Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishard Badiudeen cutting the ribbon declaring open North Cloth Lanka in the presence of Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy Valerie Fowler, Gampaha District MP Dulip Wijesekera, President of North Cloth Tom Davis and Managing Director of North Sails Sri Lanka Larry McDonald
North Cloth Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. was the latest entity to come under the North Sails Sri Lanka Group, when the factory was ceremoniously inaugurated by Rishard Badiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce recently.
In a special message, Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa noted that the opening of the new facility of North Cloth was extremely significant at a time that the country is moving towards economic prosperity with the end of the 30-year conflict. "Internationally, many look at Sri Lanka in a favourable manner. International organisations that left the country during the war have now returned and begun businesses. An internationally recognised organisation identified Sri Lanka as an ideal destination for investment and tourism. I wish success for all aspects and activities of North Cloth that was opened today and comes under the North Sails Group," the message stated.
Regarded as one of the greatest success stories of North Sails, the operational facilities of the Group in Sri Lanka have significantly contributed towards its growth and success, with North Manufacturing Lanka being its largest sail making plant.
In a major milestone in the Group's 15-year-long journey in Sri Lanka, North Cloth joins North Manufacturing, North Sails 3DL Lanka and Southern Spars International, subsidiaries of North Sails Group LLC, USA, the world's largest producer of sails and sail technology leader.
Sketching its way on the global map, North Cloth will produce sail cloth for export. The first production was formally initiated at the Biyagama Free Trade Zone by Minister Badiudeen.
Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy Valerie Fowler, Chief of Economic and Commercial Affairs of the US Embassy Edward Heartney, Gampaha District MP Dulip Wijesekera, Director Board of Investment of Sri Lanka M. K. D. Lawrence, President of North Cloth Tom Davis, Managing Director of North Sails Sri Lanka Larry McDonald, COO North Sails Sri Lanka Tof Nicolle Griffith, Senior General Manager of North Manufacturing Thalib Sanoon as well as other company heads and staff of North Sails were present at the opening ceremony.
Following the ceremonial opening, Davis briefed the Minister on the production process, following which the guests were taken on a factory tour.
"North Cloth's new capability in Sri Lanka is a key piece of our global manufacturing initiative. In concert with our Biyagama sail production sites, we are positioned to offer the highest quality sails to North Sails Lofts around the world," said Tom Davis.
"A strategic decision was made to increase the North Group's investments in Sri Lanka in view of the country's rich resource base, strong in the workforce and the ability to facilitate new investments," said Talib Sanoon, Senior General Manager, North Manufacturing.
A fully automated factory, North Cloth is equipped with state-of-the-art sail cloth laminating facilities, RM & FG inspection and an in built racking system for inventory control. With computer controlled production, in-house laboratories, stringent quality control measures and automatic web guiding and edge trimming, a competitive advantage is offered in producing sail cloth for export.
The worldwide leader in both racing and cruising sails, the North Group commenced its operations in Sri Lanka in 1996 with the establishment of North Manufacturing (Pvt) Ltd. Growing from one single facility, today four companies (six manufacturing plants) are operated under the North umbrella at the Biyagama Export Processing Zone.
With a workforce of over a 1,000 employees, North Manufacturing is engaged in the production of a wide range of products such as custom sails, sail bags, sail components, flags, canvas products, composite production and spars and rigging. It is also the only manufacturing facility outside of USA building patented thermo-formed 3DL sails.
North Manufacturing consists of a global distribution network, which spans across North America (USA and Canada), Europe (36 countries), Asia (Japan and India), Caribbean, South America and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand).
Having recorded growth in the past year, recovering from the global recession, plans are now underway to further develop production. Five numbers of rapier weaving machines are to be obtained by 2011.
The North Sails team comprises of the best designers and sail makers in the world, and their passion for the sport and commitment to quality and innovation are reflected in the world-class products delivered to the customers. Emphasising on speed, exceptional service and becoming a model for other companies by setting new benchmarks, North Cloth together with North Manufacturing Sri Lanka, 3DL Lanka and Southern Spars, will continue to consistently surprise its customers with exceptional results.
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