Bangladesh made uniforms for British army

Satexco has been supplying uniforms to the army for the last 10 years

Left, Alistair Burt, UK Foreign Office minister for South Asia, takes a look at a military jacket during his visit to a garment factory of Satexco in Dhaka Export Processing Zone on Monday. Photo: British High Commission

A Bangladeshi company supplies uniforms to the British army, which is another testimony to the excellence of the country’s garment sector.

Satexco, a garment company inside Dhaka Export Processing Zone (DEPZ), has been serving the British army for the last 10 years, said Iqbal Hossain, managing director of the company.

Besides uniforms, the company also regularly supplies army jackets, rucksack, webbing, ammunition pouch, water containers, bayonet holders, pistol holsters and heavy tents, Hossain told The Daily Star yesterday.

He said his company also supplies camouflage dresses, dark olive-coloured dresses, winter jackets, light desert uniforms, wind proof jackets and normal jackets to the army.

“We also supply uniforms and other stuffs to some other European countries like France, The Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark.”

He said sometimes he supplies uniforms to the Royal Air Force as well.

“We have a good opportunity to grab a bigger market of military uniforms among the NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organisation] countries, as we have already proved our strength in the segment in major European nations.”

“Established in 2000, a European-Bangladeshi joint venture Satexco supplied uniforms and accessories worth $3 million to the British army while the company’s current annual sales value is $36 million.”

The company maintains a modest 10 percent year-on-year business growth in revenue generation, he said.

He praised the performance of his 500 skilled workers who have been making such specialised clothing items over the years for such sophisticated customers.

“All the factory personnel of the company are Bangladeshi. But, sometimes we bring skilled technical persons from Europe and other countries to train our workers.”

He said his company imports most of the uniform-making fabrics for the European army.

“We make the uniform as per the design and style supplied by the authorities concerned. The high-ups of the armies of the concerned countries regularly inspect the factory and production processes at the DEPZ to ensure quality production,” he said.

The uniforms and others stuffs are exported after being tested by a third country, he said.

Hossain started uniform-making business in 2000. A Bangladeshi who was brought up in England, Hossain started garment business with a retired British army major.

“One day the major asked to set up a factory for making uniforms for the British army that matched with my thinking. Finally I partnered with him and set up a factory at the DEPZ.”