Japan’s SBI Group invests USD 2 Mn in Watawala Dairy Farm

Capital infusion to help WATA expand the dairy business, drive sustainable fresh milk
production in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s leading agribusiness company Watawala Plantations PLC
(CSE: WATA) announced that SBI Ven Holdings (Pte) Limited, the overseas private
equity firm of SBI Holdings Inc., has invested USD 2 million in Watawala Dairy Farm
through Watawala Dairy Limited (WDL).
The investment will further propel WATA’s dairy operations in the country and contribute
to the economy by committing to the Government’s effort to promote local milk
production and towards the goal of achieve self-sufficiency in milk. Furthermore,
Watawala Plantations plans to utilise the investment to expand the herd (reach 1000
milking cows), further improve its infrastructure to function at optimal levels and to
strengthen the upstream value chain.
The strategic venture offers SBI Ven Holdings an 11% stake in Watawala Dairy Ltd.
Watawala Plantations, in the meantime, will invest Rs. 296 million to settle inter-
company debt and strengthen the balance sheet of WDL.
The state-of-the-art dairy farm by Watawala Dairy Limited is a Board of Investment
(BOI) registered project situated in Watawala, Ginigathhena. The project commenced in
March 2016 as a pilot project called ‘Lonach Farm’ with 120 cattle, three cow houses
and a milking parlour. Today, the farm manages a herd of 1600 dairy cattle, where 800
are milking cows. Using an ultramodern milking parlour system, the farm currently
produces around 18,000 litres of fresh milk per day and 540,000 litres per month.
Annually, the farm releases 6.5 million litres of milk to the local market, which is 3.5% of
the annual Sri Lankan milk production.
Commenting on their latest association with Japan’s financial giant, Watawala
Plantations Chief Executive Officer Binesh Pananwala said, “At a time where the
investor confidence and sentiment have been greatly affected, SBI Ven Holdings’s
investment on Watawala Dairy Limited brings in vital foreign direct investments (FDI) to
Sri Lanka when it is much needed in the market and the economy. Not only this
strategic investment paves a path for us to support the Government’s vision to promote
local milk production and achieve self-sufficiency in milk by 2025, but it also validates
our long term vision and investor-friendly corporate governance framework, helping us
to build confidence and attract leading global equity firms like SBI Ven Holdings.”
WDL aims to drive sustainable production of fresh milk in Sri Lanka. The company is
conscious that healthy husbandry covering sound animal health and welfare underpins
high yields and quality of milk. The farm provides facilities to a healthy herd with feed
supplements scientifically formulated by a global expert nutritionist with the construction
of its feed mill to process the special cattle feed. Stringent hygiene farm management
controls have been implemented within the farm, conforming to international standards,
including adequate clean water, slurry, and effluent management systems.

Furthermore, Watawala Dairy has taken steps to provide vital support to the entire
maize farming community in Sri Lanka and bolster Sri Lanka’s rural economy by
managing and purchasing maize supply to the farm from harvesters. Since 2017, the
company has invested a significant amount in purchasing maize from more than 40
suppliers from regions like Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Ampara, Monaragala and

Watawala Plantations Chief Executive Officer Binesh Pananwala

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *