Revamped Nations Lanka Finance eyes future with high hopes

Wednesday, 16 March 2011 00:37 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Cassandra Mascarenhas

Commencing a new phase within the company, leading financial services firm, Nation Lanka Finance PLC announced their ambitious plans in the near future,

stating that their current top priority was to get its balance sheet right and obtain its finance license, with further aspirations to diversify overseas later on.

Speaking at an event held to introduce their new board of directors, the latest stage in the complete restructuring that the once encumbered company has now undertaken, the owner of Access Equities, Asanga Seniviratne stated that the company’s top priority was to get their balance sheet right and to acquire its finance license in order to regularize deposits which are currently on debt instruments and are not secure as they are not regulated by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

Their deposit base is currently worth a little over two billion rupees and the company has over 2,500 depositors at the moment with interest rates that range from 9-10% on ordinary deposits.

“We are also looking to infuse funding into our construction arm as the many projects undertaken have currently come to a standstill and in the face of the reviving economy we need to pay attention and grow our construction division.

We are also looking to tie up with a foreign investor in terms of our stock brokering arm which is imperative to help distribution overseas as it is already very strong locally,” revealed Seniviratne while discussing the company’s plans for the future.

Although they have not decided on a foreign partner yet, the Director affirmed that they are currently in talks with multiple parties. As part of the restructuring, the Board also plans on introducing several new managers and heads to support the present management.

When questioned about if Nation Lanka Finance PLC would be capable of holding its own against the strengthening financial services industry in Sri Lanka, Seneviratne immediately assured that this would not be an issue at all. “Nation Lanka Finance is very well established with an extensive branch network of 12 branches and many satellite offices island wide. When under Ceylinco, this company catered to a broad spectrum of clientele and has substantial goodwill and the future for the company looks very good,” he stated. However, the company currently has no plans of establishing further branches within the country at the moment, instead setting its sights on the overseas market. Nation Lanka Finance also hopes to diversify into new sectors such as unit trust and fund management as it progresses.

The members of the new board reflect the company’s strategic partnerships with a consortium of established investors led by Access Equities (Pvt.) Ltd. and Nawaloka Construction Company (Pvt.) Ltd. Headed by the Chairman, Jayantha Dharmadasa and CEO, Bede Fernando, the Board consists of Asanga Seniviratne, Harshith Dharmadasa, Jayaprakash Rudra, Lalith Karunaratne, U.H. Palihakkara and Chandra Sahabandu.

Regulated by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange, the company mobilized Rs. 500 million by the way of a private placement last week.

“With this infusion of capital and the reconstitution of the board of directors, a board that consists of a unique and diverse combination of professionals and businessmen ideal for a financial services company, the company’s future looks very good. With the rights issue on this week and next week, we plan to mobilize a further Rs. 300 million, bringing up the total to Rs. 800 million which will be more than adequate for a strong balance sheet and will add value to the parent company,” said the CEO, Bede Fernando.