Industrial thread manufacturer Coats is on the acquisition trail again, adding UK-based software developer Fast React Systems to its line-up of productivity improvement tools for apparel and footwear manufacturers, sourcing companies and retailers.

Fast React Systems has three core products, including the Evolve 'drag and drop' planning tool that allows fast and accurate scheduling of manufacturing lines, machines, and supporting processes; the Vision extended PLM solution, designed to manage all key processes for the design, development and purchasing and tracking stages of the apparel supply chain; and Align, a visual planning and management tool that allows textile mills to match demand against available capacity, manage their commitments and improve the order confirmation process, work-in-progress and inventory levels.

The company is based in Derby in the UK, where half of its 76 employees are based. It also has a presence in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, China, Thailand, Korea and Hong Kong, and its software is used in more than 40 countries across the world.

The acquisition is for an initial consideration of US$9m, with further payments of up to US$4m over a three-year period, contingent on Fast React achieving certain performance targets.

The software firm becomes part of Coats Global Services (CGS) where it joins GSD Corporate, which was acquired by Coats in May last year. GSD supplies solutions that analyse time, cost and production capability in the sewn products sector with the focus on maximising productivity and controlling costs.

"We are seeing a growth in demand from our customers for value added services in operational efficiency so there is a strong synergy between Fast React Systems' products and the CGS offering," explains Paul Forman, Coats group chief executive.

"We share a footprint of both existing and target customers, and together we can provide an even wider and more attractive product portfolio."

Andrew Brown, group managing director, Fast React Systems, adds: "This is a huge opportunity for our products, customers and employees. The combination of our technical expertise with the global reach and also the customer and brand relationships of Coats marks the start of an exciting new phase in our development." 

Coats Global Services was launched in 2013 and provides the sewn product industries with expert insights, technical guidance and practical solutions to help realise productivity improvements across the supply chain.

Separately, Coats said it has also acquired Gotex SA, the Barcelona, Spain based producer of high-tech industrial yarns and tapes that are used to protect, reinforce and insulate cables and pipes in the global telecommunications, energy and oil and gas sectors.