UP: Woodland to acquire sick leather units to expand its manufacturing base

Footwear and adventure gear brand Woodland is looking at acquiring a clutch of sick tannery and leather units in Kanpur to expand its manufacturing base in Uttar Pradesh.

The company, which already owns 15 apparel manufacturing units in the Noida region, has plans up its sleeve to develop an integrated leather footwear manufacturing plant in the state. Since Kanpur is the primary tannery and leather hub in UP, the company is scouting for inorganic expansion opportunities there.
“We are holding talks with a few sick tanneries in Kanpur for a possible takeover of their plants,” Woodland managing director Harkirat Singh told Business Standard here.

He said the company plans to set up an integrated leather footwear manufacturing plant in Kanpur comprising backward integration in its value chain. Woodland would manufacture safety and heavy work boots and footwear in the Kanpur units, once the deal goes through.

According to Council for Leather Exports (CLE) regional chairman Javed Iqbal, almost 150 Kanpur-based tanneries and leather units were currently sick.

Besides, Woodland would additionally invest over Rs 200 million to modernise its plants and machinery in Noida, apart from increasing its retail footprint in UP. It currently employs 500-600 people in Noida.
“Noida is the ideal location for expanding our apparel manufacturing operations since it has a ready availability of skilled manpower and other logistics needed for production and exports,’ he underlined. It also operates plans in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

Singh informed the company was now working on a roadmap to produce its own fabric and launch captive dying facilities to manufacture high quality and eco-friendly apparels.
The company, which had clocked a turnover of about Rs 12 billion during 2017-18, has projected revenues of almost Rs 14 billion in the current fiscal riding on its 15-20% annual growth.

Its primary export markets are Hong Kong, China and the Gulf countries.
Pan India, the company has a retail network of about 600, of which 40 stores are located in UP and Uttarakhand. Lucknow alone accounts for 8 company owned company operated (COCO) outlets. Besides, its products sell at almost 5,000 multi-brand outlets (MBO) across the country.

E-commerce segment accounts for roughly 15% of its total sales at present, up from 3-4% a couple of years back, Singh claimed to add after a brief lull in the aftermath of the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the market was now gaining momentum.

Meanwhile, Woodland is bullish on the tier III towns for expansion. Singh maintained that youth remained the focus of the company and its various product lines.
Recently, there were reports that Woodland planned to add newer categories to its outdoor portfolio, including premium mountain bicycles, which would be launched in some top cities viz. Delhi, Bengaluru and Chandigarh before scaling up.

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