President’s sons in Ascot’s Top Twenty lis

By Ravi Laduwahetty

The president’s two elder sons, Namal and Yoshitha, are listed among the top 20 shareholders of Ascot Holdings PLC according to the company’s interim financial statements.

According to this list, Mr. Y.K. (Yoshitha) Rajapaksa owns 100,000 shares and Mr. L.N. Rajapaksa (Namal) 92,000 shares as at Sept. 30, 2011.

Although in the top 20 list, in percentage terms their shareholding is a modest 1.25% and 1.15% though they are the 12th and 13th largest shareholders in the company which is fairly closely held.

Previously Asian Cotton Mills Ltd., the Jayewardene family had interests in the company founded in the middle sixties to spin cotton yarn. It had extensive property at Ratmalana but was in difficulty for many years due to a number of factors, many of them outside the company’s control.

Mr. A.Y.S. Gnanam, the well known tycoon, ran Ascot for a number of years but could not turn it around. Later control passed to the Kuwaiti investor, Al Nakib. Thereafter a group led by Mr. Rohan Iriyagolle took control, sold off machinery and land and invested the proceeds in a Colombo property development project at T.B. Jayah Mawatha (Darley Road).

The company now operates mainly on the rental income of this property.

Mr. Nimal Perera, financial advisor to Mr. Dhammika Perera and on the boards of companies controlled by him, is also in Ascot’s Top Twenty list with 269,200 (3.37%)and is ranked the sixth largest shareholder.

Axis Financial Services (Pvt) Ltd. with 3 million shares (37.57%) and Boston Capital Pvt. Ltd with 649,500 shares (8.13%) are the two largest shareholders of Ascot with these shares held through two banks. Their individual accounts follow with Axis having a further 358,092 shares (4.48%) and Boston 314,864 shares (3.94%).

Some directors of Ascot are believed to have beneficial interests in shares held by holding companies.

The Ascot share traded at a high of Rs. 207.70 and a low of Rs. 99 in the Sept. quarter 2011 against Rs. 80 and Rs. 47 a year earlier. It closed at Rs. 151.80 on the CSE last Friday.

Total assets as at Sept. were Rs. 1.25 billion and liabilities approx. Rs. 600 million.

The group posted a small loss of Rs. 5.9 million in the period ended Sept. 30, 2011, translating to a loss of Rs. 0.73 per share.

The directors of the company are Messrs. V.P. Malalasekera, Chairman, Rohan Iriyagolle, N.D. Gunaratne, N.A. de Mel, Chanaka de Silva and D.J. Gunaratne.

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