Lanka Salt chalks-up Rs. 1.4 bn turnover for March quarter

By Hiran H.Senewiratne

When most state owned enterprises (SOEs) are running at a loss or are under- performing, Lanka Salt Limited, based in Hambantota, has chalked- up a significant achievement by recording a turnover of more than Rs. 1.4 billion for the first quarter ending March 31, 2023.

‘For the first time in our 70- year history, Lanka Salt has recorded its highest turnover and made a net Rs 700 million profit- after- tax, which is an all- time record for the company, its new chairman Attorney-at-Law, Chaminda Sooriyapatabendhi told The Island Financial Review.

Sooriyapatabendhi added: ‘Since the company has not audited and calculated the final account yet the company has made a Rs 500 million plus for the quarter which too is the highest achieved in the history of the company. After paying Rs. 162 million as taxes we were able to record a net profit of Rs 700 million.

‘Having paid all bonuses to employees recently and having made some casual workers permanent the company was able to record this achievement.

‘In 2019 the company was making huge losses and had financial liabilities to banks and suppliers to the tune of around Rs. 324 million. We were able to turnaround the company due to an efficient management system.

‘In recent times the company has seen a positive rebound and today we also have savings of over Rs. 1.6 billion in our kitty. For the first time Lanka Salt hopes to export industrial salt to Canada to clean motorways during winter and through a foreign agent we will also look at penetrating other European markets.

‘Currently, Lanka Salt produces 90 per cent of local industrial salt and also manufactures fertilizer, which accounts for an over 80 per cent market share in the local salt industry.’

CEO, Lanka Salt, Dr. Ajith Shanmuganathan said that one of the key factors that contributed towards this achievement comprised of new management tools that were introduced to cut down on waste and increase efficiency, which increased by more than 13 per cent.

Shanmuganathan added: ‘This resulted in a production increase of around 60,000 Mt tons per year in 2020 to around 110 million Mt tons last year. Favourable weather conditions also helped to increase production from all our salterns. We also found new direct markets by entering tier products to supermarket chains, like Keells, Cargills and Sathosa.

‘As a cost- cutting measure on energy, we are looking at a suitable investor to build a 55 megawatt wind power plant within our properties, especially the Hambantota saltern, to meet our energy demand while supplying to the national grid as well.’

Director, Lanka Salt, Dinuka Chamara De Silva said that they will be investing Rs. 450 million to build and install a Pure Vacuum Dried Salt Producing Plant at Palatupana salterns and new products are already being marketed.

He said that these products will also be of great value to local food and medical sector manufacturers as they used to import these products before such imports were banned. “This has given them a huge Forex saving.”

De Silva said that they will also engage in PVD exports, especially to Korea and Japan, as there is a huge demand for PVD salt in those countries.

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