Terminal Tales

(From left) Dharmasri Kumaratunga, Director - Payments and Settlements, Central Bank; Nanda Fernando, Managing Director, Sampath Bank; and Tharaka Ranwala, Head of Operations and Group Chief Marketing Officer, Sampath Bank

Jan 27, 2012 (LBO) – The Sri Lanka Ports Authority wants to raise its stake in a new container terminal being built in Colombo and can use funds expected from the joint venture concession holder, an official said. The listed Aitken Spence group has said it was selling its entire 30 percent stake in the joint venture, Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT), to China Merchant Holdings (International) (CMHI) which now has 55 percent.

CMHI said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange it was in talks with the SLPA on selling it a 6.43 percent stake in Colombo International Container Terminals.

Aitken Spence decided to pull out after costs in the project, to build a deep-water container terminal, escalated and a loan from China did not come through, with the shareholders being required to put more funds.

The SLPA has a 15 percent stake in the joint venture, controlled by China Merchant Holdings (International), which is to build and operate the terminal under a 35-year concession agreement.

SLPA chairman Priyath Wickrama said the ports authority has the option of increasing its own stake under the CICT shareholders’ agreement which enables shareholders to sell their stakes to each oth