Sri Lanka debt sales to expand 3-fold in five years

Aug 06, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lanka domestic and foreign currency issues will expand three fold over the next five years, Fitch Ratings said in Colombo. “The excitement in the bond market is a step in the right direction for Sri Lanka to become a financial hub for South Asia,” Maninda Wickramasinghe, chief executive of Fitch Ratings in Colombo said.

“We see more financial institutions getting geared to finance their growth, corporates expanding their capital base and activities, as well as investing in technology to add value to their operation.”

Sri Lanka saw a surge in listed bond issues as they were made tax free.

Banks were among the top buyers of debt issues by some highly rated corporates as small investors were kept out with a 10,000 dollar minimum threshold.

Sri Lankan firms are also raising debt issues abroad.

Wickramasinghe said his firm had so far rated 600 billion rupees of domestic debt, and 1.6 billion dollars in international debt with 500 million dollars more in the pipeline.

NDB and DFCC Bank are expected to raise 250 million US dollars from capital markets this year.

Bank of Ceylon has raised 500 million dollars and National Savings Bank is expected to go the market soon.

There has also been about four billion US dollars of sovereign debt.