“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,” said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen addressing the special Sumitomo Corporation delegation led by Masahiro Fujita, Managing Executive Officer and Assistant General Manager of Tokyo-based Sumitomo Corporation, when they made a courtesy call on Bathiudeen yesterday at the Ministry.
Accompanying Fujita were Shigeki Ohno (GM, Corporate Planning of Sumitomo Corporation Asia Ltd., Singapore), Masahiro Yamamoto (Asia & Oceanic Team, Sumitomo Tokyo) and Keiichi Takahashi (Sumitomo India-Chennai).
Sumitomo Corp, is considered one the biggest trading houses in Japan, with 2012 revenue estimated at $ 26.8 billion.
It began operations in Sri Lanka in 1968 but pulled back in 2009, leaving only a mini-rep office in Colombo. Well known in Sri Lanka for its heavy machinery, cranes and telecom towers, Sumitomo Corp employs 5,185 employees across 65 countries. This year Sumitomo Corp is aggressively reaching out across the globe with many mergers and acquisitions.
“This is our prior-entry fact-finding mission to Sri Lanka. We are keen on re-entry. We were previously well known in Sri Lanka for trade (chemicals and steel) and infrastructure (water supply and telecommunications).
In our re-entry, we are closely looking at steel products, agro-chemicals and food sectors,” Fujita revealed.
He added: “Our Singapore unit has capacity in non-ferrous metals, tubular products such as oil pipes and storage, transportation and construction systems, and in organic chemicals and plastics.”
Addressing Fujita, Bathiudeen said: “We encourage you to enter our food processing, agro chemicals and steel sectors. We also invite you to look at construction in tourism, industry infrastructure and value added rubber production for export. I believe Sumitomo can also play a strong role in the value added rubber-supply chain to Japanese auto makers via Sri Lanka.”
In January this year, Marubeni Corp, yet another Japanese conglomerate that pulled out from Sri Lanka in 2008, announced its return to Bathiudeen, who pledged the fullest support of the Government for its re-entry.