How one textile company managed to shine when most others faded

Despite being faced by the same problems, one entity has stood out

Imran Rana April 21, 2016

FAISALABAD: While much of the Pakistan’s textile sector struggles amid increasing competition and a global economic slowdown - a situation made worse by the country’s energy crisis - exceptions are hard to find.

However, Interloop Limited - one of the world’s largest hosiery manufacturer - seems to be managing just fine.

But how has the company managed to maintain a resilient upward trajectory when all other textile exporters, producers and the sector in general have done nothing, but whine and complain?

In an interview with The Express Tribune, Mussadaq Zulqarnain, Chairman and CEO of the company, shared how his company has climbed the ladder.

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“The company’s core principles are multi-year strategic planning, hard work, fiscal discipline and reinvestment in the business,” Zulqarnain presented the rehearsed spiel.

But how is this any different from any other business that says it also prioritises the same principles?

“What makes Interloop unique and successful is our people - a motivated, talented and dedicated work-force. We respect every employee,” he remarked.

Employee empowerment

The CEO said that the company has invested heavily on its employee’s training and self-development.

“The company distributes 10-11% of its profit among its employees in the form of bonuses and profit participation.”

Additionally, the company spends 10% of the profit to provide all the basic facilities to its employees including old-age benefits contributions and social security.

“We are running and introducing multiple new schemes for employees’ welfare. We have also announced a stock option scheme for our executive employees who can buy company shares against their annual bonuses,” said the CEO.

Furthermore, the company has a significant ratio of female workers, and efforts are being made to improve it further. “One such initiative includes day care centres in our factories.”

Empowering the community alone is not sufficient; the company believes that the need for a corporation to invest back into the community is vital. The company spent Rs157 million on community welfare projects in the last year alone.

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The business

Interloop Limited, established in 1992 with an investment of Rs9.3 million, has now grown into a Rs30-billion business.

Currently, the company has three mega hosiery units in Pakistan and one in Bangladesh, besides two state-of-the-art spinning units in Pakistan. Interloop invested $5 million in Bangladesh to set up the socks manufacturing unit.

It also installed 367 new hosiery knitting machines during 2015 and plans to invest $150 million to add another 2,500 machines during the next three years that would create 6,000 jobs. A state-of-the-art plant with 1,000 highly specialised hosiery machines will be completed by the end of this year.

The company’s sales grew by 12% last year reaching Rs25.4 billion and it earned an after-tax profit of Rs3.36 billion.

“Our vision is to double our turnover over the next five years,” the CEO remarked.

“We supply products to world renowned brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma. The retail chains like H&M, Target and Tesco also buy our products.

“Our major export markets include North America, Europe, United Kingdom, Japan, China and Russia.”

When asked how the company keeps customers satisfied, Zulqarnain said, “We ensure 99.9% on-time shipments to our customers. Also, the company has established world-class quality labs.”

When asked how the company managed to address power crisis that has enveloped many others in the sector, the company’s CEO said that a 22MW grid station with a capacity to generate 20MW power was installed.

“Recently, an additional 15MW furnace oil based power project has been finalised.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd,  2016.

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