Pittards Opens Leather Goods Factory in Ethiopia
Pittards has a long history of involvement with Ethiopia and has been a trading partner for around 100 years. It has won several awards for its contribution to the country, from assistance with local schools and environmental programmes to improving the quality of local skins through improved husbandry and treatment against parasites, which could improve meat yields as well as the leather quality. The new factory, covering around 1000 square metres, has modern cutting and sewing equipment although an element of handwork is also included in the manufacturing process. “We have been training our employees thoroughly to ensure the leather goods will be created with the finest workmanship and skill,” said John Moriarty, General Manager of Pittards Ethiopian tannery. The official opening ceremony, held late last week, was attended by a number of Ethiopian Government officials and dignitaries, including Ato Tedesse Haile, the Ethiopian state minister for Trade, who gave the closing address. The retiring British Ambassador to Ethiopia, Norman Ling, plus the Master and Clerk of the Leathersellers Livery Company were present along with some of Pittards key US and European customers and many of their local suppliers and customers.
“The Ethiopian government and authorities have been very supportive, and the establishment of a modern leather goods manufacturing unit in the country incorporating best practices for high quality production should help to showcase to the world the potential of this fast developing country,” said John. Mr Reg Hankey, CEO of Pittards, said the opening of the factory was the next natural step for the company. “Our headquarters, our research and development and design centres, our major leather manufacturing facility and all key aspects of Pittards remain right here in the UK,” said Mr Hankey. “However, our 2009 purchase of the Ethiopia Tannery Share Company from the Ethiopian Government has greatly enhanced our business operations over there and has acted as a springboard for our move into finished product. “This new facility in Ethiopia will make a substantial addition to our finished products manufacturing capabilities and will make a real contribution to our future profitability.”