Building Muscle

Sri Lanka’s diversified John Keells Holdings Ltd. will push ahead with planned investments in leisure and property this year, but the group’s financial outlook may be impacted by progress in the country’s peace process, the company’s head of corporate finance and strategy said. Sri Lanka’s diversified John Keells Holdings Ltd. will push ahead with planned investments in leisure and property this year, but the group’s financial outlook may be impacted by progress in the country’s peace process, the company’s head of corporate finance and strategy said. “We expect growth from most of our core businesses (in 2006/2007). Earnings from the leisure sector would depend on developments in the security situation,” Krishan Balendra told Dow Jones Newswires.

He was referring to a recent surge in violence in the island’s north and east, which has threatened a ceasefire struck between the government and the LTTE rebel group in 2002.

The violence has dimmed hopes of reviving peace talks stalled in April 2003, which is key for the island’s important tourism industry.

John Keells – which has about 70 business units in the leisure, transportation, financial services, food and beverage, and plantations sectors – is the second-largest capitalized company on the Colombo bo