Ananta Apparels, one of the leading garment exporters from Bangladesh, is set to merge its seven units into one with a view to bringing down operational costs and raising efficiency.
The amalgamation is expected to be complete in the next one month, said Asif Zahir, director of the Ananta Apparels.
Currently, the group, whose 10 percent shares are owned by Swedish partners and the International Finance Corporation, has seven units in Savar, Ashulia, Gazipur, Narayanganj and the export processing zones. The seven units are run by different management.
The group has to maintain separate files for the seven units, which is expensive and time-consuming.
Not only that, it leads to complications in maintaining the strict lead time imposed by international buyers, Zahir said.
“Amalgamation is rare in the garment sector of Bangladesh,” he said, adding that Ananta Apparels has advertised in the newspaper on its plans to merge its units as per the requirement of the High Court.
In future, the country's major apparel exporters might follow Ananta's lead because of the prospect of better management and cost-saving.
In the early 90s, the local garment makers used to establish as many as units separately to get more quota and tax holidays from the government.
But, the quota system has been eliminated from the world since 1st January in 2005 after the final phase out of Multi-Fibre Arrangement.
The company exported garment items worth $240 million in fiscal 2015-16. Starting from this year, the company has targeted to hit $400 million in exports within the next two years and $1 billion by the end of 2022.
“We need massive expansion and efficient management to reach the target within the set timeframe.”
Ananta maintained 20 to 30 percent export growth over the last five years, so it is not impossible to reach the target, said Zahir, an alumnus of the US's prestigious Stanford University.
Zahir is upbeat about the future of the country's garment business as the sector has already been praised by the international retailers.
More importantly, in three and a half decades the country has become the second largest apparel exporter in the world after China.
Moreover, the sector has also gone through a massive transformation thanks to inspection by the two foreign agencies and the government initiative.
“But, we have to produce more value-added garment items to be more competitive in the business as the cost of production has been increasing every year,” Zahir said.
Currently, H&M, Zara, Gap, Levi's and Marks & Spencer are the major buyers of Ananta Apparels, which started its journey in 1992.
The group, which employs 22,000 workers, also plans to get listed on the stock exchange to raise funds to set up a textile unit.
At present, the company, which mainly produces woven shirts, sweaters and trousers, imports 70 percent of its fabrics from China, India, Pakistan and Turkey.
“If we have our own textile factory we will not need to import fabrics. We will be able to save a significant amount of money every year.”