Sri Lanka - Country Commercial Guide
Construction

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-09-28

Overview

The construction industry contributed 6.2 percent of GDP in 2020 from the previous year’s contribution of 7.4 percent, employing around 600,000 workers.  The Colombo District Land Valuation Indicator (LVI) compiled by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) recorded an overall 6.8 percent growth rate in the first half of 2021.  The construction sector has grown rapidly in development of high-end residential, commercial space, hotel and resort construction, and infrastructure since 2010.  The turnover value of the construction sector is estimated at $4.3 billion annually.  Many local and international construction companies are active in the industry.

Several large infrastructure projects are under development, including the PRC-built Port City on newly reclaimed land within Colombo’s city limits. The economic slowdown post-COVID-19 has dented some optimism within the real estate and construction sector, but analysts expect demand to pick up with the economic recovery, and low prices may offer opportunities for developers.  In particular, the real estate sector has reported renewed interest in housing and apartments as low interest rates have attracted buyers.

Leading Sub-Sectors

Equipment sales

Engineering, procurement, and construction

Direct contracting

Opportunities

U.S. companies have significant opportunities to sell a range of equipment and technology, ranging from earth-moving equipment and building appliances to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.  Buyers are often price sensitive, but high-end developments have more leeway to purchase high quality products and services. 

Sri Lankan developers also frequently team up with U.S. engineering and design firms, especially for high-end office buildings, luxury apartments, or resorts.  The government of Sri Lanka created a fully state-run firm (Selendiva Investments Ltd) to take over various state assets and act as the investment arm of the government.  The company will take over underutilized or underperforming assets, such as prime real estate, restructure them, and raise capital.

The government, under the Ministry of Urban Development, hopes to radically modernize urban infrastructure in and around Colombo utilizing innovative technology (e.g. smart city innovations) to propel it to ‘high income developed nation’ status by 2030.

Resources

Urban Development Authority  (UDA)

Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA)

Board of Investment of Sri Lanka