Mauritius knitwear is famous around the world, being one of the biggest producers of this product, more precisely, the 3rd biggest exporter of wool products and the 4th biggest t-shirts supplier. In the European Union, taking about 2/3 of the exports, the Mauritius knitwear and the apparel products had quota-free and duty-free access for about 37 years under the Cotonou Agreement and the Lom Convention.
Also, Mauritius knitwear and apparel companies begin to have the benefits of the Unites States market’s access and of the AGOA (the African Growth and Opportunity Act). The benefits depend on materials’ use in the USA and in the Sub-Saharan Africa. The island has to face the competition’s growth from the suppliers with lower costs in other regions and also from the Asian producers.
Some producers move the operations nearby Madagascar. Other producers diversify from woven and knitted shirts, jeans, trousers and Mauritius knitwear to higher value items. The government of Mauritius wants a bigger role for the island as sourcing products centre from reliable suppliers. The Mauritius knitwear and garment contribute to about 80% of the EPZ total exports.
The main places where the Mauritius knitwear is exported are the United States of America and Europe. The revenue from this area is about $982 million. Regarding the products that are exported, there are four important categories: trousers, shirt, t-shirts and sweaters. The trousers represent more than 90% of the garment production’s total.
Recently, there is a diversification of products like beachwear, suits, lingerie, kids wear. Floreal, for example is a company of Mauritius knitwear, one of the oldest, according to the interview given by the company in 1998. It is one of the biggest groups of textiles on the island and a pioneer in the textile industry’s regionalization due to their investments in Madagascar, in 1989, one of the first investments there.
In 1972, this Mauritius knitwear company started the production, having Hong Kong and Chinese owners, being in fact owned by the Oriental Pacific Export (OPE), these owners running the company for about 2 years and wanting to sell it in 1974. Then, the sugar industry’s representative, Deep River Beau Champ, with an experience of 100 years, bought the majority of Floreal Mauritius knitwear’s shares and in this way, this company of Mauritius knitwear became 100% of the island.
The main production is one of the Mauritius knitwear, but they manufacture sweaters, being known for using 100% cotton and 100% wool. Using the natural fibers makes them successfully in the manufacturing industry. The countries from where the company prefers to buy raw materials are South Africa, New Zeeland and Australia. They spin the yarn on the island and offer it to Floreal to produce the sweaters.
In this way, the entire process of production of Mauritius knitwear, from spinning to the final process of delivering to the costumers happens in Mauritius. According to the same interview, the company is integrated with Spinning Mill, established in 1978 as Ferney Spinning Mills.