MTD Walkers PLC, the new management holding of Kapila, last week unveiled plans to set up a fully-fledged master workshop, including a state-of-the-art steel fabrication plant, in Sri Lanka under an investment of approximately US$ 2.5 million.
"This modern plant, which will further enhance our engineering and infrastructure development capabilities, will be established at Malwana, Chairman Dato Azmil Dato’ Khalid said.
Research and development of two patents are now on the drawing boards and when ready would be launched to the market, he said.
"On the stock exchange, the share value of our company which was earlier Rs. 15/- per share has now stabilized at Rs. 75/-. This upward trend has happened comparatively in the short run", Dato’ Khalid told a Press conference which followed the company’s Annual General Meeting in Colombo.
Net profit at Rs. 39 million although quite substantial, perhaps sounds somewhat ordinary. The company’s performance after some time in remote mode, had now recorded turn around, which would augur well for the future in positive terms.
Kapila Heavy, successors to Walker Sons & Company Ltd., which had veered away from traditional tea manufacture machinery, had not catered to growing demands for low country manufacture. Stemming from that decision, dormancy set in till MTD Walkers PLC, succeeded the holding company and ensured a vibrant recovery to record net profits as indicated to shareholders at the AGM, That too in the short run.
Dato’ Khalid said the parent company’s investment in Sri Lanka was $750 million. Having invested capital, they had put in place a cross section of cost cutting applications and having done that they were able to record substantial turn around in its first year of operations.
Financial results showed efficacy in measures taken and the bottom line showed quite a comfortable picture, he stressed.
Organic growth or mergers were options available. However, having identified areas for strengthening, their cost cutting options did not mean that employees would be dismissed. On the contrary, lateral CSR applications were put in place recognizing importance of their people who were their major assets, the Chairman noted.
The business undertakings of Walker Sons Ltd, with over 150 years manufacturing heavy machinery, would be rejuvenated, said Krishan Jayasundera, Head of Plantation Engineering.
Invention of the new Walkers tea roller was an automated sensor driven machine which was similar to the old Walkers roller only in shape. And perhaps the roller table and battens. Its mechanism and other features were driven by sensors, which would automatically adjust the pressure cap and at end of each discharge of dhool as a pre-timed operation, he explained.
He said they would also be fabricating a tea dryer but not the expected fluid bed dryer patented by the TRI in the mid 1970s. Particularly because their newer machines were for low country manufacture and also for manufacture of orthodox tea.
Dato’ Khalid said all indications were that MTD Walkers were here to stay and develop further as a commercial entity.