Professional management focus at Sri Lanka’s Abans family firm

ECONOMYNEXT – Family-owned Sri Lankan consumer durables retailer Abans group, with annual sales of over Rs41 billion, is transferring operational control to professional management with its business structure being re-organised.

The company now needs specialised management to speed up growth in the future, Aban Pestonjee, founder chairperson of Abans said in the group’s latest annual report.

“The current financial year is a turning point in the history of Abans, as we have taken stock of the company from a strategic perspective and initiated some in-depth changes to support growth over the long term.”

Over the last 50 years, the firm, begun by Pestonjee as a small corner shop selling used home appliances, has emerged as a top electronics retailer and diversified into financial services, engineering, logistics and real estate.

The group with 45 companies now employs 13,000 people with a network of more than 450 showrooms and 17 service centres island wide.

Pestonjee  said that as part of the strategic change process, Abans was reorganised under separate businesses with all group companies and operations involved in retailing activities brought under the holding company P N P Logistic (Pvt) Ltd by way of share transfers and share swaps.

P N P Logistic (Pvt) Ltd has become the parent company of Abans PLC.

“I believe this structural reorganisation will allow the Abans Group to review and rationalise its diverse business operations in a more efficient and profitable manner by eliminating excess costs and opening up opportunities for synergies,” Pestonjee said.

“A second significant change initiated during the year, was the decision to gradually transfer the operations of the Abans Group into the hands of professional management experts.

“While Abans has been extremely successful as a family run business, I believe that 50 years later, with a rapidly changing external risk profile, the company now requires specialised management to fast track its growth into the next decade.”

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In June, Abans announced the appointment of Sriyan de Silva Wijeyratne as its Chief Executive Officer, to assume duties effective mid-August 2018.

The group has recruited a Group Chief Financial Officer, who comes with many years of financial expertise, and also a Group Head of Human Resources to guide and build up the competitiveness of the expanding Abans team, Pestonjee said.

“The future Abans will continue to remain a primarily family-owned business, guided by the family values of hard work, honesty, perseverance, cooperation and trust – but will be run by a team of professional managers,” Pestonjee said.

(COLOMBO, 28 August, 2018)
 

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