The government has a 49pc share of the company

Feb 9 , 2019

The government will surrender its minority share in BM Ethiopia Garment & Textile S.C, the former Adey Abeba Yarn Factory II, which is located in Nifas Silk Lafto District on Debre Zeit Road.

To fully privatise the company, the Public Enterprises Holding & Administration Agency has floated a tender to transfer the remaining 49pc share it holds in BM Ethiopia. Established by Israelis known as the Lazaraddis, the company was named Adey Abeba Yarn Factory II and remained under state control until 1998 when it was partially privatised.

The 58-year-old company sits on 39,820Sqm of land and operates with 530 permanent employees producing blankets, yarn and fabrics. Hwan M. Ryu and the government of Ethiopia partnered to run the factory in 2011.

Before announcing the tender, the Agency approached its partner, Hwan M. Ryu, to have the priority to acquire the government's share, according to Wendafrash Assefa, corporate communications director of the Agency.

"As the shareholder didn't show interest to acquire the remaining shares, we have floated the tender," Wondafrash told Fortune.

The Agency floated the tender on January 17, 2019, with a closing date of March 25, 2019. Once the bidding process is concluded and the buyer is identified, the transfer process will be completed within one month, according to Wondafrash.

“The government is determined to transfer the company to private investors as the government needs to focus on large companies,” said Wondafrash.

Established 23 years ago, the Agency has gone through various restructurings, with its most recent concluding just six months ago. It has the responsibility to develop a system of corporate administration and finance, support public enterprises to become competent and successful and study projects so that the enterprise can fill market gaps.

It also transfers state-owned enterprises to the private sector that do not have strategic benefits for the government. Since its establishment, it has transferred 375 state companies and generated 49 billion Br. It transfers companies through direct sales, joint ventures and lease and management contracts.

BM Ethiopia is one of 31 garment companies in the country and produced finished yarn and fabrics with 90,000 jobs.

Currently, there are 118 local private middle and high textile manufacturers in Ethiopia exporting their products to Germany, China, the United States and Italy.

One university lecturer applauds the government's attempt to transfer state companies to private owners, assuming the companies could be better managed in private hands.

"The private owners can improve product quality and could enable the factory to produce export standard products," said Ali Yibrie (PhD), a lecturer at Bahir Dar University College of Business & Economics.

The expert also suggests the country has potential in the textile industry, which is currently viewed as somewhat stagnant.

In the past fiscal year, the country generated 110 million dollars from the export of textile products, meeting only 46pc of the goal. A shortage of cotton, lack of trained manpower and instability in some parts of the country caused the shortfall.

"To fully exploit the potential, the country should have an institution like the centre of excellence and textile machine development on the production of yarns and fabrics," said Ali.

He also suggests that the industry operators work cooperatively with the educational institutions for better performance.

Hwan M.Ryu, CEO and president of BM Manufacturing, didn't respond to a phone call and text message left by Fortune before the paper went out to print.

PUBLISHED ON Feb 09,2019 [ VOL 19 , NO 980]

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