It has not only been controlled by state agencies but has been steadily receiving state financing which has kept the brand afloat. Kamvol JSC is now a significant textile manufacturer, enjoying a full production cycle. The business uses 64 different types of machinery, enabling it to process wool, produce thread and fabrics and export them to Europe and the CIS.
Sadly, Kamvol has long been a problematic industry for the government. Four years ago, Minsk’s law enforcement bodies identified numerous fraudulent deals occurring within the business. The President’s reaction was to immediately dismiss both the heads of the Bellegprom Concern and Kamvol JSC, ordering a restructuring of the company in the shortest possible time.
Recently, the branch heads and the Chairman of the State Control Committee reported on its progress to Mr. Lukashenko. According to their most recent report, there are still issues surrounding the company, particularly regarding delays in the programme of modernisation. Consequently, the cost of construction and assembling works is growing. On a positive note however, other renewal measures are proceeding well and some new equipment is already installed. The Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration, Nikolai Snopkov, briefed journalists on the key points of the recent meeting, “The President gave a difficult task to follow the terms that were set initially, and keep within costs. There were two clear aims, to preserve the company and the jobs associated with it, (even increasing the number of opportunities for employment) and to modernise the industry to improve efficiency. In the long term, this will certainly enhance the competitiveness of the business.”
According to the official source, the success of Kamvol’s modernisation is closely connected to the fate of another light industry enterprise: Sukno JSC. The President has not so far supported the idea of these two enterprises’ merging as a single cloth industry. In late September, Mr. Lukashenko plans to visit Kamvol to personally assess the reforms. In the light of his assessment of the modernisation process, the issue of possibly uniting the two factories could be reconsidered. So far, Mr. Lukashenko has taken a personal interest in our light industry.
Kamvol’s modernisation, despite its problems, has aroused respect in the business world. The Deputy Prime Minister, Vladimir Semashko, addressed journalists in high spirits praising the company for its improvement drive. He pointed out that when complete, the reforms will ensure that Kamvol’s capacities will increase six fold: from 1 to 6m linear metres of fabric. This will make it a modern enterprise, the newest in the post-Soviet region. Its closest rival would be significantly weaker in terms of physical production volumes. Kamvol would have no competition in the post-Soviet area.
The flagship of our light industry is poised to take a key position in world trade. The Advisory Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission recently announced that Russia should abolish its restriction on access of our woollen cloth to the Russian market. This is a positive sign. Whilst quality products are a key to success, there is also the necessity of a buoyant market in which to sell it. Growing competition makes this task even more difficult. Kamvol’s General Director, Sergey Gorovoy, emphasises that the company’s marketing services are working on new sales markets. The President’s demands are being followed to the letter; they are keen not only to preserve Kamvol and Sukno, but also their jobs. It’s vital to improve efficiency through modernisation in order to ensure the long-term competitiveness of our textiles whilst protecting our domestic market against imported produce of poor quality.
By Vladimir Khromov