NTT lodges SLT
stake in CDS, trading frenzy continues

Slightly over 35% of SLT belonging to Japan’s NTT has been lodged in the Central Depository System fuelling speculation that Malaysia’s UT group will acquire the country’s biggest fixed line telecom operator within the next few days.

The chase for SLT continued on the Colombo bourse yesterday with nearly 5.3 million shares traded between a low of Rs.40 and a high of Rs.41.25 with speculative trading on the counter continuing unabated from last week.

Brokers said that this month alone as many as 80 million SLT shares had been transacted with retailers, high net worth investors and institutions speculating on the stock anticipating upside on a possible mandatory offer.

Lankan born and US based fund manager Raj Rajaratnam was believed to have sold out his SLT holdings at a tidy profit. Next to the Government (slightly under 50%) and NTT, Rajaratnam and his funds was a big shareholder.

Foreign interest in the stock has led to speculation that UT is already in the market but these rumours were unconfirmed.

Yesterday’s trading in SLT contributed Rs.215.7 million to a turnover of Rs.378.7 million, down from the previous day’s Rs.1.27 billion which too came mainly off SLT.

Both indices were up during the day, the All Share by 8.11 points (0.32%) and the Milanka by 22.25 points (0.70%). During early trading the indices were much higher but eased at the end of the day.

The Commercial Bank with slightly over 0.1 million shares traded and JKH also with a slightly over 0.1 million shares done, came a poor second and third in the turnover ranking with ComBank netting Rs.14.9 million and JKH Rs.13.8 million.

ComBank traded between Rs.141.50 and Rs.142 gaining 25 cents to close at Rs.141.75 while JKH also traded within a narrow range of Rs.119.50 and Rs.120 closing flat at Rs.119.50.

Other counters that demonstrated some volume included LMF with 0.2 million shares done closing at Rs.50, Hayleys with 69,200 shares done closing at Rs.99, Ceylinco Insurance with 30,800 shares done closing at Rs.206 and LIOC (nearly 0.3 million shares).

Madulsima (nearly 0.3 million shares) and Maskeliya (over 0.1 million shares) were among plantation stock that showed volume.


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