Sri Lanka Continental hotel new owners seek pricing freedom: report

Chief Regulatory Officer at CSE Renuke Wijayawardhane presenting the listing certificate to Executive Chairperson at Renuka Hotels Shibani Thambiayah

June 09, 2008 (LBO) – The new owners of Sri Lanka’s Continental Hotel have taken board control and sought approval from tourism authorities to sell rooms at lower rates, a media report said. Hotel Services (Ceylon) Ltd, which owns the Continental Hotel in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, was sold by former owner U K Sharma to interests related to businessman Nahil Wijesuriya this year.

The Sunday Island newspaper quoting Wijesuriya said he now had 91 percent control of the firm with an offer to buyout other shareholders at 138 rupees a share.

The newspaper said the previous board has resigned and Wijesuriya has been appointed chairman and another director, Ben Eliatamby, has joined the board from May 25.

The Continental is Colombo’s oldest ‘five star’ category hotel.

The Sunday Island quoting ‘official’ sources said Wijesuriya has written to tourism minister Milinda Moragoda asking permission to reduce room rates which have been imposed on five-star rated hotels.

The hotel which is located in a high security zone was faced with a number of “business-depressing considerations” Wijresuriya is reported to have informed the minister.

“In this context,