Blue Diamonds poor with profits, rich with MDs!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011 00:28 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Struggling to improve profits, Blue Diamonds Jewellery Worldwide Plc is apparently getting lavish with Board appointments.

The company yesterday announced the appointment of three Joint Managing Directors, giving promotions to three executive directors on the Board.

It said that K.V.D.D.A. Dias has been made a Joint Managing Director – Production, M.M.N. Priyantha as Joint Managing Director – Research and Development and W.K. Galagoda as Joint Managing Director – Finance. Company officials when contacted said this was in order to expedite the functioning of company work.

           The upgrade comes ahead of the company’s Annual General Meeting scheduled for Friday and following Executive Godfrey de Kretser’s promotion as Deputy Chairman on 13 September. As at June 2011, the company had accumulated losses worth Rs. 878 million. Loss from operations in the first quarter of FY2012 was Rs. 4 million, up by 78% over the corresponding period of last financial year. In FY2011, net loss was Rs. 12 million, though down from Rs. 20 million in the previous year.

The Blue Diamonds Board within the past month has already seen three new appointments. On 27 September the company announced the appointment of Krishanthi Niyomie Gunawansa to the Board from 8 October, after it was expanded by two more by way of Manoj Bathiya Satharasinghe and Manikkavasagar Thiyagaraja with effect from 16 September.

Satharasinghe holds an MBA from the University of Honolulu and is the Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director of People’s Reality Ltd., with 25 years of experience in roles in real estate management.

Thiyagaraja is a Chartered Accountant, Life member of the Institute of Bankers and an Attorney-at-Law. He works as an international management tax and legal consultant secretary at the Institute of Chartered Accountants. Company sources said he had been appointed to strengthen the representation of minority shareholders on the board.

Gunawansa was serving as a Director of Ceylinco Selna Residencies and Selna Residencies at the time and as an Executive at People’s Reality Limited.

The slew of appointments is amidst a move by major shareholder British American Technologies (BAT) seeking five seats on the Board.

A proposal by BAT, which owns a 10% stake, was recently rejected by shareholders at an Extra Ordinary General meeting on the grounds it did not comply with Section 203 of the Companies Act No. 7 of 2007. This section required the directors to give their consent in the prescribed form but this had not been done, company officials said.

Consent in the prescribed form has now been received and the new appointments are likely to take place soon. These include the appointments of Wanigasekara Wanasinghe Mudiyanse Ralahamilage Kanchana Wijitha Bandara Dela, Kirindage Leon Dias, Shereen Dushyanthi Samarasekera, Wijesuriya Arachchige Derrick Vernon Perera and Wickneswaran Ravi Shankar.

SLIC owns a 13% stake in Blue Diamond but doesn’t sit on the Board.

Blue Diamonds Board of Directors comprises Godfrey de Kretser (Deputy Chairman), Bandula Ranaweera (Managing Director), K.V.D.D.A. Dias (Joint Managing Director / Production), M.M.N. Priyantha (Joint Managing Director / Research & Development), W.K. Galagoda (Joint Managing Director / Finance), A.R. Gunawardena, A.D. Jegasothy, S.R. Wijesinghe , H.A. Wehalle, W.P.J.L.M. Fernando (Non Executive Director), M.B.K. Satharasingha and K. Thiyagaraja. Ms. Gunawansa has been appointed effective October 8.