Sri Lanka to merge expropriated sugar firms

June 2, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is planning to merge Sevenagala Sugar and Pelwatte Sugar Industries two sugar mills expropriated from citizens, into a single state-run entity, a finance ministry report said. The two sugar mills will be “fully owned/ administered by the Government, while ensuring employee continuity, and payment of compensation to third party stakeholders,” Sri Lanka’s finance ministry said in its annual report.

Sevenegala Sugar and Pelwatte Sugar was sold to private owners after running losses, after being given billions of rupees as subsidies and receiving protection, which kept sugar prices artificially high in the island for decades.

The two entities were seized through a controversial law, which violated property rights of citizens and foreign investors despite a constitutional safeguard that guaranteed freedom from expropriation.

Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment removed the page that advertised the investor protection following the law.

The law was described by some legislators as ad hominem as therefore ‘illegal’ as part of bill targeted a single enterprise.

Ad hominen laws are thrown out of the statute books in other countries, and have been dis