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Lakeland bags large contract for firefighter garments in Brazil
26
Dec '08
Lakeland Industries Inc announced that, through its Brazilian subsidiary Qualytextil, the Company has received a contract worth approximately US$750,000 from Brasilia Firefighters, for customized protective fire coats. This award builds upon existing business with Lakeland and is representative of the high-caliber customers doing business with Qualytextil. Brasilia Firefighters is a fire department located in the capital of Brazil.

"In the nearly three months that we have been concentrating on expanding our business in Latin America through our new Brazilian subsidiary, we have received five major contracts among other orders," said Chris Ryan, CEO of Lakeland Industries. "Each contract has been awarded to us from either a government agency or a large multinational. In all cases, the orders represent sales of higher margin products as compared to our domestic US sales. We have only just begun to penetrate a large and growing market in Brazil and we are well positioned to grow our share."

With a population of 192 million people, Brazil is one of the most populous countries in the world that is rapidly growing. By contrast, the United States has some 300 million citizens. According to the latest available statistics from the National Fire Protection Association, there are an estimated 30,635 fire departments in the United States. Collectively, there were 1,140,900 firefighters in the United States, of which 316,950 (28%) were career firefighters and 823,950 (72%) were volunteer firefighters. To protect the United States population, there was one firefighter for every 263 people. As Brazil's economy develops, it is anticipated that the demand for protective fire coats alone will increase to a proportionate rate with the United States, resulting in a total requirement of 730,000 fire coats in Brazil valued at over US$1 billion. At this rate, Lakeland has over the past three months supplied less than 1% of the total anticipated demand for fire coats in Brazil.

In addition to firefighter apparel, which includes fire coats and other gear, Lakeland is currently selling protective garments in several of Brazil's largest industries, including electric utilities, oil/petrochemical, mining, technology, and environmental. Lakeland's efforts in Brazil are supported by a locally domiciled, wholly-owned subsidiary, and manufacturing and marketing channels at the parent company level.

The local operations are comprised of an in-house sales force of 40 employees and nearly 19 outside sales representatives covering the entire country of Brazil for marketing of products directly to end users. With domestic manufacturing capabilities, products can be made locally or can be ordered from Lakeland's extensive catalog for import from its eight other geographically dispersed manufacturing facilities, in India, Mexico, China and the U.S.A. Thus, Lakeland will be adding multiple new product lines from its foreign manufacturing facilities to Brazil's 60 man sales force.

Lakeland Industries Inc

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