Thursday, September 11, 2014

Otara sells 44.5% shares of Odel to Softlogic

The Founder of ODEL Sri Lanka Otara Gunewardene and the directors Ajith Gunewardene and Ruchi Gunewardene sold out 44.5 percent of their company shares to Softlogic Holdings PLC an official said.

The shares has been sold for 22 rupees per share to Softlogic at the Colombo Stock exchange. A source said the shares had been sold for about 2.6 billion rupees. Odel Plc is a unit of Malaysia's Parkson Retail Asia Limited.

As at 30th June 2014, Otara held 80.8 mn shares, Ajit 39.4 mn whilst Ruchi held 1.0 mn shares in Odel Plc.Regional department store operator Parkson Retail Asia holds a 47.46 per cent stake in retailer Odel. Odel celebrated 25 years of fashion retail yesterday.

The business which began, incredibly, with the sale of export surplus clothing from the boot of founder Otara Gunewardene’s station wagon when she was in her early twenties, is now a chain of 20 fashion forward stores with annual sales in excess of Rs 4.6 billion. Over the past two and a half decades Odel has emerged as an iconic department store and a brand that is often compared to Harrods and Harvey Nichols, and come to epitomize the definitive lifestyle and shopping experience in Sri Lanka.

Odel recently disclosed plans to enter the Indian market with an aim to retail private labels under its fold through single brand outlets instead of offering the product range through multi-brand outlets.Softlogic Holdings is owned by billionaire businessman Ashok Pathirage, whose group has interests in healthcare and leisure sectors in the country amongst others.


I wish to inform the public that I, along with my family members Ajit Gunewardene and Ruchi Gunewardene, have disposed all of our shares in Odel Plc this morning to the Softlogic Group.
I believe that the sale of our shares to the Softlogic Group is in the best interest of Odel Plc, and a natural progression to its continued growth.

Having being nurtured from a simple retail operation from a car boot into one of the largest retail businesses in Sri Lanka during the last twenty five years, Odel Plc now needs to move to the next level of retailing in order to be competitive, locally and globally.

This requires the entry of a larger player with a deep commitment to retailing: which I believe can best be provided by the Softlogic Group, which has a proven history of dynamism and perhaps an unrivalled track record of such operations in Sri Lanka.

Apart from the overall interests of the growth of Odel Plc, my decision to sell out of the company is also based on my personal desire to focus on another passion I dearly treasure in life: the pursuit of a mission to ensure the welfare of animals and the development of the Embark brand which funds such programs.

The sale of my shares in Odel Plc will hopefully provide me with more time and energy to devote to these activities in the future.

I wish to state that I will continue my association with Odel Plc over the foreseeable future , and will provide all assistance and cooperation during the period of transition.

In conclusion, I wish to express my sincere thanks to all my shareholders,customers, stakeholders and all well- wishes who have made this a truly wonderful journey.

I hope that you will continue to support Odel Plc in the future.

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