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Nippolac paints Lankan homes

Raja Hewabowala Chairman/MD

Colour red implies passion, courage,and strength .Pink is symbolic of gentle emotions and of emotional unions. Yellow symbolises the sun, grain, and the power of thought. It seems colours are uniquely powerful symbols. But for Raja Hewabowala all the colours indicate the symbol of luck.

Nearly 25 years ago, Raja Hewabowala who graduated from the University of Moratuwa thought to setup his own business. His thought paved the way to the successful story of Nippolac Paints.

Chairman/Managing Director of Silicone Coatings (Private) Ltd., Raja Hewabowala's parents were government servants and he was the only son in the family with six. I needed to find my own business as an income generator of my family.

The factory in Matara
Pictures by Sumanachandra Ariyawansa

With the experience of working in another paint manufacturing company Raja started his own company at home investing Rs. 8,000. By that time, the open economy allowed many new entrepreneurs to import necessary raw materials to the country. Due to lack of funds Raja had to import small amounts of raw materials for his manufacturing process.

However Raja was able to manufacture 10 gallons of paint per day with manual grinding. He used a bullock cart for the distribution. Raja needed more money for expansion of the business. He mortgaged his house to the Bank of Ceylon for Rs. 1 million and used those funds to purchase machinery and other equipments.

At the early stage of the business there were only three workers but today, Silicone Coatings (Private) Ltd. provides nearly 300 employment opportunities through their three plants in Matara and Ja-Ela.

In any country, people accept imported products rather than local items. This is a normal concept and local manufacturer should adopt international quality standards for their manufacturing process to compete with these goods Raja said.

Nippolac is famous among consumers due its high quality and the company is keen on maintaining quality of their products.

Nippolac uses local technology with the assistance of local universities. We are also obtaining technical assistance from foreign companies.

After purchasing a raw material manufacturing company in 1999, Nippolac started to manufacture most of their raw materials in Sri Lanka.

The company is expected to expand their business to India investing a large sum of money for the machinery. Nippolac also is in the process of enhancing their packaging line through the setting up their own packaging plants.

Last week they opened a new metal can manufacturing plant in Ja-Ela and provides employment for 30 workers. They plan to establish plastic can plant in the near future as well.

According to Hewabowala, any government should accelerate infrastructure development projects for the benefit of entrepreneurs in the country. Power projects and highway projects are important. There should be proper mechanism to protect the local manufacturers from imported products, he said.

Today Nippolac manufactures any type of paints including waterproof paints, whether proof paints and automotive paints.

The company also hopes to introduce new colour system for their products.



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