Dhammika Perera

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How tycoons from Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka built thriving business empires

Moinak Mitra, ET Bureau | Mar 14, 2014

The Times of India

Lanka's valuable one

Decades of war leaves scant regard for nobility. In Sri Lanka, that's very much evident as newbie Dhammika Perera basks in a personal fortune of $550 million. Perera is chairman of Vallibel One, a conglomerate that has its fingers in every pie and also seems to have the blessings of the powers that be. After all, the other hat he wears is that of the secretary to the ministry of transport.

In the early 90s, Perera was a small-time shopkeeper repairing ECBs in Colpetty, and from there ventured into auto sales, shipping and gaming, banking, construction, hospitality, and what have you. He clearly believes in retaining ownership and leaving day to day activities to professional managers. One such professional manager is LD Dickman, a director on the board of Vallibel Power Erathna.

"Perera gives a lot of freedom to professional managers and bases most of his decisions on sound logic and statistical analysis," he says. In the past, Perera has gone on record saying that he has devised a mathematical model that allows him to take the quickest route to decision-making. This calculated and quickthinking approach has resulted in a plethora of acquisitions and timely exits, from Pan Asia Bank to Royal Ceramics, Delmege Group to Hayley's. Today, biggest billionaire with some 20 listed companies that pay 5% of the total corporate income tax of the emerald island.

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