Sri Lanka sugar plantation takeover seen “illegal”

Nov 23, 2011 (LBO) – A listed Sri Lankan sugar plantation that is among businesses taken over by government under a new expropriation law has said the seizure was illegal as it does not fall within the ambit of the new regulation.

The statement said action by the officers of the state to enter the plantation and take it over was clearly illegal.

Any such takeover of leased assets of a publicly listed company “will be an embarrassment to the government and also internationally to the country as a whole,” the statement said

Pelwatte Sugar Industries also said the company does not enjoy any tax or other government incentives. Pelwatte Sugar Industries has written to the secretary to the government Treasury requesting the plantation be handed back to the firm as any delay could damage the business, especially in replanting cane for the next season.

The company said in a stock exchange filing the Treasury secretary had been requested to prevent state officials from entering the plantation and that it holds them responsible for any loss of production capacity.

Pelwatte Sugar, which is part of the Distilleries Company group, was one of 37 enterprises, in some of which foreign investors were involved, taken over by