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Sri Lanka Janashakthi IPO braves slow market

June 05, 2008 (LBO) – The initial public offer of Janashakthi Insurance that is opening this month, the first in two years in the island, is a bold move that could enliven an otherwise slow market, company officials said. "We have taken a bold step in coming forward at this time," Janashakthi Insurance managing director Prakash Schaffter told reporters Thursday.

"It is a nationally important issue. It can give a fillip to the market."

Janashakthi is selling 16.5 million shares at 12 rupees each, with an option to sell a further 16.5 million shares in a bid to raise close to 400 million rupees.

Chairman W T Ellawala said the company is planning to use the money to upgrade its human resources, information technology and reach.

The firm already had 112 branches, and had also ventured in to the Maldives. Its 3,000 strong sales force had brought in 5.2 billion rupees in revenues last year.

Janashakthi had paid 2.2 billion rupees as claims in 2007. Its capital funds at 1.75 billion rupees were above regulatory limits, Schaffter said.

In the year to December 2007, the group posted 525 million rupees in profits and 549 at the pre-tax level. In 2007, it made profits of 746 million rupees with the he

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