Sri Lanka cement firm eyes increasing demand after war

Sri Lanka cement firm eyes increasing demand after war
Published: 29 January 2009

Lanka Cement, a Sri Lankan state-owned firm listed on the Colombo bourse, has increased cement sales with imports from Pakistan and shipments to the island’s war-torn north.

Company officials said its trading activity which was resumed in the latter half of last year has turned profitable and future prospects looked good given a revival in construction activity if an internal war ends soon.

The company expects sales to rise with the planned re-opening of the A-9 main road to northern Jaffna where reconstruction activity will increase demand for cement.

Three foreign firms have also given proposals to revive Lanka Cement’s defunct cement plant in Kankesanturai, in Jaffna.

The plant sits on a rich deposit of limestone, the basic raw material for cement manufacture.

The foreign firms eying the plant are India’s Birla group and Ramco, and Swiss multinational Holcim.

Company officials said they were also shipping cement to Jaffna by ship using supplies bought from Tokyo Cement in the eastern port of Trincomalee.

About half of the island’s cement demand is now met by imports because local manufacture is not enough to meet demand.