Sri Lankan shares close up 0.41–pct on large JKH deal

Dec 16, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed up Wednesday, propelled by a foreign of-the-floor deal on John Keells Holdings (JKH) and banking counters headed by a large deal on blue chip Commercial Bank, brokers said.

The All Share Price Index closed at 3,089.45 up 0.41 percent (12.49 points) while the Milanka Price Index of more liquid stocks closed at 3,501.98, up 0.02 percent (0.87 points).

Turnover was 5.29 billion rupees, according to provisional Colombo Stock Exchange statistics.

It was the highest daily trading turnover for the year.

The previous high was 7.7 billion rupees on July 28, 2008.

Conglomerate JKH closed at 160.25 rupees, up 1.00 with over 29 million shares changing hands between foreign investors, and Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka, a unit of unlisted tea company Stassens, closed at 96.75 rupees, down 50 cents.

JKH in total has issued 612.8 million shares, of which today’s tranche would account for roughly 3.0 percent.

As of end-September 2009, JKH’s largest shareholders were Sohli Captain with 14.2 percent, Raj Rajaratnam 8.0 percent, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation 4.6percent, and Emerging Markets South Asian Fund 3.8 percent.

Rajaratnam, a Sri Lankan-born US billionaire US hedge fund manager has just been indicted in the US on insider dealing charges.

Sri Lanka’s largest listed bank, Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 177.00 rupees, up 2.00 with 1.16 million shares changing hands.

Sampath Bank closed at 192.50 rupees, up 3.50, Hatton National Bank closed at 165.25 rupees, up 1.25, and Seylan Bank closed at 36.00 rupees, up 50 cents.

National Development Bank closed at 192.00 rupees, up 4.25, and DFCC Bank closed at 155.00 rupees, up 1.25.