The factories have been built on leased land given by the state mostly in export industrial zones and were expropriated under a controversial law that violated property rights of local and foreign citizens, despite the existence of a constitution guarantee against seizure.
Instead of taking action under the terms of contracts signed with investors, Sri Lanka's rulers have justified expropriation under a dangerously neo-feudal doctrine that any firm that received state land grants or tax breaks can be expropriated.
Under feudal rule both in Sri Lanka and elsewhere, property was owned by the king and citizens did not have strong property rights.
Some analysts say British colonial rulers retarded the full development of private property rights by creating 'crown land' which later became state land.
After gaining self-determination from the British in 1948, Sri Lankan citizens were subjected to several rounds Marxist-style expropriations by native rulers, undermining and reversing some of the private property rights already established in the island.
The finance ministry's annual report said Heath Food Products (Pvt) Ltd has been given to a firm called Somlotus (Pvt) Ltd to manufacture home appliances for export.
Continental Vanaspathi (Pvt) Ltd, a firm which had an Indian investor had been given to BCC Lanka Ltd, a state-run firm to make edible oil and soap, Sri Chirag (Pvt) Ltd has been given to Chemsel Lanka (Pvt) Ltd to make carboxy methyl cellulose for export.
Hy - Fashion garments had been given to Concord Apparels (Pvt) Ltd for export apparel making, Sinotex (Lanka) ltd -1 has been given to JAT Holdings (Pvt) Ltd to make paints for the domestic markets, Sinotex (Lanka) Ltd - II has been given to Expo Lanka group.
Plymouth Industries (Pvt) ltd has been given to NIVO International (Pvt) Ltd to process cashew kernels, Jaqalanka Ltd has been given Bachchawat Enterprises Ltd to make snacks, Rican Lanka (Pvt) ltd has been given to Atotech Ltd for engineering services.
Tandon Lanka (Pvt) Ltd has been given to MAS Intimates Ltd to make high value export garments and DC Apparel (Pvt) Ltd has been given to Sterling Jersey Co (Pvt) Ltd to produce knitted socks.
The report also said that two sugar mills would be merged into one state entity, and prime property in and around the capital belonging to Chalmers Granaries, Lanka Tractors, Suchir NEB Projects (Pvt) Ltd and a state-run Cashew Corporation has been transferred to Sri Lanka's Urban Development Authority.