Ma­haweli Co­conut Plan­ta­tions be­comes first firm to be listed on CSE in 15 months

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - LATE CITY -

Ma­haweli Co­conut Plan­ta­tions Limited (MCPL) yes­ter­day be­came the first com­pany to be listed on the Colombo bourse, fol­low­ing a hia­tus of nearly 15 months.

MCPL listed 33.8 mil­lion or­di­nary vot­ing shares by way of an In­tro­duc­tion on the Diri Savi Board of the Colombo Stock Ex­change (CSE).

Mark­ing the firm’s first day of trad­ing, the top of­fi­cials of MCPL yes­ter­day morn­ing rang the bell, kick­ing off the trad­ing ac­tiv­i­ties for the day.

“With the list­ing of the com­pany, the cor­po­rate gov­er­nance and stan­dards will def­i­nitely im­prove. If some of our long-stand­ing share­hold­ers want to dis­pose or trans­fer their shares, this will be a bet­ter opportunit­y,” MCPL Manag­ing Direc­tor Fe­lix Fernandopu­lle told re­porters af­ter ring­ing the bell.

The firm’s shares rose by 10.7 per­cent to Rs.14.40 with 122 share vol­umes be­ing traded on the CSE yes­ter­day.

CSE Chair­man Ray Abey­war­dena noted that MCPL is the first purely co­conut plan­ta­tion firm to list its shares on the CSE, while there are 20 listed plan­ta­tion sector firms in the CSE with over Rs.25 bil­lion in mar­ket cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion.

As the prof­its rose by 78.6 per­cent year-on-year dur­ing the last fi­nan­cial year, the firm earned Rs.117.3 mil­lion by har­vest­ing 5.5 mil­lion co­conut nuts on its 1,300 acres of co­conut plan­ta­tion lo­cated in Pim­bu­ret­tewa, Arala­gan­wila, in the Polon­naruwa Dis­trict.

MCPL’S rev­enue rose by 17.2 per­cent YOY to 212.9 mil­lion in the pe­riod, ac­cord­ing to the au­dited fi­nan­cials.

The earn­ings per share rose to Rs.3.46 in the last fi­nan­cial year, from Rs.2.16 in the pre­ced­ing year.

As the pri­mary busi­ness, MCPL sells co­conuts to lo­cal firms to man­u­fac­ture des­ic­cated co­conut, co­conut cream, co­conut milk and co­conut wa­ter, solely for ex­port pur­poses. In ad­di­tion, MCPL also planted teak trees as wind break­ers, which are ex­pected to har­vest from the lat­ter part of this year.

Fernandopu­lle noted that at the end of last fi­nan­cial year, these trees were val­ued at around Rs.103 mil­lion.

In terms of fu­ture plans, he re­vealed that MCPL is cur­rently in ne­go­ti­a­tion with a busi­ness part­ner to get in­volved in the pro­duc­tion of fi­bre prod­ucts.

Fur­ther, the firm has plans to im­prove its ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem in the plan­ta­tion, un­der new tech­nol­ogy, by in­tro­duc­ing the so­lar power wa­ter sys­tem to im­prove drip ir­ri­ga­tion, at a cost of around Rs.8.5 mil­lion.

The firm plans to mit­i­gate ele­phant at­tacks by erect­ing an ele­phant fence at a cost of Rs.2.5 mil­lion, with the as­sis­tance of the Wildlife Depart­ment.

MCPL ex­pects the cash flows to the firm to fur­ther im­prove this year, with the an­tic­i­pated rise in co­conut prices at the end of this year and the in­come from the teak har­vest.

Due to the im­pacts of drought, which lasted un­til April this year, he ex­pects the co­conut prices to climb up to the Rs.60-70 range, by the De­cem­ber-jan­uary pe­riod.

Fernandopu­lle iden­ti­fied that there are in­creas­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for co­conut plan­ta­tions. How­ever, he was con­cerned on the lack of sup­port ex­tended by state in­tu­itions to in­crease co­conut cul­ti­va­tions, par­tic­u­larly in non-con­ven­tional co­conut grow­ing ar­eas such as Polon­naruwa.

MCPL was in­cor­po­rated as a Limited Li­a­bil­ity Com­pany in 1996 by the stake­hold­ers of the des­ic­cated co­conut pro­cess­ing in­dus­try.

The firm has leased 551.38 hectares of un­cul­ti­vated land from the Ma­haweli Au­thor­ity, un­til Novem­ber 2028 and turned into a co­conut plan­ta­tion.

The firm plans to ex­tend the lease arrangemen­ts to a min­i­mum of 50 years.

Du­na­gaha Co­conut Pro­duc­ers Co-op So­ci­ety Ltd, Sil­ver­mill Hold­ings Ltd and San­hinda Mills (Pvt.) are the top three share­hold­ers of the firm. (NF)

PIC BY WARUNA WANNIARACH­CHI

From left: CSE CEO Ra­jeeva Ban­daranaike, CSE Direc­tor Shanil Fer­nando, CSE Chair­man Ray Abey­war­dena, MCPL Manag­ing Direc­tor Fe­lix Fernandopu­lle, MCPL Direc­tor Prof. T.S.G Fonseka, MCPL Direc­tor M.A.C.H. Mu­naweera and MBSL Chief Man­ager Lalangi Gon­awar­dena

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