Fairer Chance

May 22, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s central bank said it has relaxed the criteria for bids for a one-third stake in the troubled Seylan Bank after a poor response from prospective investors to its original call for proposals. It said in a statement the Monetary Board of the Central Bank has decided to invite fresh proposals from five selected prospective strategic investors in Seylan Bank under the new criteria.

The selected prospective strategic investors are given time till June 05, 2009 to submit their bids.

The Monetary Board is expected to make the final decision by June 16, 2009 and notify the successful bidder immediately thereafter.

The statement said the Committee for Evaluation of Bids on Seylan Bank found the bids submitted by the two short listed prospective investors were “not fully compliant with the requirements of the bid conditions.”

Central bank officials said under the new criteria bidders can consider investing through categories of shares other than the voting and non-voting ordinary shares that had been specified in the original call for proposals.

“What was asked for earlier was a particular type of shares – voting and non-voting ordinary shares,” said a central bank official.

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