Singaporean and Southeast Asian investors enthusiastic about investing in Sri Lanka

The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC), in association with Bloomberg Data services yesterday successfully hosted its first Foreign Investor Forum for 2014, in Singapore.

The event held at the Ritz Carlton, Millennia Singapore, saw over 200 institutional investors, investment banks and financial advisors from Singapore and the region attending the forum. Senior Minister for International Monetary Corporation and Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning Dr. Sarath Amunugama and Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal made the keynote addresses. In order to provide regional investors with a broad analysis of the economic climate in Sri Lanka, Director & Sri Lanka Country Head of Copal Amba (A Moody's Subsidiary) Chanakya Dissanayake made a presentation focusing on the expected returns from the Sri Lankan economy in the coming years.

The forum also featured a panel discussion featuring Minister Dr. Amunugama, Governor Cabraal, Chairman Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, Colombo Stock Exchange Chairman Krishan Balendra and High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Singapore Ferial Ashraff. "Sri Lanka is quickly emerging as a prominent contender within the region; we have demonstrated exceptional growth figures in the past four years. The political stability within Sri Lanka has attracted internationally reputed hotel chains such as Shangri-La, Hyatt and Movenpick," Minister Amunugama said, adding that Singapore has always been an important centre for foreign investments in Sri Lanka. There is growing interest among the new generation of investors in the Sri Lankan Capital Market. This forum will enhance those opportunities and will certainly help in fast tracking such investments to Sri Lanka. "The just conducted Investor Forum was able to project a strong message of Sri Lanka's preparedness for doing business in the post-conflict economy," commented Cabraal.

"To support economic development, Sri Lanka needs both local and foreign investments. There is a clear increase in the number of new entrants amongst foreign funds which shows that the Sri Lankan stock market is on the right path. We are happy to observe that the CSE has recorded a net foreign inflow of $ 263 million during the year 2013. This is a reflection of the combined efforts of the SEC, CSE and the Central Bank to promote capital market opportunities among foreign investors" Dr. Godahewa said. "The CSE has performed considerably well amongst regional markets and is emerging as a strong contender for regional investment. The stock market has seen a net foreign inflow of $ 335 million and $ 263 million in 2012 and 2013 respectively," Balendra said. Following this comprehensive introduction to the Capital Market potential investors were made aware of the investment opportunities available within the growing Debt Market in Sri Lanka, in a subsequent fringe event. Central Bank Assistant Governor C.J.P. Siriwardena speaking at the event stated that the Sri Lankan macroeconomic environment is stable and is conducive for fixed income investments. CSE Director Vajira Kulatilaka highlighted the concessions offered by the 2013 Budget for companies listing corporate debt and the substantial funds raised through debt IPO's in 2013, exceeding $ 529 million. They also spoke on the proposed launch of a fixed income trading platform for government securities in the coming year.

The forum also provided Singaporean and regional investors the opportunity of having one-on-one meetings with listed Sri Lankan companies. The listed companies which participated at the event were John Keells Holdings PLC, National Development Bank PLC, DFCC Bank, Carson Cumberbatch PLC, Distilleries Company Of Sri Lanka PLC, Dialog Axiata PLC, Ceylinco Insurance PLC, Hayleys PLC, Access Engineering PLC, People's Leasing & Finance PLC, Hemas Holdings PLC, Softlogic Holdings PLC and Tokyo Cement Company (Lanka) PLC. The forum provided an introductory avenue for regional investors to engage with Sri Lankan companies and the CSE intends conducting several investor forums in the future.



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