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Aitken Spence revives two closed garment factories in Koggala EPZ

Thursday, 10 August 2023 00:44 –      – 884

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Aitken Spence PLC has successfully rejuvenated two apparel factories that had been forced to shut down amid challenging global market conditions.

The move comes as a beacon of hope for over 2,500 workers who had lost their livelihoods and adds momentum to Sri Lanka’s efforts to bolster its economy. Board of Investment in a statement described it as a remarkable initiative aimed at revitalising Sri Lanka’s apparel industry.

These two garment factories, which were exclusively exporting to the American market, had ceased operations due to the economic turmoil in the United States and China. The closure of these factories had resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs and significant economic disruption. The factories, located in the Koggala Investment Processing Zone, held machinery valued at hundreds of millions of US dollars.

Intervention from the BOI proved to be pivotal in this rejuvenation effort.

Aitken Spence, a pioneering company with a strong presence in the country, stepped up to the challenge and collaborated to re-establish the factories. Under the banner of Ace Apparels, plans were set in motion to breathe new life into these production facilities. The initial phase of this endeavour involves an investment exceeding $ 3.6 million.

On 28 July an agreement sealing this groundbreaking initiative was signed by BOI Chairman Dinesh Weerakkoddy and Aitken Spence PLC Director Dr. Rohan Fernando.

Ace Apparels CEO Lushan Perera expressed optimism about the reinvigorated factory’s potential to create substantial employment opportunities and contribute to the region’s growth. He revealed plans to initiate the production process within a span of two months.

Given the ongoing challenges in the global economic landscape, Aitken Spence’s strategy revolves around the pursuit of competitive products and new markets.  Perera emphasised the importance of expanding into emerging Asian countries such as India, China, Indonesia, and Japan.

BOI’s Koggala Investment Processing Zone Director Priyanka Ranatunga highlighted the positive impact of this revitalisation effort. Currently, the Koggala region sustains a workforce of approximately 11,000 individuals engaged in foreign exchange activities. With the establishment of the new factories, this figure is anticipated to rise to 13,500, ushering in a wave of direct and indirect employment opportunities. Furthermore, industry experts predict a resurgence in order volumes by the end of the year, with the factories poised to regain their competitive edge.

BOI said the revival of these once-closed factories stands as a testament to the resilience and collaborative spirit of Sri Lanka’s business community. Aitken Spence’s investment in this venture not only reinstates lost jobs but also rejuvenates the nation’s export potential, igniting optimism for a brighter economic future.

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