President opens USD 250M tyre plant in Horana

Entrepreneur Nandana Lokuwithana showcasing tyres to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The Ferentino Tyre Corporation opened the region’s largest tyre manufacturing plant yesterday, January 14. The factory was opened by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Horana. Commentators say this opening will act as a landmark in the industrial history of Sri Lanka.

The first tyres produced by this factory will be available from the end of the month. Tyres produced will be for cars, three-wheelers and motorcycles. Other types of tyres would be introduced at the end of the year, an official of the company said.

For the first time, Sri Lanka will also export car tyres to the world. Minister of Ports and Shipping, Rohitha Abeygunwardena said that under the previous government the Ministerial Security Division came and shut down construction of the factory. Investors were limited from entering the site and other strategies were used to discourage investors.

The facility, constructed with an investment of US$ 250 million, is the brainchild of entrepreneur Nandana Lokuwithana. He is also investing in the up-coming state-of-the-art Cement Grinding Plant in Mirijjawila, Hambantota to be commissioned in May 2021. The factory is situated on a 160-acre parcel of land for which the company paid Rs. 3.6 billion.

The venture will seamlessly combine local talent with sophisticated European technology. Chairman of Ferentino Tyre Corporation, Mr. Lokuwithana said, “We are happy to commence operations at this timely juncture giving the local economy the much needed gentle push to recover from the post-pandemic challenges”.

He noted that his venture was happy to fix long standing issues of employment and a lack of export revenue.

The project is facilitated by the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka.

Ferentino Tyres will mainly use locally sourced rubber thereby compelling the local industry to level itself to the global market. Phase 1 of the project has already been completed. Construction of Phase 2 is well on schedule to be completed in March 2022.