Sri Lanka Hunters trade boosts stake of activist minority

Aug 05, 2008 (LBO) – The sale of a 5.0 percent stake in Sri Lanka’s land-rich Hunters has boosted the stakes of activist minority shareholders who have been battling the management over corporate governance issues, dealers said. The Carsons group, which held a 5 percent stake, sold out its 257,000 shares, and the Kuwaiti Al Nakib family is believed to have boosted their stake to around 19 percent by purchasing 50,000 shares, market sources said.

Tuesday’s trades went at 275 rupees per share, lower than the last traded 400 rupees.

Minority shareholders have been battling the main managing shareholders over non-disclosure and had also taken the case to court.

Its auditors Ernst & Young, also resigned recently over a dispute over disclosure.

Media reports said a fiery exchange had broken out between minority shareholders and 70 percent shareholder, L R P Dossa at an extra-ordinary general meeting called over a 2.5 million rupee cheque.

Another activist shareholder, K C Vignarajah had bought 96,000 shares on Tuesday.

Vignarajah was a former chairman of the Ceylon National Chamber of Industries. He has been pushing to appoint independent directors to companies representing minority shareholders.

“I have been espousing the cause of a clean private sector to stimulate the economy. It is essential from the standpoint of the country,” Vignarajah said.

Hunters stocks traded at prices between 275 to 283 rupees on Tuesday.

Hunters has valuable property in Colombo’s Fort area and a subsidiary in the Narahenpita area.