Coats to make sewing threads using recycled/renewable materials

Coats Group CEO Rajiv Sharma inspects the Madurai Sustainability Hub after inauguration.
| Photo Credit: N. Anand

Coats Group Plc., one of the world’s largest thread makers, will continue to focus on the core business of making sustainable sewing threads and is unlikely to re-enter readymade garments which it divested in 2000, according to Group CEO Rajiv Sharma.

“We sold the garments division of Madura Coats, a subsidiary of Coats Viyella, to Indian Rayon in 2000. [Re-entering the segment] will be like rubbing an old wound,” he said during an interaction.

Indian Rayon acquired the garments division as a going concern with employees, brand licences, distribution and manufacturing networks. It became the owner/licencee for India for premium brands such as Louis Phillippe, Van Heusen, Allen Solly, Byford, Peter England and Sanfrisco,

“They (brands) are doing extremely well. The performance is much better than what we could have achieved, if it was with us,” he said while ruling out the possibility of having a second look.

According to him, Coats is currently focusing on achieving sustainability targets in key areas such as water, energy, minerals, waste and people to make sewing threads for apparel, footwear and performance materials.

To achieve its goal, Coats opened a 100% focused ‘Sustainability Hub’ at its Madurai spinning and twisting plant and announced new target for 2026.

“In the phase-I (spanning four years till 2022), we have substantially delivered on the target. In the second phase, we will make threads using recycled, renewable or new generation items such as wood pulp, corn, bamboo shoots and banana skin. Emission reduction across the company’s entire value chain is at the heart of these new targets,” he said.

Coats posted revenue of about $1.6 billion for FY22, of which India accounted for 10-11%. In the next few years, India has the potential to scale it up to 16-18%. Tamil Nadu contributes to 60% of Coat’s manufacturing capacity,” he said.

To a question about Russian operations, he said it was closed due to the war to protect and safeguard its employees, limitations on bank transactions and logistics issues.

Besides, Coats also closed its operations in Argentina, Brazil, Hungary, South Africa U.S., Mauritius and Budapest as they were not sustainable.

“There are still more places, which can be closed down. We are also looking for acquisitions,” he said.

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