DIN LEATHER-DUPONT JOINT VENTURE

Induction of Lycra leather treatment technology will help Din Leather increase its export earnings by 40 per cent

By Syed M. Aslam
Feb-04 - Feb-10, 2002

Din Leather (Pvt.) Limited signed an agreement with Dupont Apparel and Textile Sciences to become the first licensee is the Asia Pacific to use Lycra technology. Lycra in a the state-of-the-art stretch and recovery tanning technology without affecting the natural qualities unique of leather.

The treatment makes it possible for leather to be conform to any shape and design in the production of value-added products such as garments, shoes, upholstery, and other. In addition, it also offers comfortable fit allowing much greater freedom of movement. Leather garments with Lycra retain the characteristic look and feel of leather and yet are much more comfortable to wear retaining their original shape through repeated wearings.

Talking to PAGE, S. M. Naseer of Din Group said that the induction of the new technology will not only help increase the revenue of both Dupont and Din Leather but will also help earn more foreign exchange for the country. Din Group is one of the leading groups with diversified investments in leather, textile and power generation with a combined turnover of Rs 2,422 million per annum. It is one of the top exporters of leather and leather garments contributing over $ 25 million annually. It produces over 2 million square feet of goat and sheep leather and around 60,000 leather garments annually.

Naseer said that the induction of Lycra leather treatment technology will help Din Leather increase its export earnings by 40 per cent by placing it into a high segment retail market. It is not the first time that Din Leather and Dupont has signed an agreement Din was also the first to become Lycra authorized processor in Pakistan to use it in their textile spinning to produce cotton yarn with Lycra three years ago. The Lycra-blended cotton yarn is very popular across the world.

He said that the technological partnership will help Din Leather to expand to play a more significant role in leather and leather garments exports. "It will help us to expand and grow to diversify the base of our value-added products to produce a range of unique products. It will also serve as a spring board for the Pakistani leather industry to enter new product segments and retail markets which thus far have been captured by the European countries."

Asked to explain the new technology, he said that leather + Lycra is a technical and marketing programme which integrates the supply chain for leather and leather products to produce garments and shoes with superior comfort, fit and appearance. Dupont, he said, has developed the know-how on shoe-upper materials to deliver maximum comfort to the foot. This know-how is applicable to virtually any shoe design or material.

Presently, he said, Dupont has developed two technologies for combining leather and Lycra while it has others in the pipeline. The first involves lamination of fabrics with Lycra to pre-cut leather components mainly used in shoe manufacture. The second involves lamination of a backing fabric to full hides from which garments, shoes or other leather products are subsequently cut from.

He said that lamination process is a confidential propriety information which is exclusively shared with 'our licensed partners.' Many leather garment and leather shoe brands are testing Lycra in their products while some of them have already commercially launched their products in 2001 in the US, he added.

Asked if the new technology will add to the cost of shoe or garment he said that leather products are generally mid to premium market products within their category. "We expect our leather-Lycra products to be competitive at all price points in this range. However, it will be up to the manufacturers to decide how much they charge for the significant addition benefits which it brings to the consumers."

Leather plays an important role in the economy of Pakistan and any measure to help increase the value of leather and leather manufacture exports is thus always welcomed. Leather contributed an average of 8 per cent to the total exports from Pakistan in term of value during the last decade making it the second top foreign exchange earner after the cotton commodity group which contributed an evarge of over 60 per cent to the foreign exchange earnings.

In term of quantity, production of tanned leather increased from 32.7 million meter to 37.2 million meter for goat and sheep hides while production of cow and buffalo hides increased from 5.9 million meter to 7.6 million meter during the last decade.

One significant change during the last decade is that the value of leather garment exports surpassed that of tanned leather export in term of value. Twelve countries collectively contribute over 82 per cent to the total export earnings from the leather garments including the US which contribute 20 per cent, Germany 16.5 per cent, UK over 13 per cent, France almost 10 per cent and Spain 5.16 per cent.

On the other hand, the major markets of Pakistani tanned leather exports in the recent years are South Korea 16.89 per cent, Hong Kong 16.66 per cent, Italy 14 per cent, Germany 11.75 per cent and France 5.6 per cent.

The induction of the new technology is expected to give a boost to the exports of leather and value-added leather projects from Pakistan to help make a headway into the premium-priced markets.