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Pittards opens Ethiopia shoe factory

The Pittards tanning group has expanded its operations in East Africa, adding a new shoe factory to its existing tannery and glovemaking facilities in Ethiopia. British secretary of state for international trade Dr Liam Fox formally opened the shoemaking unit in Addis Ababa in early November. The new factory employs 70 members of staff who are hand-stitching shoes, and the opening of the new shoemaking operation increases Pittards’ total workforce in Ethiopia to 1,500. Pittards currently manufactures over one million pairs of work gloves each year at its Ethiopian factories, in addition to dress gloves and ski gloves.

Pittards was established in 1826 by Charles Pittard in Yeovil, Somerset, to supply leather dressing to local glove makers. Originally, Pittards worked only with local Somerset sheepskins, but in the early 20th century the company began sourcing from Africa. At that time, Pittards developed its leather dyeing processes and incorporated technical characteristics to produce waterproof and washable leathers. Partnerships were also established with the British armed forces.

The photograph at the top of this page shows Tadesse Haile (Ethiopia’s state minister of industry) with Dr Liam Fox at the opening ceremony.

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 3 of the January 2018 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

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