Laugfs Holdings’ chairman buys
6 per cent stake in Pan Asia Bank

By Hiran H.Senewiratne

Laugfs Holdings chairman W.K.H. Wegapitiya, bought more than 27 million shares or an approximately 6 percent stake in Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC. The value of the deal is over Rs.500 million.

'The shares were bought via the Softlogic stock brokering firm, sources told The Island Financial Review.

The seller of the majority of the shares was Nimal Perera, the former chairman of Pan Asia Bank and one-time de facto fund manager of leading businessman Dhammika Perera, the single biggest shareholder of Pan Asia Bank. 

Laugfs had a small financial company it bought from Softlogic in the past before the Central Bank policies forced small companies to merge. 

The duo acquired a number of top listed and privately held business houses in the country riding on the post-war economic boom, before they decided to officially part ways this March, amid speculation of a massive fall-out.  

Nimal Perera said that he sold about 25 million Pan Asia Bank shares at  Rs.20 .As at December 31, 2016, Nimal Perera held about 15 million Pan Asia Bank shares accounting for little over 5 percent of the issued shares of the company. 

However, the bank recently raised Rs.2.1 billion through a 1 for 2 rights issue priced at Rs.14 per share, which Nimal Perera had subscribed to. Subsequent to the rights, Pan Asia Bank had 442.6 million shares in issue. Pan Asia Bank shares yesterday closed at Rs.19.80.

Pan Asia was required to enhance its core capital to Rs.7.5 billion by March 31, 2017 and reach Rs.10 billion in minimum capital by January 1, 2018 as per the revised time frame approve by the CBSL.

"At present the bank’s core capital stands at Rs.8.67 billion after capital infusion of Rs.2.06 billion via a rights issue and the above requirement has been fulfilled accordingly, the bank informed the Colombo Stock Exchange.

Pan Asia Bank, commenced operations in 1995, has been steadily expanding its footprint in the local banking arena and currently operates with a network of 79 branches across the island. During the last few years, the bank doubled its asset portfolio, branch network and staff strength while tripling the gross income, sources said.

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