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April 18, 2008 (LBO) - Tile maker Royal Ceramics plans to get into the roofing business as part of its diversification strategy and has set up a subsidiary to make roofing material, a senior company official said.

The company told the stock exchange that it had incorporated a fully owned subsidiary called Rocell Roofing.

Royal Ceramics has been expanding in recent years and has started production at its new sanitaryware unit and is building its third tile plant in a new site at Kiriwaththuduwa, Homagama, south of Colombo.

Tharana Thoradeniya, chief executive of Rocell Bathware, the sanitaryware subsidiary, said the new roofing plant would also be built at the Homagama site with an investment of around 1.5 billion rupees.

"We're planning to go into the roofing business in future as part of our diversification efforts," he told LBO.

"We have a very good distribution network and we're into the same market - with tiles and sanitaryware. So we feel going into roofing is a natural expansion."

The new venture, which is still at a very preliminary stage, would make a new type of roof covering material not available in the local market.

It is being set up under the Board of Investment, the state investment promotion agency, and will be entitled to tax holidays.

(SOURCE: 18 Apr, 2008, LBO)