Winton Karunaratne

Sumane Karunaratne

Eastern Merchants PLC was founded in 1945 through the endeavors of two brothers, Sumane and Winton Karunaratne, with an initial working capital of USD 50 accompanied by an incredible will to succeed. The first modest office of this export business was located in Fort, within the Central Business District of Colombo. Their primary export was cinnamon bark oil, a commodity that was traditionally traded by their father and grandfather.

From its humble beginnings, Eastern Merchants has now developed into a major trading house. The level of integrity and dedication that the founders instilled is the standard of excellence still maintained by its employees today. The aspirations and ambitions of the founders have been realized through the Company’s growing success, and in 1981, Eastern Merchants became a Public Quoted Company trading on the Colombo Stock Exchange.

Though the main export of the Company today is natural rubber, we are also involved in the export of fibre, desiccated coconut and spices. As one of the major commodity exporters in Sri Lanka, Eastern Merchants caters to a broad international market spanning the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. Presently, Eastern Merchants operates from its own premises in a prime location within the Central Business District of Colombo, with the Company’s warehouse complex located within an industrial estate in the Colombo suburb of Sapugaskanda. This warehouse complex was opened in 1997 and currently contains 75,000 sq.ft of storage space and purpose-built facilities for its operations. In 1998, the Company opened another office and processing facility in the south of the island in the heart of the Cinnamon plantations in Sri Lanka.

In what is a new era in the development of Eastern Merchants, the grandsons of the Karunaratne brothers have now joined the Company to continue the legacy left by their grandfathers. Proud of its past and its commitment to loyalty and integrity, Eastern Merchants looks forward to continued expansion and progress in the years to come.

Public listing of company

Current chairman laying foundation stone at Sapugaskanda warehouse complex

Sorting of cinnamon sticks at the Ampegama cinnamon processing facility


Sapugaskanda warehouse complex