Laugfs gears up with great expectations

Friday, 28 January 2011 02:41 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Laugfs Gas Limited, which began a humble journey 10 years ago, is now gearing itself to become the best corporate in the country by further improving its gas and energy products.

“Our vision is to provide reliable, economical, eco-friendly and failsafe energy sources to our consumers in a competitive manner, ensuring the highest standards of quality and zero impact to the environment. In that sense, we are now gearing ourselves to improve our products and services further,” said Managing Director of Laugfs Gas Ltd. Thilak de Silva.

He said that the company entered into the LP gas industry in 1995 after the expiry of the five year legal monopoly enjoyed by Shell Gas Lanka Ltd.

“Before we entered the LPG industry, we were the pioneers in the auto gas conversion industry. Our business model was to convert petrol driven automobiles into LP gas. Whilst doing that, we introduced a state-of-the-art quality service in every activity that we engaged in, thereby bringing quality work in to the automobile industry. We are now a public quoted company and our responsibility and accountability is even higher than a traditional limited liability company; therefore we are now engaged in providing the best service to our consumers in terms of delivery, after sales service and safety,” he said.

Laugfs said that the company now possessed a strong and widely dispersed distribution network covering the North and East Provinces of the country. It has its main distribution points in the cities of Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Galle, Kurunegala, Kandy (Kundasale), Kegalle (Mahavella), Ratnapura, Nuwara Eliya, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. A total of nearly 1,665 dealers are being catered through these main distribution points.

“On the other hand, in terms of decision making, we have the best team comprising eminent personalities in our board who have excelled their fields of expertise,” he added.

Laugfs Gas is a flagship company in the power and energy sector of the country. Its strategy is concentric diversification as opposed to its parent, Laugfs Holdings Ltd., which is considered a conglomerate diversification, having business operations in a number of unrelated spheres.

Laugfs Gas considers it advantageous to leverage its technical knowhow to expand more into power and energy sector initiatives. The company entered into an agreement recently with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. of India to introduce innovative ‘metal cutting gas’ into the country. An official from its technical division is expected to arrive in the country shortly and remain here for about three months with Laugfs Gas officials, offering initial operations support.

The company has also taken steps to move into the hydropower sector with the development initiatives of Ran Mudu Oya in Balangoda, which will be completed under three phases. The company is awaiting the completion of some procedural aspects of the project in order to enter into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the CEB.

As far as the development of hydropower is concerned, the company will look forward to more investments in either ongoing or start-up projects in the future.

According to Laugfs Gas, its board is represented by the country’s leading professionals, headed by W.K.H. Wegapitiya who started the company and is now giving it leadership as the Chairman. His vision and leadership have boosted the company to rise to its present status as a highly successful business entity.

Wegapitiya has been adjudged as an outstanding entrepreneur with a significant number of awards by reputed institutions and chambers of commerce and industry both local and foreign. A graduate in Business Management from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura and a MBA holder from Post Graduate Institute Management, Wegapitiya was also trained at Oxford University, UK, in Energy Management.

Managing Director de Silva teamed up with Wegapitiya in 1994 as business partners to launch the company. He has since then played a pivotal role in developing the group to its current stature. As Managing Director, he directly oversees the business operations of all subsidiaries of Laugfs Holdings Ltd.

De Silva brings to the group experience of 27 years in highly diversified areas in business. He is well-respected for his strategic foresight and entrepreneur skills. He is a risk taker too, but a firm believer in protecting the downside and working out in advance all things that might go wrong and making sure all those eventualities are covered.

The Board of Directors of Laugfs Gas Ltd. consists of several eminent professionals who are well known in the business circles. They are engaged in the capacity of non-executive and/or independent directors. The board includes the following members:

H. A. Ariyaratne, an outstanding and experienced banker who is an Executive Vice President of DFCC Bank PLC, and a Non-Executive Director in several other business establishments.

Chandralal De Alwis, a Non Executive Independent Director, who is a well-known personality in the trade and commerce industry in this country and Chairman of subsidiary companies of Chemex Group. He is also the Chairman of the National Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka.

Palitha Kumarasinghe, another Non-Executive Independent Director, is a President’s Counsel and a practicing lawyer with 30 years of experience in civil law with specialisation in commercial and banking law.

Tissa Bandaranayake, a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, who retired from Ernst & Young after a long service as a Partner. He is now a Non Executive Independent Director of Laugfs Gas Ltd. and Non Executive Independent Director of several well known large business and financial institutions.

Apart from its Board of Management, the company is powered by a galaxy of professionals with seven chartered accountants or passed finalists, five MBA holders from the universities in Sri Lanka and 15 more professionals qualified and experienced in a multitude of disciplines such as engineering, marketing, human resources, leisure, finance and banking. Moreover, a significant number of senior, middle and junior management and staff are graduates from the universities in Sri Lanka.