Sri Lanka Hemas power to sell preference shares to cut interest bill

Chandi Dharmaratne

June 07, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Hemas Power, a unit of listed Hemas Holdings said it would raise 135 million rupees by selling 11.5 percent, 5-year preference shares to settle higher cost floating rate debt at a hydro power unit. The firm said the money would be used to settle higher costs loans at Upper Agra Oya Hydropower (Pvt) Limited formerly known as Senok Mark Hydro (Pvt) Ltd which it recently bought.

The firm operates a 2.6 MegaWatt hydro plant in the Nuwara Eliya District in Sri Lanka’s central hills. A loan in the firm was first settled through bridging finance granted by Hemas Power.

The loan was pegged to the 6-month weighted average deposit rate and was also volatile, Hemas Power said in a stock exchange filing.

The Agra Oya plant was within a tax holiday and dividends on the preference shares would be tax free.

Hemas Power was also planning another 265 million rupee placement of preference shares for Okanda Power Grid (Pvt) Ltd (Magal Ganga Small Hydro Power) to finance the debt portion of the project.

The plant is still being built. The dividend rate on the second tranche would depend on market interest rates at the time of the issue, Hemas Power said.