In 1919 a Proprietary Company was setup by Mr. Herbert Fenton (a British Chartered Electrical Engineer) with one employee.

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As the business grew, Mr. Fenton registered a public limited liability company and attracted several prominent investors at the time. The first Chairman of the Board of FENTONS Limited was Sir Henry De Mel who was a highly respected Sri Lankan businessman and became a major shareholder. The lead partner in the renowned audit firm, Messrs. Ernst and Young was amongst the other Directors. The registered office was situated at No. 1, Union Place, with the cable address "Electric Colombo".

The initial focus was on Electrical Wiring and Maintenance and the scope of work undertaken ranged from building wiring to the servicing of ceiling fans in commercial buildings & banks etc. As business improved, we diversified into the electromechanical field and started installing Mini Hydroelectric Systems in tea estates.


Business and reputation as an electrical contractor grew, especially in the tea plantation industry. This led to the company diversifying into related electronic areas.

Telecommunications - FENTONS owned and operated its own telephone exchanges in the hill country, commencing with the Talawakelle and Tillicoultry district exchange systems.

Radios – Agents for Marconi radios; at one point in time Mr. Marconi himself visited Ceylon and came to FENTONS.

Complementing their electrical contracting business, FENTONS was the agent for Philips Glowlamp Works, Holland (now Philips Lighting Systems).

The company also imported and distributed P&R brand accumulators, the forerunner for today’s UPS.

With the growth in business and product portfolio, the young Mr. C. A. L. Abhayaratne joined the company as an assistant to Mr. Herbert Fenton.

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Following the demise of Mr. Herbert Fenton, after World War II, the majority of the company’s shareholding was acquired by Mr. C. A. L. Abhayaratne, who then ran the company as Chairman and Managing Director for several decades.

The company focused only on electrical contracting work during this time.


In early 1950’s, all the private telecommunication exchanges were taken over when the government Telecommunications Department was started.

Similarly, in the late 1950’s when the full scale hydroelectric schemes came on stream, the government wanted tea estates to obtain power from national electricity grid. Therefore, Mini Hydro Systems were neglected and we exited that business sector.

As an Electrical Engineering service provider and cabling specialist, we were appointed agents for BICC of Great Britain (the largest cable manufacturer in the world at that time).

During this time, we became the largest electrical contractor as we won an annual tender to wire all government buildings that were constructed by the Buildings Department. Many of the schools, hospitals, government buildings that were built between the 1950s and the mid-1970s were wired by FENTONS.

Mr. C. A. L Abhayaratne’s sons Mr. Lokendra Abhayaratne and Mr. Chandresa Abhayaratne join the business as apprentices.


In 1978, a major metamorphosis took place in the country. From a closed, nationalistic minded government, Sri Lanka moved into an era of capitalism with liberal economic policies. Following the liberalization of imports, we re-entered the Telecommunications business with one of the largest telecommunication organizations in the world; NEC Corporation of Japan.

The diversification of the company into electronics and telecommunications was spearheaded by Mr. Chandresa Abhayaratne, while the electrical component of the business was overlooked by Mr. Lokendra Abhayaratne.

The first telephone systems that were installed were Electromechanical Systems, Key Telephone Systems, and PMBX (Private Manual Branch Exchanges). The pre-cursor to today’s fully automatic PABX system.


With telecommunication systems becoming electronic (PABX) we began recruiting electronic engineers and this became the platform for FENTONS to diversify into other areas of electronic engineering.

When Mr. Chandresa (CW) Abhayaratne visited NEC, Japan for training, it was suggested that he enter the Fire Detection business in Sri Lanka. In 1980 the Fire Detection Division was formed with FENTONS being appointed agents for Zettler of Germany.

CCTV, Access Control, Fire Detection, Intruder Detection were all started in the 1980s which resulted in the formation of alliances with international manufacturing companies.

A significant partnership was established at this time, with ADEMCO Corporation of USA to offer CCTV solutions. This company was eventually acquired by Honeywell’s security division and FENTONS became a partner of Honeywell, USA.

Mr. Chandresa Abhayaratne was appointed Managing Director of the Company.

The 3rd son of Mr. C. A. L. Abhayaratne, Mr. Ajit E. W. Abhayaratne joins the company in 1984 as a Director.


1994 - Fentons Limited was categorized as EM-1 Contractor (ability to quote or tender for projects with unlimited contractual value) by the Institute for Construction Training and Development.

FENTONS brings in a large investment of US$3m with BOI approval to start up a wireless local loop (WLL) public payphone network.

Together with the largest shareholder from the USA and subsequent investor, Loxley Corporation of Thailand, FENTONS helped change the telecom landscape in Sri Lanka by offering unique wireless payphone services where phones could be placed regardless of telecom cabling restrictions. The Company also offered international calling card services to serve the huge Sri Lankan expatriate worker population in the Middle East.

By 2003, with the increasing coverage of lower cost GSM mobile phones, the shareholders took a strategic decision to exit the payphone business and sold the Company.

Mr. Chandev Abhayaratne, the 3rd generation of owners, joins the company as Business Development Executive working in the UPS and Data Cabling Division.


Energynet (Pvt) Limited was formed in the year 2000 by spinning out a division involved in Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) systems for the developing IT and industrial market. Energynet was also responsible for starting the data cabling and structured cabling solutions business for the Group, tying up with NEXANS Cabling solutions, France. NEXANS itself was a spin out from French global telecom giant, Alcatel.

FENTONS appointed distributor for Secutron Fire detection products in Sri Lanka. Sectron is a brand manufactured by Mircom, Canada.

Appointed a Premier partner for CISCO Networks, USA.


In 2010, the first Cloud based international VOIP soft switch was commissioned interconnecting client offices in USA, Sri Lanka and Romania by one of FENTONS’ associate companies iPhonik (Pvt) Ltd.

FENTONS Limited invested in start-up software development company Iphonik, where software design and development took place for ICT products and solutions focusing on unified communications.

Mr. Chandresa Abhayaratne is appointed Chairman of the Company.

Mr. Chandev Abhayaratne is appointed Managing Director of the Company.

Appointed distributor for TYCO Fire Systems in Sri Lanka.

Appointed business partner for FCS Hospitality solutions, providing software solutions to leading hotel properties in the year 2011.

FENTONS Smart Facilities (Pvt) Ltd commences operations, providing Mechanical and Electrical facilities management services to large commercial buildings.

FENTONS strengthens its offering in the ICT business by signing up as partner for Dell, HP, VM ware, Ruckus and other similar global brands.

Commencement of the Solar Photovoltaic (PV) energy solution business under Energynet (Pvt) Ltd. With just 2 engineers, the business commences doing roof top solar PV design and installation.

During this time, FENTONS crosses the Rs. 1 billion revenue mark, expanding its business by undertaking larger value contracts following the end of the civil war in 2009.

Mr. Ruan Abhayarante and Mr Praveen Abhayaratne, also 3rd generation from the owning family, join the business at this time.

Mr. Ruan Abhayaratne sets up the Human Resources division and is subsequently appointed a Director of the company.

The company directly employs 500 staff at this time.


The company decides to seek equity investment to fund the rapid growth of the business since 2010. The process is handled by Capital Alliance Limited, a select investment and advisory company.

Hayleys PLC, the country’s largest MNC and listed blue-chip corporation, shows keen interest in the company, in view of the burgeoning construction industry and positive economic outlook.

On March 14th, 2016 Hayleys PLC acquires 75% of FENTONS, becoming the majority shareholder. The Abhayaratne family retains 25% of the shareholding.

FENTONS becomes a member of the World of Hayleys.