HORANA, Sri Lanka—Ferentino Tyre Corp. Pvt. Ltd., an enterprise backed by United Arab Emirates-based investment company Onyx Group, has commissioned production at a $250 million factory at a site southwest of Colombo.
The project dates to January 2017, when the company—previously known as Rigid Tyre Corp. (Pvt.) Ltd.—disclosed plans to build the plant in an industrial park in Horana, using equipment acquired from Italy's Marangoni Group.
The company did not explain the reasons for the name change, but it promotes its "Italian heritage" on its website.
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Onyx Group Chairman Nandana Lokuvithana were on hand along with other company and local dignitaries at the plant's opening ceremony on Jan. 14.
The plant has capacity for passenger, SUV, truck and two- and three-wheeler tires. Annual capacity is projected to reach 2.4 million units, around 80 percent of which will be exported—with the first consignment earmarked for shipping to the U.S., although the U.S. Department of Transportation does not list a DOT tire ID code for the factory.
The principals involved call this South Asia's largest tire plant.
The factory was built on a 155-acre site that belongs to BOI Industrial Zone in Wagawatta, Horana, located about 30 miles southwest of Colombo. Investment of the first phase is $100 million. Phase 2 is scheduled to be completed by March 2022.
The company did not disclose the number of workers it expects to employ, but a statement from Rajapaksa's office said the project will lead to the "creation of a large number of direct and indirect jobs and the high prices offered to local rubber growers."
The company, it noted, has also taken steps to recruit qualified women for the posts "in the technical divisions beyond the existing standard limits in the manufacturing sector."
Lokuvithana is chairman of Ceylon Steel Corp. and its member company MA Steel Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd., as well as chairman of Onyx Group, a diversified holding company in United Arab Emirates.