Sri Lanka to Sell Hotel Stakes, Possibly Within Six Months

Sri Lanka plans to put two state-owned hotel companies up for sale within the next six months in a sale that could raise $500 million for the island nation as it seeks to bolster its finances, the finance minister said on Tuesday. Sri Lanka faces repayments on expensive infrastructure foreign loans starting this year and already has a hefty debt burden, while its rupee currency has plumbed record lows, Reuters reported. “We’re going through the legal hoops of preparing (the sales),” State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne said in an interview. “It will maybe take six months to get over that.” The government began a search for investors in January for the Grand Hyatt Colombo and for a 51 percent stake in a five-star hotel in the capital Colombo that Hilton International runs under a management contract. Sri Lanka would also reopen bidding for national carrier Sri Lankan Airlines, probably in a few months, Wickramatne said. Read more.