Taking advantage of the latest government 'liberalisation,' Levi Strauss India is to set up its own large-scale manufacturing plants for Dockers, Levi's and Slates branded apparel.

Until now, all its garments have been either imported or outsourced to small-scale manufacturers in Madras. But with the recent introduction of an excise duty payable by all manufacturers of garments with a registered trademark, there is now no taxation or procedural advantage to sourcing apparel from these smaller manufacturers.

Levi's has had a presence in India since 1994, importing or outsourcing and marketing through its own shops, franchises and multi-brand outlets. The company already has its own facilities for special treatments such as sandblasting, stone and enzyme washing.

In addition to sales in India, the company also plans to export to other markets. Levi's is estimated to have a share of just over 10 per cent in the premium priced casual pants market.

By Navroz Havewala.