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Successful first six months for TÜV Indias Branch Office in Sri Lanka

TÜV India’s Sri Lanka Branch Office – the first of its kind outside India – can now look back on its first six months of operation. Based in Colombo, the Branch Office serves clients on this island in the Indian Ocean and is headed by Wasantha Gunarathne, who has great knowledge of the market in the country. Five more local employees, three of whom are auditors, work in the office. As and when business develops, more staff will be recruited.

Audit planner Namesha Wijemanna (from left), Branch Head Wasantha Gunarathne, Senior Vice President Certification, Training and Sustainability Shrikant Kulkarni (based in India), Senior Auditor Hansaja Katawapitiya and Accounts Office Charith Weilikannage.

The Branch Office has already had an impact on the market: In the first six months of operation, 50 management system certificates were handed over, including to the national mobile service provider Mobitel, John Keells Holdings, which is the largest group of companies listed on the Colombo stock exchange, and Sri Lankan information technology company Millenniumit.

In addition to certifications, the business is to be expanded to cover other segments, such as Renewables, Inspection and Rail, and a sustainability and training service is set to be launched in the coming months.

Sri Lanka, with a little over 21 million inhabitants, is very close to the south of India and has a strategically important role in the region. India, as the neighbouring country and subcontinent, has always played a part in Sri Lanka’s development. The country is one of the preferred places for several global clients, although the market is comparatively small. Clothing, textiles, tea and rubber are the major industries. The construction sector and the service industry are growing too. "All these sectors offer opportunities in the field of system certification, training and second party audits," says Manish Bhuptani, Managing Director of TÜV India. "Apart from certifications of integrated management systems, ISO 27001 and ISO 50001 are the upcoming requirements."

TÜV India has been providing certification services in Sri Lanka for many years, although the operations have previously been managed from Mumbai and other offices in India. Major US and European retailers are sourcing from Sri Lanka. "For this reason, it’s important to have a local presence to ensure one-stop service," adds Mr Bhuptani. It is for this reason that TÜV India decided to have an office of its own in Sri Lanka which allows it to operate on the local market and promptly to cater to client needs.