ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 08
Financial Times  

RPC shareholders, directors differ at AGM

By Duruthu Edirimuni

Some shareholders and directors of the Richard Pieris Group differed in issues raised at the company’s AGM on Friday.

Minority shareholders had expected a stormy meeting with RPC chairman Dr. Sena Yaddehige not attending in anticipation of a crisis. But when the meeting opened, one of the directors Paul Ratnayake – who presided - rejected the claim saying the chairman had informed of his inability to attend due to other work and likewise two other directors were also unable to attend.

K. C. Vignarajah, an RPC shareholder of RPC, addressing the directors at the AGM, pointed out that that the company had purchased 8.1 million shares of NDB for Rs.1.7 billion on a bank loan thereby increasing the RPC Group debt to Rs.9 billion.

Another shareholder sought information on shareholders of some of the foreign companies that have stakes in RPC like Skyworld Corporation (27 %), Camille Consulting Corporation (16 %), Sezeka Ltd (9 %) and Rockport Ltd (5 %). Ratnayake said the directors didn’t have this information but said they could write to the Secretaries of the company for any details. “Our response was that we have no problem in giving any information that is legally possible,” Pravir Samarasinghe, Director/COO of RPC told The Sunday Times FT.

Vignarajah also asked why the current market value of the urban property freehold is not disclosed unlike the other conglomerates to which he said the directors had remained silent.

Samarasinghe rejected the claim saying, “there were just two shareholders who were asking questions and we responded to every single question.” With reference to the purchase of NDB shares, he said when one’s makes an acquisition it is normally funded by borrowings.

He said RPC has always been a shareholder-friendly company and allows anyone to ask questions at its AGM or EGM. “It would be unfair to say that we didn’t allow questions to be asked or that we didn’t respond, which we did.”


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