Bill Rumpus

Oct 30, 2011 (LBO) – At least two listed companies in Sri Lanka have been named among several dozen, in a secretly hatched law to expropriate assets of firms deemed by the state as ‘underperforming’ or ‘underutilized’, a media report said. The two listed firm named in the secret law in Hotel Developers (Lanka) Plc, a listed company that owns the Colombo Hilton hotel and Pelwatte Sugar Industries, Lakbimanews, an English language weekly, said.

The bill seeks to take-over by competent authority several dozen firms which have been privatized, given tax breaks by the Board of Investment, state land or state guarantees, the report said.

A person who refuses to hand over the assets, or opposes a state take-over could face a summary trial before a magistrate and be imprisoned for up to 10 years.

The state intended to compensate the owners of nationalized properties, according to the report.

“The shares held by all shareholders of any underperforming enterprise or underutilized asset will vest in the Treasury Secretary for and on behalf of the government,” the Labimanews report quoted the proposed bill as saying.

“The shareholders would be promptly, adequately and effectively compensated. All claims will be direct