If someone compliments your threads, you should probably thank Coats plc, a leading global supplier of apparel and industrial thread. In addition to clothing thread, the company manufactures specialty thread (with applications for footwear, camping equipment, bedding, furniture, and automotive), zip fasteners and trim, and craft thread. It claims to own 20% of the world's market share in sewing thread manufacturing. Coats serves customers in more than 100 countries through its 70 manufacturing facilities spanning the globe. The company's thread division accounts for more than two-thirds of its total sales each year. Coats is a wholly owned subsidiary of London-based investment firm Guinness Peat Group.
Coats operates through two chief segments: industrial thread and crafts. Total sales for its industrial thread segment grew by 8% by the end of 2011, while crafts' revenues spiked by 6%. It attributed selling price increases introduced to offset rising raw material inflation and a higher demand in Asia as reasons for the revenue bumps.
As part of its growth strategy, Coats continues to expand in countries such as China, Brazil, India, Mexico, and Vietnam where manufacturing costs are lower and from where the company can serve its three largest markets -- Asia, Europe, and North America. Asia has been a particular focus for the group, not just because of the lower manufacturing costs but because of increased demand for industrial thread. To address the demand, the company has been ramping up production at its plants in China. – less