Lakbima Newspapers (Pvt) Limited, formerly known as Sumathi Newspapers (Pvt) Limited, publishes both the Sinhala language daily newspaper Lakbima and the Sunday Lakbima newspaper. Lakbima Newspapers (Pvt) Limited is listed as a subsidiary of Sumathi Global Consolidated (Pvt) Limited on the latter’s official website. Sumathi Global Consolidated (Pvt) Limited is a business conglomerate that has subsidiaries in the fields of healthcare, security, information technology, event management, fine dining and the film industry. Founded by Thilanga Sumathipala, Sumathi Newspapers (Pvt) Limited started publishing the weekly Sunday newspaper in 1994 and has an audience share of 2.56 percent.
Due to the high demand for the weekly paper, Lakbima Newspapers expanded to publish the daily Lakbima newspaper in 2000, which has an audience share of 0.44 percent. However, the Sunday Lakbima and daily Lakbima are published by two different teams of editors and are remain two different newspapers. Additionally, Lakbima started publishing a weekly English newspaper in 2007, LakbimaNews, to cater to an English-speaking readership. Currently, both the daily Lakbima and Sunday Lakbima cover content on local, foreign, sports and entertainment news. Sunday Lakbima produces several tabloids including Rejina targeting housewives and young adults. According to the Ravaya newspaper, the daily Lakbima suspended its publication in November 2018 while the Sunday Lakbima newspaper stopped publication in June 2019.
In order to fully focus on politics, Thilanga resigned from the position of chairperson at Lakbima Newspapers (Pvt) Limited and vacated his office as a director of the company in 2010. Thilanga's elder brother, Uda Watuwage Jagath Priya Anura Sumathipala stepped into the position as chairperson and managing director of the company. The company is currently owned by Jagath and his mother Wadu Arachchige Milina Sumathipala. Even though Milina passed away in December 2016, the company still maintains her shares under her name. Jagath and his wife Samantha Kumari Sumathipala currently serve as Lakbima Newspapers (Private) Limited's directors.
Media Companies / Groups
Lakbima Newspapers (Pvt) Limited
Lakbima Newspapers (Pvt) Limited, formerly referred to as Sumathi Newspapers (Pvt) Limited, is owned by the Sumathipala family. Since its inception, its shares have been equally owned by Jagath Sumathipala (50%) and his mother Milina Sumathipala (50%). Even after the demise of Milina Sumathipala in December 2016, the shares have been documented under her name at the latest Annual Return of 2017.
1994 – Sunday Lakbima / 2000 – Daily Lakbima
Affiliated Interests Founder
Udu Watuwage Janath Priya Thilanga Sumathipala, also referred to as Thilanga Sumathipala, is a parliamentarian. He founded Sumathi Newspapers (Pvt) Limited in 1994. The company was renamed as Lakbima Newspapers (Pvt) Limited in 2008. In order to further his political career, he resigned from the board of Lakbima Newspapers (Pvt) Limited and from the position of Chairperson in 2010. He is well-known for having previously held the following positions: former Deputy Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament, former Deputy Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training Institute, former member of the Western Provincial Council and a founding member of the Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka.
Thilanga is the younger son of a business magnate U.W. Sumathipala and philanthropist Milina Sumathipala. U.W. Sumathipala is the founder of Lakbima Newspaper's parent company, Sumathi Global Consolidated (Pvt) Limited, while Milina Sumathipala served as the Chairperson after her husband passed away. Thilanga has one brother, Jagath Sumathipala, and five sisters. Jagath currently serves as the Chairperson of Sumathi Global Consolidated (Pvt) Limited, and as the CEO and Managing Director of Lakbima Newspapers (Pvt) Limited.
In addition to Lakbima Newspapers, Thilanga incorporated BPO Services (Pvt) Ltd, a process outsourcing service that focuses on global markets and medical transcription in Sri Lanka. He also and founded the Ingrin Institute of Printing, a modern state of the art institution providing training to students in the art of printing and graphics.
Thilanga was also one of the founding members of the Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka, a former President of the International Advertising Association, Sri Lanka Chapter and former Chairman of NAPCO (Pvt) Ltd, a company specialising in printing telephone directories. From 2002 to 2004, Thilanga served as the Chairman of Sri Lanka Telecom, one of the largest publicly quoted companies in Sri Lanka, and Mobitel, the 2nd largest mobile telecommunications company in Sri Lanka.
Thilanga currently serves as the President of Sri Lanka Cricket. He is also a Past President of both the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka and Asian Cricket Council, as well as the former Chairperson of the Asian Cricket Committee and Director of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Thilanga is married to Samadara Saamamala Wimalaratne, who is the daughter of Victor Harold Wickremaratne. Victor is the Managing Director of Alerics Ice Cream (Pvt) Limited. Samadara served as a Director of Sumathi Global Consolidated (Pvt) Limited in 2016.
Affiliated Interests Ceo
Uda Watuwage Jagath Priya Anura Sumathipala, also referred to as Jagath Sumathipala, is the current Chairperson, CEO and Managing Director of Lakbima Newspapers (Pvt) Limited and its parent company, Sumathi Global Consolidated (Pvt) Limited. He is the eldest son of business magnate U.W. Sumathipala and philanthropist Milina Sumathipala. Jagath assumed duties as Chairperson of Sumathi Global Consolidated (Pvt) Limited in 2017, after the demise of his mother. He owns 50 percent of Lakbima Newspapers (Pvt) Limited.
As chairperson of Sumathi Global Consolidated (Pvt) Limited, Jagath is in-charge of the company’s 12 subsidiaries in the areas of publishing, commercial printing, healthcare, information technology, security, hospitality/entertainment, energy and the film industry. In addition, Sumathi Universal Management and Investment (Pvt) Limited is managed by Jagath.
Apart from his commercial ventures, Jagath has served as the Honorary President of the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC), from 2006 to 2014 and also was elected as the Honorary President once again in 2018. Jagath is the Vice-President of the World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) and a member of the Governing Council / Director of the Nagananda International Institute for Buddhist Studies (NIIBS). Jagath is also a past President and vice patron of the Billiards and Snooker Association of Sri Lanka.
Jagath is married to Samantha Kumari Karunaratne, who serves as a Director of Sumathi Global Consolidated (Pvt) Limited. Samantha also served as Vice President and Chairperson of the National Council for Religious and Cultural Affairs of the ACBC. Their eldest son, Chadu Sumathipala, currently serves as the Director for Business Strategies and Development at Sumathi Global Consolidated (Pvt) Limited.
Affiliated Interests Editor-In-Chief
Sampath Deshapriya – is the Chief Editor at the daily Lakbima newspaper.
Tissa Premasiri – is the Chief Editor at the Sunday Lakbima newspaper. He also serves as the film critic of Lakbima Newspapers (Pvt) Limited.
Affiliated Interests other important people
Dharmasri Thilakawardhana Bandara is the Chief Sub-Editor at the daily Lakbima newspaper
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The official website of the Lakbima newspaper does not provide details regarding the ownership structure, the directors and any history of the company. Meanwhile, the Sumathi Global Consolidated (Pvt) Limited website has not been updated since 2016. As such, publicly available secondary sources were referenced. However, information on the key individuals was gathered from their publicly available personal websites. Meanwhile, readership data was obtained from the Kantar Lanka Market Research Bureau (LMRB) for the year 2017. The lack of information regarding the transfer, division or the rule of estate regarding the shares of Milina Sumathipala after her passing away remains an issue when considering the current ownership of the company. According to the annual return form filed at the Department of Registrar of Companies for the year 2017, Milina Sumathipala is listed as a shareholder at present. Yet, Milina Sumathipala passed away in December 2016. While the Media Ownership Monitor research team reached out to the Lakbima Newspapers (Pvt) Limited by formally requesting for the company’s information on 25 July 2018, the company did not respond to the aforementioned request.