3,000 shareholders in limbo after acquisition of Pelwatte Sugar Industries: DCSL


By Sanath Nanayakkare

Three thousand shareholders have been in limbo since the government's acquisition of Pelwatte Sugar Industries in November 2011, and hitherto no action has been taken to pay any compensation to them, Amitha Lal Gooneratne - Alternate Director of Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka (DCSL PLC) and Managing Director of Melstacorp said in Colombo yesterday.

"The acquisition made under the 'Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilized Assets Act' came only after eight months' of operation of Pelwatte Sugar Industries despite the fact that the company had begun to achieve a progressive turnaround. At present, a tribunal committee has been appointed by the government to look into the matter of shareholders. We're awaiting the committee's decision," Gooneratne said.

He made this comment at the ceremonial bell-ringing and Market Open ceremony of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) which is customarily held to mark the beginning of trading for each month.

The DCSL Group is among the top corporate conglomerates in Sri Lanka with assets in excess of Rs. 94 billion and an annual turnover of approximately Rs. 63 billion.

The Group led by its flagship Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka PLC, manages one of the nation's most successful diversified blue chip portfolios spanning beverages, telecommunications, plantations, hotels, textiles, financial services, creative and media services and logistics services.

Speaking further at the event, Gooneratne said," DCSL Group has market capitalization of Rs. 84 billion and the Group has invested Rs.42 billion in major Listed Companies on the CSE. Meanwhile, the Group's investment in Aitken Spence has increased from 41% to 43%" We have also expanded our investments in the telecommunication sector".

CSE Chairman Vajira Kulatilaka commenting on the ceremonial custom of the CSE said ," The idea behind the Market Open ceremony each month is to strengthen the bond between the CSE and major Listed Companies, as well as to highlight the major players of the national economy".

Pelwatte Sugar Industries PLC became part of the DCSL Group following an acquisition of 47% stake in March 2011. The company used to manufacture sugar and other by-products from raw sugar cane. It managed a 2,700 hectare nucleus estate and a settlement estate of 3,500 hectares situated in the Moneragala district of the Uva province. It was reported that a trade union of the sugar company had requested the then government to take over the company.

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