Fitch places SML on 'Rating Watch Positive'
Fitch Ratings Lanka Ltd., has placed Seylan Merchant Leasing PLC's (SML's)
National Long-term rating of BB+ (lka) on Rating Watch Positive (RWP),
consequent to the announcement of an intended take-over of the company
by People's Leasing Company (PLC).
The two companies signed a Non Disclosure Agreement on March 6 to
explore the possibility of divesting a controlling stake in Seylan
Merchant Leasing to People's Leasing Company Ltd.
In a Rating Action Commentary, Fitch Ratings said the RWP indicates
that SML's rating could potentially be upgraded or affirmed if PLC were
to acquire a controlling stake from SML's majority shareholder Seylan
Merchant Bank PLC (SMB).
"SML is likely to benefit from PLC's support post-acquisition, given
the strategic importance of SML's Registered Finance Company licence to
PLC," Fitch Ratings said.
"The licence will enable PLC to access customer deposit funding,
thereby broadening its funding avenues, which are currently dependent
upon institutional borrowings."
Welcoming the RWP on SML's Long-term rating, the company's Deputy
Chairman Rohan Senanayake said "It is clear that the proposed
acquisition by People's Leasing Company of a controlling stake in SML
will be beneficial to both companies and to their depositors. We view
this transaction as a very positive development for SML's future."
Seylan Merchant Leasing PLC was incorporated on July 31, 2000 and
granted a licence to act as a finance company registered by the Monetary
Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in terms of Section 2 of the
Finance Companies Act No 78 of 1988 on March 1, 2007.