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Compagnie Mauricienne de Textile Ltée (CMT) is a leading textile company based in Mauritius. It was established in 1986 by François Woo and Louis Lai Fat Fur, when they employed 20 people to work for their small business. Twenty years on, they now have a workforce of over 10,000 people, and they continue to grow.
In 1987, REIDsteel sent their first building for CMT - a simple 20m by 50m by 6m portal framed steel factory building, with Aluzinc cladding. It was erected in Central Mauritius by Jerry Teck Yong of JTEC.
At that time numerous textile factories were being set up on the Island of Mauritius. The idea was to take advantage of the stability and good inter-racial relationships on the Island, and the then abundant and relatively cheap labour. But more than anything it was the business friendly Government, who were prepared to offer Mauritian Passports to Hong Kong Chinese Entrepreneurs who might have needed a bolt hole in case the Chinese take over of Hong Kong turned into a Steam Roller. In the event Hong Kong turned out all right, and their interest receded, leaving a lot of workers and buildings redundant.
It goes against received opinion that anyone should establish and grow a huge exporting business on a tiny island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, where the sea trip to market takes four weeks. It probably also goes against perceived wisdom that they should buy their Steel Factory Buildings and other structural steel from England.
But François Woo is no ordinary business man. His courage, daring and sheer hard work have built CMT into the most modern and productive knitwear business in the world. And he is painstaking in his attention to detail. All the equipment, labour, training, and workforce are carefully considered.... and of course his choice of steel buildings. Although CMT originally bought its buildings from South Africa on the misunderstanding that they were cheaper, this soon changed after experiencing long delays, shabby work, multiple leaks and awful styling. So instead Mr Woo came back to REIDsteel. And although for a while South African Erectors and contractors were employed, the slow pace and poor quality of their work encouraged François Woo to choose a local Engineer, Steven Anne, to control erection and cladding.
The results were startling. The speed increased about tenfold. Steven was well able to take advantage of the quality fabrication and design methods of the REIDsteel frames and fittings, as well as the intelligent shipments of erectable steel in sequence. With good study of the REIDsteel drawings and shipping lists, good organisation of his men and plant, his first 'Dortoir' went up in a quarter of the previous South African best. At first the detail of the finishing left showed some faults. Our Supervisor, Jimmy Sloane, went to visit and recommend remedies (and also got in a bit of Tuna Fishing). Steven went from strength to strength, erecting the huge LTK Sewing factory in an amazingly quick time. This readied him for the daddy of all factories, the LTK Spinning and knitting plant, 400 m long, 100m wide, on 3 floors.