Upali Newspapers (Pvt) Limited
Founded by Upali Wijewardene in 1978, Upali Newspapers (Pvt) Limited is a publishing house which produces the English language newspaper, The Island, and the Sinhala language newspaper, Divaina. Although the company was incorporated in 1978, publications of the Divaina Irida Sangrahaya and the Sunday Island commenced in October, 1981. The daily editions of these papers launched in the following year. In 1983, Upali Wijewardene was legally declared deceased when his private jet disappeared on a home-bound flight from Malaysia, shortly after take-off. After Upali passed away in 1983, the ownership of the company was transferred to his wife Lakmani Ratwatte Welgama. The company is just one among many other businesses Upali Wijewardene is known to have established.
Upali Investment Holdings Limited
Private Limited Liability Company
Publishing; Aviation; Travel; Food and Beverages; Automobiles
While the Welgama family owns 94 percent of shares at Upali Newspapers (Pvt) Limited, through Upali Investment Holdings Limited 102 other minority shareholders own 6 percent of Upali Newspapers (Pvt) Limited.
Other Print Outlets
The Island (0.13%)
Sunday Island (0.57%)
Other Online Outlets
Upali Consumer Products (100%)
Upali Motor Company (100%)
Upali Trading Company (100%)
Upali Travels (4%)
Ceylon Chocolates (85%)
Upali Management Services (100%)
Upali Aviation Services (100%)
Air Conditioning Services
Upali Airconditioning Services (100%)
Upali Investments (100%)
Food and Beverages
Upali Food and beverages (69%)
Upali Publishers (100%)
Upali Enterprises (79%)
Upali Nurseries (23%)
Affiliated Interests Founder
Upali Wijewardene founded Upali Newspapers (Pvt) Limited in 1978. In 1981, the company launched the Sunday editions of the Divaina and The Island. Upali’s family has a long history of being closely affiliated with the print media in the country. For instance, Upali’s cousin Ranjit Wijewardene founded Wijeya Newspapers Limited and serves as the current Chairperson. In 1983, Upali Wijewardene was legally declared deceased when his private jet disappeared on a home-bound flight from Malaysia, shortly after take-off.
Tax/ ID Number
Revenue (Financial Data/ Optional)
Operating Profit (in Mill. $)
Advertising (in % of total funding)
Lakmani Ratwatte – Majority Shareholder. She is the daughter of the late Dr. Seevali Ratwatte, who served as the Chairperson of the Upali Group of newspapers.
Nimal Weerasiri Welgama – Shareholder, Managing Director at Upali Newspapers and husband of Lakmani Rawatte. His brother Kumara Welgama is a Member of Parliament.
Anula Attygala – Board Member.
Sudhammika Kemida Attygala – Assistant Brand Manager at Hemas Holdings PLC.
Julius Asoka Duke Lanarolle – Board Member.
Lahiru Gunasekere – Board Member.
Dehiwalage Anthony Lakshman Perera – Board Member.
The details on shares were obtained from the Department of Registrar of Companies. Subsidiary and affiliated companies, along with Upali Investment Holdings Limited’s proportion of ownership, was filed with the Department of Registrar of Companies. However, it was not clear as to what industry some of these companies spanned over since Upali Investment Holdings Limited, and most subsidiary companies, do not have websites. Readership data was obtained from the Kantar Lanka Market Research Bureau (LMRB) for the year 2017.