Business tycoon Harry Jayawardenacontrolled Distilleries Company PLC yesterday executed three share transfers to the tune of Rs.1 billion, which market analysts described as a part of the move to consolidate listed entities of Harry J, under one entity. Accordingly, Distilleries transferred its total holdings in Beruwala Beach Hotels PLC (BBH), Balangoda Plantations PLC (BALA) and Madulsima Plantations PLC (MADU) to Melstacorp, which is a 100 percent owned subsidiary of Distilleries Company PLC.
During the last 15 minutes of yesterday’s trading, the Colombo bourse witnessed the three share transfers: 54 million shares or 41.7 percent of BBH, 10.2 million shares or 43 percent of BALA and 81.9 million or 31 percent of MADU.
The three deals amounted to Rs.1.04 billion and both BBH and MADU traded 70 cents and 40 cents below last Friday’s closing price. However, BALA crossing was executed at 10 cents above last Friday’s closing price.
According to market sources, IIFL Lanka’s International Desk functioned as the broker (both buying and selling) in these transactions.
Several market analysts were of the opinion that once the consolidation of listed entities under Melstacorp is completed, Harry J is likely to list the firm on the Colombo Stock Exchange as a holding company.
However, some were of the opinion that the consolidation under Melstacorp is pursued due to the recent wave of acquisition of businesses, which were given to the private sector on lease.
It was in 1992, the then Sri Lankan government, which was pro-privatization, sold the majority stake of state-owned Distilleries Company to the highest bidder on the Colombo Stock Exchange.
Previously state-owned Pelwatta Sugar Industries PLC, a company that Harry J led companies bought the controlling stake on the Colombo Stock Exchange, was taken back by the government recently, through a draconian act passed by the Parliament.