Stassen Group directors' talks collapse
Negotiations to end the dispute at Milford Exports (Ceylon) Ltd linked to Stassen Group of companies between major shareholder, Harry Jayawardena and the other three founder shareholders have collapsed, according to sources close to both parties.
V.P. Vittachi, Chairman of Milford Exports, the holding company of the Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka (DCSL), which in turn owns Aitken Spence, Milford Holdings and Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) and the two main directors, Rajpal Kumar Obeysekere and Zaki Alif have not reached any agreement on a settlement in talks that have been held for the last two years, according to the sources.
The negotiations were essentially centred on the three parties offering their shareholdings at a price to Mr. Jayawardena. "The battle is hotting up with the % issue most likely to end in courts, a source said.
He said the staff in different group firms at Stassens work in a tense atmosphere arising from the conflict between the group shareholders, who are also directors.
"This is having an impact on the companies," he added. This turn of events was brewing since 2003, when Dr. Vittachi, Mr.Obeysekere and Mr. Alif ganged up against Mr. Jayawardena, who had upped his stakes in the company and was quietly building a business empire that is spreading its tentacles into a number of sectors.