Indian firm to invest in Sri Lanka

Colombo, Dec 1 (IANS) Three foreign companies, including an Indian sugar manufacturer, will set up factories at an economic zone in southern Sri Lanka that is centered around a $361 million China-funded harbour, a top official said there Thursday.

The Indian sugar company, a Singaporean petro-chemical plant and a Pakistani cement grinding factory are expected to begin building their factories this month, said Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Priyath Bandu Wickrama.

Since the end of Sri Lanka's three-decade-long conflict, the government has invested over $6 billion in infrastructure development, reported Xinhua.

Hambantota, where the port was built, is the constituency of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and has seen a jump in investment with highways, international airport, port, economic zone and even an international cricket stadium being built there.

The Hambantota city also bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games but lost the bid last month to Australia's Gold Coast.

In its latest investment, the Thatta Cement Company of Pakistan has been given cabinet approval to set up a cement grinding and bagging plant in Hambantota.

The entry of Singapore, India and Pakistan is expected to boost foreign direct investment in Sri Lanka, bringing it closer to the record target of $1 billion earmarked by the government for 2011.