Business Times

TFC moves towards stability devoid of MBSL

By Bandula Sirimanna

The Finance Company PLC (TFC) is now operating independently under a new board of directors headed by its new chairman Preethi Jayawardana without the involvement of the Central Bank-appointed managing agent, Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka (MBSL).

MBSL is no longer the management agent of the company and TFC now plans to sell its block of lands numbering around 3,500 worth over Rs.6 billion as an immediate priority with a view of achieving greater financial stability, sustainable growth and development, under the directions of the new directors, a top official of the company said. In an interview with the Business Times, TFC Chairman Preethi Jayawardana who is also the Managing Director of the Chemanex Group, said that he has directed the TFC’s land sales department to dispose of all the bocks of land lying idle and bring in liquid cash to keep the deposit base going and to swell the company fund.

Mr. Jayawardena is also a Non-Executive Director of CIC PLC and has more than 30 years of experience both locally and overseas in many senior positions specializing in Finance and Treasury Operations. He is also a member of the Monetary Policy Consultative Committee of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

He revealed that tough action has been taken to recover the debts of the company running up to Rs. 2.5 billion. He noted that several structural changes have been made by the setting up of internal audit committees, a risk management committee, appointing a head of treasury and a monitoring committee chaired by a chartered accountant to streamline the functions of the company, the oldest non banking financial company in the island with 70 years in existence.

“Our aim is to make The Finance Company the strongest and the most successful financial company in the non banking financial industry,” he said. Mr . Jayawardane noted that he has been able to bring down the interest rate for the company borrowings from 20-24 % to 11.5 percent after he negotiated with respective banks .The loan portfolio of TFC was around Rs.2 billion, he said. “My heart sank when I saw the loan portfolio. “But now the situation is under control, he added.

“Geared by all these successes the company seeks to actively engage in and improve the businesses of leasing, hire purchase, pawning and real estate where the company enjoyed leadership in the past”. Mr. Jayawardena also hailed the company staff who were able to steer through the troubled waters and help the company re-emerge from the ‘situation’ that it was forced to be in, due to other financial issues.He also assured all customers both present and prospective ones that the new management was keen in looking after their valuable finances and further improve their income from the deposits.

The TFC’s public share issue raised Rs.1.6 billion in fresh capital and successfully closed on January 27. It was subscribed by prominent institutional investors and high net worth individuals. Major government banks such as Bank of Ceylon and the People's Bank, and the Seylan Bank have become key shareholders.

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