Monday, October 25, 2010

Pubic-private partnerships: Ceramic industry express interest

Reviving Ceylon Ceramic Corporation :

Ramani Kangaraarachchi and Charumini de Silva

With Cabinet approval to revive three State-owned factories through public private partnership, an investor in the ceramic industry has already shown his willingness to venture into one of these projects with the Government. Last week Cabinet approval was granted to call for Expressions of Interest from domestic and foreign investors to develop the Embilipitiya Paper Mill of the National Paper Company, the Kantale Sugar Industries Limited and the Ceylon Ceramic Corporation as a public private sector partnership program as part of Government’s program to revive the Government industries as Government-owned enterprises without privatizing them.

Speaking to Daily News Business Lanka Tile and Lanka Walltile PLC Managing Director Mahendra Jayasekera said the Government’s initiative to call for expressions of interest from the private sector to develop these factories is commendable.

It is important that the Government look into the individual capabilities and appropriate technology of the applied parties to revitalize the industry, while adding proper value.

He said ceramic industry is a heavy clay industry and the red clay industry is a well developed industry in the world. However, the red clay industry is not much developed in Sri Lanka.

The industrialists have many opportunities in the ceramic industry which can be developed further.

“We are also likely to seize this opportunity as the private sector. We are, especially interested in red clay based products,” Jayasekera said.

Meanwhile, some Chamber heads hailed this Government initiative to revive these State-owned projects though public private partnerships.

Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) Chairman Kosala Wickramanayake said that it is the best option to go for a public private partnership to revive the companies.

He said that first of all a good management team must turn around the company and put it on the right track.

An efficient public private partnership will be ideal to do this. Later they can go for an IPO and give a share to the public.

Ceylon National Chamber of Industry (CNCI) Chairman Sunil Liyanage said that it is a good option to go for a public private partnership to revive the companies because, the contribution of best skills, technology and management can be brought in together and make it a successful venture.

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