Sri Lanka Hilton Hotel state grip tightened

Mar 10, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s economic development minister Basil Rajapaksa had told parliament that the state had ‘fully taken over’ a city hotel that is now managed by Hilton, an international chain. The Colombo Hilton is operated on a building owned by Hotel Developers Lanka, a state-controlled firm in which a majority stake, is believed to be held by the Treasury.

Sri Lanka’s Daily FT newspaper said 8.0 percent of the stock was held by minority public shareholders and 64 percent by the government.

Though listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange the firm has not filed accounts at the bourse, and had been dumped into the ‘default board’ of the exchange for years.

Hotel Developers had made no disclosure to the stock exchange so far on any change of its relationship with the state or assets.

Another state-controlled firm, Lanka Cement, recently filed several years of delayed financial reports, with auditors disclaiming accounts outright.

Minister Rajapaksa had said the hotel had defaulted on lease rentals due to the state for years and only two had been paid.

A state newspaper said last month that Sri Lanka’s Urban Development Authority, a state agency, had leased land for th