Cargills (Ceylon) PLC’s venture into the banking industry through Cargills Agriculture and Commercial Bank (CACB) is on track and will commence operations by the end of this year, sources close to the company said.
The sources stated that the bank would be set up through a mix of foreign and local investments and partners, as the Central Bank of Sri Lanka is likely to allow Cargills only to keep less than 50 percent of the new bank’s ownership.
The source further stated that foreign parties who had already invested in CT Holdings, the parent company of Cargills and a promoter of the bank, are unlikely to have any investments in the new bank, meaning that the bank will likely be set up in collaboration with an entirely new set of investors.
He added that the headquarters for the new bank would likely be located at the old Lanka Ceramics showroom near Majestic City, Bambalapitiya, which is currently under refurbishment. However, two other locations in Colombo are also being considered, the source added.
Cargills Bank was granted provisional approval from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to set up operations in September last year, subject to fulfilling of the routine terms and conditions.
Subsequent to the Central Bank approval, Har ris Premaratane, former Managing Director of Sampath Bank, was appointed as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of CACB, with effect from January 1 this year.
However, since Premaratane took his position at CACB, no other high profile appointments have been announced.
Prior to his term at Sampath Bank, starting from October 2008, Premaratane was involved with the private sector banking giant, Commercial Bank.
Cargills has Sri Lanka’s largest supermarket chain with over 180 outlets islandwide. The firm also has a presence in food processing, dairy products and brewing.