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27 December, 2013 06:45 AM Source: Financial Times - Sri Lanka

Chinese investor Xia Liqiang has increased his stake in Blue Diamond Jewellery Worldwide Plc to 17.88% this week, thereby becoming the single largest shareholder.
This is following Xia buying around 8% or 8.5 million voting shares at Rs. 3.60 each in a deal worth over Rs. 30 million.
The Daily FT first reported the interest by the Chinese investor on 2 December when he collected around an 8% stake at Rs. 3.50 per share in the week ended 29 November.
As of end September 2013, ECL Soft Ltd. held a 17.73% stake in Blue Diamonds but in recent months it had divested some of its holdings. Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation was owning 10.22% as of end September as well.
In the first half of FY14, BLUE’s turnover was down by 41% to Rs. 29 million (2Q it was down by 46% to Rs. 19 million). Gross profit was down by 40% to Rs. 7.9 million in the 1H and by 20% to Rs. 7.6 million in 2Q.
Loss from operations in 2Q was up by 187% to Rs. 1.27 million whilst in the first half it was down to Rs. 11.4 million from Rs. 13 million in the corresponding period of last financial year.
Net finance income of Rs. 5.4 million in 1H and Rs. 2.15 million in 2Q helped to improve BLUE’s bottom line. Nevertheless BLUE ended the 1H with a loss of Rs. 5.8 million, lower in comparison to Rs. 9 million loss a year earlier.

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