Bru Textiles, James Dunlop Textiles Joins Forces in Pacific Rim, Also Export Markets

by Fabrics & Furnishings

May 30th, 2017

CHRISTCHURCH, NZ—James Dunlop Textiles, founded in 1907 and now managed by the fourth generation of the Dunlop Family has recently merged into a new group of textile companies which will be named James Dunlop Group (JDG) according to John Dunlop, Chairman and Gary Neiman, Chairman of Bru Textiles, a $200 million fabric converter and wholesaler based in Kontich, Belgium.

John Dunlop
John Dunlop

The pair made a joint announcement concerning this merger. James Dunlop Group will house the recently acquired Zepel Fabrics business and brands, together with Mokum, James Dunlop and Pegasus brands.

Gary Neiman
Gary Neiman

Prior to the acquisition of Zepel, Neiman/Bru  acquired 50 per cent of Zepel and made a further financial investment in JDG. Bru’s investment gives JDG working capital to help the Dunlop brand expand more internationally. It also gives Bru a captive wholesale distribution channel to further sales of Bru Textiles, one of the largest converters in the world that was founded in 1994. Previously, Bru has purchased wholesale businesses for that purpose. The previous purchase of Home Fabrics in Joberg, South Africa is an example of this strategy. This partnership with James Dunlop now gives Bru a major distribution presence in the Pacific Rim that it did not have before.

“Bru Textiles has made a significant financial investment into James Dunlop Group, and will become a substantial yet minority partner in the new group. Andrew Mills, current Managing Director of the James Dunlop/Mokum Australian business will retain minority equity in the new group and has additionally been appointed to Managing Director of Zepel Fabrics. In terms of marketing and sales, Zepel Fabrics will remain its own independent business unit with the company owned headquarters and warehouse located at its existing address in Melbourne.”

“The founders and managing partners of Zepel Fabrics, the Filipou Family have recently sold their 50% remaining share and Gary Neiman (Chairman of Bru Textiles) was quoted ‘I can only commend, congratulate and be thankful to the Filipou Family for all their hard work and efforts to build Zepel Fabrics into such a great company, and most especially being partners with them for the past almost 11 years. Their high level of professionalism and conduct during their exit negotiation should be an example to all of us and as a result will always remain great friends and be close to me and my family’s hearts”.

“We believe we can secure continuous growth through further developing the two businesses’ sales and products into the future. By merging two major players in our operating sector we can enhance each other by sharing best practice and local market expertise in the retail, manufacturing and the commercial/contract area,” Dunlop and Neiman state.

“Zepel is a very successful well established Australian fabric brand which will enhance both our footprint and long-term commitment into the Australian market.  We see considerable synergies in the operational process and strategic direction of both companies and believe that by working together we can maximise opportunities.  Just as the purchase of Mokum catapulted James Dunlop Textiles into the international marketplace, we believe that our merger with Zepel will strengthen both companies into the future.

Over time, Zepel will be introduced to New Zealand, offering an exciting new range to the New Zealand market.”

“The majority of the ownership of the James Dunlop Group is still very much in the hands of the Dunlop family, Dunlop and Neiman say, and the Dunlops will continue to manage and control the whole group.” (That’s for the time being of course.)

“As you know our suppliers are our key partners in supplying good quality innovative fabrics to our customers and we look forward to enhancing our business together with you. From an operational standpoint, nothing will change and it will be business as usual.”