Karim Group is a leading conglomerate owes its inception to a small business enterprise started in sixties and run by its proprietor Late Al-Haj Abdul Karim Miah. His farsightedness, sincere initiative, indomitable drive, keen intelligence and capable leadership helped the once small enterprise grow bigger and bigger in each passing year.
His son Md. Wahid Miah, Vice Chairman of Karim Group has been leading the company as a capable successor with his persistent and painstaking leadership efforts and taking new initiatives as per necessity.
Recently, Md. Wahid Miah shared his dreams and vision with Textile Today. Here is the enlightened part of the valued discussion for the readers.
Textile Today: Could you please share us your journey into the textile sector? And please share us the current status of your business.
Md. Wahid Miah: My father Late Al-Haj Abdul Karim Miah back in the 1960s initiated the Karim Group’s journey. His farsightedness, sincere initiative, indomitable drive, keen intelligence and capable leadership helped the once small enterprise grow bigger and bigger over time. And my father’s persistent and painstaking efforts shaped us to nurture his dreams. Thus we entered the family business in the 90s.
Karim Group entered its spinning and garments business in 2006-07. In 2007, we started a spinning mill – Al-Haj Karim Textile Ltd. – with 50000 spindles. But that did not prosper due to the severe gas shortage crisis back then.
Textile Today: What are your new investment/expansion plans? In terms of investment in spinning technology, what parameters did you put into consideration?
Md. Wahid Miah: Now we are once again investing in the spinning business by setting up a mill of 110,000 spindles. Its output will be 80 tons of yarn per day. We are hopeful that it will be operational by May-June 2022. Which is undoubtedly one of the largest in Bangladesh.
Besides, rotor and PC (Polyester Cotton) -CVC (Cheap Value Cotton – here usually cotton percentage is 65%/35%=poly/cotton) mélange yarn included – 40 tons of yarn is in the back process. Which will go into production by the end of this year.
In terms of investing in spinning technology for our new mill, we have put our utmost effort to equip the mill with the world’s latest spinning technology. Keeping in mind, energy less consumption, reduced manpower, and environment friendly – to be competitive with globally leading textile mills. We are increasing the capacity of one of our knit dyeing factory. So we can use meet our demand from it.
In a way, Karim Group is making itself strong in the backward linkage industry. Then step by step we have a plan to go for the sewing business.
Textile Today: Many of the spinners said, the availability and cost of the spare parts is a big challenge for the spinners now. Can we develop the spare parts industry here to mitigate these challenges?
Md. Wahid Miah: After China, Bangladesh’s spinning sector is the biggest in the world. The textile sector has progressed immensely. Our spinning mills use top-notch, sophisticated machinery from the world’s leading brands. Most notably, the spare parts are also produced by the brands themselves – as these sophisticated spare parts need laser precession. Which is not produced in our country.
On the other hand, the Bangladesh govt. has provided some really helpful policies for the industry. And spinning entrepreneurs get a 1% tax discount on spinning machinery imports.
Having said that, if we can locally develop spinning machinery and spare parts manufacturing capacity, then undoubtedly it will give millers an extra millage and achievement.
Although Karim Group does not have any plan to initiate this business segment. Still, if any entrepreneur comes up with this, they will prosper in the segment as there is a huge demand in the local mills. We will certainly extend our hand of cooperation for the betterment of the spinning industry.
Textile Today: The recent data analysis shows that Bangladesh’s spinning industry added two million spindles as the apparel orders are increasing and due to global supply chain glitches locally produced yarn demand is increasing. What is your thought regarding this new investments in spinning?
Also, the local spinning sector is highly cotton fiber-based. Kindly share your insight in this.
Md. Wahid Miah: The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the global fashion perspective significantly. People have got more into outdoor activities – which is why we witness a surge in synthetic fabric-based garments. And worldwide its production has increased manifold.
At the same time, cotton fiber-based demand surged as more people stayed home due to the pandemic. As cotton provides comfort to wearers – making cotton and cotton-made garment are highly demandable globally. As one of the top cotton-based readymade garment (RMG) producers, Bangladesh textile mills witnessed a 30 to 40% increase in orders. And rightly so, investors are investing more into the sector.
I am foreseeing that this increase in cotton-made apparel demand will give the spinners a huge scope for development. As you have mentioned that spinning industry increased the production capacity of two million spindles, and it has come to my knowledge that entrepreneurs are planning and discussing with machine suppliers and related stakeholders to add more 0.8 to 1 million more spindles within a year.
Till now, Bangladesh imports a big amount of cotton yarn from India and other countries. Which will not be required in near future.
Textile Today: Recently yarn prices have severely been disrupting our apparel sector. Share your observation about the issue.
Md. Wahid Miah: This turmoil in the supply chain is not limited to the fashion industry, rather it is prevalent in other sectors too. Especially, delay in the shipping, two to three times increase in freight costs, shortage of containers, etc. have greatly hampered on-time delivery and hiked the prices of cotton and yarn.
Cotton crop production in main producing countries has gone down for various reasons leading to a price increase. And every day, the price is hiking by 5 to 7 cents. Still, now the industry cannot predict how far the price will go making spinning business more challenging.
Similarly, globally the widened gap between demand and supply made it more perplexing.
Textile Today: Do you have any plan to invest in synthetic fiber/yarn production? What are the opportunities you see investing in manmade yarn?
Md. Wahid Miah: As I said earlier, due to manmade fibers durability, life span and innovative nature – globally it is becoming go-to wear among the consumers. And in Bangladesh, the synthetic fiber-made garments demand increased by around 60%.
To ride with this trend, as a leading conglomerate, Karim Group is setting up a textile mill to manufacture synthetic fiber beside our cotton-based spinning mill. This manmade fiber mill will go into production within this year.
Textile Today: This is great news for the RMG industry no doubt. Besides, the spinning industry needs huge capital investment to compete globally. Which is not possible except for the govt. support. Kindly share your opinion on how the govt. can support more for a brighter future for the spinning sector?
Md. Wahid Miah: As an entrepreneur, I feel comfortable doing the textile and apparel business due to the business-friendly policies taken by the govt. If the govt. provides the gas connection more easily then it will pave the way for a golden era of the spinning sector. As the spinning machinery needs a mammoth quantity of stable energy.
If this growth trend continues, Bangladesh’s RMG export will increase by more than 50% in the coming years. The whole spinning industry needs to stay together and as a team to move this forward.