bonds

July 19, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankans living overseas and foreigners can earn a higher interest by investing in US dollar denominated Sri Lanka Development Bonds (SLDBs) through the Commercial Bank of Ceylon, a statement by the bank said. Commercial Bank’s Head of Global Treasury Dula Weeratunga said that under the scheme, the Income Tax paid in Sri Lanka will be reimbursed by the issuer.

“No currency conversion risk will occur since funds are invested in US dollars.”

Interest payments for the bonds will be made semi-annually on December 29, 2009; June 29, 2010; December 29, 2010 and June 29, 2011.

Several categories of investors are eligible to invest in these bonds, the bank said.

These foreigners resident in Sri Lanka or outside Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan citizens living or working abroad, foreign companies, that have entered into agreement with the island’s investment promotion agency, Board of Investment and insurance companies.

The offer however, is not open to citizens or companies in the US, the bank said. It said the bank has been appointed by the Central Bank as a designated agent to promote the scheme.

SLDBs allow investments in a floating rate bond pegged to the six month US dollar London Interbank Offer Rates (LIBOR) and yield higher interest rates than standard fixed deposits, the bank said.

Investment could be made in SLDBs from the latest issue for a two-year period, maturing on June 29, 2011.

The minimum investment required is 100,000 dollars and investments can be made in multiples of 10,000 dollars.

Transfer of bonds can be done through endorsement, delivery and registration, and the bank will handle this on behalf of the investor, the statement said.

“Investors will earn six months LIBOR plus an attractive margin,” it said.

“The six months LIBOR would be 1.11375 percent per annum for the first six months ending December 29, 2009.

“For example, if the investor gets a margin of 3.00 percent, he or she will be able to earn an interest rate of 4.11375 percent per annum for the bond for the next six months ending December 29, 2009.”