Prima Ceylon, the flagship company of the Prima Group Sri Lanka, celebrated four decades of successful partnerships and growing together with the nation, at an event recently in Trincomalee, where its state-of-the-art flour milling complex and one of the largest flour mills in the world under one roof, is located.
Being Sri Lanka’s first recorded Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 1977, Prima Ceylon’s core business is wheat flour milling and distribution. For four decades, Prima has played a dynamic and vital role to help bolster Sri Lanka’s food security, foreign reserves, employment opportunities, the local bakery industry and related industries, staying true to its corporate purpose ‘we provide solutions to help you grow’.
To mark its 40th year, Prima Ceylon will launch a programme to recognise and celebrate innovative and successful Sri Lankans from the food industry across the country, with the aim of inspiring future entrepreneurs and businesses to continue to raise the standards of the country’s bakery and wheat flour- based industrial sectors.
The programme titled: ‘Your Progress – Our Pride’, will feature local entrepreneurs who have built thriving businesses over the past 40 years, creating job opportunities, contributing to the local economy, supporting local communities and innovating the industry. The programme will share the remarkable stories of these unsung heroes of the country, detailing their lives, trials, lessons and success.
This follows an earlier announcement by Prima to establish a SGD 2 million scholarship with the Singapore Management University for Sri Lankan undergraduates, as part of its 40th year partnership with the island by facilitating higher education of Sri Lankan students studying in Singapore. This fund was further supported by another SGD 1 million by the Singapore Government, totalling the value of the scholarship to SGD 3 million.
Speaking on Prima Ceylon’s 40th year in Sri Lanka, Mr. Primus Cheng, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Prima Group, said: “Our current investment in Sri Lanka amounts to USD 240 million. It is an investment we are proud of, and we will continue to explore new opportunities to add value to the country and our business partners. This year marks 40 years of Singaporean – Sri Lankan cooperation, 40 years of foreign direct investment in Sri Lanka and 40 years of Prima progressing together with the country’s people.”
Commenting on the landmark milestone, Mr. Tan Beng Chuan, Group General Manager, Prima Group said:
“We have strived at all times to serve Sri Lanka as beyond a flour producer. We work very closely with remarkable Sri Lankans in the Baking and related industries, helping enhance their businesses through skills, equipment and infrastructure development. Over our 40 year journey here, we have been privileged to witness the determination, strength and resilience of Sri Lankans. We are confident that our relationship with this great nation will only get stronger in the years to come as we continue to serve our purpose of delivering the highest quality products whilst contributing to the growth of Sri Lanka’s socio-economic status.”
Prima Ceylon operates one of the largest integrated flour milling complexes in the world. The facility is equipped with Swiss technology, a high efficiency grain milling capacity (3,650 MT per day), mega silos storage (350,000 MT) and the ability to directly berth (100,000 MT) ‘cape-size’ bulk carriers, which are some of the largest carriers in the world. With this capacity Prima Ceylon is able to provide a continuous supply of quality consistent wheat flour to the nation, ensuring food security, regardless of any external environmental factors. Its fully-automated milling complex has received the ISO9001:2000 and ISO22000:2005 awards and since 2004, Prima Ceylon exports flour to many countries in the Asian Region.
As part of Prima’s long-term commitment, the Prima Bakery Training Centre (PBTC) was established in Colombo in 2004, to provide practical training to practitioners to promote modern baking techniques. The training centre is accredited by the Tertiary & Vocational Education Commission of Sri Lanka. Since its inception, PBTC has trained over 5,000 graduates and skilled bakers/chefs in the country, with many students winning local and international culinary accolades and awards over the years.
Prima has also focused on the growing, evolving and diverse needs of consumers with the launch of its specialty flours in 2016. There are 8 varieties of specialised consumer packs with product innovations such as ready-to-make String Hopper Flour, specialised Cake Flour and Self-Rising Flour. Also, the Company identified growing consumer trends for fibre-rich healthier flour options and launched stone-ground Chakki Atta Flour and Superfine Whole Grain General Purpose Flour for the first time in Sri Lanka for local consumers.
Prima Limited of Singapore was established in 1961 and is a pioneer in flour milling in the Asian Region.
“Prima” in Latin means “first”. The company’s Chinese name “Bai Ling Mai” literally means “a hundred- year-old wheat”, signifying the company’s longevity on a solid foundation.
From a modest flour miller, Prima has grown steadily to become an industrial group with international operations. Although the company has diversified into other areas, its primary activities continue to remain in the food and allied industries.
Prima expanded its network of operations across Asia, including Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, Prima Group operates Prima Ceylon, Prima Ceylon Machinery Ltd., Ceylon Grain Elevators, Ceylon Agro Industries, Prima Land and Prima Management Services.
PRIMA CEYLON MILESTONES
- 1977 – Prima and Sri Lanka enter into an agreement to build the Prima Flour Milling Complex in Trincomalee – the first recorded FDI of the country.
- 1978 – The Foundation Stone for the Prima Flour Milling Complex is laid in China Bay, Trincomalee.
- 1980 – The Prima Ceylon Flour Milling Complex, the largest in the world at the time, is declared open by Late President J. R. Jayewardene.
- 1982 – Prima contributes to reduce Sri Lanka’s fiscal deficit – World Bank Report
- 2001 – GOSL’s rights to the Flour Milling Complex divested with the conversion of the agreement from Build-Own-Transfer (BOT) to a Build-Own-Operate (BOO) agreement to liberalise the flour industry in the country.
- 2002 – Prima contributes Rs. 24.5 million to Sri Lanka’s Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Fund.
- 2002 – Prima increases storage capacity at Flour Milling Facility in Trincomalee by 100,000 MT to ensure food security and quality-consistent flour.
- 2004 – Prima begins exporting wheat flour to the Asian Region.
- 2004 – Prima Bakery Training Centre launched to support the development of local baking and hospitality sectors.
- 2013 – Installation of state-of-the-art Flour Mixing and Blending Silos and a Pre-Mix facility.
- 2014/15 – Prima wins the ‘Exporter of the Year’ Award in the F & B Category, awarded by the Export Development Board.
- 2015 – Prima Factory expands storage capacity by 125,000 MT for wheat storage.
- 2016 – Prima introduces a 1 Kg specialty flour range for Sri Lankan consumers.
- 2016 – Prima commissions Sri Lanka’s first stone-ground Chakki Atta Flour Mill.
- 2018 – Prima launches SGD 2 million scholarship programme for Sri Lankan undergraduates to study in Singapore, to mark the 40-year partnership with the island.
- Prima’s investment in Sri Lanka amounts to USD 240 million, aiding the economy and strengthening national food security.