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Casino mogul Ravi Wijeratne takes over MTD Walkers PLC

In a major development in the Colombo Stock Exchange, (CSE) the ownership of MTD Walkers PLC., one of the oldest and largest construction companies in Sri Lanka changed hands for the third time within a period of less than one half years.
One of Sri Lanka’s two casino moguls, Ravi Wijeratne, chairman/owner of conglomerate Rank Holdings has entered in to the construction industry through buying Malaysia’s MTD Capital Bhd owned MTD Walkers PLC, a CSE disclosure said.

Accordingly, in a filing to the CSE released today, MTD Walkers PLC said that they received a letter dated 6th September 2019 on Monday (9th September) from Ravindranath Wijeratne which stated that he had agreed with MTD Capital Bhd to purchase a majority stake amounting to 152,183,583 ordinary voting shares of the company constituting 90.78% through a voluntary offer to be made to all the shareholders of the company, in terms of the Takeovers and Mergers Code of 1995 as amended.

In March 2018, Anunine Holdings, led by Deshamanya Anurath Abeyratne and his family, has bought the entirety of its 91% controlling stake in MTD Walkers PLC for an amount between US$ 8-10 million.

Several local banks sought injunctions against MTD Walkers PLC on February 6th, 2019 over the recovery of loans.

Published accounts reveal liabilities in the region of Rs.18 billion clearly stating that the sale price of US$ 8 million is inadequate to settle all liabilities.

A renowned Indian and Japanese investor consortium has taken over the ownership of MTD Walkers from Malaysia’s MTD Capital Bhd shortly in a transparent share transaction in the CSE dispelling unwarranted rumors spread by interested parties, company sources said.

The deal was sealed following the infusion of US$ 25 million by the new investors, stock analysts said.

The Colombo Stock Exchange halted trading of MTD Walkers’ shares in January this year  after calling for clarification—albeit belatedly—about recent events at the troubled conglomerate.

Separately, the Commercial High Court issued enjoining orders in favour of eight banks, restraining MTD Walkers PLC from transferring any of its shares in any of its subsidiaries to its Malaysian parent company until it settles billions of rupees in debt to the lenders.

They are Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC, Selyan Bank PLC, DFCC Bank PLC, National Development Bank PLC, Bank of Ceylon, People’s Bank, Sampath Bank PLC and Nations Trust Bank PLC.

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