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Kufner to scale up India operations

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Mr Dominik Kufner (right), Managing Director, Kufner, and Mr Ivano Cattarin, Head Designer, Armani, at a press conference in Bangalore on Tuesday. G.R.N. Somashekar
Mr Dominik Kufner (right), Managing Director, Kufner, and Mr Ivano Cattarin, Head Designer, Armani, at a press conference in Bangalore on Tuesday. G.R.N. Somashekar

Our Bureau

Bangalore, Nov. 15

CLOTHING interlinings major Kufner has announced plans to scale up India operations by opening a distribution and service subsidiary, warehouses and a small chain of technical studios with Bangalore as the hub.

The Germany-based company is targeting a turnover from India of $10 million in the next couple of years from the current $1.5 million. The limited liability company will become operational by December, said Mr Dominik Kufner, Managing Director of the $200-million family-run company. It is investing an initial $1 million mainly for the working capital and employing 30 people during the current expansion drive.

A studio has been operational in Chennai. Kufner plans to start one more in Delhi immediately, followed by Mumbai later and start liaison offices in these cities in six months, Mr Kufner and the Kufner Asia Managing Director, Mr C. Sukesh Kumar, told a news conference.

Among the top three players in the $2-billion global interlinings business, Kufner has 350 clients in South Asia - including tie-ups with Gokaldas Images and Raymonds and 4,500 worldwide. Also on the cards are a bonded warehouse for exports and a local, duty-paid one that would come up in a couple of months to cater to domestic customers.

Although western manufacturers had rushed into large sourcing arrangements with China, they are now scrambling for reliable quality suppliers such as India. With a booming activity in menswear, there would be tremendous outsourcing potential and "there is going to be a need for additional capacities outside China," he said.

Kufner currently develops its interlinings out of yarn sourced from India. It now plans to bring garment manufacturing technologies and design ideas from fashion houses such as Armani to the local industry.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 16, 2005)
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