Ceylon Finance Today: Attracting State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to get listed was a must to improve market liquidity and confidence, Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) Chairman Vajira Kulatilaka told Ceylon FT.
Meanwhile, CSE, CEO Rajeeva Bandaranaike stated that in addition to the proposed new Board of Investment companies & Small & Medium Enterprise listing boards, the CSE will consider to introduce SOE board as well.
Speaking to the Ceylon FT on the sidelines of the CSE's 2014 Annual Report launch at the Kingsbury Hotel on Monday night, Vajira Kulatilaka also highlighted that the lack of market liquidity had been a negative factor in attracting foreign investors to Sri Lanka's capital market.
"As we know the government represents the lion's share of our economy. They controlled our banking, insurance, port, aviation, transport, gas sectors. They owned the largest land bank. With this limited private sector scope, the market growth may get stagnated. So, it is better to list at least 10%-20% of the government's profit making entities," Kulatilaka, said.
"State owned commercial banks, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, SriLankan Catering (Private) Limited and Litro Gas are the possible SOEs can get listed first, he remarked.
This type of suggested (SOEs) partially listings cannot be considered as privatization. First of all we have to stop all type of 'politicizations' and we have to introduce independent and impartial management......and governance systems. This will bring win-win situations to all stakeholders, the CSE Chairman said.
Listing of SOE s is a not a new phenomenon to the world. Most of the socialist countries like Russia and China as well as neighboring India now down their state stake while getting public listings, the market analysis said.
Vietnam is on a two-year deadline to fast track the equitisation of its 432 government owned enterprises – a process that involves unloading or diluting the government's stake in a state corporations through IPO's (initial public offers) where shares are auctioned or through private placements. Essentially, by the end of 2015, most of the state run industry will have private partnerships in place, the Vietnam media reported recently.
Attracting SOEs to get listed is not only increase market liquidity but also it will build market confidence. It would also enhance SOEs capital, transparency and good governance," he added.
"People have a good faith with whatever the government. If the government entities get listed at the CSE, retail investees will automatically come to the market. So, there would be no necessity to even market promotions, "Kulathilaka said.
The Colombo Stock Brokers Association (CSBA), at a meeting with Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake recently, stressed the importance of increasing the market liquidity, of the Colombo stock market to tap the Morgan Stanley Emerging Markets Index funds to Sri Lanka.
"At the moment we are in a frontier market. Public float or free float is our major problem. Only John Keells Holdings PLC and Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC met those Morgan Stanley Emerging Markets Index liquidity requirements. We need more such type listed companies to tap those funds. Reaching that Morgan Stanley Emerging Markets status is our long term goal," brokers told Karunanayake.
The minister rejected the further government entities listing, because privatization was not the government policy, President CSBA, Dihan Dedigama, quoting Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, told Ceylon FT recently soon after the meeting with the Minister.
Courtesy: Ceylon Financial Times 03 June 2015