A Costly Sale For EPF
The sale of up to 71 million ordinary shares of John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH) held by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), in March, 2012, during the period of former Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, has deprived the Fund from earning billions of rupees in financial gains, The Sunday Leader learned. EPF had puchased a state of JKH in 2012 and 2013 at prices ranging between Rs. 240 and Rs. 320 per share. It is learnt that around 71 million shares were bought at over Rs. 300 per share.
However, the shares were sold to Malaysian investment fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad during Cabraal’s tenure as Governor at Rs. 194 per share, in 2012. Sources at Central Bank told The Sunday Leader that the JKH shares were sold by the EPF to prevent an exchange rate crisis, without considering the benefit to the EPF members or valuation of the company. As at July 29th, the price of a share stood at Rs. 197.80. Therefore, the capital gain of the EPF, if the respective shares were sold on July 29th, would have been Rs. 3,638,188,242, bringing the total gains for EPF to Rs. 4,907,250,368.
Superintendent, EPF, R A A Jayalath, when contacted by The Sunday Leader said he was not aware of the details related to the EPF’s sale of JKH shares.
He observed that, while there are concerns over some transactions carried out by the EPF, the Fund was currently conducting a review on its transactions in the Colombo Stock Exchange, in the past few years.