Having laid the foundations of the region’s first-ever textile sector in Oman’s Sohar Freezone, Indian textile conglomerate ShriVallabh Pittie Group is preparing to invest in a major fabrics manufacturing complex in Salalah Free Zone in the south of the Sultanate.
The new investment in Salalah represents another building block in an integrated textile industry that the Indian-based global yarn manufacturing giant aspires to develop in the Sultanate. Together with upstream elements, encompassing large-scale cotton cultivation, as well investments in garmenting, apparels manufacturing and other value-add opportunities, the Salalah project will underpin the growth of a full-fledged textile industry in Oman reminiscent of the textile cities of the world, said a key official behind this ambitious endeavour.
“In addition to Sohar Freezone, where our yarn manufacturing complex has been in operation for over a year, we have identified Salalah Free Zone as our hub for the second phase of our investments in Oman,” said Vinod Pittie (pictured), Chairman – SV Pittie Group.
“The Salalah project will focus on the manufacture of home furnishings, such as bed sheets, curtains, drapes, towels, pillow covers, and so on. Initial investment is planned at around $200 million, but this will increase as we develop the Salalah complex into a fully integrated yarn manufacturing and textile hub over the long term.”
The fabrics manufacturing complex will come up on an area covering 100 hectares, the lease for which was signed by SV Pittie Group with Salalah Free Zone recently.
Speaking to the Observer, Pittie said the new investment will leverage Salalah’s importance as a major transhipment hub to access markets in the United States – billed as the single biggest market for textiles globally.
“Firstly, the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Oman and the US will allow us duty free access for our finished goods into the US market; secondly, the Port of Salalah, which adjoins the free zone, offers direct connectivity by mainline vessels with the United States.
As most of our output from Salalah is destined for the US market, it makes good business sense to set up our operations here.”
SV Pittie Sohar Textiles FZC, representing Phase 1 of the Group’s investments in Sohar Freezone, already features two yarn manufacturing units in operation with a further two units under construction. Total investment in the Suhar project, which will include a fifth unit as well, is projected at $450 million.
“With the Sohar Freezone project now substantially in place, we wish to take on a bigger role in driving the development of a textile industry in Oman,” said the Chairman. “After all, given the proven revenue earning and employing generating potential of any textile sector, a domestic industry can help the Omani government achieve its goal of growing the non-oil economy.
Historically, entire cities and economies have evolved around textile industries, as has been evident in India, the US, Britain, and so on.”
The Salalah fabrics manufacturing complex is expected to be operational within 18 months, according to Pittie. While yarn for the new project will initially be sourced from Sohar Freezone, investments in dedicated yarn manufacturing capacity are also envisioned in Salalah to support the establishment of an independent, integrated setup close to the transhipment port, he added.