Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dilith, Nimal appointed to George Steuart board

By Indika Sakalasooriya

High net worth investors Nimal Perera and Dilith Jayaweera were able to better the rest who made failed bids for the Sri Lanka’s oldest commercial establishment, George Steuart group, as the duo was appointed as directors to the company’s board yesterday at the company’s Annul General Meeting (AGM).

According to Nimal Perera, shareholders of the George Steuart yesterday officially adopted the model articles under the new Company’s Act, casting aside all the provisions that restricted him and Dilith acquiring shares of the company.

The duo was appointed to the board seats vacated by the retirement of former George Steuart Chairman Scott Direckze and resignation of non-executive director A.A.M. Illiyas.

With this development, Nimal and Dilith gained the control of George Steuart despite the  30 percent stake with group’s Managing Director Dubsy Kanagaratnam, the acquisition which needs legal clearing.

Nimal and Dilith currently have about 42 percent of George Steuart and the rest with Dubsy Kanagaratnam and a company trust, which the duo would indirectly control.  The current breakdown of acquisition shows that Divasa had acquired the holding of former Chairman Scott Dirckze (18%) and two other directors amounting to a total of 21% while Nimal had acquired stakes of current Chairman Jayantha Wimalagooneratne (13.2%) and former Chairman S. Skandakumar (8%), totaling 21%.   After the full acquisition goes through, Nimal is expected to have around 30% stake in George Steuart while Dilith’s investment vehicle under which he is doing the investment, Divasa Equity will hold the controlling 51% stake.

George Steuart Company, with a history of over 175 years has witnessed the contemporary mercantile history of Sri Lanka which started with the coffee traded. Currently the company is involved in a number of businesses including tea exports, pharmaceuticals, travel and ticketing, airline representation, property development, assembly of telephones and other electronic products, freight forwarding, insurance and higher education.

The company is also one of the leading recruitment agencies in the country. According to analysts, the major attractions of the company to Nimal and Dilith would have been diverse business interests, legacy and the land bank it owns in the Colombo Fort area.

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