UK: Chinese textile giant takes major stake in fabric mill
Chinese fashion and textiles major Shandong Ruyi Technology Group has acquired a majority stake in UK luxury fabric mill Taylor & Lodge.
Through a joint venture deal with the West Yorkshire firm's owner Bulmer & Lumb Group (BLG), a new company has been formed which will be 80% owned by Shandong Ruyi and 20% by BLG.
The new company, Taylor & Lodge (Huddersfield) Ltd, will combine the manufacturing and design skills of Taylor & Lodge with the "world-class textile technology, marketing and financial power of Shandong Ruyi," the firms say.
Plans include growing the Taylor & Lodge business in international markets by upgrading its equipment and expanding its marketing.
The company, which was founded in 1883, has built its reputation as a manufacturer of luxury British worsted cloths. It employs around 65 people on the site at Huddersfield, and supplies fabrics for both the UK and international markets.
Among its more recent commissions, it produced the cashmere and mohair fabric for a suit worn by James Bond actor Daniel Craig in the film Quantum of Solace. And it supplied two lengths of luxurious worsted as a wedding gift for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The deal is the latest in a number of recent ventures for Shandong Ruyi, which is one of China's top textile and clothing enterprises, with total assets of CNY5.5bn (US$906m) and nearly 20,000 employees.
Its vertical supply chain extends from sheep to high-end suits, and includes include cotton textiles, printing and dyeing, knitting and jeans.
In 2012 the company led a consortium that bought Cubbie Group, Australia's largest cotton producer.
In December it acquired a majority stake in Masood Textile Mills, one of the few vertically integrated textile and apparel makers in Pakistan - and agreed to invest US$2bn to establish the Punjab Apparel Park near Lahore, and set up woven and knitted garment factories in the park.
And in March last year it bought a stake in Harris Tweed maker The Carloway Mill.
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