KPR Mill expands to Ethiopia

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KPR Mill, a fully-integrated garment manufacturing company in Coimbatore, has expanded to Ethiopia, setting up its first overseas production facility — KPR Export Plc — in Makelle at an initial investment of $5 million.

The investment was facilitated by the International Trade Centre (ITC) under its Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa (SITA) project. According to a note from ITC, KPR has committed an additional investment of $15 million.

Commencing trial operations in October-November last year, the company has generated more than 700 jobs so far. The 53,300 sq.ft shed at Makelle Industrial Park has 20 garment stitching lines, apart from cutting, pressing and packing facilities. As many as 12 workers from Ethiopia were trained at the Coimbatore factory for 40 days and 14 Indians are employed at the Makelle unit at the management level.

Shipped to Ethiopia

The fabric is shipped from KPR’s India plants to Ethiopia and garments stitched there are shipped to the U.S., said C.R. Anandakrishnan, executive director, KPR Mill. It is making knitted garments there, to begin with, he said.

Speaking at the inaugural of the factory recently, K.P. Ramasamy, founder and chairman, KPR Mill, said that following his visit to Ethiopia in April last year, he decided to invest in the country.

According to Debretsion Gebremichael, vice-president, Tigrai National Regional State, the region had ample resources and opportunities for investments. The government is working towards making Tigrai investment-friendly as industrialisation would create more jobs.

(The correspondent was in Makelle, Ethiopia, recently at the invitation of the International Trade Centre)



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