The weekend newspapers have been at full tilt commenting on the JKH fiasco and carrying articles from interested readers who are calling for appropriate action against corporate giants who believe they can dupe the public and merely carry on as if it’s another day at the office.
What has transpired has actually showed up the ills of the corporate sector for what it’s, so that under a veneer of suave gentility, what is apparently taking place is a morass of evil that makes the petty crime extensively reported in the press pale into oblivion.
Presiding over these institutions are people of virtue or so it appears. These gentlemen some of whom lead trade chambers as a part of their career swan songs all belong to the ilk that patronizes our cocktail circuit and sweeps aside misdemeanors as if they were mild irritants a business must tolerate. That Susantha Ratnayake, one bold captain of industry thought that he can collude with the star of the public sector PBJ, to simply acquire state property smacks of the kind of adventure that is described as brilliant corporate strategy.
This plainly suggests that the culture of disclosure and transparency in our private sector is sadly lacking. Behind gilded doors lurk corporate tyrants who are as bad as crime bosses perpetrating the next heist, only these are men of so called honour leading their social clubs and displaying an ideal picture of community largesse and service. How otherwise would a Past Chamber Chairman get embroiled in the SLIC deal and a Deputy Vice Chairman in the LMS deal?
Researching the stock market recently for investments, a colleague of mine shared with me some tit bits on the recent acquisition of Hayleys shares by Dhammika Perera as the result of poor fundamentals exercised by this lily white business house. My friend concluded that falling profits year after year had depressed the Hayleys share price so much as to attract the erstwhile entrepreneur. However, Hayleys never elaborated on the massive losses they have incurred in consumer electronics, hand protection and the fibre sectors.
The unions are now agitating about mass lay offs. Again, the company makes no disclosures and a current Chamber Chairman sits calmly on its Board without so much as a whimper on the subject. The shareholders will be the last to know while of course a corporate raider will benefit. The ethical profits that Hayleys prides itself on will certainly challenge the BOI Chairman who knows a thing or two about making money.
The point one has to make is the legal and moral obligation that public quoted companies must have in their business dealings, providing absolute transparency so that the public can make intelligent choices and stakeholders can exercise the necessary caution when all is not as well as it should be. To couch their performance in abstract and nicely moulded corporate reports are ininadequate. They must use the media to inform and must be compelled to publicize the status of the organization. That is the need of the hour!
Corporate Observer .