Sigiri Weaving Mills (Pvt) Limited is a family owned textile manufacturing company based in Moratuwa, a city on the out skirts of the commercial capital Colombo.
The company’s history dates back to 1965 with initial business operations confined to trading and indenting.
The founder, Abdul Kareem Yusuf, was later joined by his son Gaffar Kareem and his siblings Razak Kareem and Azeez Kareem.
Together, the company ventured into a small Weaving unit manufacturing fabrics for the domestic market while continuing its’ initial operations.
As time went by, the factory was relocated to a bigger space as more power looms were added.
Knitting was added as part of the product mix.
A giant step was taken in 1982 when the board decided to get into manufacturing of Suitings with high tech shuttle less looms, then, the first of its’ kind in Sri Lanka.
Relocating again, this time to a city called Moratuwa in the suburbs of the commercial capital Colombo,
the company acquired a three and a half acre land for the new venture.
Commercial operations of the new venture started in 1983 while new machinery was added to keep up with the growing demand for its’ products.
The knitting operations were expanded and modernized as well.
The need for a dye house was imminent as out sourcing was becoming expensive, tedious and complex.
Hence in 1987, the company started a full-fledged dye house to meet the dyeing requirements of its products. By this time the company was self-sufficient in all aspects.
The late 80s was experiencing a surge in Apparel Exports from Sri Lanka with factories mushrooming all across Colombo and its’ suburbs and buying houses looking for capacities.
The company then ventured into apparel exports under the name Sigiri Garments, a partnership concern with a view of producing mainly knit garments.
The vertical integration of a knitting plant, a dye house and a garment factory saw business soaring more than the expectations of the board.
In 1992, Sigiri Garments expanded its’ capacity by starting a new factory which was located in Dematagoda.
In 1997, with the untimely demise of the then Chairman Mr. Gaffar Kareem, his brother Mr. Razak Kareem was appointed Chairman of the board and Mr. Altaf Gaffar became the Managing director of Sigiri Weaving Mills. Mr. Aslam Gaffar continued as Managing Director of Sigiri Garments.
The surprise decision in 1997 by the then government to liberalize textile imports blew a death knell to the industry as a whole. Almost all factories were forced to shut down as competition got intense and many could not keep pace as prices of textiles plummeted.
The board of Sigiri took a review of the companies’ operations and started the process of streamlining all activities of the company. Certain peripheral areas were shut down to focus more on it’s’ core business. Contrary to what was being experienced in the market in general, Sigiri started modernizing its’ machinery to keep pace with new technology for efficient and cost effective production adding value added products like Engineered Stripes, mini jacquards and so on.
In 2000, Sigiri expanded to supply apparels to the Sri Lankan domestic market and a company by the name of Stafford Garments (Pvt) Limited was formed and Mr. Shakeer Hafeez was appointed as the CEO / Managing Director of the company. A property in Urugodawatte was leased for this purpose and eventually acquired by Sigiri Weaving Mills.
Getting over the initial stumbles and teething problems, the new company started its’ own brand of men’s casual knitwear called REBORN and a kids’ line of clothing under the brand KIKO KIDS. Business soared and shortage of capacity was being felt. REBORN and KIKO KIDS were then outsourced to over a dozen factories producing T Shirts and Polos. A new brand of sportswear called RBN was launched to enhance our product line and to cater to the growing market for sportswear.
Capacity was still an issue. Hence another factory was acquired in Weeraketiya, a town in the southern province of Sri Lanka.
REBORN entered into a franchise agreement with a business house in Karachi, Pakistan to sell its’ products under license. The knitwear is exported to Pakistan and products not manufactured by the company are produced under license. Currently two stores are in operation in the city of Karachi.
In 2004, Sigiri Garments expanded capacity, this time in a town called Ambatale enroute to Avissawella.
The year also experienced a split in the business where Mr. Razak Kareem took over the Weaving and Dyeing operations under a new company called Sigiri Textile Industries (Pvt) Limited.
Having weathered the many challenges over the years, the company today has production capacity of 1.8million kilograms of knitted fabrics which include Single Jersey, Interlock, Pique, Engineered Stripes and cotton spandex.
Circular knitting machinery brands include Mayer & Cie, Orizio, Santoni, Pai Lung and Juinn Long.
Flat knitting capacity now stands at 40 machines of Flying Tiger brand with a daily production of 20,000 collars.
Yarns used are mainly from Vietnam, India and Pakistan in counts ranging from 20s to 60s in cottons and blends in both single and double yarns. We also use mélange and dyed yarns.
Fabrics are sold in the domestic market directly to customers who manufacture T shirts, Ladies garments, kids wear and underwear, sportswear and nightwear.
With the strong likelihood of GSP+ being restored, the time is opportune to modernize machinery, expand capacity, invest in a dye house to dye fabrics and a yarn dyeing facility and pass on the reins to the next generation!