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Lanka's fourth saltern at Hambantota

SALTERN: Sri Lanka's fourth saltern would be constructed by Lanka Auto Gas Fuel Systems Limited (LAUGFS) at Hambantota. The project would be constructed under the 300 factories programme.

According to Chairman, Laugfs, W. K. H. Wegapitiya, after the tsunami many salterns were damaged and some are yet to reach maximum capacity.

Nearly 20 percent of local consumption of salt is being still imported and it draws tremendous foreign exchange out. He said that they saw an opening and this was why they decided to diversify to this sector.

Laugfs will be investing Rs. 450 million for this project from profits generated from the company itself.

Over 100 will receive direct employment while over 300 will be working during the salt harvesting seasons.

He said they would be concentrating more on manufacturing chemical based products as there is a demand from the industrial sector for salt byproducts.

In addition to Hambantota, salterns are located in Puttalam and Elephant Pass.

Wegapitiya said they now operate a tyre-manufacturing factory in Horana, which was closed for over two years.

"We are now manufacturing mattresses, three wheel tyres for the local and international market and soon would introduce motor bicycle tyres," he said. The company is also looking at manufacturing tyres for small motor vehicles.

They have invested Rs. 160 million for this and already found a market for these products in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Laugfs would be also investing in the condominium sector and have already purchased land in Maya Avenue for a nine floor 50-apartment complex with two-roof top penthouses.

"The Urban Development Authority (UDA) has also given the green light for this and we are hoping to start construction in early November," he said.

The investment for this would be Rs. 850 million and the apartments would be ready in 18 months.

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Produced by Lake House Copyright 2006 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

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