Many Bangladesh textile mills seek exit route amid gas, currency woes

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Faced with persistent gas shortages and erratic exchange rates, numerous textile mill owners in distress are resorting to selling their factories due to escalating losses attributed to dwindling production. Mohammad Ali Khokon, president of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), disclosed that spinning, dyeing, weaving, finishing, and printing millers are actively seeking buyers.

Speaking to the media, he said, to date, representatives from ten mills have approached the president to start the sale of their establishments, albeit maintaining anonymity due to existing bank loans. The compounding effects of the gas crisis, volatile exchange rates, surging bank interest rates, and escalating production costs have prompted a surge in millers—particularly small and medium enterprises—looking to offload their operations, citing concerns over competitiveness within the textile sector.

This trend emerges amidst a challenging period for the primary textile industry, grappling with decreased demand for garment items amidst inflationary pressures in western markets. The confluence of factors led to a dearth of investments in the sector last year, despite its pivotal role in Bangladesh’s garment industry, the second largest globally and a primary source of foreign exchange. The gas crisis, which began several years ago, has worsened in recent months, with mills experiencing severely diminished gas pressure, averaging between zero and 2 PSI, through pipelines. Consequently, mill operations are curtailed to an average capacity of 40 per cent.

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