Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 05 June 2016





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Five Mumbai-based companies to invest:

India to be Stakeholder in Port City

Five leading Indian companies, based in Mumbai, have expressed willingness to invest in the Chinese-funded Colombo Port City project.

Three of the five companies already have a strong presence in Sri Lanka, top government sources told the Sunday Observer. With this development, India, which earlier raised concerns over the Colombo Port City project, is likely to become an important stakeholder of the development plan.

CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd Sales and Marketing Head Liang Thow Ming left for India last week to have discussions with potential Indian investors.

The meetings were facilitated by John Lang Lasalle (JLL), a well-known real estate broking firm, which already has a modest presence in Sri Lanka. It was the first time the company went on to launch a region-specific marketing exercise to rope in potential investors for Colombo Port City.

“Our interactions with Indian businessmen were highly successful. We received a warm welcome in India. Our decision to engage with Indian businessmen was purely a marketing strategy. We want the Port City project to deliver results,” Ming told the Sunday Observer.

However, Ming said he was not in a position to disclose the names of the five Indian companies which expressed willingness to invest in the project. Several business and economic analysts told the Sunday Observer that the company’s move to interact with Indian businessmen was a ‘masterstroke’ to allay India’s fears over the project.

“When India develops business interests in the project, they will not be in a position to resist the Port City over geo-political concerns. Approaching India to invest in the Port City is a masterstroke from a strategic point of view. On the other hand, it ensures a win-win solution to all stakeholders,” a prominent economist, who closely studied the Port City project from the outset said.

The Chinese company and the Urban Development Authority(UDA) have formulated a mechanism to approve investment for the Colombo Port City. The UDA, the body representing the Sri Lankan government, will function as the final approving authority, as far as investments are concerned.

“However, every investment will have to be ratified by the Chinese company as well. When giving the green light, the UDA will take the Chinese company’s endorsement into consideration. At the same time, to fast track the operations of the project, the UDA has already formed a special unit, dedicated to the Colombo Port City,” a highly placed government source told the Sunday Observer on Friday. “The company and the Sri Lankan government are looking at the project from a commercial perspective. When roping investors for the Port City project, we won’t worry too much about their nationality. Everyone will be assessed based on competence, scales of investments and willingness to adhere to our standards and regulations. The selection process will be objective and transparent,” he further added.

“In addition to India, we believe the Colombo Port City will be an exciting project for South East Asian investors who are now venturing into global investments. On the other hand, Western countries too have an opportunity to join hands with the project,” he said.


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