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BAT asks for five board seats in BLUE

Aug 15, 2011 2:40:17 PM - www.ft.lk

By Dinali Goonewardene
British American Technologies (BAT) which owns slightly over 10% stake in Blue Diamonds Jewellery Worldwide (BLUE) is seeking five Board seats in the latter.
BAT has asked for an EGM to be convened for shareholders to pass a resolution for same.

On 4 August, BAT acquired 11 million shares of BLUE for 110 million from EChannelling. It also bought 10,000 shares at Rs. 6.90 each on the same day followed by an equal quantity at the same price on 11 August. BAT also owns 22.4% stake in EChannelling Plc.
The five nominees of BAT for BLUE Board are W.W.M.R. Kanchana Wijitha Bandara Dela, K. Leon Dias, Shereen Dushyantha Samarasekera, W.A. Derrick Vernon Perera and Wickneswaran Ravishankar.
Apart from BAT, Sri Lanka Insurance also owns 12.7% stake in BLUE but the latter hasn’t yet sought any seat on the Board. SLIC also owns 23.5% stake in EChannelling.
The other major shareholder of BLUE  is Ceylinco Insurance owning 5% stake.
Of the existing 10 member Board at BLUE, at least four are Executive Directors and own shares Bandula Ranaweera, Godfrey de Kretser, K.V.D.D A Dias, and N.M.N. Priyantha. The Blue Diamonds Jewellery Worldwide current Board comprises Bandula Ranaweera (Managing Director), Godfrey de Krester, K.V.D.D.A. Dias, A.R. Gunawardena, A.D. Jegasothy, M.M.N. Priyantha, S.R. Wijesinghe, W.K. Galagoda, H.A. Wehelle, and W.P.J.L.M. Fernando.
In 2010/11 financial year’s first quarter BLUE reported a loss from operations of Rs. 4 million up from Rs. 2.3 million a year earlier. Finance cost of Rs. 2.6 million led to a pre-tax loss of Rs. 1.5 million as against Rs. 3.5 million figure in the first quarter of 2010 financial year. The bottom line at BLUE however, was a high Rs. 22.3 million (as against a loss of Rs. 3.5 million) thanks to an extraordinary Rs. 23.8 million gain from settlement of credit facility.
Accumulated losses at BLUE were Rs. 876 million, marginally down from Rs. 900.5 million as at end FY2010.

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