Yaddehige new chairman of Richard Pieris and Co. Ltd.

Dr. Sena Yaddehige has been elected the new Chairman of Richard Pieris & Co. Ltd. by its board of directors last week, company sources said.

Yaddehige succeeds Mr. Henry A. Pieris, son of the late Mr. Richard Pieris, who founded the company decades ago. The Pieris family’s stake in Richard Pieris as well as other large blocks of the company’s shares was acquired by Yaddehige and related parties in a hard-fought take over several months ago.

Although there was a complaint to that effect, it was not established that Yaddehige had acted in concert with some foreign funds triggering the Securities and Exchange Commission’s mandatory offer provisions.

Richard Pieris and Asia Capital had strategic cross-holdings in each other. Yaddehige is now chairman of Asia Capital who’s CEO at the time that Richard Pieris’ control hands was connected by marriage to the Pieris family.

Some of the major shareholders of Richard Pieris including John Keells Holdings and Mr. Sohli Captain sold out of the company and Yaddehige and related interests bought these shares. Despite stiff resistance led by Mr. Ian Pieris, then Deputy Chairman and Managing Director/CEO of the group, Yaddehige succeeded in acquiring control.

Mr. Henry Pieris continued as chairman of the company under the new dispensation with Yaddehige serving as deputy chairman and MD/CEO. He retired at the end of last year and although Yaddehige was widely expected to succeed him, his election did not happen as soon as expected.

Company sources said that Yaddehige left Sri Lanka for the UK where he has other interests after last week’s board meeting.

Richard Pieris is expected to make an announcement to the Colombo Stock Exchange over the election of the new chairman later this week.

The company recently sold its stake in Dipped Products Ltd., which has grown into one of the world’s largest non-medical rubber glove manufacturers, late last year booking a substantial capital gain.

This, plus a superior performance in plantations is expected to help Richard Pieris to post an improved performance in the financial year ended March 31, 2005.


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