Mr. Lokuwithana was born on the 14th of February in 1969 in the village Madawachchiya of the Anuradhapura district, and is the oldest of 5 siblings.
He gained his primary education in a village school in a remote region where his father held the position as principal. Later on, he studied in the Anuradhapura Central College after his father moved him there in order for him to receive a better education.
He was selected to follow the NDT course on the first attempt at the A/L examination but did not pursue it, and after the second attempt, he left Madawachchiya and came to Colombo with the dream of becoming an engineer. He permanently moved to Colombo in the late 1980s due to the prevailing ethnic violence in the country, and prematurely ended his academic pursuits.
Upon moving to Colombo, he began working in the textile industry. Soon, he was called to the post of Assistant Administrative Officer in the UAE for an American Textile company, and thus moved there in 1989.
He began to climb the corporate ladder, and rose from Production Manager to Factory Manager to Company Director to being the General Manager of the company.
Soon, he founded his very own garment factory in the UAE, employing over 400 workers. He handed the responsibility over to his brother Dhammika Lokuwithana.
In 2004, he founded Onyx Industries FZC in Sharjah, UAE which capitalized on the construction opportunities that sprang as a result of the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone by offering rapid and rigorous solutions that the specific industrial zone demanded; steel fabrication, profile manufacturing, engineering services and logistic services. Riding on that success, its subsidiary companies Onyx Building Systems and Onyx Electronic Services followed.
In 2007, he founded Nilona Holdings; a company which would provide property management services and commercial development of real estate.
In 2008, a Management Agreement was signed between Marriott Chain of Hotels, USA and the Real-estate arm of Nilona Holdings, which owned and constructed the 8 story 5 Star Dubai Marriott Al Jaddaff Hotel and the 25 story Marriott Executive Apartments. The Al Rostamani Group was chosen by Nilona Developers to be the contractor. Through this, Mr. Nandana Lokuwithana became the first Sri Lankan to build and own a five-star hotel overseas. The Sri Lankan National flag is hung up within the hotel’s premises, and is said to only otherwise be hung in the Sri Lankan Embassy in the whole of the UAE.
Upon meeting former president, Mahinda Rajapakse, in the UAE at a meeting for the Sri Lankan entrepreneurs, the failing company under the South Korean Doosan Group known as “Ceylon Steel Corporation” was brought to his attention. Under the assurance of President Rajapakse that the ongoing war in Sri Lanka at the time would be over in 2 years, Mr. Lokuwithana decided to invest in the revival of the company. Thus, in 2009, Mr. Lokuwithana’s Onyx Group took ownership of Ceylon Steel Corporation, which went under the brand name “Lanwa Sansthe wane”, of which he was the Chairman. Being renamed as Ceylon Steel Corporation Limited, CSCL revived from its fall in 4 years and climbed the charts- becoming the leading steel manufacturer in Sri Lanka.
The factory, situated in Oruwala, Athurugiriya, takes up 185 acres and is equipped with steel manufacturing facilities that can only be found within the premises- such as the country’s first Galvanizing Pipe Mill Plant. In 2016, he founded MA Steel, the sister company of CSCL. In 2020, Mr. Lokuwithana’s Onyx Group is set to open its latest venture, the Rigid Tyre Corporation (Pvt) Ltd. factory in Horana; which is said to be the largest tyre manufacturing factory in Southeast Asia.
The tyre manufacturing assets for the company have been acquired from the Italian producers, Marangoni, known internationally for their high qualitative standards. The company is also planning to export up to 75% of its production to the European market, and will be producing high density conveyor belts and high pressure hydraulic pipes in addition to producing 1 million passenger car tyres, 2 million truck and bus radial tyres and 1 million two-wheeler tyres; 30,000 tonnes of solid tyres and 400,000 tonnes of bias-ply truck tyres per annum.
Mr. Lokuwithana is also said to be opening a new cement production plant under the name “Lanwa Sanstha Cement Corporation (Pvt) Ltd”, the plant for which is expected to come up in 2020.
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