By Shabiya Ali Ahlam An ugly battle is currently being waged between two estranged factions of the Nonis family for the control of one of Sri Lanka’s oldest familyrun companies, Mackwoods Securities. Amid allegations being levelled against one party of mismanagement and pilfering of company assets, counter allegations are being made about a hostile takeover and attempts to insert outsiders to strip the assets of the company.
The camp of Mackwoods Securities Chairman Dr. Chris Nonis maintained that the appointment of any new director was not made at the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) that was held on July 7, 2016 at Taj Samudra Hotel.
A statement by Dr. Nonis’ camp said he had initiated legal action against those who sought to be appointed as directors— former Army Commander Daya Ratnayaka, corporate figure Mano Tittawella and attorney-at-law Shraepathy Attanayake. “As such, the EGM was terminated without any business being transacted at the meeting.
Accordingly, the proposal to appoint the three abovenamed persons to the board of Mackwoods Securities did not materialise nor was the proposal for these appointments voted on at the EGM,” the statement said.
However, a statement from the opposing camp said at the EGM held on July 7, 2016 at Colombo Club, Taj Samudra Hotel, the majority shareholders holding more than 60 percent appointed three new directors to the board of Mackwoods Securities (Private) Ltd, the holding company of Mackwoods group of companies. It further said the EGM was held with the concurrence of Commercial High Court of Colombo, where the minority shareholder Dr. Chris Nonis, holding less than 29 percent, failed in all his attempts to have the said EGM restrained. However, the statement from the Chris Nonis camp said Dr. Nonis still remained as the Chairman of the company, along with all the longstanding Directors of Mackwoods Securities including, namely Dr. C.N.A. Nonis, S.M.A. Nonis, Lalith Fonseka and L.L. Samarasinghe. Meanwhile, speaking to Mirror Business, Mano Tittawella said, “I have been informed that I have been appointed as a Non-Executive Director of Mackwoods Securities at their recent EGM by the majority of shareholders.
I have also received a notice of an impending hearing regarding an injunction to this appointment. Since the injunction has not been granted as at date, I guess my appointment along with the appointments of two others, stand as at the moment.”