Apparel Sourcing Intelligence - Worldwide

Bossa’s up for sale – and why that’s good for the world apparel industry

Turkey’s Sabanci Holding is “seeking a strategic partner for Bossa. Our search is continuing”, said the company’s chairwoman Guler Sabanci on February 27.

Rumours that Sabanci were about to offload Bossa – a $200 mn turnover fabric business, specialising in denim, shirting and fabric for casualwear – have been widespread in Turkey since a local business magazine published them late last year. Significantly, Sabanci issued a statement at the time that failed to deny their growing disillusion with Bossa.

It’s the latest episode in a major reconstruction of Turkey’s apparel and textile industry – till recently the most successful in the Europe-Mediterranean region. Conglomerates are shedding their textile operations, apparel manufacturers putting their money into design or foreign retail, rather than manufacturing, and manufacturers who want to stay in manufacturing are becoming the largest single group of investors in new Egyptian facilities.

What’s interesting, though, is that Sabanci – like several of its peers – seems not to want to get out of textiles altogether. They’re looking for a partner, they say – not one of those “reviewing all alternatives” phrases that really mean “we’ll give it to anyone who’ll take it”. There’s an AWFUL lot of money in Turkey’s apparel/textile industry, and a lot of that money is going into newer and better textile-related activities.

It’s just that not much of it is going into new factories in Turkey – though there are interesting developments outside the traditional Istanbul-Bursa-Izmir corridor, like the 6,000 jobs claimed to have been created at Adiyaman, in the country’s South-East. Turkey’s restructuring is affecting huge swathes of the world’s textile industry, providing money for projects ranging from processing plants in Uzbekistan, through QIZ-based garment factories in Egypt to retail chains in the UK.

This relocation upsets many Turks. There were protests in mid-January when the country’s President, Abdullah Gul, put an official seal of approval on all this relocation by laying the foundation stone of a Turkish-funded apparel park in Egypt’s Sixth of October City. But this group of well-funded, textile-oriented, entrepreneurs (or at any rate second and third generation descendants of entrepreneurs) is going to leave a mark on the global industry few of us have yet fully appreciated.

Will sourcing clothes be different as a result? Who can tell? Butanyoje importing or exporting garments needs to keep an eye on them