Micro Holdings Chairman Dr. Lawrence Perera (left) exchanges the agreement with SK Group Senior Vice President C.H. Lee
Third-largest conglomerate SK Group keen on supporting Micro to revolutionise transport industry in SL
Micro to manufacture electric vehicles in SL, plans to export to South Asia initially
Micro Chief says keen on diversifying into new areas, high-tech public transportation
By Charumini de Silva
South Korea’s third-largest conglomerate, SK Group, recently announced that it plans to make an equity investment worth $ 30million-$ 40 million in Sri Lanka’s homegrown automobile assembly pioneer and manufacturer Micro Holdings Ltd.
SK Group Senior Vice President C.H. Lee said they were keen on investing in the efforts of Micro Holdings to revolutionise the Sri Lankan automobile and transport industry. “We are hoping to facilitate Micro to expand its production facilities, its industry-related clusters and new projects the firm is investing in,” he told journalists in Colombo.
He said the investment would be brought in as a foreign direct investment (FDI) and he was honoured to partner Micro Holdings.
Being one of the largest EV battery manufacturers in the world, SK Group plans to bring in new technology to Sri Lanka with this partnership with Micro Holdings and diversify its automobile product portfolio focusing on e-mobility which will be the future of the transport industry.
Micro Holdings Chairman Dr. Lawrence Perera said the partnership with SK Group, which is a Fortune 500 company, will take Micro Cars to the next level, while the investment signifies a victory for Sri Lanka which will notify the world that top-notch multinationals are interested in the country’s industrial sector.
“The future automobile is electric. We are discussing to bring in that technology to create the future e-car or e-mobility here in Sri Lanka. This will put Sri Lanka on the world map, where it will be recognised for its manufacturing and engineering capabilities,” he added.
Dr. Perera highlighted the importance of this type of partnerships with foreign giants that bring in much needed FDIs, which also supports private local companies to expand their business.
“Micro Cars is also looking into diversifying into many new areas including high-tech public transportation,” he noted.
Lee said that electric cars assembled by Micro would be exported globally, while Dr. Perera said that the initial plans are to export electric vehicles within the South Asian region, where they already have a market presence in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
Today Micro Cars Ltd. remains the only national car manufacturer with a daily capacity of 50 vehicles, assembling a full range of vehicles, from compact cars and vans to luxury SUVs, buses and prime movers.
Micro Cars Ltd. was established in 1995 by Dr. Perera, who is an automobile engineer, with 20 employees and one factory. The objective was to engineer and build Sri Lanka’s first truly homegrown automobile and the result was the launch of Privilege, which was completely designed and made in Sri Lanka.
Micro tied up with Korean automobile giant Ssangyong in 2008 and began assembling SUVs in Sri Lanka for the first time with a local value addition.
In 2010 Micro tied up with Geely International, also the owner of Swedish luxury automobile brand Volvo Cars. With the tie-up with Geely, Micro entered the compact car segment and today is competing shoulder-to-shoulder with other leading global brands.
Micro Holdings has diversified into a group of companies with its subsidiaries Transmec Engineering (Asia’s largest after-sales workshop), Transmec International, Micro Construction and Euro Sports Auto Lanka (franchisee of Lamborghini and many other luxury automobile brands) employing more than 1,000 employees.