Coats celebrates 25 years in Bangladesh

Tuesday, 21 October 2014
British thread and consumer textile maker Coats plc celebrates 25 years of operating in Bangladesh. To mark the occassion and the company's successfull venture with the AK Khan Group in Bangladesh, which started in October 1989, a gala event took place on 19th October in Dhaka, where the opening of a state-of-the-art zips factory in Chittagong was announced. More than 400 customers and suppliers attended the event.

New zips factory to open in Chittagong

The new zips factory will open in early 2015 to fulfil the growing demand by international consumer brands that currently manufacture clothing and footwear in Bangladesh. Creating over 100 jobs locally, the new factory will manufacture Coats' full range of zips in due time.

"Coats is extremely proud of our world class operation in Bangladesh and the support and relationship with our joint venture partner. Our business has seen significant growth and development, particularly in the last few years, and the opening of our new world class zips factory is a demonstration of our commitment to an ever-growing presence here," said Coats CEO Paul Forman.

"We have a very strong, talented and dedicated team here which has helped make Bangladesh one of the flagship businesses of Coats. We have built a strong foundation for the next 25 years," added Ranjan Chakhaiyar, managing director for Coats Bangladesh.

The company already has a manufacturing site in Chittagong since 1990, located in the country's south east, as well as in Gazipur, near the capital Dhaka, which started in 2000. Both factories operate around the clock, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Coats' head office in Bangladesh is located in Tejgaon, Dhaka.

Bangladesh is moving from manufacturing to consumer hub

Coats is a good example when illustrating how Bangladesh's RMG industry has grown over time: What started as a manufacturing base 25 years ago when Bangladesh's exports were worth 624 million US dollars and the sector employed a mere 320,000 people has exploded into a billion dollar business. By 2004, exports had already grown to 6.4 billion US dollars, with the sector employing 2 million people. This year, exports are expected to reach over 25 billion US dollar and employment over 4 million people.

As the middle class in Asia is growing, the whole Asia-Pacific region is slowly but surely moving from a primarily manufacturing base to the world’s largest consumer market. Thus, garments and accessories made in Bangladesh are not merely produced for the export market any more but also for the domestic and other Asian markets.

This is why, according to a company statement, Coats "particularly focuses on the influential and informed customer base in Bangladesh to test and launch new products and services." Thus, the company has the capacity to manufacture a growing and diverse range of products for Bangladesh's increasing requirements and global exports.

Next month, Coats has another reason to celebrate as it reaches another corporate milestone in the region: its 25th anniversary of a successful joint venture with Phong Phu in Vietnam, another Asian economy that has grown thanks to the RMG market.

From humble beginnings in the 1750s in Paisley, Scotland, Coats has become one of the world's leading industrial thread and consumer textile crafts businesses. The company has operations in more than 70 countries and employs over 20,000 people in six continents. Its revenues reached 1.7 billion US dollars in 2013.

Photos: Coats factory in Bangladesh