Anna Peter

Mumbai, June 19

SIYARAM Mills is betting high on exports and has changed its product mix to include suits, from fabric and garments earlier. Currently, exports form 20 per cent of the company's total turnover.

According to Mr Sumit K. Malhotra, Vice-President, Exports, Siyaram Silk Mills, the company's trouser unit in Silvassa (in Dadra & Nagar Haveli) will see its first trials begin this month.

Many customers have requested the firm to undertake the production of ready-made garments. Earlier, the company used to create fabric, which was shipped to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh or Mauritius and converted into readymade garments. However, its existing customers such as Jules, a French chain store, is now considering outsourcing the production of clothing to the company. Siyaram has already sent across samples and the quality has been approved by the French firm.

Meanwhile, Bagir, one of Marks & Spencer's largest vendors in Europe, has also begun buying ready-to-wear garments from the company. According to Mr Malhotra, the new trouser unit in Silvassa will produce 5,000 trousers each day.

He said that the company is close to sealing a deal with Marks & Spencers for readymade garments.

Globally, buyers are looking at China to provide them with a range of synthetic fabrics and formal wear.

India's strong point is in creating linen, cotton, silk and embroidery products.

He said that across Indian companies, there is a change in the product mix. Companies are fast realising that they have to quickly change to suit the tastes of European retailers and reduce lead times as well.

He said Indian players need to increase capacities for basic trousers and suits.

He pointed out that India is losing out to China in a number of areas, including the inability of most manufacturers to make 10,000-15,000 trousers a day.

Mr Malhotra said that the formal dress wear market in India is not developed and this realisation is only sinking in. Indian manufacturers have begun putting up such units in the last three years, which is quite late.

The company also recently decided that it would enter the home textiles segment and sees this as a way to increase its `export' advantage.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 20, 2005)
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