Hayleys operates in 12 diverse industry sectors with deep-rooted relationships across supply chains, distribution networks and customer segments. With its portfolio of products sold in more than 70 markets across the world, the highly diversified conglomerate is one of the country’s largest value added exporters, commanding global market leading positions in several of the key sectors it engages in. Bestowed with a vibrant history that spans a period of over 143 years, Hayleys has been positioned at the forefront of driving Sri Lankan industries forward through innovation, capacity building and sustainability.

Q: What elements must corporates consider when looking to build brand respect or equity overseas, in your view?
A: Quality consciousness, innovation to stay ahead of the competition, reliability, dependability, long-term beneficial relationships and daring to be different are the key pillars of building global brands.

Our export businesses have nurtured long-term relationships with customers. In some instances, these relationships go beyond a typical product life cycle. We have built focussed and innovative teams within our key export businesses, and continuously impressed customers with dependable and innovative products.

Q: And what measures can businesses take to ensure their continued growth when facing hurdles such as a challenging macroeconomic landscape and policy instability?
A: A conducive macroeconomic environment is desirable for all businesses to register better performances.

Thankfully, our portfolio is well-balanced in terms of exports and the local market, as well as the geographical distribution of manufacturing locations. We generate nearly half of our revenue from exports, which has enabled us to weather adverse macro conditions.

Stable macroeconomic conditions and political stability are crucial for the sustainability of Sri Lanka’s industrial sector. Maintaining our competitiveness in terms of business friendliness and macro stability – such as competitive exchange rates – are very important for the long-term sustainability of our exports.

Q: Do you believe that social responsibility continues to be an important component of corporate respect? If so, how does Hayleys factor this into its operations?
A: We strongly believe that a sustainable business model can be built only with the participation of all stakeholders including the society in which we operate.

Most of our businesses follow an inclusive growth strategy, creating value for the broader society. This ideology has enabled us to build long-term sustainable business models.

We have developed a supply chain linking farmers in the hinterland of the country with sophisticated markets in developed Asia such as Hong Kong and Japan.

Similarly, Harithangara is a project by Haycarb, which focusses on sourcing charcoal with minimal impacts on the environment.

And Firstlight – a project by Dipped Products – is a supplier development initiative that empowers more than 4,500 farmers islandwide and contributes to their socioeconomic progress.

Q: Could you outline how the quality of products and services can garner respect for corporates over the long term?
A: The quality and dependability of products are key ingredients for success. Our quality consciousness and innovative approach have enabled us to stay in the fray over the years.

For example, Haycarb has been a leader in the coconut shell-based activated carbon space for many decades. Its reputation for high quality products in evolving product life cycles has enabled the company to strengthen its position in the global marketplace.

Q: In your opinion, how can businesses create long-term investment value for stakeholders?
A: A sustainable business model is at the heart of creating long-term investment value. This goes beyond creating value for shareholders and targets stakeholder value creation – by aligning the interests of all stakeholders including customers, suppliers, employees and the broader society.

We believe an inclusive growth model creates businesses that are sustainable over the long term, and generates acceptable ROIs and investment value for shareholders.

Hayleys is known for its unflinching determination and resilience, which are part and parcel of its culture and image. The group’s diversity and breadth of operations has enabled it to perform well even amid an unprecedented global pandemic. Hayleys believes that its 143 year history stands as testimony to its distinctive attributes – viz. agility, strength, resilience and unwavering commitment.

Mohan Pandithage
Chairman/Chief Executive