finds cure for Samahan
Chemical Industries Ltd (CIC), Sri Lanka's biggest agricultural
group, made a strategic move last week acquiring a sizable stake
in the herbal products company that markets the popular "Samahan".
A company spokesman
said it fits in with CIC's expensive and serious research and development
in a hitherto untapped area - indigenous plants and its applications
as herbal remedies.
The plan to
tap the many medicinal uses of indigenous plants led the company
to acquire a 34.5 percent stake in Link Natural Products (Pvt) Ltd,
makers of the popular Samahan and Sundantha among other products.
CIC is planning to increase this stake to 49 percent of its voting
equity and to 60 percent in the non-voting category.
not a hostile takeover," assured Preethi Jayawardene, group
finance director at Chemical Industries. "We could have acquired
60 percent but we didn't want to upset the current structure where
there is an excellent management team including its pioneering managing
director Dr. Devapriya Nugawela and Prof. Tuley de Silva, a well-known
figure in the pharmaceuticals industry."
Products Ltd is part of the Link Engineering group that is involved
in construction, soya bean production, leisure and herbal products.
Industry sources said that the group was having problems and the
herbal entity was not getting enough financial backing from the
holding company which then looked for buyers to take over its stake.
is a good investment. We are excited about the prospects and future
potential." Jayawardene said. Link produces Samahan, an all-purpose
home-spun drink that is said to cure a lot of ailments ranging from
coughs, colds, fever or lethargy, Kesha, Muscleguard and Sudantha
toothpaste. Link has a state-of-the-art factory and research and
development centre with a total annual turnover of Rs. 500 million.
"That added to the CIC group turnover of Rs. 8 billion will
give us a definite edge in the market," the group finance director
are five more herbal healthcare products being developed by Link's
R & D unit in addition to the on-going basic research and development
CIC is involved in agro-chemicals, paints, products like 500 acres
of pine fields in Dambulla, biotech, farms and rice mills among