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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2613

Global multinational relocating to Sri Lanka from China

Colombo, 20 December, (Asiantribune.com):

: A top Japanese conglomerate is relocating its selected foam operations to Sri Lanka from China. And thanks to the conglomerate’s new operation, Sri Lanka is now saving millions in forex volumes that are otherwise sacrificed on import of soft foam used for apparel.

More importantly, the Tier 1 global supplier also says it is ready to set up world class automotive component production in Sri Lanka -with latest Japanese technology. “Japanese giant INOAC’s new venture with a $ 20 Mn investment here today is one of the biggest industry FDI’s to come from Japan to Sri Lanka in our bilateral partnership history” said a delighted Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on 11 December.

Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the launch event of advanced soft foam production plant of INOAC Polymer Lanka located at the BOI Industrial Zone, Horana on 11th December.

INOAC Polymer Lanka at Horana is the only manufacturer of polyurethane in Sri Lanka. Polyurethane is specialised type of plastic material widely used in automotive, comfort products and millions of brassieres. INOAC, a global supplier to the automotive industry is a privately held Japanese conglomerate established in 1926, operating in 20 countries including USA, Canada, Korea,

• Major supplier to global automotives strengthens presence here

• $ 20 Mn new outlay

• • “Ready to make automotive components right here too!” INOAC’s Global President Inoue

• • Tier 1 player also moves selected operations from China to Sri Lanka

• • ‘Welcome! You develop us!” - Rishad

• • Shot in the arm for apparels: $ 5 Mn annual savings

• • First high tech transfer in white foam production installed

Japan, South East Asia and Europe. Currently it has 74 state- of-the-art factories across the world. INOAC is no stranger to Sri Lanka either. Their history with Sri Lanka runs as far back as 1959 when they commenced their first joint venture with Associated Motorways (AMW) in Sri Lanka. Inoac is a Tier One producer of automotive components for Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi, Yamaha and several other renowned global brands. Within Japan, INOAC has almost 60-70% market share in selected tyres, tubes and specific automotive components.

Addressing the occasion, Minister Bathiudeen said: “Japanese giant INOAC’s new venture with a $ 20 Mn investment here today is one of the biggest industry FDI’s to come from Japan in our bilateral partnership history. There is no doubt that INOAC’s re-entry is a great boost for Sri Lanka’s competitiveness in global marketplace as well as exports diversification efforts. Therefore on behalf of our committed President Mahinda Rajapaksa I thank INOAC corp. for its initiatives here. Japan is Sri Lanka’s third largest foreign financier. And our bilateral trade with Japan is also on a promising trend. In 2012 Japan was Sri Lanka’s third largest foreign financier after China and India as a Development Partner committing $ 521 Mn. 39 Japanese private investment projects are in operation , the bulk of them entering in the immediate aftermath of the opening of our economy in 1977.”

Minister Bathiudeen added: ”INOAC however was with us since 1959. Sri Lanka – Japan trade too has been growing -an increase of 56% from 2002 by 2012 to $ 770 Million.”

Personally apprising Minister Bathiudeen, a keen Soichi Inoue (INOAC Japan’s global Chairman & Group CEO), who specially flew in to Colombo with his top management team, said: “Inoac is a Tier One producer of automotive components for Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi, Yamaha and several other renowned global brands. If Maruti Suzuki assembly project starts here we will bring our Japanese automotive component manufacturing right here to Sri Lanka! I mentioned this also to the President Mahinda Rajapaksa when I met him in Japan. We are ready to set up a world class automotive component production in Sri Lanka with latest Japanese technology. We are hopeful that this will happen.”

Responding to Chairman Inoue, Minister Bathiudeen said: “We welcome you with our open arms. Our government, as well as I and my Ministry officials will extend our best assistance to INOAC. Partnerships such as INOAC are very important for our industry development. Thank you!”

“Around 2 years ago INOAC took a decision to transfer our production facility from China to Sri Lanka to produce and supply a unique high quality polyurethane foam to the giants of the apparel industry in Sri Lanka such as MAS, BRANDIX, BENJI and SILUETA” said Ken Miwa, Executive Managing Director of INOAC Corp, Shinagawa, Tokyo. “We are shifting at least 20% of our production from China to Sri Lanka” Miwa added.

“Soft foam is a must in making brassieres of high export quality and Sri Lankan apparel suppliers have been importing the entire volumes to-date” said Rajiv Dharmendra, CEO of Silueta Ltd, an apparel producer with Biyagama Export Zone. “And from today, there is no need to import. Sri Lanka produces at least 40 million such brassiere pieces for export regularly. Due to soft foam now being made in Sri Lanka for the first time, we believe the cost saving for Sri Lanka is at least $ 5 Mn annually in apparel sector alone. And the savings could be higher” added Dharmendra.

“During the President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Japan early this year, Mr.Inoue expressed his desire to commence Automotive Components manufacturing provided the proposed Suzuki Maruti car assembly project is established in Sri Lanka” said Tilak de Zoysa, Director of INOAC Polymer Lanka, and added: “From the very first day since 1959 up to date I have been involved with the INOAC team providing the local support whether it be in Marketing/Human Resource/Construction or overcoming many challenges. To comply with Mr.Inoue’s vision to achieve world class standard and the best quality products, the total investment was increased from around 10 Million US Dollars to 20 Million to a set up this world class production facility.”

Also present on the occasion were Anura Siriwardena (Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce), officials of BoI, and Mahesh Amalean (Chairman, MAS Holdings), among others.

- Asian Tribune -

Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka –far right) is welcomed with Soichi Inoue (INOAC Japan’s global Chairman & Group CEO-front row middle)  and His Excellency Nobuhito Hobo (Ambassador of Japan in Sri Lanka-front row third from left) and Tilak de Zoysa (Director, INOAC Lanka and Sri Lankan facilitator to INOAC Japan-standing behind Mr Inoue) on 11 December at the BoI zone in Horana.
Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka –far right) is welcomed with Soichi Inoue (INOAC Japan’s global Chairman & Group CEO-front row middle)  and His Excellency Nobuhito Hobo (Ambassador of Japan in Sri Lanka-front row third from left) and Tilak de Zoysa (Director, INOAC Lanka and Sri Lankan facilitator to INOAC Japan-standing behind Mr Inoue) on 11 December at the BoI zone in Horana.
Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka –left) greets Soichi Inoue (INOAC Japan’s global Chairman & Group CEO-far left) as His Excellency Nobuhito Hobo (Ambassador of Japan in Sri Lanka-second from left) and Tilak de Zoysa (Director, INOAC Lanka and Sri Lankan facilitator to INOAC Japan-far right) on 11 December at the BoI zone in Horana.
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