Lankem was created by Royal Dutch Shell in 1964. It was initially set up as an agro chemical business. As Sri Lanka started encouraging local ownership, the company acquired local investors and was listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange. The company has been prevalent in most industry segments in the country but primarily focused on chemicals and manufacturing.
Over the past 25 years Lankem has diversified into other related businesses. Lankem's Paints and Bituminous Products have been the frontrunners in new product development in their specific industries. Lankem Consumer Products has been in existence since the late 70's, and has been the pioneer in producing mosquito coils, washing machine detergent powders and liquid detergents in Sri Lanka. Today Lankem Consumer Products are a household name in Sri Lanka.
In 1998 Lankem expanded into the Plantations Management sector with the acquisition of Kotagala Plantations and Agarapatana Plantations. Lankem has invested heavily into these companies transforming the productivity of the tea and rubber estates through an aggressive replanting program and bringing the processing factories up to international standards. Lankem's rubber plantation companies produce the highly prized crepe rubber from Sri Lanka – Lankaprene.
Lankem has owned and operated the Sigiriya Village Hotel based in Sri Lanka's cultural triangle for over 3 decades. In 1993 the company acquired control of Beruwala Resorts Ltd which owns and operates a 120 room property on Sri Lanka's south coast. In 1995 the company opened its third property in Marwilla on the west coast. Further acquisitions in 2011 and 2012 helped grow the group's portfolio to 5 landmark properties across the country.
In 2010 Lankem strengthened its position in the FMCG sector through the acquisition of C.W. Mackie. The company also brought with it rubber processing expertise and markets for premium grade rubber products manufactured through the plantations sector.