John Keells Holdings PLC in terms of market capitalization is Sri Lanka’s largest listed company which accounts for more than 14% of the Sri Lankan Stock market and has diversified its operations into various sectors ranging from Consumer Foods and Retail, Financial Services, Information Technology, Leisure, Property Development, Transportation and Plantations.
It was founded in 1870 by Edwin and George John and was originally formed as a broking business. In 1948, it merged with Thompson, White & Co. Ltd, another broking business. In 1960, it merged with yet another broking company, Keells & Waldock Ltd. The merged entity was known as John Keells Thompson White Ltd.
During the 1970s, John Keells diversified by acquiring Walkers Ltd, a tour operator and Mackinnon’s Group which had interests in shipping. In 1986, John Keells Holdings was listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange.