Serendib Flour Mills to start production in November
Serendib Flour Mills (Pvt) Ltd (SFML) is to begin its production by mid November as the construction work of the mill in the Colombo Port has been completed and other marketing arrangements are being finalised, according to a senior official of SFML.
He said the plant will have an initial milling capacity of 1000 metric tonnes per day with a provision to increase production to 2000 metric tonnes per day. “The current demand for flour in Sri Lanka overtakes the supply. The company plans to capture a major share in the local wheat flour market breaking the monopoly control enjoyed by the Prima Company,” he said.
Members of the Al Ghurair Group of Companies of Dubai, National Flour Mills (NFM) and Emirates Trading Agency (ETA), have invested US$53 million (Rs. 6 billion) in Sri Lanka through their joint venture in SFML.
Subsidiaries of one of Dubai's largest conglomerates, NFM and ETA together have a turnover in excess of US$4 billion. The investors were in the flour milling business in the UAE for the past 25 years, and they continue their operations in the Middle East and Africa. The official said that the two companies will be providing their assistance for flour milling, ocean transport, commodity trading, logistics and local marketing in Sri Lanka.
“Sri Lanka will be able to save valuable foreign exchange from importing wheat for milling flour locally rather than importing flour for consumption. The cost of importation of wheat is 20 US$ per tonne and a sum of US$ 30 should be spent to import a tonne of flour,” he said.
He said SFML has an initial milling capacity of 300,000 tonnes and it would help save US$6 million to US$9 million in valuable foreign exchange annually.
He added that they hope to export both bran and flour if there are stocks in excess in the future bringing much needed foreign exchange into the country.
The Al Ghurair currently exports flour to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Male, Indonesia and Africa; which opportunity will be available to Serendib Flour Mills in the future. The official said that the Sri Lankan market will undoubtedly benefit from this international expertise. Flour is an essential commodity and the entry of a new miller ensures a regular supply of flour, avoiding stock-out situations. Customers stand to gain by way of competitive prices and a wider choice he said.