Sri Lanka state power, petroleum utilities could be listed: Central Bank

Apr 13, 2010 (LBO) – Units of Sri Lanka’s state petroleum and power utilities could be listed in the Colombo Stock exchange to broad base their ownership and make them more transparent and accountable, the Central Bank has said. Last year the state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation had lost 12.3 billion rupees partly due to subsidizing Ceylon Electricity Board, the state power utility.

“[A] profit centre concept covering various key activities of the CPC, such as refinery, agro chemicals, and aviation fuel supply may be implemented to improve the financial viability of the CPC,” the Central Bank said.

“With a view to improving the accountability and transparency of operations, these business units could be diversified, through a possible offering of certain minority stakes of shares to the general public, in order to broad base the ownership through a listing in the Colombo Stock Exchange.”

The CPC is overstaffed but generates large volumes taxes for the government through energy sales. Its losses primarily come from arbitrary government interference in retail prices and its inability to raise prices to match import costs.

A periodically adjusted price formula was needed to match international prices, t