Wibitex to Offer Contract Lines

April 14, 2000

Varese, Italy - The Italian upholstery fabric manufacturer Wibitex will introduce three contract collections at Proposte. ''The contract market is important because it is the future of our industry,'' said Wibitex founder and president Walter Bortolossi. ''There is such growth in the hotel industry, and people travel much more than in the past. They want to feel at home wherever they go.''

Bortolossi said about 10 percent of Wibitex's production is for contract. The company is gradually intensifying production and business in this market, he said.

Wibitex's contract collections, which will be unveiled at Proposte, will be on Trevira CS and Kanecaron.

After having spent 10 years in the industry as an independent upholstery salesman, Bortolossi started Wibitex in 1990. For the first seven years, the company manufactured only jacquards. Today, jacquards account for about 70 percent of its manufacturing while coupled fabrics make up the rest.

Wibitex has been growing at about 15 percent a year, according to Bortolossi. Part of this growth is accounted for the company's discovery of new markets, especially in the Middle East, Bortolossi said.

It directly exports 40 percent of its production; however approximately 80 percent of what the company sells nationally is exported. ''The province of Udine manufactures chairs and furniture for export, and many of our clients are furniture manufacturers,'' Bortolossi said. ''Therefore, what we do not sell abroad is exported through our clients, or through our clients' clients.'' It exports to Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, the United States and some to South America. The company's main clients are wholesalers and editors in the furniture industry; Wibitex fabrics are used mostly for upholstery and curtains.

The company produces 120 thousand meters per month and has an annual turnover of approximately 20 milliardi. It manufactures 60-65 percent of its products at its plant in Varese. But, it outsources its production occasionally, Bortolossi said, to assure timely delivery.

The company works with an art director, and has a technical design studio where it develops about 30-40 designs per fair, (Proposte, Frankfurt, Decosit, Fiera del Mobile) Bortlossi said. ''All designs and ideas are born right here with us,'' said Bortolossi. He said that in addition to its general ranges, Wibitex develops exclusive designs and collections for clients.

The company will manufacture any amount, given it is able to guarantee all services. ''The tendency of the market today leans towards exclusive and smaller orders. However we are very elastic, and if given the order, we will produce more. We can produce 5,000 meters or 100,000 meters. However, we will not sacrifice our quality, and that is why some of our production is outsourced.''

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