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Tunisia: Zannier expanding its presence in Tunisia

A crisis is often a trigger for a new era…. If the crisis has had on brands a negative impact by influencing sales, it also has the merit to represent a real tool of management forcing brands to an internal calling into question during this bad patch. The global economy reshaped in the aftermath of the crisis requires new strategies for facing a new situation and macro microeconomic deal. On the state of play  of the Tunisian textile business and many other topics, Abdelaziz Dahmani, President of the Textile National Federation (FENATEX) has answered our questions. Interview:

Zannier Group has recently paid a visit to Tunisia as part of its relocation of its European operations; what is the outcome of this visit?

Indeed, Zannier Group, one of French groups in textile and clothing specializing in children, women and men, invested, 35 years ago,  in a small business called Absorba, that is performing well and is currently employing  200 people. We were honored by this visit to Tunisia, three weeks ago in Monastir which resulted in a   sizeable deal relating to the acquisition of a 25,000 sqm plot of land for the launch of its business in Monastir textile technological park.

It plans to expand its business, because Absorba plant in Monastir no longer allows extensions, and therefore, it has relocation plans for moving its activity in other countries to settle in Tunisia. It even established offices for designers modelers in Monastir and will settle there its financial management. It is very happy with the infrastructure it found. The project in Monastir is underway and will be operational in April or May 2011;

It plans to create between 200 and 500 jobs between managers and workers. It plans, besides its investment in Monastir, to launch other factories in Ksour Essef and Gabes.

Why did it choose Tunisia?

This group has chosen Tunisia for several reasons; the most important are the proximity of Europe and the expertise Tunisian skills, besides tax benefits and peaceful climate that prevails in Tunisia. Tunisia made a great effort to train technicians, engineers and managers in general, and there was also a center of training for middle managers in addition to training centers for skilled workers. 

 How things stand in Tunisia textile sector?

Since late 2009, we experienced a crisis that had economic repercussions on Tunisian textile whose turnover was reduced by 8.8% compared to 2008. It was believed that it would lose more, but fortunately we have only lost 8.8% of turnover. In 2010, it was thought that the recovery would take  place, the second half of 2010, but with the difficulties we’re experiencing, what is  happening  in Europe made things more difficult, and now, if we compare the first 5 months of 2010  to the same period 2009, there was  a 2.2% turnover increase , which is not bad. But this is not too much and we cannot say it’s a real recovery.

But we remain optimistic. You know that Tunisia is betting on the textile sector as a priority sector. Before 2007, it was the first export sector and the first in terms of job creation.
Currently, the sector reaches an annual turnover of 5 billion dinars and employs nearly 200 thousand people. In 2007 which was a record year, we registered nearly 5.5 billion dinars.

Will Texmed 2010 help mitigate Tunisian textile crisis?

We really hope so, and we are optimistic about the success of this event which will be essential for Tunisian professionals as well as for their foreign counterparts to boost the investment climate in Tunisia. It must be said  that we were surprised by the number of exhibitors who wish to participate in TEXMED 2010 knowing that we have registered 280 exhibitors this year, an evolution of 30% compared to the previous edition.

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