Indian fertilizer giant buys SLINTEC research for $ 3 mn


The Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology Pvt. Ltd. (SLINTEC), a public – private sector partnership with a 50-50 equity split last week wrapped-up a USD three million deal with a top Indian company selling two patents on sustained release of plant nutrients from chemical fertilizer and for further research on second and third generation fertilizer products.

Five of the country’s top private sector companies – Hayleys, MAS, Brandix, Loadstar and Dialog are equity partners of SLINTEC in which the government has invested heavily, bearing the cost of top of the range research facilities equipping the company’s Biyagama laboratories.

The Indian partner, Nagarjuna Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd. of Hyderabad, is a member of a group with business interest in plant nutrient, plant protection, water management, power, refineries, renewable energy and green chemicals with a presence in India, Africa and Latin America. It is one of the biggest players in fertilizer in India.

Nagarjuna read in a scientific journal of the work done by SLINTEC on the slow release of plant nutrients from chemical fertilizers and as the head of its emerging technologies division and vice president, Dr. Banibrata Pandey said on Thursday, ``I flew out here.’’

His company was most interested and SLINTEC scientists visited Hyderabad and vice versa to wrap up a deal considered win-win for both sides with Nagarjuna building a pilot plant in India in the short term to be followed by a commercial facility expected to be in production three or four years down the road.

``SLINTEC has the research capability and Nagarjuna the process capacity,’’ it was noted at the signing ceremony.

Of the three million dollars Nagarjuna is investing, USD 2.2 million is for two of SLINTECS patents and the balance for research on second and third generation fertilizer products.

SLINTEC Chairman Mahesh Amalean signed the agreement on behalf of the Sri Lanka company and Mr, R,S. Nanda, Senior advisor to the Indian company signed for Nagarjuna.

Amalean complimented the SLINTEC team for their work achieving a ``smart’’ solution for a complex problem of maximizing benefits of plant nutrients with significant benefits on both economic and environmental grounds.

Technology and Research Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi abd Indian High Commissioner Ashok. K Kantha were present at the signing of the agreement. The high commissioner noted that this initiative between a major Indian company and a leading technology institute in Sri Lanka would further strengthen economic engagement between the two countries.

The minister indicated that there were substantial provisions in the 2012 budget for development on a nano park and indicated that with further government investment in SLINTEC the private sector equity component was down to 32%.

SLINTEC’s patents range from the preparation of carbon nanotubes, a material 100 times stronger than steel, from vein graphite available here, the sustained release of agricultural macronutrients from chemical fertilizer and providing a superior middle layer for solid rubber tyres.

Other patents filed include a process for preparing nanoparticles from magnetite ore with applications MRI scanning and drug delivery to patient’s organs. A patent for a new ECG monitoring device where profiles of patients are transmitted to the doctor via blue tooth through a cell phone has also been filed.

While Nagarjuna will have global rights, excluding Sri Lanka, on the two patents, Hayleys who initiated the research will have the rights here.

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