Tyre manufacturer Marangoni distances from SL project as Volkswagen clarifies ‘beliefs’

Tyre manufacturer Marangoni distances from SL project as Volkswagen clarifies ‘beliefs’

Written by Staff Writer

08 Jan, 2017 | 10:08 pm

While news of the establishment of a vehicle assembly plant in Kuliyapitiya has sparked controversy in the country, as claims that the plant is being established by vehicle manufacturer “Volkswagen”, is being denied by the company itself, an article published in The Sunday Times newspaper today, January 8,  revealed another unacceptable debacle, involving an Italian tyre-manufacturing company.

The Sunday Times reports that Italian company, Marangoni, that was reported to be investing in a 75 million US Dollar or 11 billion rupee tyre-production plant in Sri Lanka under the Board of Investment, has distanced itself from the project.

Quoting a statement from Marangoni, The Sunday Times says that Marangoni is only involved indirectly in the possible $75 million investment in Sri Lanka.

The newspaper further reports that the investor in the alleged agreement is Ceylon Steel Corporation, owned by UAE-based Sri Lankan businessman Nandana Lokuvithana.

On Thursday last week the foundation stone for what is said to be the biggest fully integrated tyre-manufacturing plant in the country was laid under the auspices of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Wagawatthe, Horana.

The project is said to create more than 3000 direct and indirect jobs.

However, The Sunday Times, quoting a source, says that there is still no joint venture formed with Marangoni to set up the factory and neither has the BOI agreement for the project been signed.

According to The Sunday Times report, the Italian tyre firm says that “the news, does not refer to the industrial tyre segment but rather to a hypothetical transfer of technology to a Sri Lanka-based investor – Ceylon Steel Corporation – discussed as part of a possible joint venture in the passenger car tyre sector.”

The company goes on to say in its statement that, Marangoni has been operating its own industrial tyre manufacturing facilities in Sri Lanka since 2008. The plant was opened when production capacity in this segment at the original Rovereto site was no longer sufficient. At the same time, the location of the plant has allowed the company to exploit the possibility to enter and supply its products to new international markets.

On its official wesbite, Marangoni says it “ended its production activities in 2014 after the group’s decision to exit from the car and light tyres business. After seventy years of activity in the tyre business, Marangoni is today a worldwide recognised leader in the sector of retreading systems, design and manufacture of machinery for the tyre industry, production of industrial tyres and of technical compounds.”

The Sunday Times say that with Marangoni’s clarification this week, it becomes unclear where the $ 75 million pledged to the venture will be sourced from.

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