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Baurs Builds Rs. 350 Mn. Office

  • Profits Up 470% In Sw. Fr. Terms

Lakshman
Niyangoda and Thomas F.
Daetwyler

Swiss headquartered A. Baur & Co. (Pvt.) Ltd., laid the foundation stone on Thursday (January 23) for the construction of a Rs. 350 million eight storeyed office complex at its Grandpass premises.

Lakshman Niyangoda, the company’s first Sri Lankan Managing Director (MD)/CEO told this reporter that if all goes well, the office complex will be ready by June of next year.

The problem is to find skilled construction labour, he said.

At a ceremony held in Colombo on Wednesday to fete his appointment, Niyangoda said that four of these storeys would comprise parking areas for vehicles. Baurs which is a multi million dollar operation in Sri Lanka dealing in fertilizer, pharmaceuticals and agriculture exports also has plans to build a state of the art warehousing complex in the same place.

It will kick off once the new office complex gets going, he said. The company will also implement a multi million rupee ERP system by the year end, so that it would be able to operate in a paperless environment in keeping to the vision of its Swiss Chairman Thomas F. Daetwyler, the company’s previous MD/CEO who was promoted to his current position as the company chairman on January 1, where previously Niyangoda functioned as his Deputy MD.

Prior to Daetwyler’s appointment, the company’s honorary chairman was another Swiss, Thilo W. Hoffman.

This 117 year old company in Sri Lanka is headquartered at Upper Chatham Street, Colombo provides direct employment to 600 and indirect employment to 250.

Niyangoda said that after Daetwyler came to Sri Lanka 17 years ago in 1997, the company’s rupee income increased by 10 fold or by 850% and in Swiss Francs (Sw. Fr.) parlance it increased by four fold or by 270%. Similarly net profit increased by 15 fold or by 1,400% and in Sw. Fr. terms by six fold or by 470%.

He said that the secret of this success was increasing staff productivity as the staff numbers were kept constant during this period.

Niyangoda said that the company originally began as a coconut plantation company but lost its estates in the 1972 Land Reforms. It’s a tribute to its Swiss trustees that it didn’t abandon Sri Lanka then, he said.

The company is controlled by Bauer Foundation, Switzerland.

Niyangoda said that it was Daetwyler who was responsible in expanding Baur’s operations to Thailand and Singapore and also setting up Baur Life Sciences (Pvt.) Ltd., the Group’s venture in to the pharmaceuticals business.

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