Krishan Balendra Plans To Make JKH A “Modern & Premium” Conglomerate 
Posted 23,December

By Chaveendra Dunuwille

In Local News

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Founded over 150 years ago by two English men for mainly tea and rubber produce broking, John Kells Holdings has grown to be one of Sri Lanka’s largest diversified conglomerates. With over 70 companies and 14,000 employees under its wing, the company shows no signs of stopping. At ‘Market Pulse,’ a joint initiative organized by Sampath Securities Ltd and Daily FT, JKH CEO Krishan Balendra shared his thoughts on the company’s future. 

In the interview conducted by Sampath Securities’ Assistant Manager of Investment Banking and Marketing, Dilusha Gamage, the CEO highlighted that JKH is a company broadly owned by thousands of shareholders with no controlling share and emphasized the high female representation in company management. The CEO stated that JKH is a properly professionally run organization. 

Following the co-vid 19 pandemics, the tourism sector worldwide has struggled to pick up the pace. While its leisure sector was greatly affected, the company being a diversified conglomerate allowed it to ride the waves of challenges brought about by the pandemic. When inquired on the future of the company’s leisure sector, the CEO stated that the four hotels in the Maldives which the company owns have returned to pre-pandemic levels. 

Mr. Krishan also went into detail about the Cinnamon Life project, which is currently underway. The property comprises 4 million square feet, including two apartment blocks holding 430 apartments in total. In addition, the complex also has a 240,000 square foot office tower with 24 floors. Furthermore, as part of the project, they will also be constructing an 800 room hotel with a shopping mall connected. The CEO also noted that while the company is not involved with gaming, it hopes to act as a landlord for a gaming complex, seeing it as a good investment. 

In the interview, Mr. Krishan also talked about the JKH’s dealings with India’s Adani Group in the construction of the West Container Terminal and the potential improvements that can be made to the company’s retail financial services.