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Singhe Capital Investment buys control of Sri Lanka’s Sinhaputhra Finance

ECONOMYNEXT- Singhe Capital Investment (Pvt) Ltd, an investment firm led by a consortium of individual investors had bought control of Sinhaputra Finance Limited with the intention of injecting fresh capital into the troubled finance company, persons familiar with the deal said.

The sale was part of a capital infusion strategy that had been in negotiation for some time, a company official said.

The deal was structured by NDB Investment Bank.

Managing Director/Chief Executive Ravana Wijeyeratne was the seller, disposing his entire stake of 50.36 percent in Sinhaputhra Finance at 9.50 rupees a share in a negotiated deal.

A mandatory offer is expected to made shortly to buy out minority shareholders according to Sri Lanka’s listing rules.

Some of the investors in the consortium had also backed the purchase of City Finance, another small finance company, market sources said.

The central bank had issued notice to cancel the license of Sinhaputhra Finance in July, and the company, along with the group of new investors had submitted plans for the capital infusion strategy in July and August, the firm said in its annual report.

The central bank had accepted the strategy in September and decided not to proceed with the cancellation of license.

The firm had said that the new investors would infuse another 2.23 billion rupees in stages through rights issues and internally generated eligible reserves.

Sinhaputhra Finance accounts showed that it core capital adequacy ratio was 1.02 percent at end-September, down from 1.76 percent six months earlier, against a regulatory requirement of 7 percent.

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The capital adequacy ratio had eroded to 1.28 percent in September from 5.88 percent six months earlier against a required 11 percent.

The firm had 24.48 percent in bad loans, up from 21.25 percent, while the non-banking finance industry average was 9.69 percent.

Bad loans have been rising sharply among Sri Lankan banks and finance firms in the wake of two currency collapses in quick succession.

Sinhaputhra Finance posted 12.6 million rupees in profits for the September quarter, up from 10.4 million rupees a year earlier, although the firm had 156.4 million rupees in retained losses. (Colombo/Dec04/2019)

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