Lanka Realty Investments PLC (formerly known as Ascot Holdings PLC) is making a fresh foray with the core vision of becoming the foremost listed real estate investment and development company in Sri Lanka, attracting overseas investors merged with the local retail investors.
The Board of Directors of Lanka Realty Investments (LRI) said it is encouraged by the growth prospects present in the real estate sector and pleased with the recent development in the regulatory environment. The recent Amendment to the Land Restrictions on Alienation Act lifts the restriction of limiting foreign shareholding to 49% on listed companies holding freehold land and will now allow foreigners to hold the controlling stake in listed companies owning freehold land.
This encouraging development is expected to position LRI as an investment vehicle for foreign investors to partake in Sri Lanka’s real estate growth story.
“We are eagerly looking forward to 2019 as plans are underway to establish LRI as the foremost listed entity in the area of real estate investment and development,” Executive Director Hardy Jamaldeen said.
“We are taking further aggressive strides to optimise the potential of the company as we will be raising Rs. 632 million via a rights issue, primarily for additional investments, complete debt settlement and working capital needs,” Executive Director Archie Warman added.
Subsequent to the takeover of Ascot Holdings PLC in October 2017 by an international consortium of British and local investors, a complete re-engineering of the company took place amidst a challenging operating environment. The consortium heading LRI has ensured that the first act was to ensure that the Company’s Constitution was strengthened with Articles of Association aligned with good corporate governance and international best practices. Moreover, the Board of Directors was re-constituted as was every Board sub-committee. Mohan Ratnayake continues to serve as the Chairman.
Within 12 months of taking over the operations, profits in the company has witnessed an increase from Rs. 33 million to Rs. 235 million, total assets has increased by 35% from Rs. 1.30 billion to Rs. 1.75 billion and shareholders’ funds have increased by 46% from Rs. 0.70 billion to Rs. 1.02 billion.
The key shareholders and present Directors hold a gamut of expertise in fund management and real estate investment and development. At the helm of the newly renamed entity is Hardy Jamaldeen and Archie Warman, who collectively contribute 35 years of experience in commercial/residential property investment and development.
Amongst its directors is Terence Charles Smith, a globally renowned fund manager who runs a $ 24 billion investment management operation, and Ian Joseph McVeigh, formerly a Senior Fund Manager of Jupiter Asset Management (UK) who ran the Jupiter UK Growth Fund with assets of about $ 1.3 billion.
“We are delighted about what the future holds for LRI given that we have free rein now in terms of showcasing Sri Lanka’s real estate opportunities to our international investors. Further, our concrete block and paving stones operation Amtrad Ltd. will be streamlined and repositioned to capitalise on major construction projects. We are keen on re-commencing our leisure operations via renewed investments in our leisure assets in Yala and Ambalangoda,” Jamaldeen said.
The Board of Directors of LRI comprises of Chairman Mohan Ratnayake, Executive Director Mohamed Hisham Jamaldeen, Executive Director Archie James Buckland Warman, Non-Executive Director Terence Charles Smith, Non-Executive Director Ian Joseph McVeigh, Non-Executive Director Mohamed Firdouse Farook, Non-Executive Director Saravanan Neelakandan, and Non-Executive Director Kudagamage Jayantha Pradeep.