Sri Lanka Telecom dominate Colombo share trading

Minister appoints Dr Swaminathan to IPACSL as Chairperson

April 21, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed lower Monday but turnover soared to over 3.5 billion rupees on several crossings of Sri Lanka Telecom and trades in Hotel Services (Ceylon), which owns a city hotel, brokers said. The All Share Price Index fell 8.90 points (0.33 percent) to 2,662.93 while the more liquid Milanka Price Index fell 32.37 (0.97 percent) to 3,316.57.

Turnover was just over 3.5 billion rupees driven by three large crossings of SLT and heavy trading in Hotel Services (Ceylon).

The deals went through several brokers.

Global Telecommunication Holdings (GTH), a unit of through which Malaysia’s UT group which bought a 35 percent stake in SLT has been buying up chunks of SLT shares in recent days ahead of the closure of a general offer at 50.50 rupees.

Altogether 51,985,300 SLT shares were traded, adding 2,578 million rupees to the day’s turnover. The stock closed at 49.25 rupees.

Over 37 million SLT shares were done at 49.75, another 7.9 million at 49 and almost 4.6 million at 49.50 rupees.

Over 14.2 million SLT shares were traded through Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers in three tranches.The shares were traded between 49.00 and 49.75 rupees.

The other big transactions that propped up turnover were in Hotel Services (Ceylon), whose ownership changed hands with businessman Nahil Wijesuriya buying into the hotel.

Shares of the company, which owns the Ceylon Continental hotel on prime property in the city, ended up two rupees at 140 rupees.

Over 3.9 million shares were traded, adding 543 million rupees to the day’s turnover.

Shares of Associated Hotels Company Limited (AHCL) and Ceylon Hotels Corporation (CHC) also rose after they announced their merger with another company, Perigrine Private Limited, had been approved by shareholders.

The merged entity will be named Ceylon Hotels Corporation PLC.

The companies will merge through a share swap where an Associated Hotels shareholder will receive 47 CHC shares for every 34 Associated Hotels shares.

Perigrine shareholders will get 33 Ceylon Hotels shares for every 10 shares.

AHCL rose 2.50 or 6.85 percent to 39 rupees while CHC went up 50 cents or 2.35 percent to 21.75.

.