CIC steps up agriculture, health care businesses

CIC Holdings Plc is working on joint ventures with Israel and Pakistan to strengthen two of the company’s main business sectors – agriculture and healthcare/pharmaceutical products.

The company is investing Rs. 1 billion to launch the cultivation of vegetables in greenhouses using the latest technology. “The company is tying up with an Israeli partner to share the latest technologies in agriculture and have signed an agreement already,” Managing Director/CEO, CIC, Samantha Ranatunga told the Business Observer. Higher value vegetables will be grown for export supporting the country’s export drive and building CIC’s reputation as an exporter of high quality vegetables.

The investment in greenhouses seeks to mitigate the impact of adverse weather, land and labour shortages which regularly hamper the output of the agriculture sector.

“We want to export to the region and currently we are in the process of setting up of greenhouses on a 25-hectare land owned by the company closer to the airport.

It is going to be a totally weather controlled, extremely sophisticated agri project,” he said.

As a diversified conglomerate with a strong presence in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors of the economy, we are significantly impacted by both local and global economic trends, he said.

The company is also planning to expand its pharmaceutical business sector with a Pakistani supplier, who has been a partner with the company for some time now. “We will bring out the second phase of expansion with the same business partner.”

The company’s performance review for the financial year ended 31st March 2016 said the pharmaceuticals manufacturing cluster changed direction moving from antibiotics to produce lifestyle medications which are necessary for control of diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol and acid reflux providing a stable source of income for the company.

Its subsidiary, Link Natural Products continues to maintain its unique growth momentum through strong distribution networks and product innovation to cater to strong demand for its popular products Samahan, Link Sudantha and Pas Panguwa as renewed interest in alternative medicines drives demand. Medical Devices also experienced strong growth reaching revenues of over Rs.1 billion supported by strong growth in demand for healthcare coupled with increased disposable income and increased government expenditure, the financial report stated.

“Samahan and Sudantha products are doing great in the export market with foreign earnings totalling US$ 300 million. Samahan is now sold in Europe, Australia, Canada and Japan,” Kulatunga said.

“We are also trying to get our product supply chain organised by getting supplies from our own farms in the future.”

The company is also trying out new, neutral tastes and bases such as coffee for Samahan to promote it as a healthy drink among people across the globe. “We are doing trials with research groups on Samahan as an immunity builder- some research has already confirmed improved health among those who used the product on a daily basis,” he claimed.

CIC Holdings PLC recorded a profit after tax of Rs. 1,633.83 million reflecting a strong growth of 57% YoY. The encouraging performance was largely attributable to the Group-wide re-structuring undertaken to refocus on our core competencies and the rigorous performance review processes established by the Board in 2014.

Revenue growth was 13% propelled by increased production capacity, improved distribution, high levels of brand recognition and customer loyalty in most sectors.

Growth in profits is largely attributable to re-aligning of businesses, streamlined processes, increasing economies of scale and disciplined cost management.

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