19th January 2012, www.island.lk
Sri Lanka’s search for FDIs received a major boost yesterday with Japan’s top multinational conglomerate, Marubeni Corporation, announcing its intension of returning to Sri Lanka after leaving these shores in 2008 citing the then weak economic environment. Since then, a lot has changed and top officials of the Japanese diversified group visited the country on a fact-finding mission to recommence operations here, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said.
"Marubeni wants to re-commence operations in Sri Lanka in due course. The discussions with their fact finding mission today was very successful," Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka said yesterday (Jan. 19).
Marubeni’s fact finding mission was led by Wataru Yoshida, Marubeni’s Tokyo based Corporate Officer and Senior Operating Officer and comprised three other officials including Shinya Watanabe, Chairman and Managing Director of Marubeni India.
Marubeni, which was already active in Sri Lanka for 25 years, closed its operations on May 1, 2008 citing unfavourable economic conditions. Marubeni’s return is also expected to boost Sri Lanka’s FDI inflows further.
Marubeni reported US$ 48 billion revenue in 2010.
Among Marubeni’s major stockholders is JP Morgan Chase Bank.
The diversified multinational conglomerate is engaged in diversified trading activities handling imports and exports of food materials, food products, textiles, materials, pulp and paper, chemicals, energy, metals and mineral resources, transportation machinery, offshore trading.
"We also are present in power projects and infrastructure, plants and industrial machinery, finance, logistics and information industry, and real estate development and construction," said Wataru Yoshida. "We are the largest independent power operator in Japan and energy trader in Japan. We have more than 40 operations across the world including Qatar and even Papua New Guinea. We have projected a net profit of US$ 1.8 billion for 2011 which we want to invest in selected countries, including Sri Lanka. Now, we want to recommence operations in Sri Lanka. In fact, we want to open our Colombo office as soon as possible," Yoshida said.
Shinya Watanabe, Chairman and Managing Director of Marubeni India revealed: "Marubeni India is keen on power projects in Sri Lanka. Marubeni India is now in a position to supply with LNG Gas (Domestic gas) to Sri Lanka if necessary, using our LNG terminals across the Eastern Indian shore. We import around five million tonnes of LNG to India." Shinya Watanabe added: "We are also strong in the Combine Cycle Power Plants (CCPP) sector which we think that Sri Lanka can make good use of. We already have ongoing CCPP projects in Thailand and Indonesia in association with Siemens, among the many project countries." CCPPs use both gas and steam turbines to supply power to the grid and is considered to be an efficient generation mechanism since it uses waste heat to produce steam which in turn generates additional electricity through the steam turbine.
Image: Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka (left) greets Shinya Watanabe, Chairman and Managing Director of Marubeni India as Marubeni Sri Lanka Mission team leader Wataru Yoshida, Marubeni’s Tokyo based Corporate Officer and Senior Operating Officer (right) looks on.