Locally harvested natural rubber is the key raw material that Sri Lankan tyre maker GRI Tires utilises. It thus views natural rubber farmers as important stakeholders in the ‘GRI ecosystem’. This is an ecosystem that “focuses on sustainability and aims to inspire the farming communities by recognising their work as well as providing knowledge and skills for their development and optimising the yields from their natural rubber farms.”
GRI Tires reports that the second phase expansion of its new production facility, which began in January 2021, is progressing well despite the challenges posed by the current lockdown in Sri Lanka. It is building the new and advanced specialty tyre manufacturing plant next to the current facility with a total investment of US$100 million.
Sri Lankan tyre maker GRI Tires strives to be a responsible company that always recognises the importance of giving back to the country and its people, especially in times of need. Managing director Prabhash Subasinghe states that it “is ingrained in our DNA as an organisation to give back to society.”
GRI has held the latest in its series of events organised through its GREEN X Circle initiative. GRI’s Monaragala, Sri Lanka event brought together natural rubber and rice farmers to show their connectivity. Both farming communities are key stakeholders in the GRI value chain, the Sri Lankan speciality and agricultural tyre manufacturer states. The initiative’s purpose is to foster connectivity and collaboration between the two farming ecosystems while placing emphasis on sustainability principles.
GRI has laid the foundation stone for the second phase of its $100 million manufacturing facility in Badalgama, Sri Lanka. The plant, in the Mirigama Export Processing Zone will expand production of speciality tyres as global demand for its products grows. The company has been expanding rapidly since its $40 million-plus investment in the “world-class” manufacturing facility, inaugurated in 2018. Phase two will include a new mixing facility, expanding the original plant by the end of 2021.
Ferentino Tyre Corporation’s Horana, Sri Lanka tyre factory was officially opened by Sri Lankan president Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on 14 January 2021. The facility was constructed with an investment of US$250 million and can reportedly produce 2.4 million tyres annually. Tyres made at the Ferentino factory will cross a number of sectors including radial car, SUV, bicycle and even three-wheelers. These include a “Mythos” product line reminiscent of the Marangoni passenger car tyre range previously produced in the same place (see below). Of the 2.4 million tyres produced annually at the Ferentino factory in this phase, 80 per cent are destined for export markets. A second phase is scheduled to be completed in March 2022.
GRI recently held two outreach events with some of the natural rubber farming communities it works with. The events were held under GRI’s Green X Circle initiative which supports Sri Lanka’s farming communities and the country’s vibrant agricultural industry. Identifying a need for extra-curricular sporting activities and equipment for school children in the area, the company distributed cricket, volleyball and badminton equipment to selected schools in Monaragala, Sri Lanka.
At the start of 2021 GRI managing director Prabhash Subasinghe reflected on 2020 and shares his focus for 2021. Beginning with a reflection on the true meaning of resilience – something that is only put to the test only when you go through a year like 2020 – Subasinghe spoke proudly about GRI and the company’s home country Sri Lanka:
“I am humbled and proud of how resilient we were as people, a company, and a country. Our fortitude drove the way we interacted with society and the way we managed our relationships with our stakeholders. GRI showed an incredible amount of resilience in all facets.
Sri Lankan newspaper Daily FT reports that Chinese tyre maker Shandong Haohua Tire Co. Ltd. intends to build a factory in the country and produce both car and truck tyres there for export markets. The plant will be located on a 121 acre (49 hectare) site near the major port of Hambantota. Haohua Tire anticipates exporting its first tyres from the plant within three years.
GRI is supplying tyres to Joskin, the agricultural Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) based in Belgium. Announcing the news at the end of October, Joskin said it has been in operation since 1968 and is one of the world’s leading producers of agricultural trailers, tankers, and related equipment to meet the changing needs of global farmers.
During the last 18 years GRI has expanded significantly. Across the material handling, agricultural and construction segments, GRI now produces a total of 100 tonnes of tyres a day. Most recently the company added new mixing capacity in a bid to expand the company’s overall production output. So how does this particular action fit into the wider strategy? Tyres & Accessories interviewed GRI managing director Prabhash Subasinghe in order to find out.
Global Rubber Industries (Pvt.) Ltd. (GRI) has spent the last 18 years since its foundation cultivating its niche in the industrial, agricultural and construction tyre sectors. With ambitious capacity and expansion plans underway, Tyres & Accessories interviewed managing director Prabhash Subasinghe and learnt more about the company’s plans to build on its growth foundations.
This interview appears in full in the November edition of Tyres & Accessories magazine. Not yet a subscriber? You can change that here.
Specialty tyre manufacturer GRI is adding a new mixing facility in the Mirigama Export Processing Zone (MEPZ) in Sri Lanka. The new mixing facility will have capacity to produce 200 tonnes day, up from the current capacity of 50 – 60 metric tonnes a day, and is being interpreted as a pre-cursor to increased tyre output.
GRI recently hosted politicians from Sri Lanka’s Presidential Task Force on Economic Revival and Poverty Alleviation. Specifically, national dignitary Basil Rajapaksa made a visit to GRI’s new factory, which purportedly one of the largest specialty tyre plants in Sri Lanka and the first to produce radial agriculture tyres in the country.
GRI has upgraded its website (www.gritires.com). Now, according to the company, it features “streamlined navigation and recognizes the farmers, construction workers and forklift operators who move the world.”