Sri Lanka’s Casino Mogul Ravi Wijeratne to foray into Construction via buying troubled MTD Walkers.
Sri Lanka’s one of the two Casino Moguls that had dominated the Gaming Industry for over 30 years in the island, Ravi Wijeratne, Chairman-owner of conglomerate Rank Holdings, who operates a port, builds real estate, handles waste-reclamation and is building hydro and wind energy plants will soon foray into mega scale booming construction industry in Sri Lanka through buying Malaysia’s MTD Capital Bhd owned MTD Walkers PLC, a disclosure said.
Wijeratne also has two of the five casino licenses in Sri Lanka and the other three are held by his domestic counterpart, Casino Mogul Dhammika Perera, who is controlling 4 colonial era started groups named Hayleys, Singer Sri Lanka, Delmege, Fentons apart from controlling 3 Finance Companies and Two Listed Privately owned Licensed Commercial Banks. Perera also controls 90% of Sri Lanka’s Floor & Wall tiles market and the Aluminum industry.
Accordingly in a filing to Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) released today by MTD Walkers PLC said that they received a letter dated 6th September 2019 on today (9th September 2019) from Hewawasamge Ravindranath Srilal Wijeratne (Ravi Wijeratne) that had agreed with MTD Capital Bhd to purchase a majority stake amounting to 152,183,583 ordinary voting shares of the company constituting 90.78% through a voluntary offer to be made to all the shareholders of the company, in terms of the Takeovers and Mergers Code of 1995 as amended.
Wijeratne, 60, is raised in a beach town south of the capital like most of the emerging post war Billionaires in Sri Lanka, followed up his schooling in Colombo with a degree from the London School of Accountancy. He got his first gambling license 25 years ago when he bought one of the oldest casinos in Sri Lanka, the Star Dust. He next built the Casino Marina Colombo.
MTD Walkers is a listed construction company engaged in infrastructure-related businesses. It has recently been in focus for heavy impact that the company experienced due to non-payment or delayed payment by the Government for state infrastructure projects carried out by the company, apart from getting large loans amounting to billions that were capitalized through having a Director who was also on the board of one of country’s leading state owned Licensed Commercial Banks, according to several media reports.
More recently, MTD Walkers in a corporate disclosure announced its intention to transfer its fully owned subsidiaries Walkers Shipyards Limited, Northern Power Company Ltd., and Colombo Fort Heritage Company Ltd., to its parent MTD Capital Berhad but the attempt was prevented as several State and private banks, to which MTD Walkers owed billions of rupees sought and obtained Enjoining Orders against the said transfer. Company has also failed to pay interest to debentures it released to the market in recent years whilst the shares are under watch list due to failure to comply with several Listing Rules.
– Reporting by Devendra Francis