Elastic Fabrics of America (EFA), Dogi International Fabrics of Spain, and MAS Holdings are looking at setting up Sri Lanka's first warp knit fabric manufacturing facility.

The three companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore the joint venture during the Interfiliere trade show in Lyon, France at the beginning of this month.

The joint venture is expected to cater to the fast growing global intimate, swimwear and active wear segments, primarily supplying apparel manufacturers in the South Asian region catering to the North American and European markets.

The inclusion of Dogi in the potential joint venture adds to an agreement signed by EFA and MAS earlier this year.

Mr James Robbins, president & CEO of EFA, said: "A three-way partnership creates the opportunity for us to build a terrific organisation.

"We are very excited about the prospects that Sri Lanka offers for manufacturing and supplying the South Asian markets, where there is no leading supplier of warp knitted fabrics at present."

Mr Sharad Amalean, deputy chairman of MAS Holdings added that the proposed investment is a huge vote of confidence in the local industry.

"This is the first major foreign investment in the industry in Sri Lanka since the elimination of quotas, which gives us a lot of confidence going forward.

"The venture will improve the competitiveness of the entire apparel industry, as it will make specialised fabrics available locally, thus helping manufacturers to cut down lead times."

Dogi, headquartered in Spain, is one of the leading manufacturers of warp knitted fabrics with manufacturing facilities in Spain, Germany, China, Thailand and the Philippines.

EFA is a leading American-based manufacturer of elastomeric warp knits and circular knits. As a major supplier to the intimate apparel, active wear and swimwear markets, EFA serves major customers including Vanity Fair, Cupid Foundations, Victoria's Secret, Maidenform, Sara Lee and A&H Sportswear.

MAS Holdings is one of the leading providers of design-to-delivery solutions, specialising in intimate apparel, sportswear and leisurewear. Headquartered in Colombo, Sri Lanka, the company has 28 world-class manufacturing operations located in seven countries and employs over 32,000 people.