Egyptian cotton products carrying a new trademark known as Nit have recently been exported to Turkey, Italy, and Denmark.
The new mark will be used for products of the Cotton and Textile Industries Holding Company (CTIHC). It was developed by the Egyptian Cotton Hub (ECH), a company created and owned by the CTIHC specifically to market and sell the products of affiliate companies and open new markets locally and abroad for their products.
Earlier this month, the ECH carried out its first export operations under the new brand, with a total 86.5 tons of yarn sent to Turkey in addition to 78,000 home textile pieces sent to Denmark and Italy.
Massive investments are being pumped into CTIHC affiliates, with the aim of developing the companies and the whole sector with it, General Manager of the ECH Khaled Raafat told Al-Ahram Weekly.
According to Raafat, between LE21 and LE24 billion will be allocated for new machinery, new buildings, specialised business software, and new staff. There will be new marketing and sales operations for the whole group of companies.
“We export, we sell to the local market, and we sell online,” Raafat said, adding that exporting was a top priority because the whole country was going in that direction.
Nit’s first shipment was limited to yarns, Raafat said, pointing out that its ready-made garments will be launched locally first and then exported in a later phase.
The ECH plans to open its first store under the name Nit in Korba, and it will launch a stand in the Debenhams store in the Cairo Festival City Mall in May. “Nit will be more visible when we open more stores,” Raafat said.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Public Business Sector last month said the interiors of the stores have already been designed in cooperation with professional designers. The layout has been designed by an Italian company and the new collection is by an Italian designer, Raafat said.
The first collection made of 100 per cent cotton will comprise bed sheets, linens, towels, bathrobes, and table napkins. Raafat said the company’s vision was to be a global and regional cotton industry leader within five to 10 years.
The main objective is to reinstate the status of Egyptian cotton in the global market, he emphasised.
Massive investments are being pumped into the development of the spinning and weaving sector, with the aim of increasing production capacities and manufacturing high-quality products. However, in order for that to happen, the sector is facing challenges such as changing people’s mindsets and bureaucracy, Raafat said.
He also believes that the current international crisis is an opportunity in disguise. The ECH, being a local manufacturer that relies on local raw materials, has an advantage over other firms, he said. Egypt’s proximity to its export markets also works in its favour, he added.
Nit is an entirely new concept in which private-sector executives are managing a public-sector business in order to promote Egyptian cotton, CTIHC board member Marie Louis Bishara, a fashion designer and CEO of the Bishara Group and president of the Apparel Export Council of Egypt, told the Weekly.
“Egypt will become the number one supplier of cotton worldwide once again and will export the finest and most luxurious cotton in the world,” she said.
She lamented the fact that many local apparel manufacturers depend on imported fabric because there is no vertical integration in the industry. Imports have been affected by supply chain disruptions as well as higher shipping rates, she added.
But the Export Council is trying to fix supply chain disruptions, and it provides export opportunities by liaising with the relevant authorities in different countries, connecting exporters and traders locally and globally.
It is currently collaborating with entities like the EU and the Swiss Federation of Textiles to promote Egyptian exports around the world.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 21 April, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.