Snakes & Ladders

The hotly debated deal, to partially privatise 13 cluster bus companies, will hit the road within the next few weeks, with the governments privatisation arm scouting for fresh investors.
The move comes after the controversial British consortium IBIS, called off its bid to buy a 39 percent stake in six cluster bus companies.rn

rnThe six companies endash Colombo Metropolitan, Gampaha, Kalutara, Sabaragamuwa, Mahanuwara and Rajarata endash were to be sold through the Colombo Stock Exchange late last year to IBIS. rn

rnSubsequently, the Treasury Secretary and IBIS consortium signed a management agreement on March 31, 2003. rn

rnHowever, legal action by two CTB employees put the brakes on IBIS efforts to takeover the six firms. The consortium also failed to come up with a Rs. 1.4 mn payment before the due date. rn

rnThe Public Enterprise Reform Commission (PERC) has now got cabinet approval to withdraw pending court cases and put the entire 13 bus companies on the market once again.rn

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