Kenyan President hails Sri Lankan apparel company for addressing pandemic shortages - Opportunity Sri Lanka
Kenyan President hails Sri Lankan apparel company for addressing pandemic shortages

Kenyan President hails Sri Lankan apparel company for addressing pandemic shortages

Sri Lanka’s Hela Clothing, which is an ethical and sustainable apparel manufacturer with factories across Kenya, Ethiopia and Sri Lanka, has reportedly been recognised as a leading example of resilience and ingenuity during the pandemic by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
As part of the Head of State’s Labour Day address, Hela Clothing had reportedly been described as an “innovative” company that was able to rise to the occasion and assist with global PPE shortages while protecting jobs in an extremely challenging market environment.

Sri“When the COVID pandemic hit our country, this EPZ Company (Hela Clothing) quickly discovered the opportunity and switched to the production of PPEs and facemasks. By rejecting paralysis and embracing innovation, this company saved 300 workers from joblessness,” President Kenyatta has been quoted as saying.
Hela Clothing is a pioneer in apparel manufacturing in East Africa and established its Kenyan operations in 2016. It has since grown rapidly and is now the country’s largest intimate wear company, accounting for 15% of Kenya’s total apparel exports, local media reports have stated.
In addition to pivoting to production of PPE, Hela Clothing has reportedly added more than 2,000 jobs across its manufacturing footprint during the pandemic, provided bonuses to team members, reinstated full salaries of senior staff in September of last year and fully repaid the deferred amounts by December (staff at the executive level or below remained on full salaries throughout this period).

Sri“It was an honour to be held up as an example of innovation in His Excellency’s Labour Day address to the nation,” Shameen Peiris, the CEO of Hela’s Intimates Cluster, which operates the Kenyan facility has been quoted as saying in the local media. “It is further validation of the decisions we made early-on in the pandemic that ensured business continuity and safeguarded the livelihoods of our employees.
“And it is a testament to the agility of our team that we were able to identify a growing need and adapt the business accordingly, which in turn allowed Hela to play a small part in global recovery efforts during the pandemic.”

SriThe Sri Lankan company which entered the PPE segment during the pandemic has identified itself as a long-term pillar of the business and plans are currently underway to operate a separate factory for the production of medical grade PPE in collaboration with the Aga Khan Foundation – a private not-for-profit international development agency, which operates state-of-the-art medical universities across Asia and Africa.
Hela Clothing is a US$ 200 million company that provides sustainability-focused apparel supply chain solutions, local media reports stated.

OSL take:

SriSri Lanka’s apparel sector is one of the highest revenue generating export commodity. The country’s manufacturing and exports sectors are dominated by the apparel industry. Despite the challenges posed by the global Covid 19 pandemic, Sri Lanka’s apparel manufacturing sector continued operations. Also, the commendation received by Sri Lanka’s Hela clothing in Kenya is indicative of the strength and growth of Sri Lanka’s apparel industry. Foreign businesses/investors could explore business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka’s apparel sector.

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