The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Encourage more local cement manufacture- urges Tokyo Cement


Sri Lanka’s biggest cement maker, Tokyo Cement has urged the government to encourage more domestic manufacture of cement given the rising demand for this product and the drain on foreign exchange from imports.Cement use in calendar 2011 rose 21.6 per cent to 4.58 million metric tonnes. Local production of cement rose 13.6 per cent to 1.97 million metric tonnes while cement imports increased by 28.4 per cent to 2.58 million metric tonnes.

Picture shows Kamal Nanayakkara – IT Head, SriLankan Airlines receiving the over 10 years award of “Creative Excellence” at hSenid 15th Anniversary celebration event.

Group revenues rose 39 per cent to Rs 22.9 Billion in the year ending March 31, 2012, from Rs 16.5 billion in the same earlier year.  Gross profits gained 33.6 per cent to Rs 3.9 billion rupees. The company’s joint managing directors S. R. Gnanam and K. Yanagihara, said in their report in the 2011-12 annual report that the industry has benefitted from the post-war economic boom, expanding by 9.3 per cent in 2011, supported by a 12 per cent increase in locally produced building materials. A large share of construction activity remained in the former war-zones of the north and east, where the government and the private sector are busy rebuilding or laying new infrastructure.

The report said the government spent 6.2 per cent of GDP or Rs 407.5 billion for infrastructure related activities, throughout the country, in 2011.Tokyo Cement plans to expand production of ready-mix concrete products as well as the range of value added products, currently retailed on a small scale.

This year, an independent cement laboratory was opened by the company in Dambulla that offers testing facilities for construction firms, house builders and also competitors.The company marks 30-years of operations in 2012, ironically when Sri Lanka celebrates 60-years of diplomatic relations with Japan. The joint venture is between the Gnanam-led St Anthony’s Group and Mitsui Mining Company, Japan.

“Given the superior quality of our products we are confident the government of Sri Lanka will continue to consider us a preferred partner for many, other large scale, national infrastructure projects in the pipeline,” the joint managing directors said.In the energy field, the company launched its 5MW Dendro power project with an investment of Rs. 1.5 billion. This new venture in Mahiyangana will operate parallel to Tokyo Cement’s existing10 MW biomass power plant in Trincomalee.

“We are also exploring other areas of possible expansion into the biomass power segment, by using paddy husk and wood chips of the gliricidia tree. We are constantly exploring ways to deploy environmentally friendly energy throughout our operations, to preserve the natural environment,” the joint review said.

The company is also launching the A. Y. S. Gnanam Construction Training Academy at Dambulla, in memory of the late A. Y. S. Gnanam, founder of the company and of St Anthony’s Group. This academy will train competent people for the construction industry in Sri Lanka and is expected to also contribute to the economy of the country.

The review said the maximum retail price of cement is controlled in Sri Lanka and prior approval of the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) is required for any price increases. “However, there is always a time lag between submitting an application to the CAA for a price increase and the CAA granting such approvals. As a result, the company is forced to absorb cost increases until the price increase can be implemented,” it said.

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