Bank Chase

May 9, 2009 (LBO) - Two Sri Lankan financial firms, Lanka Orix Leasing Company and Sampath Bank are most likely to have submitted bids for a one-third stake in Seylan Bank, market sources said.

The successful bidder would have to inject at least 5.7 billion rupees to the bank in return for a 33 percent equity stake.

Sri Lanka's banking regulator, the Central Bank, which put Seylan under the wings of state-run Bank of Ceylon, said Thursday two of five who expressed interest in the bank has put in bids.

Among those who expressed interest and were given an information memorandum were NDB Bank, John Keells Holding and VV Karunaratne & Company.

Officials are tight lipped on the deal, but market analysts are pointing to likely bidders based on those who are known not have submitted bids.

The regulator stepped in after a run on Seylan triggered by the failure of an unregulated firm in Ceylinco group, which controlled the bank.

The central bank is due to announce the winning bid on May 20.

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