Sri Lanka shares gain on foreign buying; Thai Group’s deal lifts mood

Dec 08, 2016 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares rose on Thursday as a stake buy in Commercial Credit and Finance Plc by a unit of Thailand’s Group Lease Plc lifted the mood while foreign investors bought domestic stocks and turned net buyers so far in the year.

Group Lease Holdings Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Thailand’s Group Lease Plc purchased 95.4 million shares or 29.99 percent in Commercial Credit And Finance Plc, Asia Securities, which was directly involved in the deal, said in a disclosure to the bourse.

The transaction was valued at 10.59 billion rupees ($71.31 million), according to a statement by Group Lease Holdings Pte Ltd.

Foreign investors bought a net 11.7 billion rupees ($78.79 million) worth of shares on Thursday, reversing the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 996.68 million rupees worth of net investment in shares.

Turnover was 12 billion rupees, its highest since March 16, 2012, compared with this year’s daily average of 748.9 million rupees.

Shares of Commercial Credit and Fiance Plc, however, ended 5.90 percent weaker.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.17 percent at 6,337.82, edging up from its lowest close since Dec.2 hit on Wednesday. The bourse gained 1.17 percent last week, recording its first weekly gain in four weeks.

“It was a fairly dry year, but today’s trade will give a bit of confidence to the investors,” said Kanishka Perera Head of Research at Asia Securities.

“There could be a slight boost to the turnover levels in the coming days and this shows that still there is investor confidence in the market.”

The deal, according to brokers, is a positive as it assures investors of continuing foreign appetite towards Sri Lanka at a time of worries over the proposed increases in various taxes and fees affecting growth.

The government aims to boost its 2017 tax revenue by 27 percent to 1.82 trillion rupees year-on-year to meet a commitment given to the International Monetary Fund in return for a $1.5 billion loan in May.

Shares of conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc rose 2.58 percent while Hemas Holdings Plc rose 2.08 percent.