Sri Lankan stocks close 0.5-pct down

Nov 03, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed lower with the fall softened by large deals on some high value shares, while Cargills Ceylon entered the dairy farm business with its takeover of Kotmale Holdings, brokers said. John Keells Holdings closed at 301.10 rupees, up 1.10 (0.37 percent), while Aitken Spence closed at 180.60 rupees, down 3.60 (1.95 percent) and Hayleys closed at 362.50 rupees, down 3.70 (1.01 percent).

The benchmark Colombo All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed down 0.53 percent (35.73 points) to end at 6,674.91 Wednesday, while the Milanka index of liquid stocks rose 0.06 percent (4.45 points) to close at 7,233.36, according to provisional stock exchange data.

Turnover was 2.7 billion rupees.

In a privately negotiated off-the-floor deal 19.25 million shares of Kotmale Holdings changed hands at 40.00 rupees each, brokers said.

The deal costing 770 million rupees will give Cargills a 61 percent stake of Kotmale Holdings.

Cargills, Sri Lanka’s largest supermarket chain, already has manufacturing facilities for fruit juice, jams and ice cream.

Cargills closed at 194.10 rupees, up 13.20 (7.3 percent) with 1.6 million shares changing hands, while Kotmale Holdings closed at 39.90 rupees, up 10.90 (37.6 percent) with 25.6 million shares traded.

Brokers said gains on selected high value stocks helped prevent the market from falling further.

Ceylon Guardian Investment Trust closed at 1,290.00 rupees, up 30.00 (2.38 percent), while Colombo Dockyard closed at 289.90 rupees, up 4.90 (1.72 percent).

Hemas Holdings closed at 48.00 rupees, up 2.00 (4.35 percent), Lanka Orix Leasing Company closed at 1,318.40 rupees, up 18.40 (1.42 percent) and Shaw Wallace and Hedges closed at 225.00 rupees, up 3.00 (1.35 percent).