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Indian T-shirts for soccer World Cup fans

March 18, 2005 12:34 IST
Soccer fans across the world may sport 'Made in India' T-shirts and caps during the World Cup in Germany next year.

Pearl Global, a Rs 1,500 crore (Rs 15 bilion) Gurgaon-based company, is in advanced stages of negotiations with a master licensee of the Federation Internationale de Football Association for a marketing and distribution contract for World Cup gear.

If it gets through, the deal will fetch Pearl Global business worth $70 million. "This may amount to 30 million pieces. We are planning to manufacture these in our Indian and Bangladeshi plants,'' chairman Deepak Seth said.

Through this contract, Pearl Global may be allowed to use the World Cup emblem or logo on garments. It is, however, unclear whether Pearl will be the only company that gets the order, as master licensees usually multi-source such contracts.

Still, industry sources pointed out that Pearl Global would be the first Indian company to bag a slice of World Cup action.

Prior to January 1, 2005, when the quotas came to an end, India could export only limited pieces of knit shirts, shorts to EU countries and the US.

India could export 100,000 shirts, T-shirts and similar knit garments to EU and another 30,000 T-shirts and sweat shirts/track suits each to Canada.

But with the ending of the multi-fibre arrangement, the industry is confident that India's exports will catapult from the present $6.5 billion to about $50 billion by 2010.

Pearl Global already exports garments to international retailers such as GAP, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Abercromble & Fitch, DKNY, Donna Karan, Anthropologie, Hollister, Marks & Spencer's. USA accounts for 40 per cent of its exports, while the UK and EU account for 32 per cent and 28 per cent of the total exports, respectively.

The company manufactures and exports 12 million pieces annually mainly in the category of ladies blouses and casual menswear shirts.

According to company officials, the company has undertaken new investments of $20 million in putting up new manufacturing facilities. This includes addition of capacities for dress shirts and sleep wear.

The company's trouser project in Chennai is expected to be commissioned by May 2005 and a new knits factory in Tirupur will commence production by July this year.

The company has a joint venture in Bangladesh, called Norp Knits Industries Ltd, and another joint venture to make sweaters, Nor-Pearl Knitwear Ltd, in Dhaka, which will start production in May this year.

The various initiatives will increase the company's capacity by 8 million units in knits, 5 million sweaters and 5 million wovens. Pearl Global is also strengthening its distribution in various EU countries.

It has already opened a new office in Toronto and is starting one in Spain by next month, besides expanding its UK office and warehousing facilities this year.

Pallavi Majumdar in New Delhi
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