Monthly Archives: April 2015

SMI Housing launches Orwell Residency

(Sunday Observer : 05 April 2015)


"The Orwell Residency, an up-market luxury apartment project of SMI Housing Developments (Pvt) Ltd will be the latest addition to the apartment industry of Sri Lanka.

Spurred by the success of the first project, Orwell Residency has embarked on its second project at a prime location in Kollupitiya.

"We are an Indian company having a local partner and based in Sri Lanka. The apartment complex we are building at present consists of a 200-room hotel, three shopping malls each with 150,000 square feet and residency units," SMI Housing Developments (Pvt) Ltd, Director Fazrin Ibrahim said.

"Our Indian business includes garment factories and we also have garment factories in Sri Lanka and have ventured into the food sector by introducing Pepsico snacks to the local market," he said.

SMI Housing Development is a BOI approved company.

"We signed an agreement with Maga Engineering (Pvt) Ltd for the construction of the apartment complex. Maga Engineering headed by Captain Kularatne is working towards making our project a success," he said.

The Orwell Residency is a 26-storied structure with 65, three bedroomed apartments, each with a floor area of 1,700 square feet. The features of these apartments are fully equipped gym, lapping swimming pool, lobby, reception and recreation area.

The increase in the family-oriented upper middle class community has provided an ideal and viable business proposition for housing and construction related business.

"The apartment land at Deal Place, Colombo 3 is a privately owned property and we entered into an agreement with them to enable us to move forward with the project. Although, construction is at the initial stage, we have already sold 65 percent of the apartment," Ibrahim said.

The piling of the residential project is already completed and the company schedule to complete the entire project by May 2017.

Abut 70 percent of those who have purchased the apartments are locals while the rest are foreigners."This is because the price and location are right. Customers have confidence in the product we offer. The units which have all the facilities for top-end clients will be a landmark in apartment living," he said.

"We will further expand our apartment and residential portfolio by adding more projects in the future. Our main concentration will be on prime residential apartments, Ibrahim said."

Building blocks of success: Maga Engineering turns 30

(Ceylon Today : 13 November 2014)


Q:How did Maga come about and what are your strengths?
A: I worked as an administrator for a few Japanese companies in the mid 1970s. At these companies I learnt about construction management, the related issues and procedures in this business. I decided to set up a construction company which resembled a Japanese company with proper work ethics and so on in 1983. Starting with a small capital, I invited my brother and a friend to join in.

The work experience we gained while working as a subcontractor to Japanese firms was really helpful. We earned goodwill especially for timely completion and the quality of the work. It gave us a major breakthrough to become a key construction firm. The greatest strength of Maga is my team. As we celebrate three decades of success, I would like to express my gratitude to my staff.

From the inception, Maga was driven by a vibrant team which was the nucleus behind its success. Another key strength of our company is that we never compromise quality for anything. Another fact is that we take utmost care in completing the projects in the given period and fulfilling the customer requirement. This paved us the way to become the number one constructor in the country.

Our core business strategy has always been to provide quality construction products and services within the shortest possible time, and at the most competitive prices. These facets are underscored by exceptional quality and a remarkable after-sales service. The organization has earned itself an enviable reputation in the industry for speedy construction of buildings, roads, bridges, water supply and drainage facilities, and marine structures. It also possesses the largest capacity in terms of volume — providing total construction solutions from concept to conclusion.

Q:What are the challenges before you?
A: The major issue is that the country does not have enough skilled workmen. We find it extremely difficult to find good managerial level personnel in Sri Lanka due to the high levels of brain drain into Middle Eastern countries. I think there was a mismatch between educational qualifications and industry requirements as well. However, I think this issue has been given some importance and we see an improvement.

I also think there is a great need for an attitude change among our people. If we think the money will resolve all our issues we may be wrong; there should be basic values in our lives. No matter what business we are in, as humans we must maintain basic values. If we do not maintain those values the social structure will be in danger of collapse. As a firm, we address these issues in all our forums and keep educating our team.

We have been able to generate an average of 20%-25% increase in our revenues and we were able to maintain that impetus up to date. We reinvest over 90% of our profits back into the business and that it one of the reasons why we are the leader in the industry today. We also invest over four per cent of our profits on research and development, which I think is imperative for the firm which is engaged in a highly competitive industry.

The re-investing has helped us acquire the plant and machinery required for large construction projects from reputable international suppliers, and it successfully built up a dynamic and dedicated team armed with the necessary knowledge and experience to offer world-class standards. It is the company's dedication to high quality and its depth of experience that has enabled Maga to secure some of the most prestigious construction projects in Sri Lanka.
This year, we expect a growth of over 25%.

Q: How has the construction industry performed during the past five years?
A: With the dawn of peace, we saw that the industry picking up with tremendous momentum. Last year, the industry showed an accelerated 23% growth, which is far ahead of the economic growth. The contribution of the construction industry over the past 10 years has been significant to the growth trajectory of the economy, and we expect that the industry would grow steadily in the years to come.

Q: Where would you see Maga in 2020?
A: Well...we would like it to be developed beyond our Sri Lankan borders. We have already planned for it, and our vision by 2020 is to be on par with any international construction company while anchoring more and more into the local soil.

Q: What are your views on urban regeneration?
A: I think it is imperative for any country. If we look back at the situation in China and Japan; one of the major problems they faced was improper urbanization. With well planned infrastructure improvement and town planning they were able to overcome that situation. I think in the near future the city of Colombo and other major towns in our country also will be in good shape and will become model cities in the world.

Q: Are there any plans for diversifying into other sectors?
A: Well...there are future plans for diversifying into new sectors; but at the moment we do not have any immediate plans. Currently we specialize in what we do best. We got few offers from leading international companies to merge with them to enter the Colombo Stock Exchange, but we turned it down as it was too early to enter the market then. However, as we grow we will consider such opportunities for the best of the company and for the country.

Q: What qualities must businessmen possess in order to be successful?
A: The foremost thing is discipline. I think it is important inculcate discipline and create a passion for work. There are some contractors who can do a decent job within the given timeframe. But a great majority has still to learn planning, organizing and managing the projects. They should resort to build stable and reliable organizations. Discipline is important for a person to succeed.

It is crucial to uphold business ethics and social values while we are generating profits. As businessmen we work towards earning good profit margins, but we must also appreciate our human values and do something in turn for the country and for its people. If we forget the values and continue focusing on other benefits only, it is inevitable that the foundation that we built will be fractured. So, I believe that all the industry stakeholders should take these facts into consideration.

Q: What are the key projects in the pipeline for Maga?
A: At the moment there are quite a few significant projects that we are involved in both public and private sectors. During this month as we celebrate the 30th anniversary, we will also reach the structural completion of the tallest building (205m) in Sri Lanka, the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Colombo. We are in the process of completing the 97km Anuradhapura-Trincomalee Road, NSBM green University in Homagama, 47-storey Clearpoint Residencies — Sri Lanka's first sustainable high-rise and world's first vertical garden to name a few.
We are in the process of building a 32-storey head office in Narahenpita with an investment of Rs 2.8 billion, which will be completed by 2016.

Q: What are your views on green buildings?
A: We were one of the pioneering companies that introduced green building to Sri Lanka. Our first project was the MAS Thulhiriya project. Green building is costly compared to the traditional construction methods, but the benefits are much greater. Sustainable development was at the core for Maga Engineering since inception, and has been embedded in the company and its operations. We are one of the first private companies in Sri Lanka to publish its performance in a dedicated Sustainability Report as per the guidelines of Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The trust placed in the company by our stakeholders helped Maga secure the Platinum rating in Sri Lanka's Corporate Accountability Index, and the first Green Award in the public and private sector.

Q: What are the company's achievements?
A: Maga won a record of 71 National Construction awards within 20 years. We were also recognized as the leader in the Construction and Engineering sector by the National Chamber of Commerce for six consecutive years. Maga was the first Sri Lankan construction company to possess an integrated quality, health, safety and environmental system certified to international standards, and the first privately-owned company in the country to publish under the Global Reporting Initiative G4 guidelines, the world's leading standards for sustainability reporting.

Q: What are your views on the current national development initiatives of the government?
A: In this country, for over 30 years the infrastructure development was neglected. Soon before the war was ended the government initiated some major infrastructure projects, and I believe that it was a right decision, which any responsible government would take. By the time terrorism was defeated the government was in a position to provide roads, bridges, water supply, irrigation system, electricity and communication network to the people to freely move and continue their normal livelihoods. So, I think the government had recognized the needs and implemented correct policies to develop the country in the right directions.

I still feel that, although Maga has achieved such a great status in this country; company's vision has to be carried forward into the fourth decade focused on making optimum use of the collective resources — its managerial proficiency, employee expertise, brand name and financial strength, whilst continuously refining the efficiency of processes, and unwavering adherence to quality, safety, environment and sustainable development.

Maga Engineering to venture overseas

(Daily News : 14 November 2014)


Maga Engineering Chairman and Managing Director M. G. Kularatne.   Picture by Mahinda Vithanachchi

Leading constructor Maga Engineering which has undertaken more than Rs 100 billion worth of contracts in the country is now planning to penetrate into oversees projects in the future.

“The company has secured more than 100 huge contracts in the Sri Lankan construction sector with 30 years in the business and is now going global,” Maga Engineering Chairman and Managing Director M. G. Kularatne told a media conference announcing 30 years of their business in the construction sector.

He said that the company during its 30 years of business has reached the pinnacle in the construction industry with a workforce exceeds 14,000 in number includes a highly experienced and talented professionals.

Kularatne said Clearpoint residencies at Rajagiriya, a 47 storied high rise building, the world's tallest residential vertical garden to be NSBM Green University Town-South Asian’s first green university to be and the 47 storied Grand Hyatt Colombo Hotel have impressed many overseas companies too.He said with these developments the company has recorded a 25 percent growth for the last few years to attract local skill to stop brain drain in the country. Therefore, with the penetrating into overseas construction business the local skills professionals will get opportunities work overseas, he said.

Chief Executive Director M. Piyadasa said Maga made its presence in almost all the key areas in the construction industry and has completed over 400 multidisciplinary projects from buildings to roads, bridges, water supply and marine during these 30 years.

He said the last decade marks significant for Maga as it could complete several projects with national importance during this period. Amongst them are the A-9 road,the Jaffna Teaching hospital, the Kalladi Bridge,the A 35 road, Northern Road connectivity are some of the major projects.

Maga Engineering To Initiate Projects Worth Rs.30bn

(Daily Mirror : 14 November 2014)


Construction industry leader Maga Engineering (Maga) has projects worth nearly Rs.30 billion to be initiated in the coming months, which could exceed Rs.80 billion before the end of the financial year.“We’ve submitted a proposal to the government to undertake a 28 kilometre stretch of the Northern Highway. It’s worth Rs.54 billion,” Maga Development Director Mega Kularatne said.

According to him, for the financial year 2014/15, the company has so far attracted over Rs.26 billion in contracts.Mega Kularatne said that the company has been growing between 15-20 percent annually for the past decade, while Maga Chairman and Managing Director M.G. Kularatne said immediately past years have seen a growth of 20 to 25 percent.Yet, with the incoming Chinese investments for construction, the industry has only seen an annual growth of 13 to 15 percent.Mega Kularatne said that the industry can contribute towards sustainable growth of the country and escape the middle-income trap.“The industry will have to work on research and development (R&D) and innovation.

It must plan to invest heavily on people and conduct continual professional development to reduce the brain drain,” he said.He also said that while the industry has i mproved i n road construction, energy generation and air/sea port construction are lagging behind.“Ports, airports and power generation need to acquire cuttingedge technology and expertise via joint ventures with foreigners,” he said.Meanwhile, M.G. Kularatne said that the company is attempting to expand, not through diversification into a conglomerate but across borders.“Not going for it (diversification) has helped us grow by investing the profits intelligently into our specialization. Next year, we are going for overseas tenders,” M.G. Kularatne said.The company will be targeting Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa.Maga is currently involved in constructing the AmbepussaGalewela and AnuradhapuraTrincomalee roads.It just completed the 47-storey Clearpoint Residencies in Rajagiriya for Rs.6 billion and is constructing the 47-storey Grand Hyatt Colombo Hotel for Rs.10 billion, which when completed would be the tallest building in the country, and the NSBM Green University Town, South Asia’s first green campus for Rs.8.75 billion.

It also completed MAS Thurulie factory in 2008, the world’s first purpose-built carbon-neutral plant.“Through t hese, we are not just contributing to green or corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities but also towards the sustainability of the country,” Mega Kularatne said.The comments were made during the 30th anniversary celebrations of Maga, at Hilton Colombo.The company’s workforce exceeds 14,000 and has been awarded over 78 national construction awards and has also been recognized as the fourth in Sri Lanka’s Corporate Accountability Index.