Procedural Probe

June 24, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Nations Trust Bank, a unit of the John Keells Holdings group, is probing a breach of operating procedure, but the bank is on track to meet half year profit targets, an official said. NTB’s voting stock fell 2.25 to 32.00 rupees Wednesday amid concerns among investors that profits may dive from previously undisclosed forex losses that an internal probe has uncovered.

“As far as we are concerned we are on track to make profit targets in the half year,” NTB chief executive Zulfiqar Zavahir said.

“If there is anything to provide we will provide.”

Zavahir said the bank was looking into a “breach of operating procedure”. Provisions would be made in the current quarter accounts.

He said the bank was well capitalized in excess of central bank requirements.

Analyst says the bank was on track to make large bond profits this quarter due to a steep fall in interest rates in the country.

NTB has been active in forex markets, and also gave clients cross trading accounts. Global forex markets have been in turmoil in recent months with the US dollar spiking up late last year.

NTB posted profits of 180 million rupees in the March 2009 quarter, up 25 percent over th