January 9, 2018 / 11:16 AM / a year ago

Sri Lanka's LVL Energy Fund starts trading; firm plans to go global

COLOMBO, Jan 9 (Reuters) - LVL Energy Fund Pvt Ltd debuted higher on the Colombo Stock Exchange on Tuesday after listing a 20 percent stake, and the Sri Lankan energy firm said it plans to expand into Nepal, Bangladesh and East Africa.

A subsidiary of Lanka Ventures Plc and the 298th firm to be listed on the bourse, LVL Energy Fund raised 1.2 billion rupees ($7.81 million) through the listing.

The company will use 720 million rupees for its power projects in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal, and the remainder 480 million rupees to service part of its debt.

The company had a debt of more than 700 million rupees, as of March 31, 2017.

The company will start operations in East Africa and also invest in solar power projects as Sri Lanka has shifted its preference towards renewable and LNG power generation from the current thermal, coal and hydro power, K Maheshwaran, acting chief executive officer, told Reuters after the stock’s listing.

“Hydro potentials are getting diminished, so doing any big-size hydro project in Sri Lanka is a dream now,” he added.

“That’s why we have to flow with the wind and go for solar and other external markets such as Bangladesh, Nepal and East Africa to get better returns.”

The company operates five hydro plants, two wind and thermal power plants in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It also plans to invest into a 10 MW power plant in Nepal, 1.4 MW and 2.5 MW hydro power plants in Sri Lanka.

Shares of LVL Energy Fund rose as much as 10 percent, before ending up 2 percent at 10.10 rupees a share, compared with the offer price of 10 rupees.

$1 = 153.7000 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Shihar Aneez and Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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