Mauritius Benchmark Stocks Index to Reach Record in March, Ramtohul Says

Mauritius’s stocks index may reach a record in two months as the economy grows, said Imrith Ramtohul, the investment manager at Mauritius Union Assurance Co. who correctly estimated it would go to 1,900 by the end of 2010.

“The SEMDEX index could reach a new all-time high by mid- March,” Ramtohul said in a telephone interview from Port Louis.

The Indian Ocean island nation’s broadest stocks measure, which reached a peak of 2,101.34 on Feb. 18, 2008, advanced 18 percent in 2010, matching the increase in the MSCI Frontier Market index over the same period. It was the eighth annual advance in nine years for Mauritian equities.

The country’s economy will expand about 4.2 percent this year, the same rate as in 2010, led by growth in the financial and transport industries, the statistics agency said Dec. 31. Tourism, which with exports of sugar, clothing and textiles account for the bulk of foreign-currency earnings, will probably grow 3.4 percent in 2011, it said.

Shares which could contribute to a rally include Mauritius Commercial Bank, the biggest company by market value, and State Bank of Mauritius Ltd., the second-largest, Ramtohul said.

“MCB will be posting better results than last year and investors are already expressing strong interest for the stock,” Ramtohul said. “SBM will benefit from the interest for financial stocks.”

Property, Electricity

Mauritius Commercial Bank’s profit advanced 20 percent in the first quarter through September from a year earlier on increased fees because of higher regional trade financing, it said on Nov. 12.

ENL Land Ltd., a sugar manufacturer with interests in property, is set to benefit from the opening of the country’s biggest shopping mall in September this year, which it is helping develop, Ramtohul said.

Harel Freres Ltd., which produces 75 percent of Mauritius’s processed sugar, will also contribute to the SEMDEX rally as its power unit, Centrale Thermique de Belle Vue, sells more power to the state’s Central Electricity Board.

The SEMDEX index gained for a seventh day, adding 0.1 percent to 1,992.84 by the 10:56 a.m. in Port Louis today, the highest since March 2008.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kamlesh Bhuckory in Port Louis via Johannesburg at 1999 or pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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