Foreign ownership in John Keells Holdings, the biggest market capitalized conglomerate quoted on the Colombo bourse, rose slightly last week when over 17.5 million shares were transacted, brokers said.
An active week on the share market also saw Mr. Ravi Thambiayah s Group which includes the quoted Renuka City Hotels PLC and Cargo Boat Development PLC, acquiring around 7% of the DFCC Bank through various accounts and Brown and Company continuing to exit from the Hatton National Bank in which it had long been a major shareholder.
About 12.5 million DFCC was done last week closing at Rs. 145 and 7.9 million HNB closing at Rs. 163.50 transacted. JKH closed at Rs. 152.50.
Approximately half of last week s foreign selling in JKH was mostly taken by foreigners with some local interest also seen.
A new investor in Sri Lanka, the large US-based Janus Fund, was among the purchasers of the blue chip conglomerate last week raising hopes that this could herald the entry of more foreign players into the Colombo market.
Browns, a major stakeholder in HNB continued selling its substantial stake during the week but could not achieve the previous week s prices.
John Keels Stockbrokers said in their market report for the week ending Friday that the All Share Price Index was up approximately 4% during the week clearing the 3,000 mark on Thursday with turnover driven by foreign selling in a few blue chips.
There were large stakes of Commercial Bank, JKH and DFCC Bank transacted during the week. `These were mostly foreign selling but were absorbed easily by the market with transactions occurring at previous last traded prices,` the John Keells stock market report said.
Average daily turnover on the bourse last week was Rs.1.73 billion while average daily turnover for the month was Rs.1.71 billion. This compared with the daily average for the year of Rs.554.4 million.
Mr. Raj Rajaratnam has divested much of the Sri Lanka s holdings of his Galleon Fund including DFCC, NDB, HNB and Commercial Bank but continues to hold his personal stake of 49 million JKH (8%) which he is not likely to sell in the short term, knowledgeable sources said.
Galleon exited from JKH long before Rajaratnam s problems with US enforcers arose.
Among the sellers of JKH last week was the Genesis Fund which held about 4% of the conglomerate through two funds Genesis Smaller Companies (2.6%) and Genesis Emerging Market Opportunities Fund Limited (1.4%).