Not liberal

August 18 (LBO) – Sri Lankan based gas distributor Laugfs, who wants to blend and produce lubricants locally, says conditions for entering the newly liberalized market is discriminating against domestic applicants.

Last month, Sri Lanka invited new lubricant players to invest in the country, following interest from a few foreign companies, but a brand must have a five year track record.

Laugfs sells liquid petroleum gas (LPG), and operates petrol stations for state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation.

Chicken and egg

The company says it has applied for the necessary quality certificates and tied up with established toll blenders (firms which manufacture for third party brands), but cannot show five years in the business, because lubricants blending was a monopoly till 2004.

We have lobbied aggressively to enter the lubricant market for some years but it has been restricted until now and so there is no way we can show five years in the business or have the necessary certificates for five years, W K Wegapitiya, Chairman of Laugfs, told LBO on Friday.

So not a single local company can enter the business under its own brand name. There should be a separate entry criteria for