Bangladesh’s textile and apparel industry has come a long way since its beginning and so has the primary textile sector. NZ Tex Group is one of the most diversified yarns and fashion fabric manufacturers across both Non-Denim & Denim category located in Bangladesh- started its visionary journey since 1982. Over the years of development, it has evolved rapidly to compete as one of the most advanced groups of companies in the textile industry.
Md. Saleudh Zaman Khan, Managing Director, NZ Tex Group has been at the helm of this leading Group. His visionary leadership has been legendary in Bangladesh’s primary textile sector. He is also the Managing Director, NZ Textile Ltd.; Chairman, NZ DY Flax Spinning, NZ Fabric Ltd., NZ Denim Ltd. and Director of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA).
Recently, Md. Saleudh Zaman Khan shared his in-depth views of NZ Tex Group and the country’s primary textile sector with Textile Today.
Textile Today: NZ Tex Group has a great contribution to Bangladesh’s primary textile sector. How do you evaluate the growth of the primary textile sector of Bangladesh? Is it on the right track?
Md. Saleudh Zaman Khan: Primary textile sector in Bangladesh has witnessed tremendous growth in the last 10 years. The sector is now capable of delivering most of the demand for knit, woven and denim fabrics. For example, 10 years back 70% of woven fabric had to be imported and at present, the import has come down to 50% – meaning local mills now can supply 50% of the woven fabric demand.
Having said that, Bangladesh’s garment backward linkage industry can supply 98% of cotton-made yarn. We have that capability and not to mention if the cotton yarn demand rises 10% annually – then we can also cater to that.
This progress in the spinning sectors’ overall capability was the outcome of good banking support, entrepreneurial resilience and gaining aptness in technical knowhow in manpower. Despite all these milestones – the primary textile sector has immense investment opportunities in manmade fiber (MMF) as globally it has a 70% market share.
At present, we have some challenges in producing manmade fiber like polyester, viscose, modal, Tencel, etc. Like in the case of importing manmade fiber– spinners need to pay bonds. If the textile millers get the right policy support like all the import duties being removed, then it will benefit primary textile mills in a very good way.
We spinners are moving towards that with new investments focusing on MMF. And in the next 4-5 years the country’s spinning sector is expected to grow by 50% and self-sufficiency in MMF manufacturing. Bangladesh is wellknown for cotton-made products but gaining capability in MMF will attract more high-end retailers and our growth will undoubtedly go up.
You see, there is one well known fact called fiber security. Which is not too much dependent on the type of fiber. For this instanceBangladesh; we are heavily reliant on cotton-made garments. And we are one of the top global cotton importers.
Although we source cotton from diversified markets any global political crisis or natural calamity can put us in real trouble. Just like in COVID19 times, we perceived a global supply glitch. Thus, having the ability in diverse fiber bases is a timely requirement and MMF perfectly fits the bill. Besides, country’s growth perspective of the primary textile sector – MMF-based fashion apparel is the right choice and shedding our identity as cotton-based fashion.
Textile Today: What are the current challenges of the primary textile sector? How can these challenges be overcome?
Md. Saleudh Zaman Khan: In terms of challenges, the primary textile sector has two types of challenges, one is short-term and another is long-term. To elaborate the short-term hurdle – is the present global energy crisis.
A timely energy supply to the industry is critical for its success. As I have discussed above, in recent years huge investments have poured into the primary textile sector. For the last 4-5 years, it was made a significant investment in the spinning, the primary textile sector of Bangladesh. We have all the necessary capital machinery and raw materials in stock.
If we get the energy supply accordingly, then we can add more export value (around 40-50%) on the imported raw materials. The exports would turn the investment into earning precious foreign currency i.e., the US dollar. To grow the export market, continuous energy support is critical for the spinning industry and Bangladesh’s economy.
I will urge the stake holders in this sector to become cautious about using energy. Also, we have to ensure energy efficient textile and spinning industry.
At the same time if the govt. gives the primary textile sector priority in terms of power availability – then we can export a significant amount to uplift the country from its current foreign currency crisis.
Textile Today: Bangladesh’s primary textile sector is highly dependent on imports. How can a more independent and sustainable supply chain be established here?
Md. Saleudh Zaman Khan: Textile sector in Bangladesh is as old as our country. We spinners and textile mills owners have come this far with our resilience and perseverance. Yes, we are indeed cotton based and import-dependent – but if you see this sector have always adopted to the world’s most advanced technologies as soon as they hit the market.
It shows our commitment to delivering the best quality yarn from this region. Having said that, in the last 8-10 years – we are moving towards MMF fiber like viscose and polyester. Going for man-made fiber needs a huge investment. To make MMF fiber we need to have knit, weaving, dyeing, printing, chemicals and garments capability, most importantly- order flow.
So, all together it requires a mammoth investment, but we are getting there step-by-step. For instance, in viscose, garment manufacturing capability with viscose is the result of the last 10 years of R&D and now we are producing them in bulk.
Still, we do not have any viscose fiber-producing plant in the country. In terms of value-addition, then having a whole backward linkage will ensure that 90% of USD will remain in the country, will increase fiber security and reduce the export-import gap.
At present, we import around 50000 tons of viscose fiber and 30000 to 40000 tons of viscose yarn annually. Setting up a viscose manufacturing plant- it will require around BDT 40 billion investment and textile sector needs is some policy support.
BTMA sought govt. help in this regard to set up a structure – by which we will be able to cut import dependency and grow our value-addition. Already, some entrepreneurs are coming up with investments in MMF and here NZ Tex Group is working to set up a 100% polyester yarn and fabric-production facility in a company owned industrial park.
Textile Today: Please share with us the new ranges of yarn and fabric you are offering for the textile and apparel industry. As we know, you are the only producer of Flax/Linen yarn in Bangladesh. Could you please share the details of it?
Md. Saleudh Zaman Khan: NZ Tex Group is driven by the motto of Innovation that adds value. We started our LINEN spinning plant namely- NZ DY Flax Spinning about 12 years ago.
NZ Tex Group is the first and only Bangladeshi company to set up a Linen yarn manufacturing factory. The journey was not smooth, as banks were reluctant to invest in something new. We had to build up our workforce, buyers’ confidence from the scratch.
Now it is worth sharing that- NZ is manufacturing world class European Linen yarns and fabrics, supplying both yarns and fabrics to renowned global high street retailers for their premium clothing racks. It is necessary to say that all our Flax/ Raw materials for Linen yarns come from verified European source only. In terms sustainability and wearability of NZ Flax/Linen– the natural fiber which is grown sustainably in verified EU destinations and has unique comfort-feel to wear.
Linen fabric demand has been growing over years and China is the market leader (80%) in growing linen fiber and manufacturing fabrics. Owing to China-US tensions, the western world is looking for an alternative sourcing country.
The good news is that we are the only mill in Bangladesh, who are creating 100% linen and linen blended fabrics to cater customer demand.
Textile Today: Could you please update us on the NZ Denim? What is your observation regarding the Bangladesh denim industry? How can Bangladesh grab more market share though Bangladesh is already the top exporter to the USA & EU market?
Md. Saleudh Zaman Khan: NZ Denim Ltd started commercial journey over six years ago, having installed monthly production capacity to 2.5 million meters. Besides, we are getting great responses from the brands and clothing retailers from across the globe. As for the denim sector’s progress – let me elaborate on that.
Denim is a heavily fashion-oriented item and day by day its demand has multiplied globally – especially during the COVID times. Having said that there is a gigantic scope of R&D in the denim industry – which consists of yarn, fabric, washing and garments.
To grab more market share, all these segments need to be aligned parallelly. Over the years our industry entrepreneurs have invested substantially in these areas that is why our denim industry is reaping its current export earning share.
Despite all the success, we mostly produce cotton yarn-based denim. And we still have to import polyester or polyester blend-based fabric to catch high-end orders. This means that if we can grow our capacity in high-end MMF-based denim fabric then we can at least add on 30%-40% to export value. NZ Denim has a plan to move towards high-end MMF-based denim fabric as we always look to elevate ourselves.
Textile Today: How do you manage PIW (Post-Industrial Waste) to increase profitability and ensure sustainability?
Md. Saleudh Zaman Khan: The whole world is moving towards sustainably made apparel products. At present we are producing recycled yarn to manage PIW (Post-Industrial Waste). Also, we are increasing our recycled yarn capacity to ensure sustainability.
In the future, we have a plan to make polyester-based recycled yarns. If we can make it happen, then it will be great deal in reducing post-industrial waste and supplying them at a reasonable price that will ultimately lead to make entire supply-chain sustainable and profitable.