CEAT Kelani Holdings, the company that manufactures half of Sri Lanka’s tyre requirements, has announced a further commitment to the country in the form of an investment of Rs.600 million on a new tyre plant to produce highend radial tyres.
The new plant is integrated with the sprawling CEAT Kelani manufacturing complex at Kelaniya, enabling it to seamlessly augment production of CEAT branded tyres for the domestic and export markets, the company said.
When the new tyre building machines and presses start production in April 2014, CEAT Kelani will increase its radial tyre building and curing capacity by 70 percent, from 23,000 tyres per month to 39,000. “This new investment represents a landmark in the growth and evolution of CEAT as Sri Lanka’s top tyre brand, not only in volume terms, but in terms of product range and quality as well,” CEAT Kelani Managing Director/CEO Raman Rajagopalan said. “The addition of manufacturing capacity is accompanied by investments in new machinery and equipment that can deliver a quantum leap in quality improvements and products for new tyre categories that will move the brand up the value chain.”
New technology acquisitions for the new plant include the latest Bead Apexing Machine, Cap Ply and Cap Strip Machine and improved tyre building machines and curing presses that will enable the company to produce a new grade of high performance radials in larger sizes for high end cars, Rajagopalan added.
Additionally, the use of segmented moulds instead of two-piece moulds would give the new radial plant the capability to manufacture high quality block-pattern radial tyres for high end Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and off-road vehicles, CEAT Kelani Vice President – Sales & Marketing Ravi Dadlani said, disclosing that the new plant will also produce key high end sizes such as the 235/70 R 16, the 195/65 R 15 and the 185/65 R 15.
“All products that come out of the new radial plant will be engineered to provide all round performance and meet the expectations of the discerning segment of radial tyre users who drive expensive Japanese and European vehicles,” Dadlani added.
CEAT has accounted for nearly 50 percent of the country’s tyre requirements since the second quarter of 2013-14, contributing to a massive saving of foreign exchange for Sri Lanka through import substitution. The brand currently has market shares of 57 percent for tyres in the Truck/Light Truck category, 32 per cent in radials, 46 per cent in 3-Wheeler, 19 per cent in motorcycle and 73 per cent in the agricultural segments.
Of CEAT’s total monthly production of 1450 tons, about 500 tons or a third is exported to markets in South Asia, the Middle East, the African continent and many other countries.