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Sri Lanka shares down, Ceylinco group firms weaken but Seylan up

Dec 22, 2008 (LBO) - Sri Lankan shares fell Monday with trading volumes sinking to near six-year lows and most Ceylinco companies weakening after a report about a credit card scam in an unlisted group firm, but Seylan Bank bucked the trend, brokers said.

Seylan Bank ended up one rupee at 18 rupees with 16,100 shares done but Seylan Bank non-voting shares, the most actively traded Monday, fell eight percent or 50 cents to 5.25 rupees with 205,500 shares changing hands.

The Finance Company fell 50 cents to 28 rupees with 10,500 shares traded.

Ceylinco Insurance was flat at 185 rupees with only 100 shares traded while Ceylinco Insurance non-voting went up by 5.75 rupees to 145.50 with only 2,100 shares traded.

Other smaller listed Ceylinco group firms fell but brokers said it was difficult to gauge investor reaction to the revelations about the Golden Key scam and its impact on Ceylinco group firms because the market was inactive.

Seylan Merchant Bank, Ceylinco Finance, Ceylinco Housing & Real Estate Co. and Ceylinco Seylan Developments all ended weaker.

Correction: Ceylinco Insurance has written in reference to the stock market update on Monday where reference was made to Khavan Perera, chief executive director of Golden Key Credit Card Company, having resigned from listed Ceylinco companies including Ceylinco Insurance.

Ceylinco Insurance says Khavan M Perera is not a director of Ceylinco Insurance and has not held any position in the company. The error is regretted.

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The All Share Price Index fell 1.11 percent (16.97 points) to close at 1,509.79 while the Milanka dropped 2.15 percent (36.28 points) to close at 1,649.80.

Turnover was 18.8 million rupees.

Srimal Liyanage of Lanka Securities said it was low-value stocks that accounted for most of the day's meager trading volumes.

The indices were pulled down by heavyweights like Dialog Telekom, down 25 cents to 5.75 rupees, Sri Lanka Telecom, down 75 cents to 30.50, and John Keells Holdings which fell one rupee to end at 54, according to the volume weighted average price.

Most listed Ceylinco group company shares fell after its chairman Lalith Kotelawala revealed in a newspaper advertisement that an unlisted subsidiary, Golden Key Credit Card Company, had been mismanaged and its boss had resigned.

He said Khavan M Perera, chief executive director of Gold Key, had also resigned from the directorates of Seylan Bank and The Finance Company, which are listed companies.

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