Lakbima Newspapers (Pvt) Limited
The Lakbima Newspapers (Pvt) Limited, formerly known as Sumathi Newspapers (Pvt) Limited until 2008, publishes both the Sinhala language daily Lakbima and Sunday Lakbima newspapers which have an audience reach of 1.62 percent. Moreover, Lakbima started publishing a weekly English paper titled LakbimaNews in 2007 to cater to an English-speaking readership. The Sunday Lakbima produces several tabloids including Rejina,which caters to housewives and young adults.
The company was founded by Udu Watuwage Janath Priya Thilanga Sumathipala, generally referred to as Thilanga Sumathipala. He is a Member of Parliament, elected through the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA). Additionally, he has served as the Deputy Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament from September 2015 to May 2018 and is a founding member of the Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka.
Despite founding the company, Thilanga Sumathipala resigned from the board of Lakbima Newspapers (Pvt) Limited and the post of Chairperson in 2010 to further his political aspirations, leaving his brother Uda Watuwage Jagath Priya Anura Sumathipala, or generally referred to as Jagath Sumathipala, in control. Jagath Sumathipala owns 50 percent of the shares at the company and concurrently serves as its Chairperson, CEO, and Managing Director. He is married to Samantha Kumari Sumathipala (nee Karunaratne). The duo are the only directors of the company.
The remaining 50 percent of the company’s shares are owned by Wadu Arachchige Milina Sumathipala, generally referred to as Milina Sumathipala, who is the mother of Thilanga and Jagath Sumathipala. Although she passed away in 2016, the shares of the company are still documented under her name.
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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) Limited, 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) Limited, 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 Wimalaratne. Victor is the Managing Director of Alerics Ice Cream (Pvt) Limited. Samadara served as a Director of Sumathi Global Consolidated (Pvt) Limited in 2016.
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Uda Watuwage Jagath Priya Anura Sumathipala – also referred to as Jagath Sumathipala, is the current Chairperson, CEO, Managing Director and a member of the board 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.
Samantha Kumari Karunaratne – Jagath’s wife, serves as a Director of Sumathi Global Consolidated (Pvt) Limited and is on the board of Lakbima Newspapers (Pvt) Limited.
The official website of Lakbima Newspapers (Pvt) Limited provides limited information about the channel’s ownership. Meanwhile, secondary sources also remain inadequate to determine the ownership of the outlet. Shareholder details were gathered through the annual returns available at the Department of Registrar of Companies. The most recently available data for Lakbima Newspapers (Pvt) Limited was from the year 2017. While the Media Ownership Monitor research team reached out to Lakbima Newspapers (Pvt) Limited by formally requesting for the company’s information on 20 July 2018, the company did not respond to the aforementioned request. Readership data was obtained from the Kantar Lanka Market Research Bureau (LMRB) for the year 2017.