Guardian Capital Partners PLC, the investment holding company of Carson Cumberbatch PLC, recorded a profit of Rs. 91 million in its Annual Report 2020/21, from the loss of Rs. 2.8 million that was incurred in the previous year.
Accordingly, with revenue for the year ended at Rs. 101 million from the Rs. 58 million in 2020, profit from operations amounted to Rs. 96 million as well. Also, with the total assets totalling Rs. 787.9 million, the total equity also amounted to Rs. 784.8 million.
In addition, earnings per share for the company in 2021 was Rs. 3.55 from its previous position of Rs. 0.11 losses per share in the previous year.
After speaking on the 101st Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company, Guardian Capital Partners PLC Chairman I. Paulraj presented the Annual Report and audited financial statements of the company for the year ended 31 March 2021 along with his views.
“This financial year began in the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic, which is possibly the greatest global challenge we have encountered since World War II. Economies faced financial headwinds as a result of business coming to a standstill with restrictions on personal mobility and business operations,” Paulraj commented.
He further stated that the world is still grappling with outbreaks and new mutant strains, further increasing uncertainties about the end of this crisis for more than 15 months now.
While every part of the world and society has been affected, he explained that the countries and socio-economic segments with pre-existing vulnerabilities are more acutely affected by the pandemic.
“Correspondingly, Sri Lanka, as a developing country and its small and medium businesses as the most vulnerable economic cluster, has been hit hard by the pandemic,” Paulraj commented.
“We, as a private equity investor who closely works with and is involved in this business segment, felt the hardship and the financial stress from two consecutive crises, the Easter Sunday attack and Covid-19, brought upon those SME businesses.”
He further stated that as a private equity investor that closely works with and is involved in this business segment, the company felt the hardship and the financial stress from two consecutive crises, the Easter Sunday attack and Covid-19, brought upon those SME businesses.
However, the private equity investors were said to have had found it difficult to expand in Sri Lanka even before the pandemic due to extremely low deal flow and unfavourable risk-return profile with available deals.
“This is evident when we look at the performance of and the number of deals done by other key private equity funds in the country over the past four to five years. Against this backdrop, our company decided not to have a dedicated fund for private equity business,” Paulraj commented.
Accordingly, the company, together with its parent, Ceylon Guardian Investment Trust PLC (CGIT), informed the shareholders that it entered into a Share Sale and Purchase Agreement (SSPA) with Gazelle Asset Management Pte Ltd. (“GAZELLE”) for the sale of 21,692,800 ordinary shares (83.97% stake) held by CGIT to GAZELLE.
Paulraj also stated that the matter is yet to be completed due to unexpected delays at the time. In conclusion, he expressed his gratitude to the shareholders for the confidence and trust placed in the management over the years.