January 2, 2018 / 4:29 PM / 10 months ago

China Harbour Engineering to invest $1 billion in Sri Lanka's Port City: minister

COLOMBO (Reuters) - A consortium led by state-run China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd will invest $1 billion to build three 60-storey office towers on reclaimed land of the Port City development in Sri Lanka’s capital, a government minister said on Tuesday.

Sand is dredged from the sea at Colombo Port City construction site during the Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's (not pictured) visit in Colombo, Sri Lanka January 2, 2018. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

The $1.4 billion development of Port City, a project of China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) (601800.SS), the parent company of CHEC, began in late 2016 as part of Beijing’s ambitious plans to create a modern-day “Silk Road” across Asia.

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“It will be part of the new financial city,” regional development minister Champika Ranawaka told reporters while accompanying Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on a inspection tour of the Port City development in Colombo.

“The investment will be $1 billion and we expect to sign the agreements this month in Beijing.”

CHEC officials were not immediately available for comment.

Sri Lanka is preparing legislation with tax incentives to lure investment to the 269-hectare (665-acre) Port City tract.

About 60 percent of its total area is reclaimed land from the sea in the commercial heart of Colombo, adjacent to the main port and the historic Galle Face Green park. The rest is expected to be reclaimed by June 2019.

For the overall project, Sri Lanka anticipates an eventual $13 billion of investment in housing, marinas, health facilities, schools and other developments over the next 30 years. The project is expected to create over 83,000 jobs.

CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd, the Sri Lanka company handling the project for CCCC, aims to deliver the first site for construction by the end of 2018.

Reporting by Shihar Aneez; editing by Mark Heinrich

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