UK company to invest $150 mn in Kanthale sugar plant revival

By Hiran H.Senewiratne

UK investor SLI Developers will invest US$ 150 million in the revival of the defunct Kanthale sugar plant, which was inoperative for mare than 24 years. The feasibility study will be done by a German company, “Bosch”, on behalf of the investor, Board of Investment (BOI) chairman Upul Jayasuriya said.

“The company signed the agreement with BOI in 2015 August and will go ahead with its operations once the land is released by the Agriculture Ministry. India’s leading sugar company will collaborate to provide technical assistance, Jayasuriya told the media at the BOI office at the World Trade Center last Friday.

“This is going to be a joint venture project that will be formed as MG Sugars Lanka (Pvt) Limited and 51 percent of its shares will be awarded free of charge to the government, once its fully operational, he said.

He said that the UK investor is waiting untill the 500 acre property is handed over to them to build their new buildings. Currently it has old buildings and its factory machines and other equipment are beyond use.

“Once the factory is relaunched more than 20,000 farmers will benefit in the Kanthale area. The company will initially start a sugar cane seeds nursery which could withstand weather changes, Jayasuriya said.

‘Since the factory was inoperative for 24 years all machines and other equipment will be taken into government custody in order to dispense with them as scrap, he said.

According to news sources the 25,000 acres that were allocated for the cultivation of sugar cane have become barren land. Residents also say that this now poses a threat of wild elephant incursions.

The 30-year project agreement would be run on a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis through a shareholding of 51 per cent by the government of Sri Lanka and 49 per cent by the foreign investor, the chairman added. The total investment is $150 million’.

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