Mr. Samantha  Kumarasinghe

Chairman/ Managing Director

Multichemi Group of Companies

by Mr.D.N.C.Wickramasinghe [2007-09 MBA/G1]
 
 

His first employment

After graduation from the University of Peradeniya, Mr. Samantha Kumarasinghe joined Lankem Ceylon Limited as a sales executive in 1982. He worked in the chemical division at Lankem and he was very interested in studying about detergents which was an evolving concept at that time. Therefore he engaged in developing different types of detergents and improving the existing formulations. His commitment and hard work was rewarded by promotion to Marketing Manger of that company within just seven years. By that time Mr. Samantha had a vision to be the CEO of the company

 


 

How he started his business

After about 2-3 years a new group took over Lankem management and the new management decided to change management policies. Mr. Samantha then decided to leave the company and to start his own business. He realized that there is a good market for car care products. So in 1993, he started Multichemi International  Limited at Hokandara with a capital of 1.2 million and a workforce of 12 employees.  Multichemi started manufacturing “dash” car care products which became and instant success. Later Multichemi began to produce industrial detergents and some of auxiliary chemicals used in industrial washing

 


 

Major turning point in his life

According to Mr. Samantha the major turning point in his business life was meeting a representative from Novozymes, the world’s largest enzyme manufacturer at a business event held in Colombo. The Novozymes representative offered him an agency agreement to develop and formulate textile finishing enzymes in Sri Lanka. Mr. Samantha immediately decided to tie up with Novozymes and he was able to sign an agency agreement with them
 

 

How he grew up his business

The partnership with Novozymes worked well for him and in 1996, he started Multichemi Exports (Pvt) Limited a BOI approved 100% export venture to manufacture textile enzymes and auxiliary chemicals.  Multichemi today exports its products to several countries including Bangladesh, India, Madagascar and Jordan. In September 1999, Multichemi Bangladesh (Pvt) Limited was established as a Bangladeshi BOI approved manufacturing company. This is a 100% Sri Lankan owned factory in Bangladesh. To establish Sri Lankan identity, Multichemi Bangladesh launched the “Lion” range of detergents and “Denimex” textile enzymes to the Bangladesh market.   The textile enzyme business flourished and the partnership with Novozymes grew year by year and he was able to be the market leader in the textile enzyme business both in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. By the year 2000 he opened a new office complex at Pagoda Road, Nugegoda.
At that time Mr. Samantha had no dealings in the retail business. Therefore Mr.Samantha decided to enter the retail business with a range of consumer household detergents. But being a small company it was a big challenge for him to do mass marketing and advertising.  So Mr. Kumarasinghe came up with a new concept for an independent distribution system to this industry. But according to him it was not a success because his products were too heavy to carry. He realized that the business was stagnating and not growing as he expected. He decided to diversify his business into a different segment and he started a separate factory complex for small scale manufacture of herbal cosmetics under the brand name of “Nature’s Secrets”.  At the initial stage he consulted professionals from one of the leading Malaysian cosmetic manufacturers to get product development and formulation guidelines. In the beginning he started promoting the    “Nature’s Secrets” brand on TV with the collaboration of a famous beautician while helping her to develop her business too.
Diversifying his businesses in a different direction in 2004, he started EcoProtect Engineering (Pvt) Limited, a joint venture between Multichemi and Coco Technologies Corporation of Philippines introducing for the first time in Sri Lanka  the designing and installing of eco-friendly erosion control system using coir based geo-textiles and other coir products. 
In January 2008, Mr. Samantha opened a unique factory complex at Millawa, Horana; Nature’s Beauty Creations (NBC) limited to manufacture and market “Nature’s Secrets” cosmetics to fulfill increased local demand. Mr. Samantha’s biggest achievement so far is building a unique herbal cosmetic manufacturing factory  the first in the world, surrounded with a large cultivation of over 350 varieties of time tested medicinal plants. NBC is recognized as the first cosmetic manufacturer in Sri Lanka to manufacture cosmetics under European recognized GMP standards and ISO 9001:2000.  

Now “Nature’s Secrets” has become the leading herbal cosmetic brand in Sri Lanka while exploiting the opportunities in global markets such as Europe, Russia and the USA and some Asian countries. Mr. Samantha’s vision is to make “Nature’s Secrets” a global brand of herbal cosmetics from Sri Lanka by 2020
 


 

His success factors

He believes that his commitment and focus were the key assets to become a successful business leader. Mr. Samantha says “If you are focused and committed, you can ascend to any heights. He believes that as a businessman you should take risks and make quick decisions.”
 

 

The major challenges faced in his business

He likes to invest the business returns for further expansion of his business and for diversification. So, in his business expansions he had to face financial constraints to manage cash flow. This was a big challenge to him. The “biggest problem for an entrepreneur in Sri Lanka is the high interest rates. The Central bank and the Government are not helping industry. Unless they reduce the interest rates you can not have a success in Sri Lanka Industry” he added
 


 

His future destination

As for the future, he believes that there will be a change in the global economic picture in the next five years. As such he has not opted for any future diversifications but   he believes that there is a good potential for him to take herbal cosmetics to a global level. He is confident that future business developments and expansions will take place in the herbal cosmetic industry. He contemplates acquisitions of related businesses as his future plans
 


 

His advice for future leaders

In his business Mr. Samantha’s main focus is on products that are safe for the people and the environment. Finally Mr. Samantha stated that every person owes a duty to the country and requested businessmen to run their businesses in a patriotic manner
 


 



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