Touchwood considering name-change
Controversial parliamentarian D_uminda Silva who resigned from Touchwood Investments PLC directorate a day after he was appointed, continues to be an advisor to the board, along with his father, Lal Silva.
Company Chairman Lanka Kiwulegedara told the Business Times that the junior Silva had resigned on the advice of his father, who thought it best for D_uminda to re-join when the company sorts its issues out.
“We’re currently facing a few issues and Mr. Lal thought it best for D_uminda to wait till these are ironed out,” he said.
He emphatically said he has ‘nothing’ to do with the earlier chairman Roscoe Maloney and his wife Swarna who was the CEO. The company, which has triggered a lot of controversy, after the capital infusion of US$21 million and Rs. 200 million and restructuring also plans to change its name. Mr. Kiwlegedera said Touchwood has had preliminary discussions with the Land Reform Commission, the Mahaveli Authority and the Divisional Secretariat in securing 2,000 hectares in areas like Girandurukotte and Polonnaruwa to plant Sandalwood and Cardamom.
“We’ll get investors from Britain, Taiwan, Belgium, Japan, etc, as they are also my trading partners in my personal business,” he said.
On Wednesday, the company was directed by the Colombo Commercial High Judge Chamath Morias, to submit to Court by 14 October its repayment plan to aggrieved customers. An investor has filed an application to wind up the company due to non-payments and on Wednesday submitted a list of 26 persons who had declared their intention to appear at the hearing of the same case.
Touchwood, in a Colombo Stock Exchange announcement on Friday, said that its lawyers objected to a request lawyers for the petitioner to appoint a Provisional Liquidator.
Touchwood lawyers said no notice of such application was served on the company. The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) informed Court that the company was under investigation by the SEC and the SEC has brought to the notice of Court relevant matters and was opposing any application to wind up the company at this point of time.
Shareholders, who attended the Touchwood AGM last week, criticized the SEC for lifting the temporary ban on trading in Touchwood shares without proper explanation. “When the suspension was announced, there was a long explanation about the company being probed but when the trading ban was lifted, there was no explanation to shareholders who were in the dark,” one shareholder said. He said the SEC at the time also put shareholders in great jeopardy by not suspending share trading after the winding up application as such transactions are void when there is a case unless the judge directs otherwise.