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

  • As the business grew, Mr. Fenton registered a public limited liability company and attractive 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".

    Although the initial focus was on Electrical Wiring and Maintenance, which for a long time included 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.

  • 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 Fenton’s.

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

    Imported and distributed P&R brand accumulator, the forerunner for today’s UPS.

  • 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 Belling cookers and BICC of Great Britain (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 mid-1940s and the mid-1980s were wired by FENTONS.

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

  • When one of our Electronic Engineers went to NEC, Japan for training it was suggested that we enter the Fire Detection business. The management approved this direction and 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.

    1982 – Large capacity PABX system was installed at the Sri Lanka Parliament complex. The current system at the Sri Lanka Parliament is continues to be an NEC system, sold and serviced by FENTONS. In 1991, we installed the largest capacity PABX in the country at the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. (100 direct lines and 2000 extensions).

    After 1983 there was a transformation from analogue to digital electronic systems. Now IP systems are ubiquitous in our product offerings.

  • 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 personal mobile phones, the shareholders took a strategic decision to exit the payphone business and sold the Company to new owners.

  • Energynet (Pvt) Limited was formed in the year 2000 by spinning out a division involved 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.

    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.

    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 commences operations, providing Mechanical and Electrical facilities management services to large commercial buildings.