Sri Lanka stocks lifted by telecom gains

July 31, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed higher Thursday lifted by gains in telecom heavyweights after the dominant fixed line operator Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) reported a surprise jump in June quarter profits The All Share Price Index gained 1.41 percent (34.27 points) to close at 2,463.41 while the more liquid Milanka went up 1.86 percent (53.95 points) to 2,955.43. Turnover was 507 million rupees.

Dialog Telekom went up 3.57 percent or 50 cents to 14.50 rupees with almost half-a-million shares traded while SLT rose 3.89 percent or 1.75 to 46.75 rupees with 42,300 shares changing hands.

Carsons rose 3.84 percent or 9.25 to 250 rupees

Sri Lanka Telecom reported June quarter profit nearly tripled to 1.5 billion rupees from a year ago helped by its newly profitable mobile subsidiary.

SLT group revenue went up 21 percent to 11.8 billion rupees over the same period.

Analysts said profits from its mobile unit, Mobitel, helped boost SLT’s bottom line.

In the March quarter Mobitel contributed a third of SLT’s nearly 1.7 billion rupee profit, with cheaper technology and a growing customer base that helped lower costs enabling the mobile firm to turn around after five years of losses.

In Thursday’s trading on the Colombo bourse, over 1.1 million shares of John Keells Holdings changed hands with the stock closing flat at 100 rupees while Distilleries also ended unchanged at 87 rupees with 1.28 million shares traded.

Associated Motorways, which was taken over by Dubai’s Al Futtaim Engineering Monday, was also flat at 174.50 rupees with almost 250,000 shares done.

Al Futtaim Engineering announced a mandatory offer under stock exchange rules to buy all the remaining ordinary shares of Associated Motorways at 174.50 rupees per share, the price at which it acquired control.

AMW’s former controlling shareholder Associated Electrical Corporation fell 2.51 percent or 40.25 to 1,565.50 rupees.