The Nonis family feud surrounding the Mackwoods group holding company, Mackwoods Securities, took a new twist yesterday with the sale of a 60.80 percent stake in Agalawatte Plantations PLC held by Mackwoods Plantations (Pvt.) Ltd, a unit of Mackwoods Securities. The 15,200,000 Agalawatte Plantations shares, representing the said stake, were disposed at Rs.20 per share, amounting to a total deal size of Rs.304 million.
The buyer of the shares was believed to be Mathurata Plantations Ltd, a unit of Browns Investments, whose ultimate parent is the LOLC group. A stock exchange filing by the company secretaries of Agalawatte Plantations just said the buyer of the shares was the Browns group. It was only Wednesday the Browns group divested its stake in its mini hydro subsidiary Browns Hydro Power PLC in a Rs.519 million deal.
The share transaction is likely to trigger a new set of legal battles between the two warring factions of the Nonis family as Mirror Business learns that letters were sent yesterday itself to the Colombo Stock Exchange and Securities and Exchange Commission requesting to suspend the share sale. A battle is currently being waged in the courts between the majority shareholders of Mackwoods Securities, who hold 60 percent of the issued shares of the company, and its Chairman Dr. Chris Nonis, who owns 29 percent, for the control of the company. Agalawatte Plantations is said to be in dire financial straits with the company having defaulted bank loans running into millions.