Sometime back the world renown Forbes magazine had revealed that the richest man in Sri Lanka at present as Dhammika Perera. Dhammika is the biggest shareholder in companies such as Hayleys, Sampath Bank, Pan Asia Bank, Royal Ceramics and a number of other companies and had reached this level because of his cleverness in investing at the right time in the right place. He did not become rich because of his luck. It was a process which was launched in a systematic, regular manner. His life began to change because of a certain individual he met. hen Dhammika was passing his 32nd year in life, in the year 1999 he came across a financial mentor of importance. Dhammika got together with him and processed a 20 year business project. Its objective was that by the year 2019 he would become the chief man of 12 business projects. The tourist industry, banking and the garment industry were among those businesses.
Dhammika Perera’s simple office is located on the 29th floor of World Trade Centre in Colombo and it is the tallest building in Sri Lanka. This office room is by no means an exhibition room of a sophisticated administrator. It is in fact an investor’s room. He purchases the majority of shares of various establishments and automatically becomes their leader. In order to designatemanagement to those companies, he then looks for suitable managers and subsequently hands over those institutions for future manipulation.
There are only 2 framed photographs hanging in Dhammika Perera’s office. One is where the Hon. President is seen shaking hands with Dhammika. Dhammika says that it is only this President who could rout terrorism. Already the Hon. President has appointed Dhammika to several important positions in the country. At one time Dhammika was the Chairman of BOI and that was in the year 2010. At that time he was prepared to discuss matters with whoever was willing to bring $50,000 to Sri Lanka and make an investment here.
Forbes magazine had listed his Royal Ceramics Lanka in the year 2010 as one of the best 200 Asian Pacific companies. At that time its annual turnover was just a little lower than $1 billion.
Today, 23 companies listed in the Sri Lankan sharemarket belongs to Dhammika Perera’s business world. It is actually 8% of the total group of companies sold at the sharemarket. At present he has spread his business wings to Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, United Kingdom and other countries as well. The workforce in that business network is 62,000. He even supplies goods to Wallmart Company in Canada. In addition, he supplies clothing to Levis Denim Company. Dhammika also has a private casino project which earns him billions of dollars in assets. All his group of companies pay the due taxes.
He meets the pilot of his projects in the year 1999 a man by the name of Nadeem Ul-Hak, the Sri Lankan representative of the IMF. Dhammika Perera was taught how to manage himself in the business world and to what extent he should be aggressive. Subsequently Nadeem Ul-Hak takes steps to send Dhammika Perera for a training session in Germany and it was held by a bank in Germany. Dhammika comes back home after gaining competency in financial management and with a knowledge of how to avoid the risk-factor.
After that, Ul-Hak and Dhammika Perera who sits at the same table then start preparing the 20 year plan. Actually, there is still only 6 more years for that plan to be fulfilled. In the process, there are only 3 aspects which he has to accomplish from the 12 sections which are relevant to it. They are the Health, Insurance and Telecom aspects. He has already planned the first two aspects. But he is still contemplating as to how the Telecom industry would turn out to be in a world where technology is being subject to rapid change.
Dhammika Perera has also invested in luxury holiday resorts as well as hotels and the total number of rooms comprise 600. He hopes to introduce a further 1,200 rooms for the Sri Lankan Tourist industry. In the history of the country, for the first time has experienced 10 lakhs of tourist arrivals during last year. Dhammika says that by the year 2016 the arrivals of tourists to the island would be 25 lakhs and further, by the year 2020 the country could definitely boast of 50 lakhs.
Dhammika Perera is proud of his achievements. Royal Ceramic Lanka of which he is the present owner was reaping a profit of $4 lakhs annually in the year 2000 before he acquired it in the year 2000. But by the end of the financial year 2013, March 31, the anticipated earnings was $10 lakhs 127 and it was reported that a figure of $10 lakhs 18 alone has been accounted for as net profits.
Sampath Bank of which he is the Chairman, acquired a profit of $10 lakhs in the year 2007 and reached a figure of $10 lakhs 41 subsequently. Dhammika who began buying shares of Hayleys which is one of the oldest business firms spanning a period of 135 years is now its biggest shareholder. By September 30 this year, earnings that the company recorded was $615 million. Dhammika’s biggest company is however Hayleys. By the year 2009 March 31st, the profit of Hayleys rose to $28 lakhs. At the time he joined the board of directors of the company, its annual turnover was $25 lakhs.
Nimal Perera who is no relation of Dhammika happens to be Dhammika’s right-hand. Dhammika met Nimal Perera when the former was buying shares at Pan Asia Bank in the year 2000. Nimal told Dhammika how to bid for shares at the time when 54 year old Nimal was serving that bank.
Valibel Finance is Dhammika’s first Holdings. Valibel company which has 7 companies to its credit, became a public company in 2011. He hopes to institute 4 other companies such as Valibel 2, Valibel 3, Valibel 4 and Valibel 5. He is of the view of handing over 3 of those companies to his 13 year old daughter and two sons aged 10 and 7 years.Though they are in fact the owners of those companies, currently its management is being handled by professionals, says Dhammika.
Dhammika Perera’s life does not begin in the same way as that of certain wealthiest people in world history or as those who were shabbily-dressed, enveloped in poverty. His grandfather was the richest man in Payagala where Dhammika was born. His grandfather possessed many paddy lands in the area. Dhammika’s father was a retail-shop trader. His mother was a teacher and Dhammika was given a training in living skills and finance management by his mother. By the age of 11 years his mother began to remunerate Dhammika with Rs. 300 every month. From that point onwards, for a period of 8 years, expenditure for school fees, meals etcetera were accounted for by this money. As a small investor Dhammika began life by giving money to a pavement hawker who sold articles in front of his uncle’s shop in Colombo, on a small interest. Subsequently, he bought a few jackpot machines and began to earn money from that business.
By the year 1987 the civil war in Sri Lanka had begun to aggravate gradually and Dhammika could not attend to his degree course of studies which he was then following at the University of Moratuwa. Later he travels to Taiwan for a training in Technology. Dhammika who comes back to his motherland after 3 months begins to produce jackpot machines and sell them. He was able to secure the services of his brother Harindra as the supervisor of this small factory erected for this purpose.
His youngest brother Anuradha who was just 15 years old at that time is presently employed in Dhammika’s business activities. Dhammika has a sister too.
In 1993 he launches himself on the field of gambling and opens his first casino project. At that time he was preparing to launch a massive business project named Queensbury Resort and Casino with a building that consists of 4 storeys and 500 rooms.
He says that the profits he now earns is something between 3 – 4% of the total profits from the sum total of all his business projects.
The idea of this Buddhist is to donate all profits earned from the balance two Valibel companies towards charity. He had studied meditation from the year 1999. He believes that he was able to achieve his targets through mental concentration. Dhammika is free from liquor and neither does he like to watch films — but he likes cars and they must be Benz cars. He in fact possesses 6 Benz cars. But he has only 2 wrist-watches which he has been using from the time of purchase upto the present day. Both those watches are Rolex watches.