According to recent news published by Belgian newspapers such as De Tijd and textile industry insiders, UCO Denim’s division in Gent, Belgium, has closed and more than 350 people have lost their jobs. In addition, by May 2009 entire production could be dismissed and moved to Romania, while administrative, commercial and head offices would remain in Gent.

In August 2006 UCO Denim signed a 50-50 joint venture with Indian textile giant Raymond Group, headquartered in Belgium, and formed a production entity with a yearly productive capacity of 80 million meters of denim.

In the last few seasons UCO had already posted losses on its denim operations and in the last financial year losses were about $29 million. Such losses were attributed to a number of factors, including the increased price of cotton, a slow-down in apparel consumption, the proliferation of low-cost manufacturing countries, as well as the weak dollar and the strong Euro.

Johan Van Den Heede, marketing director for UCO Sportswear, has said in response to the claim: “The UCO Denim division is not closed yet. I can only say that the management is considering the possibility to close the Belgian manufacturing unit and move production to Romania. Though at present no decision has been taken yet.”

—Maria Cristina Pavarini