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Newly-restored Embilipitiya Paper Mill to save extensive outflow of dollars, says BOI

19 June 2022 11:56 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


From right: BOI Chairman Raja Edirisuriya and Director General Renuka M. Weerakone with KSPA Directors Saveen Abeyratne and Sonali Abeyratne at the occasion of signing the agreement

Korean SPA Packaging (Pvt.) Ltd (KSPA) recently signed an agreement with the Board of Investment (BOI) with respect to the resumption of the operation at the defunct Embilipitiya Paper Mill, which had discontinued its production since 2012. 

The project, which is a US $ 16 million investment in its first phase, aims at manufacturing industrial grade papers for the direct and indirect export market by upgrading machinery and infrastructure.

Embilipitiya Paper Mills, belonging to the National Paper Company Limited, is the second oldest paper mill in the country, set up in 1978. However, the operations came to a standstill in 2003 and though it resumed operations in 2011, it became a very short stint, as the paper mill was closed again in 2012.

Subsequently, the factory was up for sale and this is when KSPA decided to resurrect this giant corporation through a public-private partnership (PPP) amid a spate of hurdles. Accordingly, the investment agreement was signed recently, with the BOI, making it a backward integration, to manufacture paper for the corrugated industry.
Commenting on the project, BOI Chairman Raja Edirisuriya said, “It seems that KSPA is taking the paper industry to the next level with its new project and it is commendable that the industry is in safe hands.”

“It has to be said that KSPA is setting an example for the entire business community where it manifests the actual role to be played by the private companies, at a juncture where the country is standing at the crossroads. Thus, the BOI would like to wish all the very best for the project and its future endeavours, while assuring that the BOI is always willing to give a hand to such ventures,” Edirisuriya added.

Meanwhile, BOI Director General Renuka M. Weerakone pointed out, “This is a timely undertaking by KSPA, given the rising paper prices in the world market and current scarcity of paper, due to the dollar crisis in the country.” “KSPA should be felicitated for its initiative to take up a massive challenge to resume the operations of the abandoned Embilipitiya Paper Mill, which is slated to generate nearly 1,000 direct and indirect job opportunities and boost the livelihood of the people in Embilipitiya. The new venture will also save extensive outflow of dollars,” Weerakone stated.  

Expressing his sentiments, KSPA and Anunine Holdings Chairman Anurath Abeyratne spelled out, “I decided to take up the challenge to resume the production at the defunct state paper mill in Embilipitiya to prevent dollars from flowing out of the country, generate job opportunities and giving a hand to uplift the economy at large.”

“As far as the technology to be used in the paper mill is concerned, we will be using automated machines in an eco-friendly way,” he stressed. Abeyratne also disclosed his vision and commitment to bringing the paper mill to its full functionality by 2023. 

Abeyratne hinted at a planned second phase with an addition of a pulp mill to recycle waste paper and produce wet pulp, which will be exported to international markets to generate forex.

KSPA is a 100 percent Sri Lankan-owned, BOI-accredited portfolio company of Anunine Holdings, a highly diversified, privately held, family-owned group of companies, active in the fields of packaging, tyre manufacturing, sugar manufacturing, renewable energy, trading, plastic and waste recycling, garment accessories manufacturing, agriculture, nanotechnology and blockchain technology. With a 30-year history in the export sector, it has over 2000 direct employees.

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