Interview with Syed Nurul Islam

Syed Nurul Islam
Syed Nurul Islam
Chairman & CEO
Well Group
Well Group

RMG sector of Bangladesh projected to reach $50 bn by 2021
Well Group is a group of 15 companies with fifteen thousand employees. The readymade garments unit of Well Group is one of the largest exporters in Bangladesh's RMG sector. Syed Nurul Islam, Chairman & CEO of Well Group, speaks to Fibre2Fashion about Bangladesh's growing RMG sector and the big role it is playing in the country's socio-economic growth.

What is the market size of readymade garments in Bangladesh? What is the projection for the next 2 years?

The size of readymade garments (RMG) in Bangladesh is $35 billion in terms of exports, which is projected to reach $50 billion by 2021.

How important is the RMG sector in Bangladesh both economically and socially? How many people does the sector employ today?

The RMG sector is contributing about 85 per cent of our total exports. It employs 4 million people out of which 80 per cent are women. Because of huge number of women being employed, the RMG sector is playing a big role in our socio-economic growth. 

Give us a background about when you started with your garments business and how has it progressed through the years.

We are in the RMG sector since 1987-88. We started by supplying sewing thread in small scale. Now we are one of the largest manufacturers of industrial sewing thread, embroidery thread and garment trims in South Asia.

Where are your production units based at? Where do you source the raw materials from?

Our production unit is based at port city, Chittagong. Besides our own inhouse facilities, we source fabrics mainly from China. We have inhouse facilities for almost all trims.
Where are your production units based at? Where do you source the raw materials from?

What is your production capacity per month and annually? Please bifurcate in terms of woven and knit products?

We produce 1.5 million pieces of woven bottoms per month, 15 million pieces / year valued at $75 million. We don't produce knit items.

Who are your major customers in and out of Bangladesh? Which markets do you cater to?

Our major customers are Walmart, H&M, C&A, M&S, Gap and Levi's in US and a few small brands in EU and Japan.

What kind of innovations are you trying to bring into your garment business?

We want to develop new fashion with inhouse fabrics and trims.

The world today is focussed on sustainable garments. How are you achieving your sustainability goals?

We are achieving our sustainability goals by reducing energy consumption, using biodegradable packaging and trims.

What kind of challenges the RMG sector is facing in Bangladesh?

High cost of production and low price from buyers are some of the challenges that the RMG sector of Bangladesh is facing today.
What kind of challenges the RMG sector is facing in Bangladesh?

According to you, what are the major issues brands should focus on to strengthen the RMG sector of Bangladesh?

Brands should focus on giving right price to the customers.

Has the US-China trade war has had any big impact on the country's RMG sector?

Not that much yet.

What is the revenue recorded by your garment business for the last fiscal? What growth are you expecting in current fiscal?

It is about $75 million last fiscal. Our expected growth rate is 5-10 per cent in this fiscal.

What are the 3 key government policies that have helped units like yours achieve size and scale?

The 3 key government policies that have helped units like ours achieve size and scale are as follows:
1)Bonded warehouse facilities for importing raw materials tax free
2)Back to back LC facilities against export LC/contract
3)Export incentives for new market development
What are the 3 key government policies that have helped units like yours achieve size and scale?

What are the challenges that you face despite government support to the industry?

We still face challenges with respect to cost of doing business like high utilities cost, increasing wages and high interest on bank loan.

What are your future plans?

We want to focus on our inhouse facilities from making yarn to fabrics. (PC)
Published on: 05/02/2020

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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