H. E. John Rankin, British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, visited the operations of two UK-based garment companies in Sri Lanka – Coats Thread and Quantum Clothing. The High Commissioner visited the factories of the two companies in Horana town, in order to get an insight into customer-supplier cooperation between the two companies.
In 2009, garment sector accounted for a larger part of the over US$ 1 billion Sri Lankan exports to the UK. In 2010, the UK was the second largest FDI investor in Sri Lanka.
Coats is the biggest manufacturer of thread in the world. The company has a long presence on the island, following best practices and even driving innovations within its operations. The company has recently signed a deal to work with the Sri Lanka Design Festival, as a part of its support to the fashion and craft industry in Sri Lanka.
Quantum Clothing, on the other hand, is a company that exclusively exports its products to Marks and Spencer. Initially, the company commenced its operations in Sri Lanka as a part of Coats Lanka. Producing an output of approximately 300,000 items per week, the company currently provides job to 1,800 people.
Coats Lanka supplies Quantum Clothing with some of its requirements for clothing, which is, in turn, directly exported to the UK.
The High Commissioner said that his visit would help in understanding the Sri Lankan garment sector's exports to the UK. It would help increase the foreign direct investment (FDI) from the UK to Sri Lanka.
Giles Watkins, Managing Director of Coats Thread Exports, said that a few of the company's latest innovations in thread have been invented in Sri Lanka. He lauded Sri Lanka as a good hiring market due to its highly skilled workforce.
Yohan Lawrence, Country Manager of Quantum Clothing Lanka, echoed similar views. He explained that his company also has production units in Cambodia and India, where production costs are lower than Sri Lanka, however, due to its better skilled force, Sri Lanka is a priority for the company, especially when supplying to popular apparel brands.
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India