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.