Mahaweli Coconut Plantations to diversify into fibre products | Sunday Observer

Mahaweli Coconut Plantations to diversify into fibre products

Felix Fernandopulle
Felix Fernandopulle

The Mahaweli Coconut Plantations Limited (MCPL), based in Aralaganvila in the North Central Province which was listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) last week, plans to diversify its business from being a mere supplier of nuts into value-added products.

“We are negotiating with another party to get involved in fibre products,” Managing Director of MCPL, Felix Fernandopulle told Business Observer. So far the company has been feeding the desiccated coconut (DC) manufactures and the nuts were supplied to DC Millers through a company tender. “The Mahaweli coconut project was launched with the objective of being a nucleus development project which was meant to create employment opportunities in the area and to feed the DC millers. Today, after over two decades, we have come a long way to become one of the largest coconut producing companies. Now we have an opportunity to look at expansion programs,” he said. “We are yet to think about other business areas such as exports on our own.” Last May, the CSE approved, in principle, an application submitted by Mahaweli Coconut Plantations Limited (MCPL) for the listing of its 33.83 million Ordinary Voting Shares on the Diri Savi Board of the CSE by way of an Introduction. MCPL is the first company to be listed on the CSE after a lapse of 15 months. MCPL was listed on the CSE through an Introduction which was managed by Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka and Finance PLC (MBSL). Following the listing, the share price of MCPL increased by 11% on the first day of trading on the CSE. The shares of MCPL traded at a price of Rs. 45 on June 7.

The company’s plantation of 1,350 acres is nurtured with Mahaweli water. Apart from coconuts - the company produced 5.4 million coconuts in 2018 - the plantation consists of a major teak plantation.

“Our teak trees are also reaching maturity and the future looks bright for us, which in return will benefit the shareholders.” Labour as in many industries is an issue for MCPL. However, the company continues to employ the youth in the area, including the youth of the nearby Veddha community. The paddy farmers whose work is seasonal, also join as part time labourers when they have no work.

Following the listing through an introduction, Fernandopulle said, the company will benefit by way of governance standards and is hoping to appoint female directors to the board as per the regulations of the CSE. MCPL rang the market opening bell on Monday morning to commence trading on the CSE at a special market opening ceremony organised to mark the company listing its shares on the CSE. The shares have been classified under the ‘Plantations’ sector.