The new book values Perera’s personal fortune at a minimum of USD($) 538 million or Rs 70 billion. Last week “Forbes Asia” valued Sri Lanka’s biggest individual publicly-listed shareholder at Rs 72.6 billion or $ 550 million.
The businessman topped the Rich List 2013 list by a huge margin-his nearest rival was the 80 year old Sohli Captain who the Rich List estimated at $ 423 million-Rs. 55 billion. Harry Jayawardena came in third with $ 307 million.
Captain’s investment in blue chip John Keells Holdings remains the single largest shareholding by any Sri Lankan national.
At the event held to announce the Richest Man and the Richest Woman in Sri Lanka 2013, Perera was asked by the author Faraz Shauketaly as to whose valuation was closer to the accurate figure of his wealth: “I have not yet read the book which you gave me a few minutes ago. Of course I know the figure, but you and Forbes Asia should debate that. I can be the referee,” said Mr Perera. The Rich List is slated to be an annual compilation of individual and corporate wealth and influence, according to Shauketaly.
The Richest Woman in Sri Lanka was named as Mrs Sonia Weinman whose business partners are Harry Jayawardena, Raj Obeyesekere and Zaki Alif. The author of the book has coined a collective name and the Rich List refers to them as “The Famous Four.” Weinman was valued at $ 76 million, ahead of other members of the fairer sex such as Mrs Lorraine Yaseen (Rs 4.3 billion), Mrs K. U. Amarasinghe (Rs 2.8 billion) Mrs R. M. Joshua (Rs 1.8 Billion), Miss M. M. Page (Rs 1.62 billion) and fashion icon Ms. OtaraGunawardene the creator of the Odel business (Rs 1.6 billion).
Mrs Soma Edirisinghe of Swarnamahal fame was listed in the book’s Stock Market Dollar millionaires section at Rs 651 million.
Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Ajith Nivaard Cabraal described the book as a “first of a kind in Sri Lanka” adding that in an “indirect way is also a confirmation that the SriLankan business and industry is gradually making an entry into the big league.”
The award given to Perera as the Richest Man 2013 was of significance in Sri Lankan culture, said a guest.
The one kilo “Walampuriya” commissioned by Shauketaly is entirely hand-made in silver.