- With Baipail factory, Gildan began its Bangladesh journey in 2019
- It now makes T-shirts under the brand name of Gildan Activewear
- The products are exported to North and South American markets
- Gildan Activewear logged $1.98 billion in revenue in 2020
Local apparel-makers say they have remarkable achievements in factory compliance and labour safety, referring to Canadian clothing brand Gildan Activewear's expansion plan in Bangladesh.
"We believe Gildan's move will send a positive message about the country's apparel market to the foreign investors," said Mohammad Hatem, executive president at the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA).
Referring to a top Gildan official, apparel sourcing and textile industry news outlet Just Style In recently reported that the Canadian apparel maker is "rapidly moving forward" with the construction of the first "up-to-large-scale" textile and sewing facilities in Bangladesh.
"The capacity that we're bringing on in Bangladesh, which is two large state-of-the-art facilities, will be geared and dedicated to 100%, making fashion T-shirts," the report quoted Gildan CEO Glenn Chamandy.
Gildan began its Bangladesh journey in 2019. The manufacturer, GAB Ltd, is producing T-shirts on Dhaka's outskirts Baipail. Clothes that Gildan makes in Bangladesh go with the brand name Gildan Activewear.
The products are sold mainly in North and South American countries, including Canada.
A local backward linkage official who is privy with GAB Ltd's operations said, "The existing production facility in Baipail is huge. Many local factories are supplying raw materials to them [Gildan]."
Meanwhile, Mohammad Hatem told The Business Standard that they welcome Gildan's expansion plan, and want the company to invest more in value-added products and diversified items.
Local apparel-makers said Bangladesh's garment sector has been maintaining a good export outlook, which is likely to continue in the future too. The brighter prospect helps the international brands grow better confidence about Bangladesh.
Apart from Bangladesh, Gildan Activewear has operations in some Central American and Caribbean countries. Industry insiders said Gildan may downsize its offices in some countries to back Bangladesh expansion.
A significant portion of the top officials in Gildan's Bangladesh factory are foreign nationals, most of whom are from Honduras.
According to sources, knitwear-maker GAB Ltd is a member of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). Georges Sam Yu Sum is the managing director of the company in Bangladesh.
About the perspective of Gildan's Bangladesh journey, Just Style said the manufacturer revealed plans to develop a new manufacturing complex in Bangladesh in May 2019. The company then said its full production capacity was capable of fetching $500 million in sales.
According to Macrotrends, Gildan Activewear's annual revenue for 2019 was $2.824 billion. However, in 2020 it decreased to $1.98 billion.