Lankan chemical giant making a comeback

Saturday, 25 April 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Paranthan Chemicals unveils state-of-the-art storage facility
  • New scrubber clears 1,000 kg of chlorine per hour
  • ‘New northern factories can revive production’ - Bathiudeen
  • PCC profits at Rs. 40 million in 2014
  • Bathiudeen invites global investors

Minister Rishad Bathiudeen (second from left) inspects the unloading of 900 kg of liquid chlorine at the Horana warehouses of Paranthan Chemicals on 22 April

Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen (centre) inspects the latest state-of-the-art chlorine scrubber by Paranthan Chemicals at Horana on 22 April

The quality and safety of Sri Lankan water supplies will be elevated to new levels once the country’s pioneering industry supplier, Paranthan Chemicals Company (PCC), starts producing the country’s total chlorine requirements domestically, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said. PCC, an industry pioneer in the country, has acquired a new fortified storage facility on par with international standards. “The northern factories of PCC became inactive in 1985 and as a result we have been depending on the import of such chemicals, burdening the local manufacturing sector with extra costs. We are looking to restore the northern factories of Paranthan Chemicals. The northern factories can commence promptly when the Elephant Pass saltern is recommenced,” said Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen. Minister Bathiudeen was talking to top officials from the Industry and Commerce Ministry and the PCC on 22 April at the soft opening of the new chlorine warehouse facility located at the Wagawatte Industrial Zone in Horana with a $ 260,000 (Rs. 35 million) initial investment. The state-owned profit maker PCC has 65 employees and reported a Rs. 40 million profit in 2014. PCC pays hefty taxes to the Government and dividends to the Treasury. The Horana storage facility features the latest chlorine Scrubber Installation Facility under the American Chemical Society standards. The chlorine scrubber can process one tonne of chlorine every hour. “The Paranthan Chemical Company, formerly the Paranthan Chemicals Corporation, can help us to lower industrial chemical costs,” said Minister Bathiudeen. “The entire Liquid Chlorine needs of Sri Lanka are met through imports and scientifically handled by our PCC. Ninety-eight percent of Liquid Chlorine is absorbed by the Water Supply and Drainage Board to provide safe drinking water to Sri Lankans. When we start making it here, our domestic water safety levels are enhanced. We are looking to restore the northern factories of Paranthan Chemicals next. PCC officials informed me that the northern factories could be revived with an initial investment of $ 300 million-$ 400 million. We invite both local and global investors for this venture. “With the recommencement of these factories we can produce our total chlorine requirements domestically and save valuable foreign exchange of more than $ 86, 0000 per year which we spend to import chlorine. We can also manufacture other chemicals as well. The northern factories can commence promptly when the Elephant Pass saltern is recommenced,” he added. The Paranthan Chemicals Corporation was established in 1954 as a state-owned chemicals factory at Paranthan in the Kilinochchi District and manufactured such crucial chemicals as caustic soda, liquid chlorine, hydrochloric acid, zinc chloride and table salt using local raw materials. The PCC became inactive from 1985 due to the war. In many ways the northern PCC factories spurred the development of Sri Lankan manufacturing and industries by producing and supplying domestically-made, low cost chemicals that were promptly absorbed by the industries. At present, through the PCC, Sri Lanka imports its entire annual requirement of 2500 M-tonnes of Liquid Chlorine, at a cost of $ 86,4000 (Rs. 115 million). The PCC recently started to locally manufacture the widely-known bleaching liquid sodium hypochlorite, which is used as a disinfectant and a bleaching agent. The northern factory site in Paranthan is spread across 217 acres and was destroyed during the war.