Mission accomplished, Rohan Senanayake to step down as Deputy Chairman of SMB

Tuesday, 28 June 2011 00:05 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

After 14 years at the helm of the Seylan Merchant Bank, its current-day successor SMB Leasing and the SMB Group, Rohan Senanayake has announced he will relinquish his position as Deputy Chairman of the entity he helped restructure twice, confident that his mission has been accomplished.

Senanayake, who was appointed Director/General Manager of Seylan Merchant Bank in September 1997 and later became the Deputy Chairman of the SMB Group, has announced he will continue his association with SMB Leasing as a Non-Executive Director, to devote more time to his enduring interest in fund management and corporate finance activities.

Under his stewardship, the SMB Group navigated several periods of adversity, most notably its substantial underwriting liabilities and accumulated unsecured margin trading debts that contributed to swelling non-performing debts to Rs. 750 million plus in the late 1990s, and the high-profile collapse of several companies of the Ceylinco Group in 2008.

During his 14-year tenure as the Chief Executive at SMB, the Group weathered these and other impediments by clearing its liabilities, establishing new partnerships, expanding its range of activities in the financial services arena, restructuring  operations to respond to new challenges and strategically exiting from non-productive businesses.

By December 2008 when the issues facing the Ceylinco Group came to a head, SMB’s liabilities, principally public deposits and public borrowings, exceeded Rs. 4.3 billion, but the Group, which included a registered leasing company and a registered finance company, was permitted by the Central Bank to continue operating with the same Board of Directors.

Today these liabilities have been reduced to Rs. 350 million, SMB has repaid all its borrowings from the Seylan Bank, has returned to profit and will receive an infusion of Rs. 700 million in December 2011 from listed warrants.

“I believe the company is now on the threshold of a new phase of growth, free from the ghosts of the past,” Senanayake said. “My job is done, and I can now pursue my special interest, the capital market, in which there is much scope for innovation and new thinking.”

For the three months ending 31 March 2011, the SMB Group reported gross income of Rs. 41.4 million, an improvement of 7.5 per cent over the corresponding quarter of the previous year, and net profit of Rs. 18.5 million, which reflected a growth of 210 per cent.