November 12, (LBO) – The Bank of Ceylon has given 43.7 percent of its loans to the government and state-owned enterprises, and its exposure to government would remain high or even increase, Fitch Ratings Lanka said Tuesday, as it affirmed the bank’s AA (lka) rating.
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“Furthermore such exposures also increase the linkage to the state’s financial profile as the sole shareholder and largest borrower.”
“BOC is the main commercial banker to the state and one of the two commercial bankers to state owned enterprises, extending direct credit, trade finance facilities and foreign currency funding through its large deposit base and cross border borrowings,” Fitch said.
“Fitch expects this level of exposure to remain at the current level or even increase due to the present policy stance of the state.”
The rating agency said the AA (lka) rating with a stable outlook reflected the banks systemic importance as the largest bank in Sri Lanka with 18.6 percent of assets, improved financial profile and state ownership.
“BOC’s ability to maintain profitability, asset quality and accrete equity in pace with growth in assets are key drivers of the rating,” Fitch said.
Bank of Ceylon’s return on assets had increased to 0.7 percent, which was lower than the i