Sri Lankan shares close flat, MGT stake offered at premium

July 28, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks seesawed in late afternoon trade and closed flat Tuesday with the market possibly stabilizing at current levels, while National Development Bank has offered to sell out of MGT Knitting Mills, brokers said. It is offering the stake at a minimum price of 30 rupees a share which values the stake at 207 million rupees, and will yield the bank a hefty capital gain if the sale goes through at that price.

Brokers said in Tuesday’s trade on the bourse 2.26 million shares of John Keells Holdings (JKH) changed hands between 139.75 and 141.50 rupees.

Index heavy conglomerate JKH closed at 140.50, up 50 cents, while National Development Bank closed at 163.00 rupees, up 75 cents.

Dialog Telekom, a unit of Telekom Malaysia, one of the most heavily traded shares in the past few days closed at 6.00 rupees, up 50 cents, while Sri Lanka Telecom closed flat at 47.00 rupees,

Brokers said 1.32 million Dialog Telekom shares changed hands Tuesday.

In the last three trading days, almost 39 million Dialog shares have changed hands.

Diversified Aitken Spence closed at 646.25 rupees, up 6.25, while Chevron Lubricants, a unit of Chevron closed at 128.50 rupees, up 75 cents.

Ceylon Tobacco Company, a unit of multinational British-American Tobacco, closed at 120.25 rupees, down 3.75.

Analysts said the increases in world rubber prices this week might help plantations companies that have significant exposure to rubber, as tea prices appeared to have stabilized or fallen.

Horana Plantations closed at 22.00 rupees, up 75 cents, while Hapugastenne Plantations closed at 35.75 rupees, up 25 cents, both on low trading volumes.

Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka, a unit of unlisted Stassens Group, closed flat at 88.00 rupees.

The benchmark Colombo All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed flat to end at 2,520.11, while the Milanka index of liquid stocks gained 0.80 percent (22.66 points) to close at 2,857.32, according to provisional stock exchange data.

Turnover was 611.2 million rupees.

On Tuesday there were net foreign sales worth 2.3 million rupees, with foreign investors buying 285.6 million worth shares and selling shares valued at 287.3 million rupees, brokers said.

“Today the market showed mixed reactions overall with index heavyweight Dialog Telekom influenced the Milanka Index to hold onto positive ground,” Thakshila Hulangamuwa, assistant vice president of Asha Phillip Securities said.

“The overall performance of the market could be expected very much to be linked to future growth of the industries and corporate results.”

Brokers said an all-or-nothing parcel of 6,910,800 shares of fabric maker MGT has been offered by NDB. The parcel – a 14 percent stake in the firm – will remain on the board until Thursday.

NDB bought the stake as a venture capital investment for 5.3 million rupees at one rupee a share.