Sri Lanka’s Mahaweli Coconut Plantations rises on debut on small volumes

ECONOMYNEXT – Mahaweli Coconut Plantations Limited began trading on Sri Lanka’s stock exchange Monday, rising 11.5 percent or 1.50 rupees to 14.50 rupees on small volumes at mid-morning from its strike price of 13 rupees.

Just 160 shares changed hands in six trades.

Felix Fernandopulle, Managing Director of Mahaweli Coconut Plantations (MCPL), said the listing would allow original investors, made up largely of desiccated coconut millers, to sell their shares if they wish to.

“The company is now profitable,” he said. “Our shareholders have been with us for over 20 years. If someone wants to sell or transfer, this is a better opportunity.”

The listing through an introduction, on the ‘Diri Savi’ second board of the Colombo stock exchange, would also improve governance standards at MCPL, he said, just before ringing the opening bell for trading on the CSE to mark their first day of equity trading.

“Our teak trees are also reaching harvesting time. So the future looks good. It will fetch value for shareholders,” Fernandopulle said.

Mahaweli Coconut Plantations listed 33 million shares at a strike price of 13 rupees a share.

CSE chairman Ray Abeywardena said it was the first purely coconut plantation to list and also the first listing n the Colombo bourse after nearly 15 months.

“We have 20 listed plantains sector companies with a market capitalisation of over 25 billion rupees,” he said.

“The listing of MCPL, incorporated in 1996 – almost 24 years ago, gives investees an opportunity to realise value from their investments.”

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Mahaweli Coconut Plantations was set up with funding from a cess on coconut exports to provide raw material for DC millers to avoid future nut production shortages owing to aging trees, growing local consumption and loss of estates for housing and industry.

Its plantation of 1,350 acres is in the north-central province close to the Dimbulaga rock temple with water supplied from the Mahaweli river.

MCPL’s net profit rose to 117 million rupees in the financial year to 31 March 2018 from 66 million the year before, as sales grew sharply with trees maturing and giving higher yields and nut prices also high
(COLOMBO 03 June 2019)
 

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