Ceylon Cold Stores

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Ceylon Cold Stores
Elephant House
Public limited company
Traded as CSECCS.N0000
Industry Food, beverage
Predecessor Colombo Ice Company
New Colombo Ice Company
Founded 1866
Headquarters ,
Area served
Key people
Susantha Ratnayake (Chairman)
Jitendra Gunaratne (CEO)
Products Beverages
Frozen confectionery
Processed meats
Brands Elephant House
Revenue 43,518,688 Rs (2016/17)[1]
Number of employees
Parent John Keells Holdings
Website www.elephanthouse.lk

Ceylon Cold Stores (CCS), trading as Elephant House, is a Sri Lankan company which produces carbonated drinks, ice cream and processed meat products. Despite competition from global competitors such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, Elephant Soft Drinks remains the market leader in Sri Lanka.[2]


Ceylon Cold Stores was established in 1866 as the Colombo Ice Company, which in 1863 imported the country's first ice-making machine. With an initial capital of £1,900, two steam engines of 8 and 9 horse power, and a total of 22 employees, the company started producing ice on a commercial scale.[3] The company's first premises were located on Glennie Street, Slave Island and its popular name 'Ice Kompaniya' was used locally to identify the area, Kompaniveediya.[4] German engineer Arthur Kurt Von Possner (1833–1900), who was the first manager of the company, introduced aerated water with the distinctive "Elephant" trademark on the bottles,[5] which later became "Elephant House" and since that time has remained as the household name for the brand. The company initially produced two types of carbonated drinks: soda and lemonade, both of which compared favorably at the time in international fairs in Melbourne and Calcutta, where they won awards.

In 1880 the Colombo Ice Company acquired the business and goodwill of J. Maitland, who owned a medical hall which sold a variety of medicated wine.[6]

The company, however, went into liquidation.[7] Tom Walker headed a syndicate that bought Colombo Ice Company, forming a new company under the name New Colombo Ice Company on 8 May 1894.[8] In 1910 the New Colombo Ice Company bought the business and plant of one of its main competitors, the Galle Face Ice Company, from J. P. Motten for Rs. 45,000.[8] In 1919, the company acquired Von Possners British Aerated and Mineral Water Company for Rs. 175,000.[8]

In 1923, the company purchased a new ice manufacturing plant which was driven by an internal combustion engine replacing its old ten-ton steam-driven plant.[8]

By 1925, the company moved on to build cold storage for frozen products of all kinds, opening new cold stores in Colombo on 1 December 1928,[8] the same year the company purchased another smaller rival, the Pure Ice and Aerated Waters Manufactory.[8] In 1932, Ceylon Creameries Limited was acquired to produce and distribute reconstituted fresh milk and ice cream. In 1934 the New Colombo Ice Company purchased Ceylon Ice and Cold Storage Company for Rs 850,000.[8] A carbonic acid gas plant was installed in 1935 to make carbon dioxide and dry ice. With the purchase of a bread-making machine and a modern oven, bread was baked and sold by the company.

In 1941, New Colombo Ice Company changed its name to Ceylon Cold Stores Limited. In 1964 Mallory Wijesinghe became its first Ceylonese chairman.[4] In January 1970 the company was listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange. Ceylon Cold Stores came under the umbrella of John Keells Holdings Limited with the acquisition of the Whittalls Group in 1991 (John Keells Holdings has a 54% majority shareholding in the company).[4]

In 1998 the company enhanced its production capacity considerably by installing a modern bottling plant at the Kaduwela factory. In 2007 John Keells Holdings reinvested close to one billion rupees in the installation of a state of the art factory line.[9]

See also


  1. ^ "Ceylon Cold Stores PLC - Annual Report 2016/17" (PDF). Ceylon Cold Stores. 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Elephant House - Market Leader across the Category". Ada Derana. 12 July 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  3. ^ "Ceylon Today - Ceylon Cold Stores maintains a stable profit margin throughout – Dr. Gunawardana". ceylontoday.lk. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  4. ^ a b c Siriwardena, Sonali (17 March 2002). "Elephant House: Withstanding the assault of multinationals". Sunday Times. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  5. ^ "Von Posser Family". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  6. ^ "Heritage". elephanthouse.lk. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  7. ^ MacMillan, Allister (1928). Seaports of India and Ceylon. W. H. & L. Collingridge. pp. 445–446. ISBN 9788120619951.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Sirimane, Shirajiv (4 March 2003). "Elephant House - part and parcel of Lankan Society". The Daily News. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  9. ^ "CEYLON COLD STORES PLC". Worldwide Company Profile. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
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