The Industrial Development Ministry (IDM) and Construction and Engineering Services Ministry (CESM) are both trying to get approval for two Indian cement companies, to invest in the Kankesanthurai cement plant. IDM is leaning towards Ramco Group, which has Madras Cements Ltd., as an investment possibility, while CESM has multi-national conglomerate Aditya Birla Group in its corner. Both ministries had completed feasibility studies, but IDM had moved ahead in the game by gaining cabinet approval, while CESM was still considering taking that step. However, CESM had held discussions with Birla Group representatives and government officials over the deal before IDM had snatched the carpet from under them and insisted that the deal was exclusively theirs.
Lanka Cement Chairman and Sri Lanka Cement Corporation Director S.J. Paranagama said that IDM would not budge over the deal. He pointed out that this was a plan that had received cabinet approval and therefore, could not be interfered with by other parties.
“We have been given proposals by several companies including Ramco of India, Italian Cement and Pakistan Cement. But, we are still awaiting more proposals from other prospective investors. It is too early to comment on a possible investor, but we are looking for a company that would ideally funnel in around US$100m for a full expansion,” he said.
All prospective investors have been requested to present a feasibility study and Paranagama was adamant that they would ensure correct procedure.