Common Facility

Aug 22, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s state-run ports authority has offered a tank farm it is taking over from a private supplier to all licensed bunker firms in Colombo as a common user facility, an industry official said. Lanka Marine Services (LMS), a unit of Sri Lanka’s John Keells Holdings, was ordered by court to hand over the land housing a tank farm to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).

On Friday SLPA had met licensed bunker or ship fuel suppliers and asked them to work out how to use the tanks as a common user facility, a participant at the meeting told LBO.

LMS was ordered to vacate the tank premises, after a left-oriented politician went to courts saying said the privatization of the former state-run bunker firm was deeply flawed.

Earlier in the day Lanka Marine Services said it had asked the SLPA to lease out the facility. Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court has given LMS till September 10 to vacate the premises.

The court said JKH had obtained unfair benefits in the way it bought LMS, including slipping in a monopoly clause and getting a tax holiday.

Court also ordered LMS, which had become one of the John Keells group’s main sources of profit, to pay back taxes.

LMS said in a stock exch