Reviving MTD Walkers: “I am very serious” – Dr. Arosha
Responding to Ceylon FT’s lead article published yesterday, Dr. Arosha Fernando, whose company is currently working on acquiring troubled MTD Walkers, said that he was very serious about acquiring and restructuring the company.
Ceylon FT reported yesterday that though it was six months since MTD Walkers PLC came under a new board of directors, the new management had not taken any steps to safeguard the employees of the ailing company.
Dr. Fernando, underlining the current situation in the country, told Ceylon FT, “I am very serious about MTD Walkers PLC and the necessary steps to acquire the company are being taken.”
“I have found an investor from London to invest in the ailing company and we have submitted all the financial details of the investor to MTD Walkers PLC holding company, MTD Capital in Malaysia,” he said.
He hopes that all the necessary requirements would be completed within the next few weeks so that his company, Lakma Holdings, would be able to fully acquire the company by the end of the year and they would be in a position to announce the new board members on 1 January 2021.
“I was appointed to the board of MTD Walkers on 6 May this year and since then I have been studying the facts surrounding the company and I have found that more than 90 per cent of the liabilities belong to the banks while the rest belongs to the public,” he said.
“I have already discussed my intention to revive MTD Walkers PLC with the banks and they have extended their fullest cooperation,” he said.
“I have appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers to carry out the financial due diligence as well as Nithya Partners to handle the legal side of things,” he said.
According to him, the reports are pending at the moment and are expected to be completed within the next four to six weeks.
“I also appointed NDBIB, a subsidiary of National Development Bank, to come up with a restructuring plan for both the company and its liabilities,” he said.
Commenting on what employees of the company had to say, Dr. Fernando said “we see a lot of internal politics taking place within the company and it is the biggest challenge.”
According to him this challenge was much bigger than the financial and legal challenges the new director board faces.
MTD Walkers owe over Rs 40 billion to over eight banks. It is heavily indebted to People’s Bank and Commercial Bank. Banking sources revealed that letters have been sent to all the banks signed by the Executive Director informing them to freeze all the accounts of over 20 subsidiaries.
Two companies - Supreme Global and Anunine Holdings - as well as casino mogul Ravi Wijeratne, had on separate occasions displayed interest in acquiring the firm but none of these deals came through due to the complexity of the situation surrounding the company.
After several failed revival attempts, stakeholders had rallied against MTD Walkers’ Malaysian ownership to secure their assets and related dues.