Paul takes over as Blue Diamonds Chairman, Anura as Deputy

Tuesday, 28 August 2012 02:42 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Top lawyer Paul Ratnayeke has been appointed as the Chairman of the struggling Blue Diamonds Jewellery Worldwide Plc.

This is following his appointment to the Board of Blue Diamonds on Friday and the resignation of W.A.D.V. Perera with effect from 1 September.

The company also announced the appointment of Aruna Fernando as Deputy Chairman with effect from Friday.

Three other new Directors, Tirol Perera, P.B. Vinoth Kumar and Raveen Bandara, too have been appointed.

Price of both voting and non-voting shares of the company moved up by 10 cents to Rs. 4.40 and Rs. 1.80 respectively yesterday after touching an intra-day high of Rs. 450 and Rs. 1.90.

The fresh round of appointments marked yet another change on the Board of Blue, which continues to make losses. Last month, longstanding Executive Director and former Deputy Chairman Godfrey de Kretser resigned, whilst in November last year, Chairman and Managing Director Bandula Ranaweera resigned.

Blue Diamonds major shareholders are ECL Soft (15.3%) and Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation – General Fund (10.5%), whilst it has a public holding of 74%.

The company in the first quarter of FY13 suffered a loss of Rs. 21.4 million, as opposed to a profit of Rs. 22.3 million. The latter was due to the benefit of write back of Rs. 23.8 million over a past due. Gross profit in the 1Q was Rs. 3.6 million, down by 20% over Rs. 4.5 million in the corresponding period of FY12. Turnover was down by 22% to Rs. 14 million.

In May this year, the company announced that two litigations (with a contingent liabilities worth over Rs. 2 billion and interest thereon) between the company and co-founder and former Deputy Chairman Daya Senanayake were withdrawn without cost. As settlement Blue agreed to pay Rs. 12 million to Senanayake and he was appointed Chairman Emeritus – a position that does not involve any representation on the Board or any financial commitment.

As at 31 March 2012, Blue Diamonds had Rs. 881 million in accumulated losses. The stated capital of the company was reduced from Rs. 1.06 billion to Rs. 208.4 million as per the special resolution adopted by the shareholders at the Extraordinary General Meeting held on 4 May 2012.

The new Chairman Ratnayeke is a senior corporate lawyer who is also the precedent partner of Paul Ratnayeke Associates, a leading law firm in Sri Lanka, which he founded in 1987 handling all areas of law and international legal consultancy work.

Ratnayeke is a Solicitor of England and Wales and an Attorney of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Law with honours and has been awarded a Master’s Degree in Law by the University of London.

Currently Ratnayeke holds Directorship in several companies including public quoted companies. He has also been elected/appointed as Chairman/ Deputy Chairman to several of these companies.

Anura Fernando, having a wide network base with the Government and private sector, holds work experience of over 20 years. Fernando is the Managing Director of Micronet Information Systems Pvt Ltd., which is the pioneer in the information technology industry. He also serves as a Director of Micronet Global Services and Sri Lanka State Plantation Corporation.

Fernando, a Fellow member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountant (UK), was the Past President of the CIMA Sri Lanka division and was a member of the Governing Council of National Institute of Business Management (NIBM) and has held several senior positions in other organisations.

Perera is an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka and obtained the membership in 2003. He holds a B.Sc. Accountancy (SpI) Degree from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

Perera is presently working as the Chief Accountant of Blue Diamonds Jewellery Worldwide PLC, serving for more than five years. He has held senior positions at Ceylinco Healthcare Services Ltd. and KPMG.

Kumar, a qualified marketer by profession, has wide experience in marketing, covering more than 15 years of managerial experience in sales and marketing both in Sri Lanka and overseas. He is presently working in the capacity of Marketing Manager of Blue Diamonds Jewellery Worldwide PLC.

Kumar is a graduate from the University of Colombo – BBA (Special) in Marketing and obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing from CIM (UK).

Bandara, a marketer by profession, is presently working as the project manager of echannelling PLC and counts over 11 years of experience in the healthcare industry. He has also held several senior positions at IMAC International Association of Sri Lanka. Bandara is a corporate trainer and consultant who specialises in motivation.