According to a report in the Dhaka Tribune, a court has ruled any agent or buying house of Edinburgh Woollen Mill Ltd (EWM) will not be able to conduct business with Bangladesh.
The report, citing the managing directors of four Bangladesh Garment Manufacturing and Exporters Association (BGMEA) member-companies in the country, says a filing alleges EWM was trying to evade payment worth BDT5.98cr on the pretext that its subsidiary company Peacocks, which imported the products, was bankrupt.
In 2020 Edinburgh Woollen Mill fell into administration, a move resulting in the loss of some 750 jobs.
This followed a report in June in which the BGMEA threatened to blacklist the company over unpaid invoices.
The then president of the BGMEA, Rubana Huq, penned an email to EWM owner Philip Day in which she said the group was taking “undue advantage of the Covid-19 situation.
She explained the discounts being requested are “not only impossible to grant by our members but also in violation of local laws, internationally acceptable standards; and moreover defy all the principles of ethical sourcing and governance that international brands and organisations expect of the industry and all its stakeholders”.
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In its response, EWM said it had been “unfairly targeted” adding it had “operated in Bangladesh for over two decades and enjoyed an enviable reputation.”
It also said it had reached an agreement with 22 out of 29 of the BGMEA’s members on its standard terms of business, some of which have requested alternate terms, for which discounts have been discussed.
According to the latest report in the Dhaka Tribune, citing barrister Imtiaz Moinul Islam, who filed the case on behalf of the four companies (Designtex Knitwear Limited, Designtex Fashions Limited, Knit Bazaar (Pvt) Limited and Bottoms Gallery (Pvt) Limited), EWM continues to do business in the country under a different name and “claiming to be a new company” which he says is “harming the RMG sector of Bangladesh.
An application for an injunction was filed on 19 May with the court passing an order of a temporary injunction.
In an email to Just Style, a spokesperson for EWM said: “The case brought forth by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association is unfounded and our lawyers in Bangladesh are contesting it.”
The BGMEA could not be reached for comment at time of press.