S Kumars to enter technical textiles sector

Written by Shaheen Mansuri | Mumbai, Nov 25 | Updated: Nov 26 2007, 05:26am hrs
Textile and apparel major S Kumars Nationwide Ltd (SKNL) is in the process of setting up a separate technical textiles unit, apart from its existing subsidiaries like consumer textiles, ready to wear and worsted suitings. Though the company did not divulge any details on the required investments for the venture, industry watchers say that the minimum requirement to set up a technical textile manufacturing unit with a minimum production facility would be over Rs 150 crore.

Though the board of directors are yet to meet and approve the new proposal, the company, which has an annual turnover of approximately Rs 1,200 crore, has already shortlisted two categories which have an upward growth curve in the technical textile segment.

Technical textile is defined as textile materials and products used primarily for their technical performance. It includes products like conveyor belts, seat covers, shoe components, sports equipments, insulation tapes and bandages, among others.

Anees Fazalbhoy, director-business strategy, SKNL, said, We will go ahead with the venture only if they can add value to the company and protect margins since we are responsible to the shareholders. Fazalbhoy added that the money for the project would be injected through internal accruals. If the board of directors approve the project, the company will make an announcement in the ensuing fiscal.

Anil Channa, deputy managing director, SKNL said, Currently, it is very difficult to estimate the actual domestic market size, export potential and quality benchmarks for the technical textiles sector. In fact, the government has recently appointed a task force which will submit a report on the potential of the market and the possible growth in the sector within three months.

Meanwhile, other players like Reliance Industries and Grasim are already performing well in the technical textile segment and textile associations expect more players to enter the unexplored territory. Currently, the world trade in technical textiles is pegged at $50 billion annually and India has just a miniscule presence in this segment.

It is necessary to take aggressive efforts to popularise technical textiles in the country, says Manoj Suchde, joint secretary, Confederation of Indian Apparel Exporters.