Cristian Pătrănescu – General Manager – Zimtex SA Ribbons
By: Behnam Ghasemi – Kohan Textile Journal
Cristian Patranescu has 44 years old and he is General Manager of Zimtex SA since May 2017. Zimtex is the largest manufacturer of neck-ribbons for medals in Europe
1. Please let us know more details about Zimtex company, history and success story.
Zimtex SA – the ribbon factory was founded in 1974 in the city of Zimnicea, Teleorman County, Romania, the southernmost point of the country.
It has registered a progressive development, having at one point, after year 1989, over 1000 employees. Before 1989 (the fall of the communist regime), the factory had about 800 employees, who worked in spaces of about 10,000 square meters.
Our main products
From 1990 to 2020, the factory underwent several transformations. The market economy somehow destroyed the centralized ordering system that existed until 1990. After privatization in 1991, the factory tried to produce for the garment and fashion industry further, but without success.
In 1995, together with another company, he started producing neck-ribbons for medals, which practically meant saving from bankruptcy.
Until March 2020, Zimtex was one of the most important manufacturers of textile ribbons of different widths or thicknesses in Romania.
2. Which kind of products you are producing in Zimtex? which sectors are your customer?
At this time, we produce neck-ribbons for medals, rosettes and other products for festivities and sports competitions.
Neck-ribbons for medals in any colour or combination of colours:
Our products are made of technical and textile polyamide yarns, technical polyester, textile and textured, polypropylene, metallic yarns, in a very varied assortment, dimensional and colouristic range.
We have clients in trophies and awards business from Romania, Germany, Holland, Italy, France, Spain, Poland, Estonia, Scandinavian countries, USA, Jamaica, New Zealand, etc.
3. How do you evaluate the Textile and fashion industry in Romania?
The Romanian textile and fashion market is invaded by-products from Asia, especially China. They come with very low prices that practically destroy domestic production. That is why we, the producers, are looking for the market in Western Europe.
Romania has had and still has a beautiful history in fashion. Local producers are now few, but very good.
Our factory does not have much impact with this market, because we have changed our profile a bit. After March 2020, we also tried to re-enter this market, but we found it weak and invaded by imported auxiliary products or raw materials.
4. If Romania join to European union in upcoming years how change industries in Romania and especially what is the effect on textile and fashion industry?
Romania has been a member of the European Union since January 1, 2007. We have not yet joined the Euro.
The changes were seen only in the free movement of people within the EU and the entry into the country of several companies, especially multi-national ones. Investors also came, but our market has not changed much. Manufacturing in Western Europe had previously moved to the East but has now moved on to the Middle East/Asia.
5. As a textile Company in Europe, how do you evaluate the textile and fashion industry in the Middle East and Africa and its potentials for Future. Do you have export to this region?
As I said above, manufacturing in the European textile industry has largely moved to Asia, China and Vietnam in particular. That area has huge potential due to employee salaries, taxes and very low taxes charged by those countries.
North Africa has fantastic potential and I believe that, in the near future, the countries in that area will join the European Trade Union. We do not export anything in these areas.
6. COVID 19 shows us we should rely more on sustainability and green products, how we can improve sustainability in the textile and fashion industry? do you have any special plan in ZIMTEX?
Covid-19 totally changed our plans for 2020. We had a modernization plan and we had started a first stage of changing the headquarters into a smaller, compact and much more optimal and cost-effective one. We stayed at this stage, we tried to adapt to the market, but we only managed to do more harm.
We are still looking for investors who believe in this business with medal ribbons. We produced about 12 million medal ribbons a year. We wanted to improve our business by increasing this quantity, by diversifying products, by another type of packaging or even by automating production, thus making it more environmentally friendly.
We still hope to invest or access European or government funds to grow. We believe that we can do more, we have specialized people and production spaces that we can use.
We are waiting for this pandemic to pass as soon as possible so that we can get to work!