Sri Lanka leisure firms asked to list in Maldives

Sept 06, 2007 (LBO) – Maldives has asked Sri Lankan firms operating resorts in the atoll nation to sell a part of their stake through a stock market flotation, a senior minister said. Two of Sri Lanka’s top leisure groups — Aitken Spence & Co. Ltd and John Keells Holdings Ltd — have significant presence in the Indian Ocean island nation through investments in a chain of resorts.

Other Sri Lankan businessmen like the promoters of the colonial Galle Face Hotel and Mount Lavinia Hotel have also shown interest in operating resorts in the tropical Maldives.

Sri Lankans currently control around 12 percent of Maldives bed capacity of 20,500 rooms, while national carrier, SriLankan Airlines, is one of the biggest schedule operators to the Maldives.

There are also around 11,000 Sri Lankans employed in the island nation working across resorts, hotels and industrial sector.

The Male-based government is now keen that Sri Lankan companies share some of their wealth with the Maldivians.

“We have suggested that Sri Lankan companies float their Maldivian operations as a subsidiary and to list at least a small ten percent stake of it on the Maldives Stock Market