Interview with Josephine Teoh

Josephine Teoh
Josephine Teoh
Sales Director

World's first integrated textile company to be certified by Oeko-Tex
Toray Malaysia Group's traditional business in textile is conducted at the four mills under Pentafabric, a vertically integrated textile manufacturer supplying customised finished fabrics to top apparel manufacturers worldwide. In an interview with Fibre2fashion, Josephine Teoh, Sales Director of Penfabric, speaks at length about the history of Pentafabrics and the various sustainability initiatives it has been taking through the years.

What is the history of Penfabric? How did it got associated with the Toray group? Is it managed by the Toray group or has a separate structure in place altogether?

Penfabric was incorporated in 1973 as Nan Sing Dyeing Works (Malaysia) Sdn Berhad as a joint venture between Toray Industries, Inc, Japan (Toray) and Textile Alliance Limited of Hong Kong. In 1979, the company's name was changed to Penfabric Sdn Berhad and it became a wholly owned subsidiary of Toray in 1983.  

Locally, Penfabric is supervised by Toray's regional supervisory company, Toray Industries (Malaysia) Sdn Berhad, and reports directly to the Fibre and Textile Division in Toray Japan.

What are the different industries and specialised applications your textile products cater to?

Our merchandises are divided into 3 main categories namely:
1) Dress shirt business mainly for North America with some leisure wear in tow.
2) Specialised workwear business catering to the European and US market.
3) Casual wear business for Far East and fashion wear for US and Europe.

Where do you source your raw materials from?

We purchase polyester staple fibres from the other Toray subsidiaries and raw cotton from US, Australia and Brazil.

Where are your 4 manufacturing units based at? How many people do you employ?

Two of our manufacturing facilities are based at Penang Island and the other two at Province Wellesley (Penang Mainland). Currently, we have about 1,300 employees.

What are the major concerns of buyers when it comes to sourcing fabric from you?

Quality, speciality and price with emphasis on sustainability, are the major concerns of buyers when sourcing fabric from us. Companies also want to shift their supply source to South East Asia.
What are the major concerns of buyers when it comes to sourcing fabric from you?

What is the annual and monthly production capacity of different textile products - grey fabric, printed fabric, yarn-dyed fabric (gingham), heavy weight/ light weight fabric?

The annual and monthly production capacity of different textile products are as follows:

1) Grey fabric - 5.0 million yards
2) Printed fabric - 1.0 million yds
3) Yarn-dyed fabric - 1.5 million yards
4) Piece dye in both HW and LW combined - 8.0 million yds.

Which are your highest selling products usage and revenue wise?

Our highest selling products are workwear and leisure wear.

Who are your major competitors in the local and international market?

Chinese and Europeans are our major competitors in the local and international market.

Which are the top apparel manufacturers worldwide you supply your products to?

We supply our products to various garment cutters in Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh and China who sell them to fashion brands in US/EU as well as Japan.

What is the USP of your manufactured products?

We are Oekotex 'Make In Green' certified. Due to our green and sustainable credentials, we can produce many types of functional and special innovative fabrics for specialised needs.

How are you bringing innovation to your products? What kind of research are you involved in for studying market conditions?

We have our own R&D centre and collaborate closely with Toray's R&D centres in Japan and overseas.  We use the special innovative technologies of Toray and work out our own special fabrications for niche markets. We also work with chemical suppliers to explore techniques to develop innovative new products.

What is the Penfabric Aquarium all about? Give us some details about it.

It is our sanctuary for innovation, creativity and fashion to translate innovative ideas into blockbuster fabric sales, equipped with the latest IT tools and other facilities, including:
  • Biometric access control system to limit access to authorised personnel only.
  • RFID system for instantaneous retrieval of sample images, connected to touch screen computer providing the fabric specifications and other details like available sample lengths.
  • Well-designed made-up garment displays featuring on-trend and newly developed hot-selling items.
  • State-of-the-art technology with information systems integration for real-time reference.
  • Archive of information on R&D, production, sales and technology centre. 
  • On-line enquiry of specific topics by weave, yarn-dyed design, print and others, with images displayed instantaneously on screen.
Published on: 17/02/2020

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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