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Cotswold and Haama Come Together Over Asia

The new venture will be named Cotswold Asia Ltd., a Hong Kong company, and will operate out of offices in China, India, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Turkey. James McKinnon, chief executive officer of Cotswold, and Yaron Harel, CEO of Haama, will be co-CEOs of Cotswold Asia Ltd., and they have brought in Bill Broadway as president.

“As brands seek value and speed to market and advances in technology from vendors, Cotswold Asia will deliver the combined strength of two privately held third generation apparel component manufacturers with over 115 years of experience,” McKinnon said.

Noting that Haama and Cotswold share common values and core principles, McKinnon said in an interview, “It’s really two plus two equals five. We both had the desire to be bigger and more important, and now we can drive value through volume. We’ll be able to offer more bang for the buck, more nominated product at a value-driven price to the same full-package contractors that we’re currently servicing.”

McKinnon said this helps the brands that buy products from both companies by allowing Cotswold and Haama to be more competitive and operate from a position of greater strength.

“It also drives down the ability of people to get confused of who’s sourcing what, when, why and how,” McKinnon said. “We can bring that experience and structure to the benefit of our customers.”

Gail Strickler, a trade advisor to both companies, said the deal “takes probably the two most innovative, complete and established providers and innovative suppliers in that sector and puts them together.”

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“It reflects how the business is changing and how companies are figuring out how to take advantage of it,” said Strickler, a former assistant U.S. Trade Representative for textiles and apparel. “Companies need to be global yet still take advantage of free trade agreements, preference programs and supply lines. Being able to offer the best prices and best quality to different locations is essential.”

McKinnon said Cotswold’s strength is with U.S. brands and Haama’s is with European firms, so the companies can now look to gain market share and expand in Asia.

Cotswold, based in Hong Kong, is a supplier to dozens of U.S.-based brands, including Levi Strauss & Co., VF Corp., Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, LL Bean, Kohl’s, J.C. Penney, True Religion, Ralph Lauren, Nike and Land’s End.

Haama, located in Haifa, Israel, is a supplier to Marks & Spencer, Zara, Men’s Warehouse, and many top apparel manufacturers in Europe, Jordan, Egypt and Turkey.

“Our customers across the world expect the best and with this new partnership we believe our value both as an industry leader in innovation and our common reputation of value will be second to none on the global stage,” said Harel. “Cotswold and Haama have aligned to become an integral part of the world’s apparel supply chain.”

Established in 1964, Haama specializes in the development and manufacture of textile and insulation products. Haama holds an ISO 9001 quality management systems standard, the Oeko-Tex standard certificate and started a zero-energy manufacturing process in 2009.

McKinnon noted that there are competitors in the Asia region such as QST and other regional players, so this eliminates both companies from competing against each other.

“It gives us a stronger negotiating stance and a stronger posture in the way apparel is produced today,” he said. “By combining our products under one arrow of delivery and logistics, we able to give our contractors a better value and one point of contact for more products they know they can rely on.”

Pocketing is the largest product for Cotswold, followed by fusible interlining. Other products include waistbands, jacket linings, belt loop fusibles and embroidery backings.

Founded in 1954, Cotswold is a vertically integrated manufacturer, converter and distributor specializing in the development and distribution of technical textiles and apparel fabrics, with plants in Georgia and South Carolina. Cotswold’s TexTest Laboratory division holds an ISO 9001 quality management systems standard.

As for operating in today’s complex and volatile global sourcing environment, McKinnon said, “We have to keep innovating, thinking about different ways of achieving the same end and be more valuable to our customers. The retail business is going through a state of flux, with massive competition from direct to consumer. Companies have to find ways to get a lower price and be more valuable to the consumer.”