Twelve Ludhiana-based knitwear companies are teaming up to introduce a common brand that will hit international markets in 2001.

KNIDGRO, which is made up of 12 active members, has been formed to give Indian knitwear a presence in the global market. "We are very small companies and are ill-equipped to fight the international brands who can invest a lot of money in brand building. Also, under the textile policy, the knitwear section has not been dereserved, so we really do not have any other option but to work together," said Sudershan Jain, president of the Knitwear Development Group (KNIDGRO) and owner of Sarjeevan Knitwears.

Initially, the common brand would mainly be for the international market since many of the units have their own established brands in the domestic market.

Individually, KNIDGRO said, they were unable to meet bulk export orders on time since they lacked the capacity to manufacture large quantities: "We were not able to meet the demands of foreign buyers. However, we feel that under the common brand initiative we would go in for common funding and would be able to meet the demands of international buyers," a KNIDGRO spokesman said.

"Right now the brand is only for the international market, but we hope to hit the domestic market soon," said Miglani, general secretary, Knitwear Club, an organisation of the knitwear industry in Ludhiana.