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Fortuna Leather Craft Emerging As A Big Player

by:Unionrise     2020-08-01
Fortuna Bangladesh is ready to expand operations in the footwear industry by increasing its production capacity and establishing the country's first shoe mould manufacturing factory by September. We have invested Tk 56 crore (Tk 560 Million) initially in setting up the new factories and importing high-tech machinery. The factory has been set up in Kunia, Gazipur, to expand our state-of-the-art shoe manufacturing facility to produce 6,000 pairs of shoes a day from the current capacity of 2,500 pairs. The new factory is likely to start operations by September and will produce footwear mainly for the international market, although we also have plans to tap into the local market. We expect to earn foreign currency worth Tk 200 crore (Tk 2000 Million) a year once we start exporting footwear. Buyers from China come to Bangladesh as their cost of labor is increasing. Many European buyers are also taking advantage of the duty-free export facility to the EU as an additional 16.5 percent tax is levied on footwear exports from China. Nowadays, many countries, like China and India, are failing to produce high quality but low-cost leather items because of the WTO antidumping rules. So, orders from Germany, Italy, France, Japan and Canada are increasingly shifting to the local manufacturers in Bangladesh. Earlier, China, India and Vietnam were the largest leather shoe exporters. Our factory is run under foreign supervision. The company hired Chinese professionals to look after the technical and production side and an American fashion designer to oversee the creativity and designing side was also hired. We believe this is the best way to transfer technical and creative knowledge. With our own source of finished leather, vertical integration was always the vision from the time we started the tannery in 1991. Under the expansion plans, we are also establishing the country's first shoe mould factory by teaming up with a Chinese company. At present, most local footwear companies are using wooden moulds that cannot assure an accurate shape. We will manufacture plastic mould that is now being sourced from China and India. Once we are done, it will help ensure a perfect shape of our shoes. In addition, we are in a joint venture with a Spanish company to make outsoles. It will have a collection of over 100 different outsole styles. We already have four retail outlets and planning to open a one-stop shop for foreign shoe buyers. To top it off we also makes bags, wallets and other leather accessories for the domestic and international market. The demand for fashionable and high end leather shoes has declined in international markets because of the global financial meltdown. But it has also given an opportunity for Bangladesh to produce shoes that are ordinary but essential. The country started exporting leather footwear in 1994 on a small scale to neighboring countries, including India and Nepal. The footwear business grew in recent years. The total market size of the Bangladesh leather footwear market stands at Tk 1,700 crore, of which, about 45 percent is exported. The country exports around six million pairs of leather footwear a year.
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