Softlogic Holdings PLC, rated as one of Sri Lanka’s most dynamic and reputed conglomerates, commenced operations in 1991 as a software developer with just 12 employees; now has expanded its footprint holding leading positions in domestic growth oriented sectors such as ICT, Healthcare, Retail, Financial Services, Automobiles and Leisure. The Group now provides employment to over 8,000 individuals generating a turnover of more than USD300 mn. The Group’s representations and strategic alliances with reputed global institutions and large multinational corporations confirm its unparalleled local stature.
The story begins when a young enterprising IT executive with his group of friends started a business of their own in a small office outfit and they recruited 12 employees to spearhead their plans. The troupe ran on a secret formula of success placing greater weight on their ability, determination and wit so as to be the best in business. Softlogic’s fast traction into growth areas catapulted Ashok Pathirage to establish an empire in the corporate world with diversified business interests by strategic decision making and acquisitions. The Group’s IT sector was the first to be born, with Softlogic being successful in obtaining the Dell authorised distributorship which Softlogic has retained over the years.
The telco venture started when Softlogic in collaboration with Dialog Axiata PLC offered corporate and individual Dialog GSM packages in 1998. Softlogic still has maintained its position to stand as one of the leading business partners for Dialog Axiata PLC till now. Year 2000 holds an important landmark for Softlogic when the exclusive national distributorship of ‘Nokia’ was obtained. Softlogic is now synonymous to Sri Lanka’s telecommunication sector with Nokia leading the mobile handset market. The telco market of Softlogic stands strong with over 2,000 island wide retail points priding itself on its commitment and quality customer service. Years of stringent business mapping towards innovation, creativity and taking those products to unmatchable levels sums up the rest of the chapters.
This three-year period was indeed a time of strategic and focused growth for Softlogic which helped elevate its corporate image to new heights. It is during these three years that Softlogic embarked on its momentous journey into the Retail sector with the acquisition of Uni Walkers (Pvt) Ltd. This development initiated the acquiring of several global heavyweight brand names across the sub sectors of Consumer Electronics, Branded Apparel and Furniture, which helped expand our overall international brand portfolio. Our Retail operations across the Consumer Electronics sub sector have had superlative growth to now possess an impressive network of over 160 Softlogic Retail outlets island wide, covering the length and breadth of the country. The expansion drive is aggressively continuing to bring the network upto 220+ showrooms by the end of 2013. Panasonic, Samsung, Nokia, Dell, Apple, Candy, Russell Hobbs, Kelvinator are some of the giant global brand names within its fold of Consumer Electronics for which Softlogic was appointed authorised distributor. Parallely grew the Branded Apparel sub sector which captured premium identity in Sri Lanka having acquired the authorised distributor status for the world famous iconic jeanswear brand ‘Levis’ in 2009.
The Group’s synergies proved to be sound when Softlogic consolidated Asiri Hospital Holdings as a subsidiary after increasing its shareholdings in December 2010.
Another dazzling point during the same year was the acquisition of another world class automobile brand – ‘Ford’. By obtaining the Ford Dealership Softlogic further strengthened its presence in the Automobiles sector, serving different customer segments with its wide range of vehicle products. Ford has been well accepted in Sri Lanka, and its keen acceptance by the consumers has been the impetus for Softlogic to in collaboration with Ford set up its very own state-of-the-art 3S facility targeting to set new benchmarks with automotive dealership experience in line with Ford’s global standards.
Softlogic’s footprint in the finance sector was initiated with the acquisition of Capital Reach Holdings, now Softlogic Finance PLC, and a Registered Finance company licensed by the CBSL.
It is a widely accepted talk that the leisure property sector has been the next high growth potential region after the cessation of war. Softlogic by no means would miss such a promising opportunity as this one. Softlogic acquired and initiated renovation at Ceysands Hotels & Resorts. By tying up with the Thailand based Centara chain of Hotels and Resorts, the new hotel will be launched as Centara Ceysands Hotels & Resorts in the latter part of 2013.
A 224-room five-star Movenpick City Hotel also initiated construction in 2011 with plans for completion by the latter part of 2014.
Finance sector cemented its controlling stake of Asian Alliance, a renowned insurance solutions provider to the life and general sectors of Sri Lanka. This was acquired in 2011. Special attention was given to Branded Apparel in growing its portfolio with the exclusive franchisee status for ‘Nike’, ‘Giordano’ and ‘Mango’.
A loud applause for Softlogic with turnover crossing LKR20 bn in FY2012. International business partnerships strengthened with Branded Apparel emerging to the limelight again after the acquisition of exclusive distributorship rights for ‘Mothercare’ and the wristwatch portfolios of , ‘Emporio Armani’, ‘Fossil’, ‘DKNY, ‘Diesel and ‘Adidas’. Softlogic’s stature in the international market was further elevated when Actis Investments, a pan-emerging markets private equity firm, entered Asiri Hospital Holdings via a private placement. International Finance Corporation, a leading global development institution, too entered Softlogic’s international stakeholder list to assist finance the leisure and retail sector projects.
Softlogic ramped up the financial cluster with the acquisition of Softlogic Stockbrokers, former Arrenga Capital, in April 2012 to provide a fully-fledged financial solution all under one roof. Softlogic’s status and business confidence was given a further lift after DEG and FMO, global investment and financial corporations, each acquired an equity share in Softlogic’s insurance business. The international faces across the Group have created synergies with the global representation sharing in their knowledge and expertise pushing Softlogic in line with global standards.
Group’s plethora of global brands continues to grow with the recent sole distributorship rights for ‘Charles & Keith’ and upon the brand, ‘Splash’ being acquired for Sri Lanka, which will further establish Softlogic in its vision to be a key player in the Retail space.
Softlogic’s strategy has all along been to focus on the key growth sectors of the economy. It is along these lines that key thrusts have been made into the sectors of Retail, Healthcare, ICT, Automobiles, Financial services and Leisure. While operating synergies across all its group subsidiaries which help spur growth within the group and by holding fast a vision which is embedded in being an organization with a forward thinking view, Softlogic is well placed to achieve its objectives to the benefit of all its stakeholders.