The MAS Group is reported to be getting together with an unnamed French manufacturer to set up a joint venture mill to source lace for the Sri Lankan apparel sector.

The US$15-16 million project will be based on an apparel industrial estate at Biyagama and should be up and running by October. It will enable manufacturers to cut lead times by buying lace locally.

Sri Lanka does not have an established fabric base, and most of its material requirements have to be sourced from countries like India and China.

This is changing slowly, however, and the past few years have seen knitted fabric mills, a woven fabric processing plant and several accessory manufacturers starting up in Sri Lanka.