Foreign shareholding in HNB on Monday topped the 23% mark following a fresh round of buying by non-nationals.
On Monday 2.27 million HNB shares were picked up by a top foreign fund for Rs. 522 million at Rs. 230 per share. Last week a different foreign fund bought 1.1 million shares at Rs. 220 each.
The foreign holding in HNB as of Monday amounted to 66.92 million shares or 23.28% stake, up from 63.88 million shares or 22.2% stake at end of April.
Soon after the first foreign purchase last week analysts said foreign buying returned to HNB perhaps after it abandoned the private placement planned originally and giving existing shareholders a higher allocation in its Rs. 14.3 billion fund raising exercise.
“Foreign investors who may have been keen to participate in the private placement are now likely to pick up quantities to qualify for the 1 for 5 rights,” analysts added.
Non-national buying on HNB as well as few other select blue chips has resulted in the month of May so far accounting for net foreign inflow of Rs. 3.12 billion. However year to date the net outflow is Rs. 5.2 billion on top of Rs. 26.4 billion in 2010.
The Colombo stock market is still Asia’s best performer in 2011 with a 10.9% gain, after bringing in the region’s top return of 96% last year.