German textile chemical company Rudolf is investing in the Bangladeshi garment sector.
The maker of anti-microbial, anti-pill and weather-proof solutions for fabrics including denim plans to increase its production and storage capacity in the Dhaka area. The 101-year-old company said it will start building the new facility this year, with the plant being a part of its globalization strategy.
Soumitra Ganguly, managing director of Rudolf Bangladesh Ltd., said that breaking ground in a new market will strengthen the company’s ability to compete with other firms that are also diversifying globally. “The goal is to build an advanced factory with lean management concepts, technologies and supporting laboratories, with a focus on customer service and workplace quality,” he said. “The new factory will be part of Rudolf’s global services as a secure and transparent fulfillment partner for brands, retailers and their supply chain partners.”
Rudolf chairman Dr. Oliver Kusterle added that the “substantial investment” marks the German firm’s “industrial commitment to Bangladesh, which is one of the largest contributors to the global textile market.”
“With unique innovations in textiles, Rudolf has always been considered a forerunner in the industry,” he said. “Pioneering spirit and tradition combined with forward-looking technologies and highly specialized employees continue to define the company’s actions today.”
The second-largest supplier of apparel in the world, Bangladesh has attracted significant foreign investment in recent months. September saw $25.6 million pour into the country’s ready-made garment sector from Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Switzerland-owned Gava Private Ltd., which said it planned to open a large manufacturing facility in Dhaka to produce clothing including casual apparel and jeans. Earlier in the fall, Canadian-Chinese firm Big Dipper Textile Mills Ltd. said it would invest $91.1 million in a Bangladesh factory to produce yarns and employ more than 1,000. Trendy Textiles Ltd. shelled out $38.9 million on a knit composite textile factory employing around 3,000 workers, which has the capacity to produce 15 million garments a year.
International interest has upped the country’s sourcing profile and given way to more business. Apparel export numbers jumped more than 35 percent year over year in 2022, bringing Bangladesh’s total apparel export value to $46.21 billion. But Bangladeshi suppliers are increasingly speaking out against unfair treatment by international brands and retailers, which they claim are subjecting them to disadvantageous purchasing terms. Factories are footing the bill for the rising cost of raw materials, breaking even on sales, and are seeing clients cancel orders, refuse to pay for in-transit or production goods, demand discounts and delay payments.
A recent survey of 1,000 Bangladeshi manufacturers by the University of Aberdeen Business School and Transform Trade revealed that 37 percent of 1,140 named brands were considered abusive in their business practices.