July 29, Colombo: Japan's Fortune 500 company Sumitomo Corporation, one of the world's largest general trading companies is to re-enter Sri Lanka with a new strategy.
Sri Lanka's Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiyutheen has recently welcomed a special Sumitomo Corporation delegation led by Masahiro Fujita, the Managing Executive Officer and Assistant General Manager of the Tokyo-based conglomerate.
"We warmly welcome back Sumitomo Corp which left Sri Lanka in 2009. Our government is prepared do everything possible to facilitate your prompt re-entry," the Minister has told the delegation at a meeting last week.
Sumitomo Corporation, whose 2012 revenue is estimated at US$ 26.8 billion, began operations in Sri Lanka in 1968 but pulled back in 2009 leaving only a mini-rep office in Colombo. The conglomerate is well-known in the country for its heavy machinery, cranes and telecom towers.
"This is our prior-entry fact finding mission to Sri Lanka. We are keen for re-entry. We were previously well known in Sri Lanka for trade (chemicals, steel), and infrastructure (water supply and telecommunications)," Fujita has said adding that now in their re-entry, they are focusing on steel products, agro-chemicals and food sectors.
Minister Bathiyutheen, welcoming the initiative has encouraged the company to enter construction in tourism, industry infrastructure and value added rubber production for export in addition to the food processing, agro chemicals and steel sectors.
"I believe Sumitomo can also play a strong role in the value added rubber-supply chain to Japanese auto makers via Sri Lanka," the Minister has pointed out.
In January this year, Marubeni Corp, another Japanese conglomerate that pulled out from Sri Lanka in 2008, announced its return, according to the Minister.