ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 49
Financial Times  

Right of Reply - Yaddehige denies exit from RPC

With reference to the article appearing in The Sunday Times of April 29, 2007, titled 'Yaddehige seeking to exit from RPC' the Richard Pieris Company wishes to categorically state that the facts therein are both baseless and misleading.

Contrary to the claims made by the writer, who has relied on stock market speculation to draft the article, neither the company nor its chairman has any intention of entertaining offers to sell RPC or dispose of any of its businesses. Any keen observer of the company's progress record and its potential would concur that to do so would be both imprudent and of extremely poor business sense.

In the last five years, the RPC group's turnover, profitability and market capitalisation has increased fivefold. It has, under Dr. Yaddehige's steering, gained in strength and diversified its business operations to several new areas including construction, real estate, transportation and media. All the recent diversifications have already paid dividends, propelling RPC to remarkably good positions in the industries concerned - an indication that the future can only get better.

Furthermore, these new ventures are only a part of the story. RPC is a 75-year-old company that has achieved new heights in plantations, retail, plastics, rubber, tyre and furniture industries and has firmly established itself as one of Sri Lanka's top conglomerates. The company employs a massive 35,000 people, including a top-of-the-line management team, who are the company's greatest resource and the driving force behind its success.

The writer's reference to the fires that occurred in a few RPC factories and manpower issues as being grounds for a desire to sell is unfounded since the element of risk involved in any business venture, be it the smallest industry or the largest conglomerate, is part and parcel of entrepreneurship. Fortunately, as a responsible and respected player in the country's economy with a strong sense of duty towards its workforce and its safety, RPC is well insulated from such exigencies and is confident of a swift and effortless recovery.

Judging by the prominence given to this news report, the Company believe this is a mischievous and deliberate attempt to undermine the progress of the company by creating doubt and anxiety in our workforce.

Such misleading reports published without verification of fact in respected newspapers can not only be deemed malicious but also intended at causing great harm to the business community and Sri Lanka's economy in the long run.

Business Editor says:
We stand by our story. We are also aware from reliable sources that prospective new investors are looking at RPC and discussions are expected soon between both sides. We reject reference to the claim that we relied on stock market information alone. We tried but were unable to reach Dr Yaddehige for comment. The latter has in the past repeatedly turned down our requests – made through his secretary because he cannot be reached on the phone or on email -- for an interview or comment on stories. In this situation we had no choice but to speak to a very senior RPC official, who declined to be named, and ask for his comments.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.