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The Legend

Hayleys PLC, with its roots in the coconut fibre and allied industries, began exporting coconut shell charcoal in 1970. Being ever vigilant in seeking new opportunities to enhance value addition, Hayleys attempted to manufacture charcoal in metal retorts, to make better quality charcoal than that produced in the tradition ‘pit’ method. Although these initial attempts of value addition were unsuccessful, the company saw the business potential in converting this basic product into activated carbon, primarily for the export market.  This was in the early 1970s.

However, activated carbon manufacturing was considered a ‘black art’, almost an alchemy, replete with secretive technology and a reluctance to even consider joint ventures, due to fears of proliferation of this technology. During this period there were only 6 large activated carbon facilities in the USA and across Europe and around 4 in Japan.

Undaunted, Hayleys went ahead with the venture and incorporated Haycarb in 1973.   Haycarb had to rely then, even as of now, on the determination and innovativeness of its leaders and employees, to develop the technology and establish itself in this highly technical global business. The first Managing Director Mr. Rajan Yatawara, with his small team of staff and together with the assistance of consultants, embarked on this ambitious task. The project, despite being delayed due to restrictions on funding and tight exchange control regulations that prevailed at that time, went on to become the first activated carbon manufacturer outside the industrialised world. A truly pioneering venture.

  • Haycarb incorporated with an issued capital of Rs 1.25 million, followed by the setting up of the first manufacturing plant in Madampe, Sri Lanka with a capacity of 700 tons per annum. Foreign exchange required to import the equipment for the initial plant was Sri Lankan Rupees 375,194 only.

  • First trial export and initial attempts at marketing of products.

  • Haycarb was the first company in the Hayleys Group to be listed in the Colombo bourse.

  • First major sale of activated carbon to a gold mine in Nevada.

  • Sorb-Tech, a 49% owned joint venture marketing company incorporated in the USA, was set up and was the first overseas investment of the Group … one of the earliest Sri Lankan companies to step outside its shores. 

  • Haycarb Holdings Australia Limited and Eurocarb Products Limited, both fully-owned subsidiary companies, were established in Australia and the UK respectively, to market our products.

  • Haycarb became a leading high quality activated carbon manufacturer through the introduction of new value added products such as pelletized carbons, impregnated carbons,  washed carbons and ultrafine powdered carbons.

  • Set up Carbokarn in Thailand, the Groups’ first manufacturing plant outside Sri Lanka, as a 50% owned joint venture.

  • The SorbTech name was changed to Haymark in the USA, and shareholding was increased from 49% to 100%. While this company continued to handle limited carbon business, a very lucrative ten year mutually exclusive supply contract was signed with Barnaby Sutcliff Corporation, USA.  This restructuring enabled Haycarb to triple its sales volume into the US market and solidify the company’s global presence.

  • To meet growing demand, capacity was expanded through the purchasing the assets of an activated carbon manufacturing plant in Badalgama, Sri Lanka.

    As a forward integration strategy, set up Puritas (Pvt) Ltd, taking advantage of in-house expertise and capabilities in providing complete environmental engineering solutions. 

  • Further forward integration to serve global clientele by setting up a central facility in Thailand for the regeneration of used activated carbon.  We tied up with a large multinational chemical company, to provide regeneration services for their plant in Thailand. 

  • Backward integration through subsidiary Recogen (Pvt) Ltd to secure the supply of coconut shell charcoal, Haycarb’s principal raw material.  Recogen’s ‘Green Charcoal’ process is environmentally friendly, and the waste gases are used to produce electricity that is sold to the national grid.

  • Set up manufacturing plant in Indonesia,  the second overseas, thus enhancing flexibility in production and mitigating raw material supply and country risks, while optimising on speed and cost of delivery. 

  • Haycarb launched its new logo and undertook a rebranding campaign in 2010. The new  logo was launched to reinforce our global reputation that stands for Innovation, Technical Superiority, Customer Centricity, and ‘Green’ supply chain initiatives. 

    Ultracarb Pvt. Ltd was incorporated in 2010 to supply highly specialized activated carbon for Energy Storage becoming only 2nd supplier in the world to manufacturer high purity carbon.


  • Shizuka, acquired in Thailand further expands the Group’s presence in the country.

  • Haycarb Value Added Products, was incorporated in 2012 and commissioned in 2013 to manufacture Value Added Activated Carbon Products supplying niche and specialized applications.

  • PT Haycarb Palu Mitra commissioned in 2014, is the first green field plant set up overseas by the Group further expanding our presence in Indonesia.


  • Haymark, Haycarb’s marketing subsidiary in Texas, USA was re-launched as Haycarb USA turning over a new leaf in its marketing operations in USA