Bank of Ceylon (BOC), the banking giant in Sri Lanka and the major driving force behind the country's economic and social development, is opening the subscription list of its Rupee debenture issue - 2015 on 01st October 2015. "Launching of this seventh listed debenture issue has been arranged while BOC retaining its position as the largest debenture issuer in the country, having issued debentures with par value of Rs 37.0 billion so far" stated S.M.S.C. Jayasuriya bank's Deputy General Manager -Investment, Treasury and International.
Existence of a vibrant corporate debt market facilitates the efficient utilization of resources in the economy, generating growth, employment and prosperity. The corporates that issue debt instruments raise funds for their business needs and expansion, alongside equity and bank borrowings. The investors are offered a range of advantages such as stable and predictable income, retention of capital value, liquidity and diversification of investments. Listed corporate debts are monitored and regulated by the Colombo Stock Exchange and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka and encouraged retail involvement. The sustainable economic development envisaged by Sri Lanka through export oriented production, highlights the importance of the active debt market and its pivotal role in economic growth. In this background, the debenture issue by the largest and state owned bank in Sri Lanka, Bank of Ceylon is a significant impetus for the development of Sri Lankan debt market.
The debenture issue is for an offering of Rs. 5 billion with an option to increase it up to Rs. 8 billion in the event of an oversubscription. The Unsecured, Subordinated, Redeemable Debentures rated AA by Fitch Ratings Lanka Ltd. are to be listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange in accordance with the provisional approval obtained. The debentures have 5 year and 8 year maturities with fixed and floating coupon rates.
Fixed coupon rates range from 8.24% to 9.5% while the floating coupon rate is 1.25% over and above the gross Treasury Bill Rate. Debentures are offered at par value of Rs. 100/- in five types to meet diverse investor requirements. The minimum subscription per application is Rs. 10,000/- (or 100 debentures). Applications in excess of the minimum subscription shall be in multiples of LKR 10,000/- (100 debentures). Applications and prospectus containing further details of the debenture issue are now available at all trading members and members (stock brokers) of the Colombo Stock Exchange and websites www.cse.lk and www.boc.lk.
As per existing tax regulations investments in the debentures are entitled for tax exemptions, including withholding tax on interest income and capital gains (if any in case of premature disposal)
The 7th public debenture issue of BOC is also structured by the bank's Investment Banking Division as in the previous issues.
Bank of Ceylon acts as the Managers, Registrars, Bankers & Lawyers to the proposed debenture issue while Deutsche Bank AG, Colombo branch is acting as the Trustee to the issue.
The debenture issue is priced considering the high credit worthiness indicated by the issue rating of AA affirmed by Fitch Ratings Lanka Ltd., minimal risk involved in the investment and the strong franchise enjoyed by Bank of Ceylon.
The funds raised through this debenture issue will be utilized for long term lending in development projects which in turn contribute to the Economic & Social Development of Sri Lanka.
Courtesy: The Island 27 September 2015