BADALGAMA, Sri Lanka — Industrial tire specialist Global Rubber Industries has broken ground on a 39,370-sq.-ft. plant in Badalgama for pneumatic agricultural, industrial, OTR and construction tires, with trial production anticipated before year-end.
GRI is budgeting more than $40 million for the new factory, which will be built on 10 acres of land belonging to GRI, and located adjacent to its existing solid industrial tire factory. All the products made at the new plant will be destined for export and the company anticipates daily capacity of 25 tons.
GRI Executive Director Ananda Caldera called his company's strategic expansion into pneumatic specialty tires an "historic event for both the company and the Sri Lankan rubber industry."
The expansion, the company said, is expected to strengthen the implementation of Sri Lanka's "Rubber Master Plan," a government-sponsored initiative to foster local manufacturing focused on producing for export.
GRI Managing Director Prabhash Subasinghe led a cornerstone-laying ceremony Jan. 4, saying the factory "will be designed and equipped with state-of-the-art technology, will focus on technical innovation, precision engineering and operational excellence."
The new plant will be the largest in Sri Lanka that is dedicated to making specialty tires and the first to produce radial agriculture tires, according to GRI. Upon opening, the plant will employ 200, but GRI expects to employ 350 when the factory is in full operation.
Established in 2002, GRI produces tires for forklifts, excavators, port trailers, airport equipment, construction vehicles, skid steer machines, OTR and agriculture equipment. The company, which has sales offices and warehouses in the U.S., France, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom and Australia, recently expanded its sales efforts in the U.S., buying control of Leffler Industrial Tire & Rubber Track Inc. and Kentucky Industrial Tire Inc.
This is the second new tire plant announcement in as many days in Sri Lanka. On Jan. 3, Rigid Tyre Corp. (Pvt.) Ltd. a new entity owned by a Middle Eastern businessman with multiple holdings in Sri Lanka, disclosed it was $77.5 million to build a plant in Horana.