From left: Chrissworld Executive Director Shanaka Lansakara, Senior Executive Director Sithira Wickramasekera, Chairman Christo Perera and Managing Director/CEO Suraj Suraweera
Warehouse logistics specialist Chrissworld Ltd. will become the first to trade on the Colombo Stock Exchange’s (CSE) SME-centric Empower Board today, thereby heralding a new era not only for the company but also for Sri Lanka’s capital market.
The historic debut follows the successful conclusion of the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Chrissworld Ltd. late last month. The IPO was oversubscribed by two times on the first day itself and raised Rs. 56.25 million. The IPO saw the issuance of 7.5 million shares (25% stake) at Rs. 7.50 each.
Its success is significant due to many reasons. Being the first to venture out to the CSE’s Empower Board is certainly the biggest challenge and the achievement. For over two years since the Empower Board was set up none had the guts or the vision to embrace it as an opportunity.
For a small entity like Chrissworld it is a giant step especially even the biggest of family owned companies or private enterprises shy away from the capital market. The company will be listing 30,000,000 Ordinary Voting Shares and will be classified under the ‘Industrials’ sector.
Getting the IPO oversubscribed by two times and that too amidst the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic should be a major confidence booster for Chrissworld as well as promoters of capital market such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the CSE and the stockbrokers.
The managers to the Chrissworld IPO and sponsor was Atarah Capital Partners which defied the odds and made the pioneering move a success and a shining example. How Chrissworld shares will perform today on debut based on investor sentiment will encourage more SMEs to consider the CSE as a very promising platform to raise capital, boost their corporate profile and improve good corporate governance.
CSE Chief Executive Officer Rajeeva Bandaranaike said: “We are delighted to welcome the first company listing on the Empower Board at the CSE. The listing of Chrissworld presents itself as a testament to the growing confidence placed in the capital market and the CSE. We welcome more Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) to experience the benefits of raising capital through the stock market.”
For the spirited, professional and entrepreneurial Chrissworld founders listing and today’s debut isn’t short term but part of a broader longer term growth strategy.
“The company is now gearing itself to push through their plans post IPO and work on achieving the forecasted results in the coming years,” said Chrissworld Chairman Christo Perera who previously served at Hayleys for 20 years before starting on his own.
Set up in 2012, CWL is engaged in the provision of third-party logistics (3PL) services. Over the years, it has provided professional services, primarily in warehousing, inventory management, distribution/transportation and value-added services, to corporate clients in different industry verticals, as well as to individuals that require such services. Owning warehouse space of 500,000 square feet via 13 units in the Western Province, CWL’s main industry verticals served are telco, manufacturing, fabric and textiles, pharmaceuticals and agriculture.
Currently Chrissworld is ranked among the top five companies providing professional warehouse solutions, and aiming to extend end-to-end total services. The group operations include freight forwarding, customs clearing, transportation and warehousing. With new funding, CWL is aiming at strengthening its operations to include end-to-end solutions to corporates, last-mile delivery and also storage facilities to individuals – a market which is expected to boom with the onset of vertical living.
The journey thus far for Chrissworld according to Christo has been challenging but nonetheless rewarding, directly as a result of the aggressive and dynamic nature of the team.
With a real hunger for new opportunities, coupled with excellent personal connections all across Sri Lanka and worldwide, the Executive Board of Chrissworld, headed by Christo as Chairman and Executive Director and comprising Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer Suraj Suraweera, Senior Executive Director Sithira Wickramasekera and Executive Director Shanaka Lansakara, have played a significant hands on role in shaping the future of the company and positioning it strongly to harness the potential of the logistics industry.
“What I like about my colleagues in the Board is that we are all unique in our own ways, with each member having different strengths and skills. There are certainly no ‘yes men’ among us and in that sense, not all our ideas and thoughts match. However, we have always found common ground at the end of the day, with the sole objective of taking the company forward and the outcomes have been great,” added Christo.
“We believe in ourselves and our abilities and never assess our company to be lesser than the giants in our industry. We have gained the trust and confidence of our clients, through hard work, dedication, determination and commitment and have led the way in being flexible to align our services to meet our clients’ needs at all times,” emphasised Managing Director/CEO Suraj Suraweera who is too formerly of Hayleys Plc and counts over 20 years in logistics.
Senior Executive Director Sithira Wickramasekera said: “One principle of our company is to be selective of our clientele, since it is not ‘money at any cost’ for us. We have always maintained a high level of integrity and have conducted our business in an extremely ethical manner.”
“It’s easy to sell Chrissworld in the market, since there is a natural attraction to our company, as an alternative for finding practical solutions for various issues that clients face in the supply chain. There is also added strength for us through our parent company, Chrisslogix, to offer complete door to door solutions to clients,” added Executive Director Shanaka Lansakara. Chrissworld said funds raised via the IPO and the listing on the CSE would strengthen the company’s balance sheet and help to bring down its gearing ratio, whilst providing the capacity to move on development plans. It is hoped that other SMEs will make use of this platform to list and be in position to source funds through the stock market at a much lesser cost than bank or other borrowing sources.
Chrissworld is also keen to synergise products and services with likeminded competitors, in an endeavour to reduce operating costs plus mutually create an opportunity for rapid expansion. “The team at Chrissworld will continue to focus on untouched segments in the local logistics industry and wishes to play a vibrant part in the supply of tailor made services,” said Christo.
The company employs 23 directly and another 60 indirectly, and with envisioned growth the number will increase to 35 and 75 respectively.
The Chrissworld Board of Directors also thanked all those who confidently invested in the company through the IPO.
Chrissworld Board of Directors are Christopher A. M. Perera (Chairman, Executive Director), S.A.D. Niranjan Suraj (Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer), Sithira Wickramasekera (Senior Executive Director), Shanaka Lansakara (Executive Director), D. Dilan L. Nanayakkara (Non-Executive Non-Independent Director), Melanga A. Doolwala (Non-Executive Independent Director) and Rohan Ladduwahetty (Non-Executive Independent Director).