Sri Lanka excites fund managers, investors in London

Friday, 6 June 2014 00:45 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • CSE-SEC organised Investor Forum draws record participation and useful discussion
By Nisthar Cassim The first-ever fully-fledged Sri Lanka Investor Forum in London was successfully concluded last week, highlighting the impressive progress in the country post-war progress and vast potential for foreigners. Previously, in 2011, Sri Lanka’s capital market industry held an Investor Day in London but last week’s event at London’s iconic Savoy Hotel was more comprehensive, drew an unprecedented response from UK fund managers as well as involved the biggest delegation from Sri Lanka. The number of one-to-one meetings held between fund managers-investors and nine listed companies participating were also impressive. For example, there were 76 meetings held involving over 150 UK fund managers and investors. The level of interest to meet listed companies and listen to the post-war Sri Lanka story as well as questions asked for clarity confirmed UK fund managers are certainly exploring Sri Lanka with considerable keenness. The full-day event was organised by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Colombo Stock Exchange in association with the London Stock Exchange and Bloomberg. The event focused on the growth potential and opportunities available in the capital market as well as Sri Lanka in general. The London event was part of a concerted exercise initiated in 2013 to promote capital market opportunities in post-war Sri Lanka. Similar investor forums were held in Mumbai, Dubai, and Hong Kong in 2013 and one in Singapore early this year. Nine listed companies which participated were John Keells Holdings PLC, Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC, Dialog Axiata PLC, Hayleys PLC, Access Engineering PLC, People’s Leasing & Finance PLC, Tokyo Cement Company (Lanka) PLC, Laugfs Gas PLC and MTD Walkers PLC. They were represented either at chairman/deputy chairman/managing director/CEO levels or senior management. Chief Guest Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal delivered the keynote. Presentations by Guest of Honour Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in UK Dr. Chris Nonis, world’s largest asset manager BlackRock, Inc, Fund Manager and member of the Emerging Markets Specialist Team Fundamental Equity Division Gordon Fraser, LSE Chief Executive Officer Alexander Justham, an in-depth perspective on the capital markets from Director & Country Head – Sri Lanka, Copal Amba (A Moody’s Subsidiary) Chanakya Dissanayake and a snapshot of the Debt Market from CSE Director Vajira Kulatilaka were key highlights. A panel discussion including Governor Cabraal, High Commissioner Dr. Nonis, SEC Chairman Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, CSE Chairman Krishan Balendra and CEO Rajeeva Bandaranaike enabled participants to clarify any issues or raise questions. This exchange was very useful judging by the number of questions or comments made. The representatives from listed companies comprised JKH Deputy Chairman Ajit Gunewardene , Commercial Bank Chairman Dinesh Weerakkody, MD/CEO Ravi Dias and CFO  Nandika Buddhipala, Dialog Axiata PLC Group Chief Operating Officer Azwan Khan; Hayleys Plc Senior economist Deshal de Mel, Access Engineering PLC Executive Director/COO Rohana Fernando and  Executive Director/Director – Business Development Dharshana Munasinghe; Laugfs Gas Plc Chairman and CEO W.K.H. Wegapitiya; Tokyo Cement Company (Lanka) PLC Chief Financial Officer Vishwa Kuruwita, Special project Co-coordinator Praveen Gnanam,  and Investor Relations Officer Dr. Naveen Gunawardane, and People’s Leasing & Finance PLC General Manager/CEO D.P. Kumarage and DGM – Finance & Admin Sanjeewa Bandaranayake and MTD Walkers PLC Group Deputy Chairman Jehan Amaratunge,  Financial Advisor  Thilan Wijesinghe, Director Infrastructure Tulsi Wallooppillai and Head of Group Corporate Finance and Treasury Mahesh Yogarajan. Stockbroking firms represented include CT Smith Stockbrokers Consultant Marianne Page and Senior Research Analyst Chayanika Ranasinghe, Nation Lanka Equities Director/CEO Ajahn Punchihewa, John Keells Stock Brokers Asst. Manager Sales Nithila Talgaswatte and Head of Research Yolan Seimon, Acuity Stockbrokers Director/CEO Prashan Fernando and Director Sales Roshan Noah, Capital Trust Securities  MD/CEO Tushan Wickramasinghe, JB Securities CEO Murtaza Jafferjee, Asia Securities Chief Executive Officer Sabri Marikar, Bartleet Religare Securities Ltd. Managing Director R. Muralidaran, Softlogic Stockbrokers CEO Dihan Dedigama, Enterprise Ceylon Capital Director Priyani Ratnagopal, Capital Alliance Securities Head of Research/Chief Strategist Purasisi Jinadasa, Richard Pieris Securities Chief Operating Officer Reshan Kurukulasuriya, SC Securities Financial Controller P.M.H. Mahinda and Manager Sales Roshantha Fernando, First Guardian Equities Managing Director/CEO Rohan Goonewardene and General Manager Dinesh Gangadharan and Lanka Securities Asst. Manager Sales Nishantha Joseph and Investment Advisor Udith Wickramasinghe. The Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka team comprised Chairman Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, Commission Members Zuraish Hashim and Lolitha Abeysinghe, and the Colombo Stock Exchange team comprised Chairman Krishan Balendra, Director Vajira Kulatilleke and CEO Rajeeva Bandaranaike. The Central Bank also had several of its officials attending the Forum. Separately Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in UK Dr. Chris Nonis also held a reception for Sri Lankan delegation to network with British business, political and civil society leaders. The latter also benefitted from a panel discussion and Q&A involving Dr. Nonis, SEC Chairman Dr. Godahewa, CSE Chairman Balendra, CEO Rajeeva Bandaranaike and JKH Deputy Chairman Gunewardene.