Tile maker Royal Ceramic's sanitary ware unit expects to start production this August, the sole local manufacturer to supply the booming construction market, an official said. RCLs subsidiary, Rocell Bathware Ltd. is investing LKR1.4 billion in a plant in Panagoda.

Tharana Thoradeniya, CEO of Rocell Bathware, said trial production should to start in August with 250,000 pieces of sanitary ware initially, increasing to 500,000 in the second phase, employing about 180 people. He added that the company decided to diversify into sanitary ware, because there is no serious local production today and because of the rapid growth of the property sector. To conform to international standards and position its products for the design-conscious upper and middle end of the market, RCL will import the plant, machinery and product designs for the new sanitary ware from Italy.

Royal Ceramics has a 40% share of the domestic market for tiles and has an islandwide network of 35 sanitary ware showrooms. In addition to its two tile plants in Eheliyagoda and Horana, Royal Ceramics is also investing in a new porcelain tile factory in Homagama. The company is targeting the residential market including the gated compounds and condominiums.