Sri Lanka Telecom (SLTL) to issue 90mn shares in private placement, price TBD

August 13, 2018 (LBO) – Trading in shares of Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) listed Sri Lanka Telecom (SLTL) were halted today pending an announcement of un upcoming private placement.

The announcement posted on the CSE website said that:

  • 89,766,198 shares will issued at maximum
  • Shares are expected to be placed with local and foreign institutional investors
  • Price TBD subject to valuation/investor feedback
  • Primary purpose is to comply with CSE listing requirements
  • Funds will be used to refinance short term debt

Shares of SLTL have been languishing for several years after the megadeal in which Global Telecommunications Holdings NV (a company in the group that controls Maxis) bought 45% of the company with certain management control rights.  The foreign investor paid Rs50.50/share in 2008 (10 years ago) for the stake.

With the stock trading at just Rs23.5 today, and continuous turmoil over management and government interference, analysts state that the deal has clearly been a failure for the foreign investor.  Failures in investments with these type of profile and scale serve as a clear deterrent to additional foreign direct or portfolio investments into the country.

One of the largest telecom operators in Malaysia, Maxis is controlled by Ananda Krishnan, a Tamil of Sri Lankan origin.  Estimates of his net worth run well over US$5bn.